Tuesday 24 July 2018


How to use Spotify codes…try it on my code below…

ONE of the hobs on our induction range cooker has been playing up for a while and it;s generally been a bit flaky recently…this morning when

Try my Spotify code – use the camera in your Spotify app’s search tab to scan the code 🙂

Margaret goes to make the porridge it’s totally goosed…so it’s out with the camping stove.

Margaret finds a reasonably local repair company and arranges a call out and I spend the morning gathering facts, figures and some options for a local community project and arrange a meeting for tomorrow morning to discuss it all.

We’ve been trying to use Spotify codes to build my listenership on the platform, but I’m not so sure folks know what they are or how to use them. Maybe a Facebook livestream introducing the idea and showing how they work would be good…so we set up and do a quick Livestream which I then share round my social media and upload to IGTV (Instagram TV), YouTube etc too.

Next job it fix the two broken fence rails on our deck. I cut the ‘two-bie’ to length then remove the old/broken rails while Margaret paints the new wood.

I go for a walk up the loch-sdie while it’s drying then fix ’em on when I get back..the rest of the rails look grubby and tired by comparison, but at least it’s not bust anymore.

After dinner I do some work with a licencing deal to get my music in jukeboxes across the USA…the amount of confusing paperwork and other stuff is a pain, but I get the ball rolling…

Margaret paints the replacement fence rails for the deck….

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Tuesday 12 June 2018


I make a promo/teaser video for social media…

OFF into Glasgow again…I have some videos to upload and am meeting a pal later.

After dropping Margaret off I stop at McDonalds for coffee and wifi. I manage to get the new Whisky Trail video uploaded to YouTube and Facebook ready for ‘go live’ on release day next Thursday (21 June).

The 350 meg files upload in less than five minutes. That’d have been a 24-hour job from our connection at home.

I decide to make a ‘square format’ teaser video to post round social media and try and build a wee buzz about next week’s release. The square format is preferred for Facebook and Instagram, but making it isn;t so straighforward.

You can’t change the format of a video in iMovie and although it;s posible in Final Cut, it’s a bit of a pain.

Much simpler – and faster – is to create a square ‘slide’ in Keynote or Powerpoint and drag the video clip straight onto it. Then you can crop, size, add graphics or whatever you want then export it as a movie file. Done!

I had a bit of a problem getting InstaGram and Twitter to accept or play the video file, but after simply changing the filename extension from .m4v to .mp4 it all worked a treat.

Once done I park up at Glasgow Green and wander into town to meet my pal JJ from Wisconsin. We have a coffee then hit Non Viet for some lunch before walking through town.

I pick up some stuff form the mailbox and we carry on to the car an JJ comes with me to pick up Margaret and say hello.

We drop JJ off back in the city centre, get our shopping and make for home.

The wee teaser video’s been getting good traction – lots of comments and shares. Once I get some Spotifty pre-save links to create a tangible call to action I’ll likely turn it into a Facebook and Instagram ad.

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Saturday 23 April 2017

Matty and his pal Jo after the race

UP early (again!) – we’re off to Balfron to watch Matty run in the 10k and I’ll take some pix for the G63.scot webzine

I had trouble parking when I went along last year ‘cos I left it a bit late, so we leave in plenty time so Matty can get registered without having to rush.

I get some pix of the start then we have a good half-houyr to wait for the the first runners to get back…zero-carb breakfast is kicked into touch with a roll and sausage!

Matty turns in a respectable time and comes in 28th place which is great. I get some photos then we head hime.

The afternoon is spent selecting some pictures and getting a gallery up on the G63.scot webzine – see them here.

We take some time out and listen to the test pressing of the first of the four sides of vinyl for the live album. Main focus is to listen for locked grooves, skips or intrusive noises. There’s one weird noise that we’ll check the other (four) test pressings and see if it’s there too. There’s a few minor noises that we’ll compare over the discs but I think it;s down to static and ‘surface noise’ – test pressings tend to be a little noisier than the final product, for although they come from the same metal stamper, the pressing is usually done manually and doesn’t have the same pressure or consistency as the mainline pressers.

I make a tofu green curry for dinner then we take a walk to Betty and Joe’s where we catch up over a wee glass of red.

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Friday 21 April 2017

Margaret’s panel at Born to Be Wide goes great 🙂

UH-OH…hangover central when we get up just before 7am. A shower helps then I run p to Waitrose to get milk for coffee and some rolls.

Doesn’t open ’til 8am tho’. I’d spotted an M&S food store when we came into Edinburgh last night…it’s shut too but a wee grocery store has some milk.

We run for the bus into town and bump into my pal Jonny, then the carb-free day goes for a burton with a sausage and egg baguette from Greggs on the way to Teviot House for Born to Be Wide…Scotland’s music industry conference. We have full passes and Margaret’s speaking on an international touring panel this afternoon.

There’s loads of folks we know here and it;s nice to catch up. A day of interesting panels and networking is followed by showcases at Teviot House, La Belle Angelle and the Liquid Rooms. Pix of all the acts and stuff are on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Our favourite act of the night is Declan Welsh.

A taxi home,  chips and a glass of red…then bed 🙂

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Thursday 2 March 2017

Ivan Hall Barrientos’ session is one of many highlights at Glasgow University’s introduction to the music industry event

INTO Glasgow early. Again. I drop Margaret off then take the car to the garage to have the underbody cladding fixed and two new tyres.

Margaret will pick the car up later, meantime, I’m off to a music industry day at Glasgow University which kicks off at 9.15am. As I walk from Maryhill, hunger makes me forget the carb-free stuff today and I pick up a roll and sausage with black pudding at the Kelvinbridge Cafe.

There’s a good turnout for the event which kicks off with welcomes from UK Music’s Jo Dipple, Fiona Hyslop (Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs)  and event organiser Martin Cloonan.

A panel session gets things underway, then Martin is ‘in conversation’ with our pal Paul Savage of Chem19 studios and the Chemikal Underground record label – he’s worked on my last four albums and is about, I hope, to tame the recordings that come from Saturday’s live album recording show.

A keynote from DF Concerts’ Geoff Ellis is followed by lunch where I talk over my recording set up for Saturday with Paul. I’m keen he gets the best possible raw audio files. A few other music biz pals join us at lunch then we go back to the main event for three more sessions – Leo O’Brien discussing the role of PPL, a  music production masterclass from Ivan Hall Barrientos then a songwriting workshop with Carla Easton (Teen Canteen/Ette). All really good stuff.

The whole thing is followed by networking/drinks where Margaret joins us and we catch up with lots of pals for a few drinks before saying cheerio to everyone and heading for the Hanoi Bike Shop for dinner. I’ve still got a voucher Catriona and Will gave me at Christmas 🙂

After a fantastic meal we make our way home and crash. Gonna be  busy few days coming up…

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Monday 27 February 2017

Enjoyed this film – click above to watch on BBC iPlayer

STRAIGHT into the studio to run through some of the songs for Saturday’s live album recording show.

I’m hoping to get more than 30 songs ‘in the bag’ – my usual 60-70-minute set probably has about 20 songs. There’s quite a few songs I haven’t played in a while!

Next job is to check memory card capacities and re-visit my recording channel plan for the recording. As well as my eight tracks from mic/line splits, an audience mic and a stereo pair of mics out front, I’m gonna add my little self-contained Zoom H2N recorder at the front of the stage – two channels capturing MS (mid/side) from the audience side, and the other two channels capturing some stereo stage ambience.

That means the current two gig SD card ain’t gonna be much use, so I order a compatible 32 gig card on Amazon Prime for a tenner.

After lunch I pick up on my quest for better broadband speeds in the area. Our broadband isn’t even fast enough to do a Facebook livestream – the upload speeds are next to useless and despite the Government’s ‘superfast broadband for all’ initiative, BT have no plans to provide such a service to the east side of the loch.

Late afternoon I figure there’s enough daylight left to for a walk, so off I go, plugged into my usual podcasts, feet squelching in my boots which don’t seem to have dried out in the slightest from yesterday’s adventure.

After a (late) dinner we watch Where You’re Meant to Be on BBC iPlayer. The film follows Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap) as he updates tradtional ballads – under, at times scathing, critique from the late Sheila Stewart  – and tours them round Scotland. Although never a big Arab Strap fan at the time, I really like Moffat’s voice and approach. Well worth a look – available here on the BBC iPlayer for another few weeks.

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Friday 15 April 2016

'Pho making...charred ginger and onion, boiled bones, spice packet and other ingredients and three hours simmering....

‘Pho making…charred ginger and onion, boiled bones, spice packet and other ingredients and three hours simmering….

FIRST thing after breakfast I get busy spreading the word about Tuesday’s upcoming Facebook Live stream…I’m wondering if a bit of pre-event buzz will help or hinder it’s reach.

I set up a Facebook event, invite a bunch of folks, post on Facebook and Twitter and encourage folks to spread the word.

I probably spend a disproportionate amount of time on it – especially given my accounts are still waiting to be done. Screw the accounts, though, next on the priority list is writing a news release for the Hellbound Train EP release and sorting out a zipped download folder with audio, CD booklet and other info for the promo/review download.

The beef knuckle and shin bones I got from the butcher yesterday are still in the fridge…best if I get the ‘pho soup broth made today then it can be frozen in portions. The bones get an initial boil for ten minutes while I char the onion and ginger under the grill. After ten minutes fast boil the bones come out and get rinsed then, once the pot’s washed, put back in with the required amount of water and brought back to the boil.

Meantime, I make up the spice bag (cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cloves), reduce the bones to a simmer, skim the top. In goes the spice bag, some yellow rock sugar, salt and fish sauce and the shebang’s left to simmer for the next three hours.

Back to the computer and I start building the back end for the promo downloads. In the past I used to use Bandcamp and promo codes to deliver review copies of music to radio, press and other media but with my last release I kept it all within my own website. An unlisted ‘secret’ page with info and with delivery of the audio tracks and related info automatically fulfilled on completion of a request form. Worked well last time and the general consensus from media folks was that it was a straightforward and effective way to do things.

We haven’t sent out physical promos of new music for four or five years now, even so we still get folks requesting physical product. I’m reluctant to send physical product because (a) of the cost of postage, especially overseas and (b) it’s the music that matters not an ‘item’….I can’t see why they would need or want physical product unless they’re a collector or want to put it on eBay (usually via a third party retailer).  Mmmm….

It’s a lovely evening and we take a walk along the lochside to Betty and Joe’s for an aperitif (or two…maybe three) then head home and Margaret knocks up some pinchitos. We eat and then chill for the rest of the night.

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Thursday 24 March 2016

The spinach pasta turns out good...pretty green!

The spinach pasta turns out good…pretty green!

NEED to bite the bullet today and get everything prepared for the Hellbound Train EP release (10 June).

First job is to get everything registered with PRS/MCPS and PPL. I already registered Good Moonshine (aka I Went to America) and Travellin’ Man as these have been part of my live show recently.

Checking them out before I add Hellbound Train and Pearline, though, I see that I Went to America – the ‘otherwise known as’/other title – has a publisher’s name beside it. I assigned a bunch of instrumentals and a few songs to them, but this ain’t one of them! I call my pal Duncan at MCPS for advice and he recommends I amend the share splits and it should sort itself out.

Once done with the PRS/MCPS registrations I move onto PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) which collects and distributes the record company/recording owner’s royalties as well as the performers’ royalties. All yours truly in this case as I am the label,publisher, writer and performer of all parts…other than drums on Hellbound Train which come courtesy of Paul Savage (Delgados).

Once all that’s done I upload the master audio files to my aggregator (the modern equivalent of a distributor) along with all the metadata – basically info on the song, writer, IRSC (International Standard Recording Code) codes and other stuff to make sure the tracks are identifiable in the wider world and royalties etc (hopefully) all go in the right direction.

Time for a break, so I make some pork gyoza for lunch and put together some spinach pasta dough for tonight’s dinner.

While cover art was finished yesterday, I need to pull together a digital booklet to include with iTunes downloads…adds a little value and is an incentive for folks to download the full EP rather than just a few tracks. iTunes has very strict guidelines/criteria for digital booklets.

Sometime after 8pm I’m ready for a beer and finish up for the day. Almost there with the EP prep – just a coupe of pages to finalise in the iTunes booklet which I’ll upload tomorrow. That’ll give me 11 weeks to get a good lead in to iTunes and the other download/streaming services and the PR can start next week. Still need to decide if any physical promo is needed or we can do it all online…

I rustle up a tomato sugo with chicken and the spinach pasta turns out good….

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