I have an EP in the works!
Announcing it now means it’s something I actually have to focus on and deliver, with a few timeframes and deadlines. I’ve been working on and off on this project for the better part of a year, and it’s about time I finally brought it to life, and no better time than lockdown 2.0 right? I feel quite daunted mentioning it, but I’ve had enough of talking about it with no action!
I keep changing my mind on the length of the EP as my writing and songs improve – I have a couple of songs I am happy with, and some filler songs that I begin to cringe at, but these are slowly being replaced. I ought to keep to 5-6 tracks, as it allows me to cherry pick the best material I have. But it’s so tempting to want to say ALBUM instead of EP, just for the excitement! However I have a habit of wanting to run before I can walk, so for now I think smaller is better. And any achievement is still an achievement, whether it’s an EP or a full album.
So far, there’s no clear theme emerging, I’m trying to write whatever comes naturally and not get too obsessed with whether the song will “fit” or not – I figure if I write enough songs, that a pattern or a story may start to emerge and I can construct a narrative from there. But I’m ot sure that’s entirely necessary – however for cohesiveness and my own sake, I think a common thread that ties it all together would be good.
I am not sure whether I will go for a more folksy, rustic sound, or whether go to a small studio, record something and then have a few acoustic versions. Maybe a two disc special?!
I had a very kind offer from a fellow musician to help me record, and I think this is a sensible first direction, just my voice and the ukulele, especially as I know that when it’s just me on stage with the ukulele, a produced and mastered sound can’t be matched without some kind of backup. It’s much easier to manage expectations from the outset, even if a full on studio feels very tempting. Plus a studio and engineers and mixing can be incredibly expensive! So my good friend Mike will be helping me record, after lockdown. Check him out @krabbers or @thehedgeinspectors.
I have messaged a very talented photographer who has agreed to help shoot some pictures for an album cover and to help with imagery – once the “theme” of the EP makes itself known, I can think more about art direction. But I am very excited to get dolled up and have some professional pics done! Check him out on Instagram @jpcollinsphotographyuk.
I have some artwork ready to go for a little bit of accompanying merch, stickers and pins mostly. I’m looking at getting some more art done for some shirts later down the line. Once the festivals/gigs return next year (fingers crossed) I want to go fully prepared with a few bits to sell, and see what interest there is. Last year at the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival there were so many acts with merchandise, I knew that next time I went, I would be more prepared. Plus, who doesn’t love seeing someone else wearing your face? Except Hannibal. That’s not…so great.
Of course, none of this is without cost, especially when it comes to the printing, distributing and marketing of the EP, and getting it onto music streaming services. I want to be able to do all of this myself, but I can’t be sure of how much this will all cost. I’m toying with the idea of crowdfunding, but I feel very awkward asking for money, I feel that as this is my project, it should be self-funded. I’m looking into my options, but more than likely I’ll be setting one up in the near future. SO get your wallets ready, k? ;P
I have almost everything ready to go for this whole project, and I’ve been putting this off for such a long time purely because I’ve been scared of failing, or of the songs not being good enough. However the thought of holding my own music in my hands is pushing me forward, and I really hope you like what I eventually create.
I will be documenting the process in this Road to EP series, so if you’re interested in the process, I shall try my best to keep this up to date!