What a DIY Artist can learn from Beyoncé’s VMA performance:If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, you should treat yourself for 15 mins.  I wouldn’t mislead you. Last night at the VMA’s Beyoncé shook the world when she performed a complete (almost) medley of her self titled album, which she dropped out of the blue (Ivy) last December. The medley included 12 tracks and a ton of camera close ups of the other two-thirds of the Carter entity (Strategic?)There are quite a few things that can be digested as a fellow musician, but here are a few things every DIY artist can learn from Beyoncé’s VMA concert:1) Step Yo Game Up!If Beyoncé’s performance doesn’t inspire artists (myself included) to consciously raise their caliber of entertainment value, then I’m not sure what will at this point. From the choreography to the visual effects, you could tell we were witnessing an Icon doing what they do best; with care and attention to detail on every aspect of the set (dare I say MJ level?). Beyoncé cleverly picked her moments to belt her heart out and then demonstrate vocal restraint by releasing pure emotion and energy through just dance alone. (Hashtag Flawless)2) Make them want the whole albumHow rare is it that you witness an artist in today’s era of music perform a 15 min+ set on an awards show? Definitely a well deserved and hard working one, such as Beyoncé. That said, it was incredibly brilliant for her to perform the tracks from her surprise album released back in December. This move once again reminds the world that the ‘unplanned’ release wasn’t an accidental success, but all part of the long term plan to gain interest in the project. She could have easily done a repeat of last year’s Super Bowl performance by shelling out hit after hit of her past, but she instead provided a spectacle of a full body of work (Beyoncé) for those late to the party. What a bold and impactful move to make in such a single driven society. This plan is a sure fire way to make the masses want the whole thing and excite them to listen to a complete project versus picking instant favorites and moving on to the next great big thing. Should we expect major boosts in album sales in the upcoming weeks? I would like to think so. 3) Speak with actions first
With Beyoncé, image is everything. Over the run of her career it’s clear she steers clear of controversy and negative media. However, most recently the Carters have been under a bit of heat following ‘that’ incident. (google: elevator) Even with all the viral memes and vines spreading around, you didn’t hear a word from the mouth of Beyoncé until the ‘Flawless (Remix)’ which was no question performed in her VMA set. She chose a grand platform to deaden any doubt about the state of the Carter family. From Baby Blue’s appearance and Jay’s stage side support one could conclude that if anything had gone wrong it was a thing of the past. This is a perfect example of choosing actions over words to send a message. Use it how you will. -Parry#RockandSoul

What a DIY Artist can learn from Beyoncé’s VMA performance:

If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, you should treat yourself for 15 mins.  I wouldn’t mislead you. 

Last night at the VMA’s Beyoncé shook the world when she performed a complete (almost) medley of her self titled album, which she dropped out of the blue (Ivy) last December. The medley included 12 tracks and a ton of camera close ups of the other two-thirds of the Carter entity (Strategic?)

There are quite a few things that can be digested as a fellow musician, but here are a few things every DIY artist can learn from Beyoncé’s VMA concert:

1) Step Yo Game Up!

If Beyoncé’s performance doesn’t inspire artists (myself included) to consciously raise their caliber of entertainment value, then I’m not sure what will at this point. From the choreography to the visual effects, you could tell we were witnessing an Icon doing what they do best; with care and attention to detail on every aspect of the set (dare I say MJ level?). Beyoncé cleverly picked her moments to belt her heart out and then demonstrate vocal restraint by releasing pure emotion and energy through just dance alone. (Hashtag Flawless)

2) Make them want the whole album

How rare is it that you witness an artist in today’s era of music perform a 15 min+ set on an awards show? Definitely a well deserved and hard working one, such as Beyoncé. That said, it was incredibly brilliant for her to perform the tracks from her surprise album released back in December. This move once again reminds the world that the ‘unplanned’ release wasn’t an accidental success, but all part of the long term plan to gain interest in the project. She could have easily done a repeat of last year’s Super Bowl performance by shelling out hit after hit of her past, but she instead provided a spectacle of a full body of work (Beyoncé) for those late to the party. What a bold and impactful move to make in such a single driven society. This plan is a sure fire way to make the masses want the whole thing and excite them to listen to a complete project versus picking instant favorites and moving on to the next great big thing.

Should we expect major boosts in album sales in the upcoming weeks? I would like to think so. 

3) Speak with actions first

With Beyoncé, image is everything. Over the run of her career it’s clear she steers clear of controversy and negative media. However, most recently the Carters have been under a bit of heat following ‘that’ incident. (google: elevator) Even with all the viral memes and vines spreading around, you didn’t hear a word from the mouth of Beyoncé until the ‘Flawless (Remix)’ which was no question performed in her VMA set. She chose a grand platform to deaden any doubt about the state of the Carter family. From Baby Blue’s appearance and Jay’s stage side support one could conclude that if anything had gone wrong it was a thing of the past. 

This is a perfect example of choosing actions over words to send a message. Use it how you will. 


-Parry
#RockandSoul





Paris Live Session— New Flame (Chris Brown)


Who Eats Best? America vs France vs United Kingdom:
 
Food. We love it almost as much as we love music (sometimes even more). We love to cook and we love to eat. Whether trying new dishes and restaurants, or sticking to the classics that we know we enjoy, we will almost never turn down the opportunity to get on some grubbin’. With that said, we have compiled a short list of the similarities and differences between English, French, and American cuisine.  

*For an added treat, we have also put together a small catalogue of some of the best places to chow down in the cities that we’ve visited*

Many ingredients that Americans have grown to expect to find in their food (like hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, etc.) simply aren’t legal in the United Kingdom, France, and many other European nations. Instead they use natural or organic ingredients.  
American food manufacturers tend to put a lot of sugar in everything! Salad dressing, condiments, vitamins, and even bread! In Europe, sugar only goes into things that are meant to be sweet.
Most everyone that makes fries serves the thick cut variation and occasionally curly fries. In the states we have both of the above in addition to shoe string fries, waffle fries, home fries, thin-sliced fries, and standard fries. Fun fact: In the UK, french fries are called chips, and potato chips are called crisps
The British seem to be a little skimpy on their seasonings in restaurant dishes. They simply don’t add as much salt, pepper, or anything else for that matter.
English breakfast => Two fried eggs, toast, baked beans, bacon, sausage, whole sautéed mushrooms, and sliced sautéed tomatoes, served with tea or a latte; American breakfast => Scrambled eggs with cheese, hashbrowns, bacon, pancakes, buttered toast, served with coffee or orange juice; French breakfast => A croissant and espresso.
Speaking of bacon…American bacon is all pork belly and tends to be fattier than British bacon, which is the perfect blend of pork loin and pork belly.
British and French milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after being opened. Same with their eggs.
British and French varieties of butter and cheese are more creamy and flavorful than their American counterparts.
Americans have McDonalds, Burger King, White Castle, Chick Fil A, Wendy’s, etc…The British and French have Kebob shops and fried chicken joints. THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE.
Try and find an American that doesn’t lather up their food in some kind of sauce. It’s in our nature. Turns out to be the same for the British. They just like different sauces. Brits love gravy, brown sauce (sort of like steak sauce, but not very good…), and Peri Peri sauce (credited to Portuguese explorers and made using the Bird’s Eye Chili which is native to South Africa). We love ranch and hot sauce. We both love ketchup, mayo, and mustard, though English mustard tends to have an after-burn reminiscent of horseradish or wasabi.
Portion size…Americans just eat too much food. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the truth. On the upside, we’ve all lost some weight!
America takes the gold in food variety and overall restaurant satisfaction. France (at least Paris) follows closely with silver, and England…well…let’s just call it Bronze. Don’t get me wrong. There are some great Indian, French, Spanish, Italian, Kurdish, and Greek restaurants in the UK and France. But only in America will you find all of the above plus New York and Chicago pizza, true southern (Memphis, North Carolina, and Texas) Barbeque, traditional Mexican, Latin American street food, hot wings, Maryland crab, and much, much more.
Last but not least, let’s talk about…Beer. The best pubs are most definitely in the UK. The best beer, the best cocktails, the best bartenders, and a healthy respect for the potential dangers of alcohol. France follows closely with fantastic wine at fantastic prices. Which means the US of A takes third…though I’ve had several people tell me they love American bourbon and American lager. So, you know. There’s that.

 
Now that we’ve established our similarities and differences, here are our personal recommendations for restaurants and pubs to check out when you can:

Manchester – Food => Trof, The Soup Kitchen, Pound Bakery, Market Street Vendors; Pubs => The Whiskey Jar, Guilty By Association

Sheffield – Food => The York, Pound Bakery, The Great Gatsby, Patiserrie Valerie, Kurdistan Restaurant, Arusuvai, Pizza Express; Pubs => The Green Room, Brew Dog

London – Food => Pizza Express, Patiserrie Valerie Vapiano; Pubs => Electric Social, Hand In Hand, Troubadour

Leeds – (hopefully this list will expand as we continue our stay in Leeds) Food => Pound Bakery; Pubs => Bierkeller

Until next time, mind the gap and keep to the left.


- Dustin

Who Eats Best? America vs France vs United Kingdom:

 

Food. We love it almost as much as we love music (sometimes even more). We love to cook and we love to eat. Whether trying new dishes and restaurants, or sticking to the classics that we know we enjoy, we will almost never turn down the opportunity to get on some grubbin’. With that said, we have compiled a short list of the similarities and differences between English, French, and American cuisine. 

*For an added treat, we have also put together a small catalogue of some of the best places to chow down in the cities that we’ve visited*

Many ingredients that Americans have grown to expect to find in their food (like hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, etc.) simply aren’t legal in the United Kingdom, France, and many other European nations. Instead they use natural or organic ingredients.  

American food manufacturers tend to put a lot of sugar in everything! Salad dressing, condiments, vitamins, and even bread! In Europe, sugar only goes into things that are meant to be sweet.

Most everyone that makes fries serves the thick cut variation and occasionally curly fries. In the states we have both of the above in addition to shoe string fries, waffle fries, home fries, thin-sliced fries, and standard fries. Fun fact: In the UK, french fries are called chips, and potato chips are called crisps

The British seem to be a little skimpy on their seasonings in restaurant dishes. They simply don’t add as much salt, pepper, or anything else for that matter.

English breakfast => Two fried eggs, toast, baked beans, bacon, sausage, whole sautéed mushrooms, and sliced sautéed tomatoes, served with tea or a latte; American breakfast => Scrambled eggs with cheese, hashbrowns, bacon, pancakes, buttered toast, served with coffee or orange juice; French breakfast => A croissant and espresso.

Speaking of bacon…American bacon is all pork belly and tends to be fattier than British bacon, which is the perfect blend of pork loin and pork belly.

British and French milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after being opened. Same with their eggs.

British and French varieties of butter and cheese are more creamy and flavorful than their American counterparts.

Americans have McDonalds, Burger King, White Castle, Chick Fil A, Wendy’s, etc…The British and French have Kebob shops and fried chicken joints. THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE.

Try and find an American that doesn’t lather up their food in some kind of sauce. It’s in our nature. Turns out to be the same for the British. They just like different sauces. Brits love gravy, brown sauce (sort of like steak sauce, but not very good…), and Peri Peri sauce (credited to Portuguese explorers and made using the Bird’s Eye Chili which is native to South Africa). We love ranch and hot sauce. We both love ketchup, mayo, and mustard, though English mustard tends to have an after-burn reminiscent of horseradish or wasabi.

Portion size…Americans just eat too much food. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the truth. On the upside, we’ve all lost some weight!

America takes the gold in food variety and overall restaurant satisfaction. France (at least Paris) follows closely with silver, and England…well…let’s just call it Bronze. Don’t get me wrong. There are some great Indian, French, Spanish, Italian, Kurdish, and Greek restaurants in the UK and France. But only in America will you find all of the above plus New York and Chicago pizza, true southern (Memphis, North Carolina, and Texas) Barbeque, traditional Mexican, Latin American street food, hot wings, Maryland crab, and much, much more.

Last but not least, let’s talk about…Beer. The best pubs are most definitely in the UK. The best beer, the best cocktails, the best bartenders, and a healthy respect for the potential dangers of alcohol. France follows closely with fantastic wine at fantastic prices. Which means the US of A takes third…though I’ve had several people tell me they love American bourbon and American lager. So, you know. There’s that.

 

Now that we’ve established our similarities and differences, here are our personal recommendations for restaurants and pubs to check out when you can:

Manchester – Food => Trof, The Soup Kitchen, Pound Bakery, Market Street Vendors; Pubs => The Whiskey Jar, Guilty By Association

Sheffield – Food => The York, Pound Bakery, The Great Gatsby, Patiserrie Valerie, Kurdistan Restaurant, Arusuvai, Pizza Express; Pubs => The Green Room, Brew Dog

London – Food => Pizza Express, Patiserrie Valerie Vapiano; Pubs => Electric Social, Hand In Hand, Troubadour

Leeds – (hopefully this list will expand as we continue our stay in Leeds) Food => Pound Bakery; Pubs => Bierkeller

Until next time, mind the gap and keep to the left.

- Dustin

One day we had a show in Blackburn, England. After the show we had nothing to do, but wait for our train at 7:30 the next morning. So we decided to set up and jam with all the locals. What a fun night.

Last night we planned to do our first ever open mic in France so we decided to check out a place in the 20th district called Cultura Rapide. It was a tiny, but very hip spot on the corner. The bar manager told us that the open mic was temporarily postponed; however he offered to let us set up and play for a bit. A bit meaning well over an hour and a half which was more than enough time to win over the kind French people. By the end of the night we made friends with Max, Edgar, Cedric and company. I also ran into Andrew, a young guy from Australia who is on a journey of his own around Europe. 

Bottomline: Despite the language barrier, Music is and will always be universal. I HAVE to learn French one day.

Au Revoir!

-Parry

How I feel at the moment.-Parry

How I feel at the moment.

-Parry

(via thiswarinside-isallmyown)

7 Lessons Learned While Traveling as a DIY Band
*Leaving your hometown to follow a dream is bold and risky. Stepping off of the plane here in Europe instantly changed our mindset to a fight or flight mentality. Here are just a handful of lessons we’ve learned so far on our journey. You don’t necessarily have to go to another country to have these experiences, but being immersed in a totally different culture will make you grow.*In the DIY world, there is no real structure or formula by which one abides. A person creating their own career must be flexible and adventurous. Now that doesn’t mean choices should always be made with haste. It’s always a good idea to create a guideline and set a goal. But, if the plan is too calculated, too rigid, then the probability of disaster is greatly elevated.
This is an idea that we absolutely live by. It is one of the most important lessons we’ve learned over the past four years as a band. It has guided us as a business and as individuals. It is not, however, the only thing we’ve learned. Over the past three and half weeks that we have been in the United Kingdom, there have been many situations from which we have walked away with a new understanding of life. Here are some things we’ve learned thus far:
1.) The Power Of An Accent - People, especially younger generations, crave diversity. With the exception of big hub-cities like New York and London, having an accent that is different from that region can open a lot of doors. When we were in Manchester and Sheffield, simply asking for directions would spark new conversation. Often it would lead to new fans or potential gigs. Never undervalue this.
2.) People Are Kind Of Awesome - Due to modern media and the fast-paced society many of us live in today, it is easy to be pessimistic and to lose faith in humanity. But the reality is, people are generally friendly and empathetic. Even in the busy city of London, we have found that most everyone is willing to help if they can. 
3.) Getting Lost Can Be Fun - The idea of being unfamiliar with an area is often daunting even to the most traveled of people. However, situations like this will prove just how capable and intelligent you really are. In fact, this is often the best way to find a great new bar or even meet a new friend (see # 2).
4.) Don’t Trust Late-Night Food Joints - It doesn’t matter how hungry you are or how tired you may be. Just. Don’t. Do It. Yes there are exceptions to this rule, as we have also experienced. But use caution and carefully weigh your options.
5.) DO Trust Your Gut - Most people have a good natural instinct. It’s how we’ve survived as a species for so long. If you have feeling that you are in the wrong place or talking to the wrong person, go with that feeling. In addition, if you feel that an idea or action is pulling at your soul, trust it. Don’t pay too much mind to what others may think of it. Taking advice or hearing out opinions is good and important. But don’t let it sway you if you feel strongly about something.
6.) Strength In Numbers - Three heads are better than one. Decisions are weighed more carefully, you are less of a target (even if marginally) for criminals, more wisdom and knowledge is readily available, and multiple tasks can be accomplished much faster.
7.) Put Yourself Out There - We booked several gigs in a matter of hours just because we walked around downtown Manchester one night with the intention to sing to anyone we saw. Now obviously there are certain areas you wouldn’t be advised to do this in whether it be because of a safety threat or simply because it isn’t legal. Nonetheless, if you just play a gig at a venue or sit on a corner busking, you won’t actually meet people and make a connection. You need to open up. You need to talk to people. And one of the advantages we have as musicians is that we can eliminate awkward ice-breakers by just playing a song instead. 

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Until Next Time, 
Dustin Williams

7 Lessons Learned While Traveling as a DIY Band

*Leaving your hometown to follow a dream is bold and risky. Stepping off of the plane here in Europe instantly changed our mindset to a fight or flight mentality. Here are just a handful of lessons we’ve learned so far on our journey. You don’t necessarily have to go to another country to have these experiences, but being immersed in a totally different culture will make you grow.*

In the DIY world, there is no real structure or formula by which one abides. A person creating their own career must be flexible and adventurous. Now that doesn’t mean choices should always be made with haste. It’s always a good idea to create a guideline and set a goal. But, if the plan is too calculated, too rigid, then the probability of disaster is greatly elevated.

This is an idea that we absolutely live by. It is one of the most important lessons we’ve learned over the past four years as a band. It has guided us as a business and as individuals. It is not, however, the only thing we’ve learned. Over the past three and half weeks that we have been in the United Kingdom, there have been many situations from which we have walked away with a new understanding of life. Here are some things we’ve learned thus far:

1.) The Power Of An Accent - People, especially younger generations, crave diversity. With the exception of big hub-cities like New York and London, having an accent that is different from that region can open a lot of doors. When we were in Manchester and Sheffield, simply asking for directions would spark new conversation. Often it would lead to new fans or potential gigs. Never undervalue this.

2.) People Are Kind Of Awesome - Due to modern media and the fast-paced society many of us live in today, it is easy to be pessimistic and to lose faith in humanity. But the reality is, people are generally friendly and empathetic. Even in the busy city of London, we have found that most everyone is willing to help if they can. 

3.) Getting Lost Can Be Fun - The idea of being unfamiliar with an area is often daunting even to the most traveled of people. However, situations like this will prove just how capable and intelligent you really are. In fact, this is often the best way to find a great new bar or even meet a new friend (see # 2).

4.) Don’t Trust Late-Night Food Joints - It doesn’t matter how hungry you are or how tired you may be. Just. Don’t. Do It. Yes there are exceptions to this rule, as we have also experienced. But use caution and carefully weigh your options.

5.) DO Trust Your Gut - Most people have a good natural instinct. It’s how we’ve survived as a species for so long. If you have feeling that you are in the wrong place or talking to the wrong person, go with that feeling. In addition, if you feel that an idea or action is pulling at your soul, trust it. Don’t pay too much mind to what others may think of it. Taking advice or hearing out opinions is good and important. But don’t let it sway you if you feel strongly about something.

6.) Strength In Numbers - Three heads are better than one. Decisions are weighed more carefully, you are less of a target (even if marginally) for criminals, more wisdom and knowledge is readily available, and multiple tasks can be accomplished much faster.

7.) Put Yourself Out There - We booked several gigs in a matter of hours just because we walked around downtown Manchester one night with the intention to sing to anyone we saw. Now obviously there are certain areas you wouldn’t be advised to do this in whether it be because of a safety threat or simply because it isn’t legal. Nonetheless, if you just play a gig at a venue or sit on a corner busking, you won’t actually meet people and make a connection. You need to open up. You need to talk to people. And one of the advantages we have as musicians is that we can eliminate awkward ice-breakers by just playing a song instead. 

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until Next Time, 

Dustin Williams

A simple cover we threw down here in our flat in London. Hoping to do more of these unplanned covers and will name it after each city we visit. Expect a new one each week.

Here’s us playing a new tune ‘Flower In Her Hair’ at The Whiskey Jar in Manchester UK (7/15/14) . This show was very special one and well received by a 75+ packed place that locals attend every Tuesday thrilled to hear the next great act in the Northern Quarter.  The listening atmosphere was top notch with barely a sound heard in the room during any given performance. We can’t wait to get back there soon!

Friday was sadly our last day in Manchester for a few weeks, but we ended it on a positive note. We played a nice set for Oxjam at that the Manchester Science Park Annual Summer Social while good people were enjoying the plentiful cider, burgers, and hotdogs. The atmosphere was light and cheery and there were some great musicians performing that day. Unfortunately Parry and I were still recovering from a bout of food poisoning that all three of us contracted after eating at a late-night fried chicken joint called Dixie’s on Tuesday night. Erinn was the first to suffer the effects Wednesday morning and Parry followed not too long after.  We spent most of Thursday laying low and getting as much rest as we could while still trying to remain productive. I didn’t start feeling ill until that evening.
By Friday morning Erinn was feeling better but Parry was still dehydrated and foggy, and I was feeling the full effects of the food poisoning. We packed into a taxi with all of our stuff at about 1:30pm and left our flat in Salford to check in at the venue for our gig that night. When we arrived, we stowed the luggage in an office and made our way to some free WiFi in a café a few steps from the outdoor stage. I promptly sat down and fought to keep focus on my surroundings. I knew we didn’t have time to walk down the street and grab the medicine that I had so desperately wanted all day, so I had to prepare myself for what would be a physically torturous forty-minute set. 
Before long we got on stage and began to play. Some songs felt like they went at Mach Five and others felt like they dragged for an eternity. I have never performed a set while being that sick, and I hope I never have to again. Nevertheless, it is a great, albeit less attractive, addition to our story and we still made many new friends that night, including a few who want to host us on our return to Manchester. All is well that ends well. Until next time, ol’ Manc.

- Dustin

Friday was sadly our last day in Manchester for a few weeks, but we ended it on a positive note. We played a nice set for Oxjam at that the Manchester Science Park Annual Summer Social while good people were enjoying the plentiful cider, burgers, and hotdogs. The atmosphere was light and cheery and there were some great musicians performing that day. Unfortunately Parry and I were still recovering from a bout of food poisoning that all three of us contracted after eating at a late-night fried chicken joint called Dixie’s on Tuesday night. Erinn was the first to suffer the effects Wednesday morning and Parry followed not too long after.  We spent most of Thursday laying low and getting as much rest as we could while still trying to remain productive. I didn’t start feeling ill until that evening.

By Friday morning Erinn was feeling better but Parry was still dehydrated and foggy, and I was feeling the full effects of the food poisoning. We packed into a taxi with all of our stuff at about 1:30pm and left our flat in Salford to check in at the venue for our gig that night. When we arrived, we stowed the luggage in an office and made our way to some free WiFi in a café a few steps from the outdoor stage. I promptly sat down and fought to keep focus on my surroundings. I knew we didn’t have time to walk down the street and grab the medicine that I had so desperately wanted all day, so I had to prepare myself for what would be a physically torturous forty-minute set. 

Before long we got on stage and began to play. Some songs felt like they went at Mach Five and others felt like they dragged for an eternity. I have never performed a set while being that sick, and I hope I never have to again. Nevertheless, it is a great, albeit less attractive, addition to our story and we still made many new friends that night, including a few who want to host us on our return to Manchester. All is well that ends well. Until next time, ol’ Manc.

- Dustin