I'm an "Internet-enabled DIY musician" living in what the media tell me is a great new era for independent artists. What bullshit. Out of frustration at the myth and my workload, I posted my to-do list on Facebook the other week. Wavelength's Jonny Dovercourt thought I ought to spread the reality a little further, so here’s the list I’ve been chipping away at in the run-up to the release of the fourth album from an experimental rock group I lead called The Flowers Of Hell.
- Contact promoters in Montreal to try and get a show
- Lock in the date we're playing Kingston festival
- Chase New Harbours series & LOLAfest promoters
- Find a non-profit organization to back a Toronto park permit and sort out said permit so that we can play in Trinity Bellwoods
- Secure venue & opening acts for launch show (done! This Friday, Sept. 21 at The Tranzac - Velvets covers and lasers!)
- Figure out band line-up and venue for October show
- Chase the MCPS to chase JASAC on unpaid Japanese mechanical royalties
- Register new songs and past 2012 gigs with SOCAN for performance royalty payments
- Secure an ENS number from the IRS to release withholding taxes held on my U.S. digital earnings
- Find a more reliable web hosting company and organize domain transfer and email forwarding switchover
- Redesign and rebuild flowersofhell.com to be themed around the new album
- Get recommendations on a digital PR company to work the US & UK, research those companies and make contact with them and see if they get what we do
- Update Canadian publicist on new release date and details
- Finish writing new bio and draft launch press release
- Chase photographer for tweaks to new promo photo
- Chase labelmates for artwork & sequencing of Optical Sounds label sampler and pitch said sampler to major music websites
- Complete animation of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures artwork to make a YouTube video of our "Atmosphere" cover (done! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad9oz-YsVps)
- Book date to get the last 3 mastering tweaks done
- Contact pressing plant to figure out optimal format for them
- Work out how to import the stock over the border
- Secure a US mechanical license from Limelight
- Chase UK, US & Canadian distributors for updated sales figures and unpaid royalties
- Chase for a copy of the Vaclav Havel Library DVD that uses our recording
- Create trailer length edits of songs for sync agent to pitch and look for new sync agent
- Chase Mechanical Forest Sound for a live recording of the last show we did to hear how it sounded out front
- Create an artworked promo CD for meeting Laurie Anderson tomorrow and figure out how to explain "O Superheroin" - marrying her song "O Superman" with Lou Reed's "Heroin"
- Design "poster" and create Facebook page for launch show (done! http://www.facebook.com/events/398250146908871/)
- Track down a US campus station mailing list
- Weigh up costs & companies for a Canadian campus campaign
- Make sure Rough Trade records are actually aware they’ve lent us Neil from British Sea Power for our "Over And Over" cover
- Deal with fallout with another guest vocalist
- Complete FACTOR grant application (didn’t do - it’s a couple days of work, and they’ve rejected us 8 times)
- Figure out how to FTP a DDPi master to the pressing plant
- Find out what the fuck a DDPi master is?
- Work on upping Twitter and Facebook numbers (people rarely go back to a bandpage on Facebook once they "like" it, but somehow these numbers allegedly matter; fuck, I can't even manage to get all my bandmates to "like" us) http://www.facebook.com/theflowersofhell
- Issue digital takedown notice for duplicated Youtube content of our "Occasional Tears" song
- Get pre-roll ads off our Youtube uploads
- Have digital distributor figure out why our Come Hell Or High Water album is unavailable for streaming on Rdio in Canada
- Update bios on CBC3, Facebook, Myspace, Bandcamp & Sonicbids
- Update Twitter profile pic and page background
- Upload new tracks to CBC3, Bandcamp and Last.fm
- Resize album cover for digital retail
- Write all meta-data tags, resize artwork for online retail and upload in lossless format to digital distributor
- Go through all of last year's receipts, categorize them, and enter them on a accounting spreadsheet
- Make appointment with accountant to do taxes (or rather work out if we’re due anything back from the money we lost last year - like every year before it.)
Oh wait I missed something…
- Practice my fucking instrument and write a magical new work of great beauty.
Oh wait I missed something else…
- Concurrently hold down a job to pay the bills and attempt to have a social life and a love life.
And then the cable guy says to me, "I'm in a band too"…
But hey, that "give Laurie Anderson a promo CD" turned into her playing it for her husband Lou Reed, who then kicked off his radio show playing three tracks in a row off it! And props from Lou is the kind of thing that makes the workload all worth it.
If you’d like to hear a rare performance of us as a 12-piece seated orchestra with lasers performing some of our Lou Reed-approved — I can say that, wow — Velvets covers amongst other things… come check us out at the Tranzac on Friday (September 21st). We’re on at 10, our favourite Toronto band Ostrich Tuning are on at 9 (noise curfew at 11). It’ll be $10 including our a copy of our new covers CD.
Postscript: I’m proofreading this around midnight. A neighbour who’s a corporate lawyer just txted inviting me over to smoke up. I replied, "Sorry, I’m still working. I’m a musician not a lawyer." Fuck, seriously.