Tuesday 4 July 2017

THERE’S some work to be done on the local hall website before I head into Glasgow for my hearing test and earplug fitting at LoFi studios.

Help Musicians UK, the Musicians Union and Musicians’ Hearing Health are working together to offer musicians affordable (ie: £40 – or £30 for MU members – as opposed to over £300!) hearing tests and earplugs…well worth checking out!

I meet Geraldine from Musicians’ Hearing Health who runs through the test – seems my hearing is all good – and squirts stuff in my lugs to make moulds for custom hearing protection/earplugs. 

It’s an interesting process and we have a good wee chat before I go on my way. 

There’s a wee diary piece about yours truly in The Herald so I pick up a copy, go to the bank and pick up a bunch of shopping before driving home.

There’s time to get a wee bit more work done on the hall website before we head along to Betty and Joe’s for dinner. We’re joined by some other local pals and have a wonderful night – seems ages since we’ve had a get-together like this. Thanks Betty 🙂

Tuesday 28 March 2017

We set up a bunch of shots at the hall to (potentially) use on album artwork…

BACK onto the album artwork first thing. I’m trying to get the ‘special’ elements of the design built in  trial version of Photoshop CC before it expires on Friday. My ‘old’ version (Photoshop CS5) is good for everyhting else.

I’ve consigned the illustration of Memorial Hall to the bin – a whole day’s work unused, but not wasted as it gave me other ideas that, I think, are better.

All the new songs for the album are registered with PRS for Music, but I need to log the recordings/performances with PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd)  and also apply for an AP2 licence form MCPS/PRS for the manufacturing of both the vinyl and CDs.

As an MCPS writer member, I need to have an ‘exclusion’ for my own label (Buzz Records) so I don’t have to pay royalties on my own music – otherwise I have to pay them then wait for them to be re-distributed back to me minus MCPS commission/admin fee. 

I think I set up the exclusion when I joined, but to be sure, I decide to call MCPS. Let the saga begin.

Trying to find a phone number is the first hurdle. Nothing online or anywhere – event for members, which is pretty shocking. I eventually find a number on a third party website and speak to a girl who says I haven’t set up an exclusion. To do so, I need to print out and complete a form, get a letter from my bank manager or accountant to say that Dave Arcari and Dave Arcari t/a Buzz are the same entity then post it off snail mail. Jeez. 

I point out that this is a bit ridiculous as they have past paperwork indicating Buzz and myself are the same thing…and a query to PPL will confirm. She puts me onto another department where, after hanging on hold for ten minutes, tell me there’s no other way/

Also, it’s harder than it seems – I do my own accounts and anyone that’s tried to call their bank branch, let alone their ‘bank manager’ (they don’t even exist these days!..customers tend to have faceless account managers will know that there are no branch numbers and everything’s handled centrally.

Having now wasted an hour or more I have no option than to try the bank route. The central number is for ‘direct banking’ and when i eventually get to speak to someone they tell me they can get a letter…but they need to instruct folks in India who type it up (yup, really!) and send it direct. Should be with me in five to ten business days.

Then then the exclusion needs to be set up before I apply for AP2 licence…all before we can go to manufacture, And time’s tight. What a fucking carry on – no wonder folks don’t bother with physical product these days – I could have the whole fucking thing on iTunes and other services before the exclusion is even set up!

While on the phone I’ve been developing ideas for a logo for the local community trust which I email off to our pal Joe before I go and see him and Betty to set up their new iPad.

Once we’re done I head up the lochside for a walk. I need some fresh air to clear my head before dinner and a trip to the hall to take some photos for potential album art.

All goes to plan at the hall – I set up the camera using Margaret as a model then we swap places and she re-frames as necessary and directs my movements while firing off as many shots as possible. It’s after 11pm when we get home. Time for a much-needed dram.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

I DROP Margaret off in Glasgow and then drive to Perth for a music consultancy meeting.

There used to be so many calls from musicians and songwriters wanting to ‘know stuff’ that, despite being keen to help everybody, I just had to start saying “I offer a music consultancy service if that;s of any interest” and directing them here.

As you can imagine, the calls for free advice became less and less, but I do have the odd musician/songwriter/band that does want to take me up on the consultancy side of things.Today’s meeting is with one of those musicians.

The meeting goes great and I leave armed with info and a clear idea of where my client wants to be in the short to medium term. Next stage will to be to make some suggestions in my report and create an action plan.

I grab a sandwich at the petrol station and head back to Glasgow to pick up Margaret who;’s just had a call that Mikey has broken his wrist snowboarding in Austria. Jeez. Hopefully his travel insurance will take care of things, but it doesn’t stop Margaret worrying.

We have a few things needing done before we go to a Help Musicians‘ session to discuss what forms of work they could do in Scotland. The venue – the Old Hairdressers in Renfield Lane – is a poor choice. It’s noisy and difficult to hear folks talking above the ambient noise and we’re all crammed into a little uncomfortable corner upstairs.

Still, it’s a productive session/meeting and nice to catch up with some industry pals.

Monday 23 January 2017

This second hand bargain picked up after a wee appeal on Facebook could be the key to a live recording…

BLUDDY cold today…so we light the fire as soon as it’s set!

There’s a lot on the to-list so we have a ‘Buzz meeting’ to catch up. In addition, I really need to update the ‘Introduction to Dave Arcari’ video  that means trawling through, and selecting, a load of video clips and also filming a ‘personal’ piece to top and tail the thing.

Margaret’s not so sure we need the extra bit of personal filming, but I’m adamant that it needs a couple of seconds at the start and finish to give some perspective and insight into what I’m busy with rather than just jamming together a set of clips. We spend time debating and discussing…but it’s important! Looks like decent weather on Friday so we’ll film something then. Meantime, I’ll try and identify some video clips.

The need to do a Facebook Livestream – mainly to promote the upcoming Scottish dates – is becoming urgent. However, we face the  usual crap broadband service at home issue…Margaret suggests a wee test, and we manage to get ‘connected’…but the stream is constantly interrupted and sound etc breaking up/ The replay works OK, but that defeats the purpose of the live stream which, for me, is all about the real-time interaction with folks watching.

So with the home broadband being too flaky we decide the only thing to do is wait ’til Saturday and do it from ‘somewhere up the lochside’. So, 2pm Saturday it is – at http://www.facebook.com/davearcarimusic

A courier delivers the Zoom R16 multitrack recorder – a second hand bit of kit at a bargain price after a wee appeal for one on Facebook. This may be the key to a successful (ie: usable) recording for a live album.

In the studio I rehearse a couple of new tunes for next week’s (Wednesday 1 February, 5pm) appearance on STV’s Live at Five show.

I also manage to complete all the backup, organising and archiving of hard drives I started a few weeks ago. All that remains is to make a safety copy of the resulting archive so I can move/copy every six months or so to maintain the integrity of the data. It appears that even hard drive archives can become corrupted and the best way to prevent that is to copy form one drive to another and rewrite the data every so often. Bleedin’ hell. More work.

I take a couple of mics and some headphones back to the house and run a few tests on the R16 recorder to make sure it’s all working as it should. All’s good, so the next step is to source some mic splitters to take direct live feeds – I don’t want to take outputs from the venue’s mixing desk or use ‘y’ cables which could compromise the sound of both the show and the recording. And although I’m pretty well up on recording techniques and procedures, I reckon there’s gonna be a bit of trial and error even working out if the live recording idea has legs.

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland