What’s in a name?

Name’s are very important things. I have spoken before about the amount of head scratching that went on whilst naming Storm Dynamics (it was rather a lot.) but what if you have a product up and running already that you want to re-brand?

Re-branding sounds like quite a big deal. Probably because it is. You are changing the public identity of something you have worked hard to promote thus far. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly. So what happens when you want to subtly suggest to a fire d that they should re-brand their company? You take them to Nando’s, of course.

It sounds a bit clandestine when put like that:
“Hey Scott, how do you fancy a meal at Nando’s? I know it’s your favourite. Oh and whilst we’re there I’m going to let my other half try and convince you to change the name of the disco we run… And the logo… And the website… And do more business cards and new flyers.”

I have to admit it wasn’t something that occurred to be before. I thought LightBeat was a good name for the disco as we did amazing lights and all the beats. It does what it says on the tin. But when neither Scott or I had considered was that it didn’t. In the advertising world the word light has been overtaken by ‘lite.’ When read aloud all people hear is a kind of diet version of a disco or worse a disco that specialises in Nora Jones type music. Who wants to book an elevator music disco for their wedding reception? No one does, which is why all our business has previously been referral.

Once explained to Scott he agreed and then the thinking caps came out. It had to be something Scott liked, he didn’t want it to be about himself, he didn’t want more than two words and if possible not even the word disco for fear of people hearing YMCA instead of David Guetta.

He came up with ‘Experience’ one word for a whole lot of things. Officially Experience Disco and Light Show with the tag Unique Disco, Ultimate Entertainment.

We set up a website Experiencedls.co.uk and a Facebook page and so far so good. We’re even booked for a Wedding Fair at the Princes Hall in Aldershot on Sunday 27th Jan.

I’d be interested to know people’s opinions on the name and the rebranding scheme. All comments welcome.

32 Flavors

It seems to me that in this day and age everyone wants something a little bit different from the norm.  Just having the choice of vanilla or chocolate isn’t enough and if you were to pick one of these simple flavours you might be tagged as boring.

The same goes for more than just food though. How many times have we heard kids screaming for an iPad white, because, like, everyone has the original one. Even simple things like admiring a friend’s shoes end in you buying them in a different colour, because it just isn’t done to be the same.

But what if you have a product that is better than your average bear? How do you go about promoting it to the masses? After all it should be obvious that what you have is superior to the competition, but unless you have the gift of the gab then no one will know about it.

That’s what has been happening to my best friend. Scott runs LightBeat Laser Disco which is a disco with a difference. The light show is all lasers; he has some of the most up to date lasers in the country and can create stunning effects on a budget that any party host can afford. He really believes in giving his clients the absolute best and so goes the extra mile for clarity of sound and atmospheric lighting for their events.

Don’t believe me? You can check it out at:

www.lightbeat.weebly.com

Standard laser setup

Standard laser setup

Quick Lessons – Don’t Be Good, Be Lucky

It’s the most obvious part of being a gigging musician, especially if you’re a soloist.

ALWAYS SIGN A CONTRACT!

Whilst I was in Africa I set up my own solo act. I’ve been doing it for three years and I have always drawn up my own contract. If the client doesn’t sign it, then there’s no sax at their wedding. So how did I manage to forget that this time?

Now it looks like the gig will be cancelled, meaning hours of practice and music hunting have gone to waste. I cannot emphasise just how much I was kicking myself. Until I got a little email from my client.

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience.  We will, of course, forward you a cancellation fee of 50%”

It helps to be good at what you do. It also helps to be a jammy little bugger.

 

So, take my advice, and remember that contract!

MusicConnex

This is a quick post with a very important link

http://uk.music-jobs.com/blog/

If, for whatever reason, the link doesn’t take you to the UK Music Jobs blog about the MusicConnex event this link will.

http://www.musicconnex.co.uk/

The events is designed to help self employed musicians connect with other musicians and use social networking to its best advantage.

Tuesday 19th – Thursday 21st April

Kings Place

London

BUT

Tickets start at £199.00 each

(No you didn’t read that wrong.)

Prelude to ‘An Evening with Snake Davis.’

I can stress enough how happy I am to be back in England.  Barely five minutes in the country and one of my favourite sax players is hosting a ridiculously cheap master-class.  It’s on Wednesday 30th March at The Spice of Life, Cambridge Circus, London.

 

Here are some of the subjects he will be covering:

  • How to form an individual sound.

 

  • How to achieve more expression, better sound, more control, more dynamics, better intonation.

 

  • An in-depth look at vibrato.

 

  • Adopting a less jazz and more pop/rock approach to the short solo.

 

But best of all is the open Q&A, so you’ll literally have the chance to ask him anything you want!

 

What more could you ask for for £5?

Here’s the link

http://www.sax.co.uk/snakemasterclass.html

An Evening of Jazz to Say Goodbye

I don’t think there can be a better way to say thank you and goodbye to South Africa than the concert I was in today. The Stellenbosch University Jazz department put on their first informal concert today and I was there filling in on tenor 2. (That’s thanks to a call at midnight two days previously from Felicia who had just been abandoned by her other tenor players.)  Even better, it was a fund raiser to try and get the band back to the Graham’s Town Jazz Festival, something I fully support.

The evening was glorious, if a little breezy. We had a small and regrettably underused outdoor amphitheatre with the various ensembles of the Jazz department taking turns centre stage. It was a chance for the new ensembles to play for a real, paying audience and for the new jazz band singers to strut their stuff.

But for me it was more than that. It was a chance to say goodbye to a lot of very good people, whom I like to count as friends, and it was a chance to have one last go through some scores I genuinely love. It also made me realise something. As we were playing though our last piece, a number with an Afrikaans title I haven’t a hope in hell of remembering (If you read this Felicia please tell me what it is!) I realised that although I am inherently British my time in South Africa had shown me something very important. I have a feel that I didn’t have before for rhythm and groove and it’s a feel that you can only get by coming here and playing this music with the people who are born with it in their veins. I’ll be the first to admit that when I first attempted to solo over it I stuck out like a sore thumb. You might as well have put a sticker on my forehead that said ‘European.’ But that got better with time and that feel something that I will take with me, when I return to England on Monday.

So thank you South Africa, Felicia and everyone in the Stellenbosch University Jazz band and every other ensemble I have played in since I came here. You have all given me something very special and I will never forget it. And if there is one thing that the Jazz Band has taught me, it’s that avocado’s make your hair curly!

2011 Saxophone Congress

How I wish I was in England for this one.  Having participated in the Single Reed Festival I know just how much you can get out of an event like this one!  And the scale here is so much bigger (no pun intended.)

The congress will be held from the 19th-20th Feb 2011 and hosted by Trinity College of Music at Blackheath Halls.

http://www.cassgb.org/news.php?id=61

And for those interested here is a page on the Musical Director Gerard McChrystal

http://www.saxsaxsax.com/