Category Archives: music

Vote for me in Guitar Masters 2016

It only takes 2 clicks and could get me to the live rounds in Poland this November. Vote with a YouTube ‘like’ (click though to YouTube and then click ‘thumbs up’)! It would also be fantastic if you would share the video on social media and encourage others to vote too.

 

After Guitar Star  last year (click here to view my appearance in Series 1, 2015 in which I got down to the top 4 in the acoustic category) I’ve decided it’s probably good to enter a competition every year. Guitar Masters 2016 is judged by an esteemed panel including Tommy Emmanual and Martin Taylor so wish me luck!

Am proud to say this is my first 10min video shot in a continuous take (as stipulated by the competition rules) and although I was disappointed that the main camera came out s little fuzzy I think the dual-camera effect has worked well. Looking forward to doing more in this way, but with a better main camera. Hope you enjoy the pieces and please do press “like” (on youtube), share it with your friends and encourage them to press like too as it could make all the difference for me.

Thanks

-Kimwei

Also check out the Symphony For Happines Vlog

… and connect with me @:

facebook.com/kimweidotcom

Music @:

kimwei.com

youtube.com/kimweidotcom

 

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Filed under Guitar (Acoustic/Percussive/Fingerstyle), music

Find Out How Your Christmas Shopping Is Made

Shock horror – factory production isn’t always as bad as I thought. I spend so much time disapproving of mass-production that I decided to watch a “how it’s made” video. This one showed the factory production of jeans. I expected to be appalled. But as it turns out, factories are incredibly efficient, both in speed and use of resources. Only 7% of each sheet of denim is wasted. It’s we, the consumers, who are wasteful – chucking out the final product whenever we tire of it.

Screen shot 2014-12-01 at 11.27.03

Using a computer to create a pattern for jeans so that only 7% of the denim is wasted.

The only part of the video that sickened me was watching “designer stressing”. The methods take an hour, and add 5 years of “wear and tear” to new jeans. After seeing the cotton grown, dyed, weaved into denim, cut and precision sewed, it’s horrible to think that people won’t buy the finished article until 5 years have been taken off it’s life.

For the past 10 years I’ve only worn one type of trousers – Road corduroys. I’ve been wearing and repairing my current 3 pairs for 5 years now. They are literally wearing through. One of them ripped and died this morning. I can have peace of mind buying a replacement because Road boasts sweatshop-free production – but this means they charge £70 per pair. Wow! If I bought 3 pairs every 5 years that’s £42 per year on trousers. It sounds like a lot, even though we’ve been brainwashed into thinking it’s normal to pay that same amount for a phone contract every month.

One rip of many - now unsavable

One rip of many – now unsavable

Yet, if Road’s workers are paid a living wage, why should I be surprised that they charge £70 for an item of clothing? In Primark, jeans are £10, giving most people that smug “bargain feeling”. But would you feel smug if someone made you a pair of jeans, and you only paid them a tenner for it?

One reason we feel ok about paying £10 for trousers is that mass production divorces us from how stuff is made, so it’s harder for us to value it. We waste things that are easy to come by and hold no emotional ties. But we don’t chuck away the mug our child made in pottery class or the scarf our gran knitted. Mark Boyle puts it neatly by saying “if we had to purify our own water, I doubt we’d shit in it”.

So that brings to the conclusion that even if factories are efficient, it can still be better to make stuff or buy from small local traders because this discourages waste. In some cases making things at home wastes more raw materials, but this is offset by the reality that you’re less likely to throw out what you’ve made. On the other hand, finding our how things are made in factories can also discourage wasting them.

Therefore this Christmas, I’d urge you to take a closer look into where products come from. Can you buy more ethically by using a company with a strong mission statement, like Road? Can you buy more locally, or from the actual human who made the damn thing? If you can’t afford it and will be shopping at Primark instead, then so be it. But why not watch a few “how it’s made” videos, so at least you’ll be better informed. Exeter University Human Geography lecturer Ian Cooke runs www.followthethings.com is a great tool.

Road-JeansThis year I am buying all my Christmas presents from local artists/writers/musicians. This way I can be sure to give people gifts they won’t find on the high-street, whilst also supporting grassroots creativity. This isn’t a plug for my album being the perfect Christmas gift (although it IS rather lovely, and available here: kimwei.bandcamp.com ): I believe in this cause strongly and will be performing at local arts & crafts fair this weekend (Exeter Community Center, all day, my slot is 1.45pm).

In the meantime, since I’m experimenting with a low-money lifestyle, I can’t afford that new pair of cords even if I do approve of the company that make them. Do you think I should write a letter to Road Jeans asking for a sponsorship? Look at all the pictures of me wearing their cords on-stage!

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Filed under christmas, christmas gifts, fashion, jeans, music, presents, shopping

Response To The “Musicians & Their Day Jobs” Article

It was refreshing to read Hannah Ewen’s exposé, revealing that many musicians from the current UK charts work  minimum-wage day jobs. Of course this makes sense, because such jobs can be temporary and can be jacked-in to go on tour. It seems like many bands simply slog it out… work 9-5 for minimum wage, followed by evening & weekend rehearsals, plus endless promotion & pushing. Sounds like a grind!

This weblog was conceived to show one musician’s solution (mine) to exactly this problem: original music doesn’t pay the rent. In an economic climate rife with wage poverty, even those working full time are struggling to make ends meet. What hope is there for those who wants to fit a few days of art into each week?

My current home - a winter let near Exeter at very low cost since the room is in the middle of being re-decorated to be let "properly" next year.

My current home – a winter let near Exeter at very low cost on account of the fact that the room is in the middle of being re-decorated to be let “properly” next year.

My solutions in the past 6 years have centred around living in alternative dwellings, to save on rent. Thus I survive working part time and making time for music. And of course, the best way to have a reliable part time job is to be self-employed. Honestly, I don’t know why bankers have so much against it! People are being made redundant all the time, but I’m never going to fire me!

Musicians also talk about “the teaching trap”. This is when you lose sight of wanting to push your own music because teaching is so much easier and more rewarding. As a teacher, you’re generally much more appreciated than you are as a performer, but don’t let it extinguish your lust to be creative!

Hannah’s article points out that rock-star’s fans don’t imagine their heroes working in McDonald’s. Even she, a music journalist, didn’t know that most musicians have day jobs until she researched the article.

It’s often commented that people should make music for the love of it, not the money. But I think that’s flawed logic because that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be paid. Just think how much more productive each of those musicians would be if they had those 40 extra hours per week to make music instead of working!

I’m glad she wrote the article, as it will help non-musicians understand the situation. Although my extended family are very good to me, some aspects of my life are hard for them to grasp since they’re not musicians. On their terms I’m simply not as successful as other family members my age. Of my 3 cousins, 2 have the same teaching qualification as me and teach full-time. It’s hard for older members of the family to understand why I don’t have a full-time teaching job too. The years I’ve spent teaching on a BTEC and lecturing on a music degree don’t seem to register, maybe because it’s always been part time. I can only imagine that my music career registers with them as “failed”, since they haven’t seen me on TV.

But Hannah’s article also serves to make me aware that just because my original music doesn’t pay my rent, that doesn’t mean my music career is a failure…in fact it’s a success! Three self-released and self-produced records in the past 6 years, regular gigs and a good reputation is a success. Not to mention my work as a producer (goldflowerstudios.com) and teacher. I’m not saying so to blow my own horn, but to encourage anyone out there in the same boat. The impossible task of celebrity rock-stardom is so often held out in-front of us like it’s the bar. It’s as if Adele & Coldplay are the only artists who are considered “successful” and the rest of us haven’t “made it” because we still have day jobs. Rubbish!

If you make music every day, you’re a successful musician! Simple as that.

Pass it on!

Kimwei

Listen to Kimwei’s original acoustic music at reverbnation.com/kimwei ,

watch at youtube.com/kimweidotcom ,

interact at facebook.com/kimweidotcom & @kimwedotcom

everything at kimwei.com

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Filed under music, musicians, self employed

Shh… don't let them know I've got NO drive to succeed

(Originally posted to my Facebook account, on Thursday, 21 April 2011 at 11:28)

When it comes to aims in life, we have to start from where we are and build up brick by brick. I have been pondering on the truth of this with regards to music recently.

I have observed that there is a current trend for a major label to back and artist for 2 albums. If the first is successful they will fund a second, but by the time a 3rd is required, a record label can get a much better buzz by funding a new band. The artist can be at best, left to their own devices with the benefit of 2 tours under their belt, or at worst deliberately buried by the record label.

In this industry there is a strange pressure to succeed very quickly, and build up what would be considered a ridiculous curve of profit in a very short space of time, compared to any other business model. Record labels love to pick up 18 year olds and make them international success stories, so there’s a pressure for unsigned/independent artists to compete, and make it nationally/internationally by the age of 25 at least.  They also love to pick people with no history in the industry and turn them into national heros within a few months (X Factor etc).

In reality, for an independent artist, a comfortable curve of development to reach that level of success from ground zero in a stable way is a minimum of 10 years. And it’s becoming my increasing belief that if it were to take even longer, for example, 20 or 50 years, far from calling that a failure, it may be an even more pleasant journey.

In fact, this capitalist concept of success is ultimately damaging. The act of being a musician is just this: Make music. Make music make music…. and the rest will come as a product. A person who loves making music will make music every day for all the days of their lives, and eventually, by cause an effect this will cut out how their life will go. They may be asked to play for others, or teach others, or share music in some other ways. And naturally, since they gravitate towards these suggestions they will accept opportunities as they come. But ultimately, if they are genuinely a musician then they will feel fulfilled when they are making music every day, and this will flow easily. I truly believe that there are ways of doing this without having to struggle, or feel pressure to succeed.

To everyone out there who is struggling for money as a professional musician, here are a couple of ideas that I like.

-I’d rather be a struggling musician than a struggling accountant.

-If I already make music every day, then I it can’t get any better than this.

I am 26. I have recorded and independently released 4 albums and am currently recording a 5th. I play live locally and on short tours up to london. I teach individual guitar lessons, classes at a Music College, and run workshops and Master Classes for groups. I also run a recording studio from home in which I’ve produced 2 Eps, 3 Albums and several Singles besides my own recordings. I gravitate towards performance environments in which my music can flourish. I have no career plans.

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Filed under music, musicians, Singer Songwriter