December 31, 2016 - 3:41pm
I must say... I've been crap at updating and posting anything here since the end of summer. This is always a good and a band thing. I've said it before, when you're busy you often neglect your website and socials (to an extent). When things slow down... what better time to update the ol' website!
... and things are not slow!!
I had a few other posts I wanted to do and maybe I'll sneak them in early next year... mainly talking about new music I've found (I listen to other bands aside from Tame Impala *cough*), but I'm anxious to start sharing my experiences working with, playing in, and managing my new band Never Say Die.
As far as the managing thing goes... it's been a real eye opener and eaten up a lot of time since we launched in October.
Bands/Artists I've worked with over the years are always asking questions and looking for advice... so it's one thing to give my thoughts from the sidelines, and another to get my own hands dirty and be part of doing the work myself. Even though we're only a couple months in, I have a better idea now how long things take, what's doable, and what you really should be outsourcing.
Bottomline... things take time, things cost money, get advice from many people, and don't expect results instantly... which is a big one since a lot of people are impatient these days... or drag their heels getting the process going.
... again... just scratching the surface, but in the last 3 months, we've: launched the band, done a couple photoshoots, got the basics of our branding together (for the next 6 months hopefully), booked a US tour (dates up soon!!), launched an album pre-sale, and have our debut album coming out at the end of January... which is sorta quick, but we felt there was too much opportunity lost being on tour in the US without a physical copy for sale... plus it was ready.
... I love it though. I like making records but I feel energized... and partially feel like that 15 year old kid again promoting my band online... except it's on Twitter and Facebook, instead of ICQ and MySpace.
... seriously though... different decade but the fundamentals of *cough*shameless*cough* self promotion remains the same... plant seeds in the fall if you want to eat in the spring... or something like that... you know what I mean...
On a sidenote before I go... the old studio.... The Pawnshop.
Many people ask about it... a number of people didn't realize I even moved out last year. I'll be honest... I miss the area, I miss the food, I miss opening the door and how quiet it was every morning.
... but like most of us think back on old memories/relationships... I only miss "the good ol' days" of how it was... summer camp style... not that I ever went to summer camp... you know what I mean...
For at least a year and a half before I finally gave my notice, I was already mentally set to move onto the next chapter. Once the pieces fell into place to make the move, it was an easy decision at the time... tougher than I thought at the end, but after a year of new experiences, workflow, and meeting new people... I really don't miss it, because I wouldn't want to go back to it... things are good(er) now and have only been getting better.
Last thing I'll say is cliche... but I really am looking forward to next year... and I always feel like you've had a good year if you feel like you've spent the year setting things up for the next one.
Life is about momentum and I feel the few people I know who are truely unhappy (admittedly or not) feel stuck or lost... everyday try to do what you can to move forward. Think onwards and upwards, everday... it's not about the size of the steps, it's simply about steps.
I hope everybody had a great holidays and you're surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones tonight.
Party responsibly. Don't drink and drive... and double check those Uber surge prices before you hit accept!
See you next year.
- Mike :-)
P.S That pizza was from my birthday... decided 2 pizzas was too much pizza, so I got both pizzas on 1 pizza. #pizzahack
"I hope this works."
... when you run a business... any kind of business... there are two points which are the toughest. When to (actually) start, and when to stop... and although I haven't worded it so eloquently in the past, I've learned the phrase "strength to begin and the strength to destroy"... but in the life of an entrepreneur there's also the courage to pivot relaxing with its feet up in the bottom of your gut.
... and your gut is what drives you... especially when have big plans.
I wanted to post something a week ago since it's already official but I didn't like what I wrote... I'm up to 37 unposted/unfinished blog posts now by the way.
... I routinely look at my schedule, bank account, personal life, career goals, etc. I had a list of conditions written down in my business plan before I took over the studio...
October 6th all those conditions were met.
At the end of the month I'll be locking the door to The Pawnshop for the last time... the place I've musically called home for the last 7 years... I've always used the poppies pinned above the door as my official total... and a reminder.
It doesn't feel like that long at all... and that's the scary part... how quickly it's flown by...
My mentors told me early on that money is the easy part... you can always find money for something that's worth it... it's the time you can never get back... and to be careful how you spend your time and how other people will try and spend your time to free up their own.
... and that was the major upside I saw with the studio... how I'd be able to spend not only my time but with the bands and artists I saw potential in...
I remember crunching the numbers, consulting with a few mentors, friends and family, putting together a 5-year business plan, taking out my 3rd loan, signing the lease, shaking a couple hands... and what it felt like standing in the live room the first day...
I'm a big believer in externalizing things... I think it's good to (occasionally... and in a reasonable tone) let the universe know what your thoughts are... and I feel important moments in life should be accompanied by a few simple words adding up to a timeless phrase to help mark the occasion.
"I hope this works."
I remember laughing to myself and saying it a couple more times in the middle of the room...
It wasn't a "wtf am I doing?!" moment... but I just wanted the universe to know that I wanted to look back on my time here, regardless how long or short, and for it to be a net positive.
... 60+ albums/EPs, 700+ songs... from the first guinea pig 3-piece band I found on Craigslist to the last Age Of Days acoustic EP... Luke Michielsen's first full length album... Charlie Hope's debut children's album and Juno nomination... 4 Parabelle albums (and 1 DVD)... rehearsals... writing sessions... xbox vocal breaks... Team Canada/Leafs hockey gatherings... work slowdown during any and all Olympics... the many rants, debates, arguments, hugs, high fives, and laughs... and the times I've been a trusted ear for artists to unbottle the dreams that drive them and the fears that hold them back.
You learn a lot about people when you're in emotionally demanding close quarters for long periods of time... you learn a lot about yourself too...
... so many good times.
So... am I quitting music/recording?
... well I shouldn't say that... but safe to say 99.9% not.
Considering the schedule... Dec/Jan things usually quiet down for the holidays and with Age Of Days heading out on tour Jan/Feb... and plans of touring a bit more in 2016, it felt like the right time to make the change.
... but the main thing about the change I'm looking forward to is having (a little) more free time and flexibility. There are other people I'd like to work with, other places I'd like to work in, and other things I'd like to do. The past year I've (loosely) started 2 more businesses I'd like to dedicate more time to... and tour... I really miss playing live... and I'm not getting any younger... apparently. (lol)
*"wrap it up" music fades in*
I'd like to thank everyone who's been a part of this chapter and helped make this little studio in Kensington Market the great place it's been. The people really do make the difference... anywhere... and I will miss the vibe of the market. It's one of a kind!
In closing, the great thing about the strength to destroy/pivot is you already have the momentum to start again and begin the next chapter.
... now... to find the right words when the time comes.
- Mike :-)
... RIP HeyLangford!? Ver 2.0 (2012-2015)
... so welcome to my new site everybody!? Finally got a case of inspirado over the weekend and put the new site together. I was considering a couple other platforms to build this new one but it's tough when I've been with Weebly since 2008 (I think).
The layout is based off a template from another platform I really liked, similar to how my previous site was based off a Tumblr page I made for fun one day... well it was more about parking "heylangford" everywhere I could on the net! (Band Tip: you should make sure to do the same with your band name too! What if you become ultra famous???)
... truth is, it's been done for a few days now but I ran into a minor (major) snag at the very end.
Despite only posting the odd time the last several months, I feel like my blog is a big part of my site... especially during my travels. I like to share the experiences with everyone and this is an easy way to do it... and despite being a Weebly blog (opposed to a Wordpress), it gets a fair amount of traffic.
So at the very end of creating my new site, all I needed to do was import my blog.
... import my blog.
... just gotta export my blog from my old site, and bring'er into the new one.
*search Weebly help, search Google... *
... so apparently this is not possible... and something people have been asking for as far back as 2010 and most recently September 4, 2015... so it's safe to assume it's not possible... as of today... right now.
There are some work arounds to migrate the blog out to other sites/platforms but they're quite tedious.
So late last night, after day 2 of searching for a way to do this, I flipped my mental coin, backed up my old site (sans blog of course) and started migrating my new site and replacing the old one... and hit publish.
It didn't take long (about an hour) since all the pieces and layout were done. I'm sure there's still a few bugs to work out, but overall it wasn't too painful.
Actually the most painful part was the feeling of deleting my old site (courage to destroy!)... meanwhile (afterwards) comparing the two sites was apples and oranges. Going back and looking at the old site, it felt and looked really old and outdated... and this is coming from a guy who works in an industry where people are still arguing about recording to tape! Because it sounds better!
Function is the key though... and my old site, although better than my first one, was still pretty brutal on iPads and smartphones... and half my website traffic is from smartphones. I take into consideration how much has changed since 2012 online but still...
... we scroll down (or pull up), that's it... so layout the story the way you want people to read it!
The last thing I'd like to mention about this whole process... Weebly is basically a free platform. Yes, I do pay for the PRO user subscription but there's still a lot of things to know about the service they provide and how they operate... one of them being how your content is treated... example, not being able to really (easily) export the contents of your blog posts, even within the platform.
I always keep this in mind when people complain about things like Facebook changes. In the digital age you have to always keep in mind what you control and what you don't, what you own and what you don't... and what you do and don't pay for.
You don't own much after it's put up online... and anything digitized is fair game!
All that being said, I'm still a happy Weebly user and hopefully the blog thing is resolved in the near future. It's still a great way to quickly put a website/blog together.
Thanks again for checking out my new site.
I'd love to hear what you think!
- Mike :-)
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!