July 21, 2017


Wow! It's been ages since I posted on this blog ... neglect, total neglect. Oh well. Since I last posted the small label, Last Libretto, that I started has been going along quite well. It's just a hobby really but I wish it was more. Since Vessel I've put out another album by Bede Taylor, and recently one by local Waiheke rockers Leatherhead. Leatherhead are currently doing really well, having opened for The Damned and The Undertones in Auckland. You can listen and download their debut album "Neeedles" for free on Bandcamp.

September 2, 2013

The Vessel experience

We've had such a great response and lots of support for the Vessel EP Friday Drive so far. It's been an eye-opening educational experience for me, helping the band get the EP on so many platforms and in front of as many people as we've done in seven weeks. That totally digital experience is now starkly contrasted by the decision to make 50 hand-numbered CDs in cardboard sleeves. A very analogue task - real scissors rather than cropping tools, glue instead of hyperlinks.
I've managed to get the Friday Drive EP on the following platforms:

Bandcamp975 plays
Google Play
Under the Radar396

The full EP was downloaded 45 times from Bandcamp and of those 45 people, 10 of them paid for the EP even though it was a free download (thank you to those who did - you rock!), and the average payment was $17.60. So we're not rich ... but we did manage to get Vessel songs played over 1,500+ times - which we're pretty happy about. In the process we also collected 50 email addresses from the Bandcamp site. The EP was free but it required an email address - this is essential if you're a band trying to cultivate a fanbase. I'm surprised at how many bands on Bandcamp provide free downloads without getting email addresses. Email is still the most direct form of online communication we have; a digital marketer once told me, "email is the currency of the internet." (And we have expenses to cover.)

Getting the EP onto iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play is a different process than the self-subscribed platforms. To get your stuff on these platforms you need the services of a broker service. I chose to use DRM, part of Amplifier.co.nz, because they're from New Zealand, and they were recommended to me by Chris Caddick, former CEO of EMI NZ and now on the board of Recorded Music NZ,  who I'd struck up a conversation with at Rakino's one night as we were both buying vinyl as part of a TradeMe pick-up. I started up a conversation with DRM via email and that was a nice thing - personal email contact is not a high point of the many of the online services available to musicians or their helpers, (I did talk to someone at Grooveshark who were quite helpful, as were APRA and PPNZ in New Zealand).

My current problem with the streaming services is how to get the band bio/descriptions on the site. It seems as if an EP (6 songs) is submitted as a "single" and I guess there's some policy that band descriptions don't appear for singles. In fact the Vessel link actually points to another artist called Vessel! Not ideal :-( The granular level of detail is fairly out of your control on these platforms and it can be difficult for artists or promoters to affect change. Given that small bands are unlikely to make much from the per stream return on these sites, being able to point listeners to at least a single external web site would be nice.

We've had some great help over the past few weeks after sending out our press release and picture (by Brenna Gotje). We had a review in local online arts and culture magazine KeepingUpWithNZ.com and we also had a playlisting and an interview on UK online mag Music Gets Me By by Eva Jostakova a blogger and writer for Mudkiss Fanzine in the UK. We had an interview on Waiheke Radio, and most importantly we had friends and family on social media sharing, commenting, and Liking our posts. There's still tons to do on the Vessel, but we've proven to be a pretty good crew and we just pull together well at the times when we need it. That helps heaps when this isn't anyones full-time job, and we're still learning a lot along the way and there's lots of work we could be doing I'm sure. It's fun though and I'm getting too far into the feeling to say nah, that's not for me. I'm thinking about the next release for Last Libretto and the future for Vessel and other bands. I'm trying ... 'cause I love local music.

For more info on this project, see: http://lastlibretto.tumblr.com
Check out Vessel at http://feralvessel.bandcamp.com
And Bede Taylor at http://bedetaylor.bandcamp.com

July 15, 2013

Vessel - Friday Drive EP

There's been so much great music lately that I'm considering changing this blog from blues to a more general themed music blog. As earlier I'd promoted the fact that I'd started a label I thought I'd better promote the second release on Last Libretto, the Vessel EP "Friday Drive". Also, the guy on the right up there used to do a blues show on Waiheke Radio with me so I had to give him a shout, but it's also quickly become a favourite listen of mine.

Vessel are definitely boarding New Zealand’s historic rock flotilla with this debut digital release “Friday Drive”. The EP extends on their well received demo and really sees the band improving on their formula of lengthier guitar and bass driven original rock grooves. My two favourite tracks are the title track Friday Drive, which is a “song of two halves” - an introductory fable of automotive escapism, followed by the sonic painting of an angst ridden drive across Auckland’s volcanic plateaus. I'm also very partial to June Marine - a warning against underestimating the ferocity of women sports players (I've embedded it below.)

Childhood friends Ben Blackman (bass) and Ben Martens (Guitars & vox) formed Vessel in 2010, quickly graduating from blues-rock covers to performing extended original sets with influences from the likes of The Kings of Leon, and local New Zealand rockers The Datsuns. A successful run at Battle of the Bands at the legendary Kings Arms saw them make the finals and they've been quickly developing a reputation for solid and spirited performances at a variety of venues around town.

You can download the full Vessel EP "Friday Drive" for free at:

For more information contact:
lastlibretto [at] gmail [dot] com

Last Libretto Music

July 2, 2013

Bede Taylor on The Audience

The Audience is a relatively new New Zealand website funded by NZ on Air to help spread New Zealand music. I'm quite a fan of the site; I like the design, and I like the opportunity it gives unsigned bands to reach wider audiences. The site is also built around this 'chart' like mechanism that rewards social interaction (voting and plays) with placement on the chart. The Wildcard chart even awards the monthly #1 spot with the chance to receive funding from NZ on Air for the production of a song and video. My label Last Libretto is currently promoting independent Waiheke Island artist Bede Taylor and we're using the site to promote a track of his, 'Sunlight'.

If you like the track you can login to The Audience via Facebook or Twitter and vote for it here: http://www.theaudience.co.nz/bede-taylor/sunlight/

June 27, 2013

Mind De-Coder launches it's own blog

Mind De-Coder is a long time weekly radio show on Waiheke Radio, a community radio station based on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. Described by presenter El, as "a lysergically charged kaleidoscopic mix of psychedelia, acid folk, krautrock, hauntology, the occassional mash-up, mind-bending cosmic wig-outs and music that's fallen between the cracks" the show now has it's own detailed blog at http://minddecoder.blogspot.com. The blog gives extensive notes on all the tracks being played, and the podcast (which can be downloaded via a link that goes to the Waiheke Radio site) is a continuous mix usually coming in at just under two hours. I'm a big fan as El manages to mine the depths of the above mentioned genres, exposing listeners to an expansive array of music without getting in the way with announcements and track listings, etc. Great stuff to put on and get some work done on the computer I always think.

Mind De-Coder, tripped out music for the discerning head! minddecoder.blogspot.com

June 6, 2013

Independent Waiheke Island artist Bede Taylor releases 3rd solo album

Waiheke Island musician Bede Taylor has released his fourth album skinriddletestament on CD and digital download via Bandcamp - http://bedetaylor.bandcamp.com

Taylor was the founding member and primary songwriter for Three Legged Horse, an alt-country three piece from Waiheke Island that included local musicians Aaron Carpenter (MoJo Risers) and singer Gina Higham. Taylor previously fronted rock band Clench, as well as forming the large rock ensemble Tank & Pump. Recently, he has performed with a guitar band BunnyJak with Frankie Fatal (Fatal Jellyspace, Anti-X Factor) and Kevin Glamuzina (Tank & Pump) before going solo to write and record three albums, all available via Bandcamp.

skinriddletestament is Taylor’s fourth record and third as a solo artist. Taylor describes the songs on this album as “background noise infected, lyrically driven stories unhindered by the pursuit of perfectionist production values or the banality of seeking perfect pitch.” Taylor’s three solo releases delve deeply into the nature of our beliefs and the origins of emotion, and his sensitive lyrical compositions and sparse musical treatments surround the everyday in a form that invites closer attention.

Bede Taylor currently lives on Waiheke Island, New Zealand with his partner and five cats.

June 4, 2013

Last Libretto Music

I've wanted to start a record label for a long time. So I did. Certain things have coalesced around me to make this possible: good working relationships with musicians, the maturation of digital platforms, my own technical and digital marketing skills, my knowledge of the music industry particularly in the digital era; and so it seemed like an obvious next step up from what I was already doing for a few friends.

My label is called Last Libretto. It's a nod to the band my father was in as a young New Zealander, The Librettos (my son actually came up with the label name). I'm starting out by helping Auckland artists with digital releases via Bandcamp or Soundcloud; I create press releases and contact bloggers, I get the ISRC codes (International Standard Recording Code), and I help with the promotion and digital marketing, as well as the distribution to streaming services. I've found that while bands can do a lot of this themselves these days, it can be a lot of work, and there's a lot of specialist skills involved that I've acquired over the years but that many haven't got the time, or inclination to develop themselves. 

The first release for Last Libretto will be skinriddletestament in a few days time by Waiheke artist Bede Taylor, with hopefully more to come soon after that. Check out the page I've made for the label - http://lastlibretto.tumblr.com and get in touch if you're interested in what we're doing.  

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