Electrofolk vs. Folk at the Sawmill

Bye bye pub, hello living rooms

Pub venues where people don’t care about the music are a waste of time and money for everyone. That is one of the reasons living room gigs or house concerts have become so popular in the last few years. Audiences come specifically to listen to music in an intimate space. The musicians enjoy their performance. The music breaks the ice. As some of you know I am passionate about living room concerts, and regularly organise gigs at my and other people’s houses. A very important element is hosting the event, making sure the event is a whole – not just bands randomly placed in a room.

This last gig of the year is both a departure and continuation from the living room concert, and is my experiment for the coming year. I would like to recreate the special living room vibe in a more public venue, and possibly add to the excitement by choosing interesting, alternative venues. So the first of these events will be held in The Sawmill.

The Sawmill 

I found the venue on HireSpace, and chatted to one of the lovely three musketeers who run the place. It is currently a passion project with irregular pop-ups and future plans to open a cocktail bar. So I was really really excited to find out that they would be equally excited about an event in their space. It is all made of upcycled wood and features a lovely honky-tonk piano – I’m thinking this event might end in a jam ))

The Acts: Electrofolk vs Folk

Portrait 

LA-based classically trained pianist and singer-songwriter loops, experiments with sound to create electronic folk.

Matilda Eyre
Electronic beats meet powerful yet silky vocals –

Pandorasdiary

Juxtaposed to the electronic sounds, Pandorasdiary will be presenting their newest addition to their sultry world folk act – a mandolin. Plus, some new weirdness to get everyone involved, and Maya sings some gorgeous new backing vocals 🙂

If you are interested in getting tickets:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/electrofolk-vs-folk-at-the-sawmill-tickets-19725363092

Back in UK – upcoming gigs

4th of October: Talk and gig at IKON 2015IMG_4963
24th of October: Gig at secret warehouse party (pm me for invitations)
25th of October: Sunday afternoon tea and tunes, Archway, London (pm for invite)

5th – 10th of November: DE/CH mini tour with Maya! (More dates to be announced
6th of November: Offenburg with Anne Pe

Christmas gig in Munich (More soon!)

Planning a house concert tour using Couchsurfing

Do you want to tour living rooms too?
House concerts or living room gigs are a great way to present acoustic music in an intimate settings, with people really listening.

The Break Up Tapestry

The Break Up Tapestry

It’s a good opportunity for audiences to discover new music and foster a personal relationship with a musician. People are also more likely to buy a cd or other merchandise because it is a souvenir of a lovely evening.

In the last year, I organised over 25 gigs in living rooms across London and Europe, including a tour which took us through 5 living rooms in 5 cities in 7 days. I much prefer playing in people’s living rooms to a group of people who have come to listen than a load of people chatting in a pub. It’s a real event, it’s a vibe, it’s a buzz, it’s a party, and everyone gets involved.

I organised 4 of the 6 gigs on the tour via Couchsurfing, the others through friends and friends of friends.

I was chatting to a fellow musician, and he was saying it must have taken a lot of work, organisation etc.
Actually, it wasn’t too bad.
I think the key was in preparation and work I’d put in before.

Couchsurfing   Sarah Michel

A quick explanation about Couchsurfing/ -it’s a platform to link hosts and guests – works through a kind of “paying it forward” system- I host you- you host Jim, Jim hosts Lotte…

I have hosted a number of guests from all over the world and I guess I accumulated some good social karma. This is definitely an important part of using couchsurfing for gigs – your profile and references.

I also know that Couchsurfing is not for everyone. A lot of people don’t like having “strangers” to stay or meeting randoms in a pub for a meetup. But if you fancy it, have a go- go to a meetup, host someone who has shared interests, it can open up opportunities and seriously widen your horizons.  

Couchsurfing even has a group for couch concerts.

So… you’ve been to a meet-up or two, hosted a bit, surfed a bit – and you like the culture and the vibe… Now you want to organise a tour. What next?

I wrote up an approximate schedule of when we would be where –

31/03/2014 Amsterdam, Holland

02/04/2014 Nancy, France

03/04 Basel Switzerland

05/04/2014 Munich

I posted in groups, but found that addressing individual hosts worked better and was more satisfying, and just asking if they were interested. As we were a crew of 4 people travelling I used the search filter to find hosts who could host 4 or more people and were into music in some way. This worked wonderfully, and I got all the dates filled 3 weeks before setting off.

Have you toured living rooms/house concerts? How did you do it?

Please comment here- or ask a question –

 

Pandora’s Living Room ft. Rob Moir

A beautiful intimate living room headlined by Canadian alt-folk songwriter, Rob Moir, who has been touring the world incessantly for the last year.
Also featuring Amphibic (Neal Hoffmann and Imogen Burman), Rosie Shy and Pete Bennett.

 

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Secret Living Room Kentish Town

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Trailer for Living Room Documentary :)

The Living Room Tour – Trailer from Pandorasdiary on Vimeo.

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Day 9: Couchsurfing the Dark Room and Other Animals

Just got a couch in Nancy!!!
With Leo, a beautiful person- a seamstress, a violinist, an actress songwriter, director photographer!

Couchsurfing-

Or
?

Part of the living room thing is due to my passion for couchsurfing- which means hosting strangers and being hosted by strangers- it can be in a bed or on a couch or a floor…

Some of the places I have couchsurfed included a villa with security guard and swimming pool and a kindergarten.
People have come from far flung destinations such as New York, Indonesia, La Reunion, Estonia, Cornwall (!) and Canada to sleep on my sofa in Barnet, North London from 1 night to 2 months..

Now we will be couchsurfing the “Dark Room” in Nieuwegein.
Our host, Ischa, a percussionist and fire juggler, and his 10 housemates, has loads of lovely references and has been super helpful..
However the description of the room is ominous-
The dark room is so-called because it has no windows… And there is a second reason too, which you will find out when you arrive.. Will tell you more when we get there!

Day 10! Oh Oh wait a minute Mr Postman! I want Postcards too!

10 days left… and leaving on Sunday!

OMG! OMG! but it soooo expresses what I’m feeling right now! (using a fake American accent!)
ARRRRRGH! Excited with a twist of nervousness…
Excited because it’s really going to happen- all that planning and thinking and late nights and talking and writing…
It’s coming into fruition..
Nervous BECAUSE it’s happening – Yes today is a day for writing in capitals.
Absolutely gobsmacked that we have raised £444.00 towards our target of £2000… Thank you to our Team of crowdfunders.. but now we’re gonna get ambitious- let’s hit 50% before we leave!

We want to send you postcards!
Postcards from Amsterdam, Nancy, Basel and Munich!
And in order to do that, we need your pledge and your address.


Join our crowdfunders Rosie Lacey, Felix Xfile Macintosh, Paul Michel and Charlotte Dornemann and order your postcards before Saturday night…
Or if you would like to support us, get credited in our documentary- or even be in our documentary 🙂 but your budget doesn’t stretch – Pledges from £1.00 are available. All pledges are supporting our dream both morally and help towards our expenses.
If you have pledged, keep sharing the love and share this with anyone you know might be interested in being involved.
Also, maybe you know someone in Amsterdam, Nancy Basel or Munich- they can join in the concerts or watch and get to be in the documentary too!

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Day 14: Danny’s Living Room – Yasmine’s Homecoming

Danny Clark, Yasmine’s best childhood friend, invited Yasmine and me to Lincoln to play an intimate belated birthday gig in her cosy dragon and book filled living room.
We are always up for adventure, especially when it involves living rooms and music (yes, we’re special that way!) and two days later, we were in a car on our way to Lincoln.
About half way, we stopped at a motorway petrol station to fill up, and the attendant was drumming to the beat of his internal tabla;
“All together?” dak dak drak go the fingers.
“Yes-“ I said.
“34.65” drak dak da dak dak da dak dak
“Are you a musician?”
“Yes.” He grins. “I’m a singer and am working on album, my ep’s just been released.”
“We’re musicians too! Where can we find you? Soundcloud?”
“Yes, soundcloud. Subesh.”
“Space?”
“Su-besh.” He pointed to his name tag. Ah. Subesh… See you on soundcloud!”
“Yes, hope to see you on soundcloud!”

So… from petrol station promotion near Grantham to… Lincoln.


It may have been our smallest audience so far, but it was a magical evening for us all.
According to Yasmine, our host, Danny, doesn’t usually sing in front of an audience.
I don’t claim to be a great performer or musician. I write songs from my heart, and strum to the beat. But what is becoming increasingly clear is the purpose of these living room concerts. I have a gift. We have a gift to share with our hosts and audiences in living rooms across Europe. That gift is music, that everyone has the ability to appreciate and make music, and this sharing of music is forging connections between human beings, a connection to our creative souls. And it seems to be inspiring people to get back in touch with that side of themselves. It is amazing to see the “I can” look on faces. I am so humbled by this, and so sure that what I’m doing is right.
According to Yasmine, Danny doesn’t sing in front of audiences. Not only did Danny sing, but she also played the piano and the bodhrán to accompany Yasmine on the keyboard and me and my guitar.
The keyboard provided a special homecoming for Yasmine- it used to be her keyboard and has all sorts of recordings from her past.
Tank, who didn’t think he should bring his guitar to play, turned out to have a lovely smooth mellow voice and has even written a number of songs himself. We rotated, taking turns performing and accompanying each other.
Jon-Paul even played his one and only song called the “Plinky Song” which Yasmine transposed to the piano and called the “Plonky Song”. Ok. We were being special.
The living room concerts we have played in 4 living rooms in the UK for audiences from as few as 5 to more than 20. It has been great preparation to prepare for what might await us on our travels, in Europe. We come bearing the gift of hope, inspiration and renewed trust in human kindness. What could be more fitting from a performer named Pandorasdiary?
Every concert has made me smile to myself, honoured, blessed and humbled, amazed at what is being created in each living room we visit.

Yasmine, with Danny on bodhrán

Wake Up

16 days left!

ok… I’ll admit it.. I missed two days writing, but we’ve been really really busy… promoting the living room tour to the max.

So… to recap the last few days- a lovely article published in Inbox Magazine about the gig at 45c Studios in Winchmore Hill.

On Wednesday we were super busy bee, doing a show for K2K community radio in the afternoon, and off to Finsbury Park to the Silver Bullet for a bit of Open Mic in the evening.

On Friday, we’re off to Yasmine’s hometown in Lincoln to cause mayhem in someone’s living room here.
We’re only joking…. not.

Fearless Females on K2K Radio by Sarah Kate Michel on Mixcloud

Jimmy James has released some footage from the Saturday night’s concert… (yes, sneak peak for u!)