28.06.16 - No. 15

What happens after you write the song?

Preciptoman is small. That's absolutely fine. We've been making music and finding our sound for the best part of a decade. We’ve been finding the best way to present ourselves over a big chunk of that time too.

Presuming you want people to hear your music, after you’ve got songs written, there follows a release. There are two ways I can think of that you can release a song.

1. Upload the music to soundcloud, youtube, bandcamp, pester your friends and family to support it via Facebook.
2. Upload the music to soundcloud, youtube, bandcamp, pester your friends and family to support it via Facebook. Then go out and gig it.

I’ve seen path two neglected loads. It’s incredibly easy to release music today. But as fantastic as the internet is for levelling the playing field and allowing musicians open platforms to deliver their work, the value of IRL stuff is off the charts. And how are you going to be heard when everyone’s making noise in the same space?

By getting out and gigging not only will you learn which songs work, you’ll learn which songs don’t. You will learn how to make good songs even better, and how to engage an audience. Don’t neglect those people who are currently giving a shit about you. I’ve talked to people after our shows who have said they didn’t like rap music, but they liked what we were doing. They only stuck around because they got something from the energy of the performance, the feeling of friendship and inclusiveness all of us at Preciptoman try try to bring to every event. I believe it’s a person to person thing. These people wouldn’t have found you had they not wandered into your gig, enjoyed the whole shebang of you performing your songs and got into it.

They were the one’s taking the risk, the moment I realised this, the more important it felt to work hard to keep them locked in. With small audiences this is so possible.     

Becoming a good performer is as much a craft as songwriting. Rarely will it happen overnight. Yes, there are some people who can get on stage and be incredible, in the same way that some people can pick up an instrument and just get it. I’m not either of those people, and I’ve not met many of those people throughout my so called life. And also, where’s the fun in that? Being a musician, or better yet a performing musician, is about learning a craft. When Preciptoman was just a twinckle in the eyes of our two piece odd ball rap outfit Adventures Of… we sucked at performing. We have had nights when we bombed because of lack of experience,we’ve had nights when we bombed and we shouldn’t have (it happens), and we’ve had nights when we fell out with each other on stage and nights when that untouchable magic is nearly there but it just isn’t. It’s high pressure stuff. As cliche as it is as Adventures Of… we’ve needed all those experiences to get us to the point we’re at today.

In 2008 we ran a night called Monday Mic, a mix of booked booked acts and open mics. We learnt a shed load from Monday Mic. We weren’t experienced at all in performing our songs on a stage but thought we were doing a pretty good job, dammit we were artists and it’s on the audience to wake up and get us. Then one night, a rapper called Slugga Tee took to the stage and effortlessly showed us just how much we had to learn. I’ll never forget how he confidently moved around the stage as if he was commanding the stage floor to move around him. From that moment on I have tried to master that sourcery.

Sadly Slugga Tee passed away at the end of 2015 you can check out a compilation of some of his most celebrated work here.

The point is, in terms of being a musician who wants to develop an audience, writing and recording the song is just the tip of the iceberg.

Bernard James


More info | Preciptoman 2013