Simon Waldram

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On playing live (and beyond)

Posted by SimonWaldram on December 6, 2014 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)


At The Cookie, Leicester 16/11/14. Photo by Trevor Cobbe


Up until the last couple of months I'd never played live on any kind of regular basis. Living in Mansfield I'd make the occasional trip to Nottingham or Leicester, but that was about it. Sometimes it was 6 months+ between playing and it's impossible to create any momentum that way. Each performance felt like starting again and I never managed to build up an audience at all.

However since moving to Leicester in September I've tried to get involved with the local scene and play quite a bit more. For the most part it's been great. I've played at Hansom Hall, The Cookie, The Musician, Manhattan 34 and The Walkabout. I've met lots of really nice people and seen some very talented artists, including (but certainly not limited to) Anna Purver, Les Hayden, Meri Everitt, Prash Gor, my good mate and touring buddy Kevin Hewick and lovely folks in my university's Music Society. I have to say I already feel more welcome here than I ever did in the often quite elitist Nottingham music scene (although I'm aware you can get self-aggrandising arseholes anywhere and some people in Nottingham I love to bits).

Being someone who never sold many records it's felt at times that I've been making music for an almost non-existant audience for the past few years. However being up there in front of me more has made me want to push myself more as a songwriter and a performer. Not that I have any intention of being more professional though. I have seen a few people recently who go over very well because their songs are catchy, have instantly recognisible themes you can cling on to and are presented in an easy to digest style. That isn't me, nor will it ever be. I might appeal to a smaller percentage of people in the room, but I hope that when I do it's on a deeper level - just because it's all about sharing sometimes quite difficult feelings, rather than presenting a carefully cultivated image for the purposes of entertainment.

I want to take this further too. I have been massively impressed by some of the songwriting and musicianship I've seen I want to develop my own guitar playing so I can share new and different kinds of songs - ones that are challenging, but hopefully rewarding. I've known what path I've wanted to take my music down for a while - one that really pushes the psychedelic folk route - but I saw this as a thing that would happen some time in the future. However recent experiences have given me the impetus to step it up and make it happen sooner. Of course I am also an university studying Audiology and that has to come first, but I have a driving artistic need to do this as well. I feel like I'm at the start of a new musicial journey, one that will probably last for years, but I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

Si

November mini tour diary

Posted by SimonWaldram on November 23, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

At the Chameleon. Photo by Stephanie Webb




From Nov 14th to 16th I took part in a mini-tour around  with Anda Volley, Kevin Hewick and Lisa De'Ville. Three gigs in 3 days might not sound like a lot (and I guess it isn't really), but given that before 2014 I'd never played live more than 3 times in a year it felt like quite a bit deal to me.

The gigs came around as part of Anda's first UK tour which also took in London, Belfast and Manchester. She asked if we could arrange some gigs in the midlands and with Kevin and Lisa joining the fold too things took off from there.

Friday 14th's gig was at the Chameleon in Nottingham, a place I've played a number of times before. It's quite small and hidden away and the music room upstairs and akin to a big, unkempt living room. As it's not the most known about place in Nottingham I tried to get the word out as best I though and I genuinely thought we'd get a decent turnout. I was wrong. Hardly anyone turned up. In fact I've never played a show with so few people. I was really disappointed - we all were, I guess, but we still all played out hearts out. There's a part in Henry Rollins' book Get In the Van where he talks about one of his early Black Flag gigs in which there were only a handful of people present. Henry reacted by messing around - jumping on tables and not taking it seriously. Afterwards Chuck Dukowski took him to one side and told him that even if just two people come to your show those people have taken the time and effort - and paid money - to see you, and you should put on the best show you possibly can for them. Those words have always stuck with me and I was proud that we all abided to that same kind of attitude.

We were of course very grateful to those who did come. Shout out to Stephanie Webb for taking some excellent photos too.


Lisa at the Chameleon




On the Saturday me, Kevin and Anda travelled to Northampton (...Lisa had a gig in Birmingham) to support Ed Tudor Pole at the Charles Bradlaugh pub. The pub itself is lovely and Alex, who was hosting the gig, is an absolute gent. They paid us and even gave us free beer all night! The crowd was much bigger this time and they listened and seem genuinely appreciative. Kevin and Anda were brilliant as always. The less said about Ed Tudor Pole the better, though, really - although I did get to see a diva fit up close for the first time in my life. Everything else about the night was great though. I look forward to hopefully playing there again sometime.


Kevin at the Charles Bradlaugh



I felt so much better after the Northampton gig and next we travelled to Leicester (where I'm currently living and studying) and hooked up with Lisa again to play at the Cookie. It was much better attended than the Chameleon, thank goodness, although a few more people there would have been nice. It's also a lovely place to play and Andy the soundman and absolutely fantastic. Notts finest new music DJ Steve Oliver also came and compered for us and it was great to see him again. It didn't feel like the end, more like we were just hitting our stride and someone had suddenly stopped the tour. Still, it's given me much more appreciation for playing live and I've already started working on getting some more gigs sorted.

Anda at The Cookie




A special note on my tour mates: Kevin, Lisa and Anda are three of the most genuine, decent and honest people I've ever know. They are also all incredibly talented and I watch them perform each night as a huge and grateful fan. I don't know if we'll ever get to do anything like this again, but I'm so glad we all got to do these few gigs together. Please check out their music if you're not already familiar with it:

Lisa De'Ville: https://soundcloud.com/lisadeville
Anda Volley: https://soundcloud.com/anda-volley
Kevin Hewick: https://soundcloud.com/kevinhewick

Also on my Soundcloud page I've put up some live tracks from the gigs:
https://soundcloud.com/simon-waldram


Me, Kevin and Anda after the gig at the Cookie




Si