I was in two minds about whether or not I could conjure up enough words to make this a worthwhile read, I keep thinking about the time passed between and where to begin.
Let me start by saying that there really is new music and visuals to share this time, however it’s definitely not a comeback of sorts from my solitary, sedative, musical existence… I say this because people still ask me “Eran are you still a Singer”?
I take no offence in the question, however I personally don’t believe in one having gone away and then coming back, unless I’ve kicked the bucket there’s definitely no coming back from that.
For me music and singing is just another layer amongst the many when you peel away the skin.
Last year in August I was in London with my wife The Nabster (Nabila), for my sister-in-law’s grand Bengali/Indian wedding. In the midst of greeting guests, decorating, painting rooms, making family appearances and practicing my Bollywood dance routine each night, I managed to catch up with my old partner in crime Robin Millar.
The weather in England last summer was absolutely glorious.
Robin called and suggested I take a breather from all the wedding antics at the family home, and that we should take a road trip out to the countryside for a day or two… and so we did.
With the top down on Robin’s convertible and ‘The Great British Sun’ above, we headed west out of London through the glorious English countryside to The New Forest.
On the drive and like old friends do, we drifted in and out of deep conversation, banter and a CD wallet full of music (yep I said CD’s).
A few hours later with the air still warm we arrived at our B&B just off the motorway, the sun was hanging low and with an hour or so before sunset we decided to keep on driving.
We drove around for another hour or so through thick forest roads, the music was off & conversation faded. The setting sun was peeking through the canopy as we slowly manoeuvred past dozens of beautiful wild ponies along the winding roads and open fields. Coming to a complete stop to let them pass, there was no one else in these parts, just us, the sound of trotting and tree’s moving in the breeze it was truly magical.
The following morning kept with the same glorious sun and a pre-meditated plan.
Both car lovers at heart Robin and I planned to spend most of the day visiting Classic Car Rally’s dotted across the surrounding countryside, hardly Las Vegas but quite fitting we thought for a boy’s road trip out of town.
It was mid-afternoon when our inner petrol heads had retired, my sun screen had melted and our road-trip snack’s depleted. We got a bite to eat and then Robin suggested we head towards the M4 slightly north in direction of London. A detour took us to Pangbourne where we had late afternoon drinks on The Thames, watching riverboats pass through the lock, distant dreaming in conversation and Robin talking of summers spent on a houseboat on The River Thames.
The evening was descending as we hit the outskirts of London, sitting idle in traffic and getting closer to the centre Robin tells me an address to put into Google Maps. Perhaps irrelevant yet somewhat perplexed, the street name was the same as my childhood home and the first time I’ve ever come across another.
We eventually end up down a small street in Chelsea with me driving into oncoming traffic thanks to maps, we park the car in front of what looked like a private residential complex. With fondness Robin tells me he used to live here and that the local Italian across the road used to be one of his old haunts, we’ll go there for dinner he says.
Before Italian, we walk into the foyer of Robin’s old residence greeted by a porter at the desk. He calls out to Robin like an old friend, surprised to see Robin and Robin just as surprised to hear his voice after all these years. They chat for a few minutes and Robin explains he is here to show a friend where he used to live.
I have some great memories here Robin tells me, it’s a beautiful residence and very tranquil, the sound of water trickling through the fish ponds with beautiful greenery along the narrow walking paths. I feel like I’m on holiday I tell Robin, an oasis inside London, he smiles and nods and then we head off for dinner.
I’ve certainly got off track here, but that’s what happens whenever I’m in London… The unexpected and the unplanned, I’m sure our little road trip sparked the flame to the music that proceeds.
A few days later I’m over at Robin’s flat in his studio, no agenda. Somehow we get talking about music, my music in particular and the work we’ve done together over the years.
We pull out the music vault and stumble on an old gem, a song forgotten and a song in need of renovation. ‘Follow them down’ is the titled track, I wrote this about nine years ago I was probably twenty. Written in earnest, angst and perhaps an inner frustration, I clearly had something heavy on my chest.
Like all renovations in any shape, form or matter, we stripped the song down to its bare bones. With the foundations intact we brought a new life into this old song. With new music in place, a few altered lyrics and the boy that is now a man singing, we had a new song.
Fast forward eight months or so to the present back in Melbourne and I haven’t played much music or done any of that at all. I really didn’t feel like it.
Without going into all of that and reasons why, about a month or two ago I decided I wanted to shoot a video for ‘Follow them down’, perhaps an epiphany or maybe it just felt right? I’m going with the latter.
When I had the idea I decided to call my close friend Peron Lan (Pez). A multi-talented guy, a musician, videographer, photographer I’m sure I’ve missed a few attributes but most of all an amazing guy. In the past we had toured together Pez as my lead Guitarist and traveling pal in tow on the road.
I told Pez what I had in mind and if he would be interested in shooting the clip, the answer was most definitely yes. I spent the next few weeks searching for a space to shoot the footage and found a great little place over in Thornbury called DCF Studios and hired a room.
As the story goes the powers joined forces on a cold and rainy Friday morning in Thornbury. Me, The Nabster & Pez!
The space I had chosen was a long and narrow black room, we had one camera, a few lights on stands, a smoke machine and a song of course.
We black out the main lights and the room is dark, I’m standing centre stage. Pez moves the lighting around behind me and then in front, shuffling back and forth and peering through the lens. The Nabster is taking a few behind the scenes snap’s and is quickly assigned as the smoke machine director and operator. Eventually after a few test runs and a change of lens, the mood is set!
The room was filled with just enough smoke and the lights behind cutting through the haze, this is going to be great I thought. We do a few more takes for real this time, a brief flash of nostalgia of my childhood spent under the same lights, the track plays and I sing with all that I have.
In a few days I’ll hand the music and visuals over to you. I’m really proud of how it’s all turned out and a huge thanks to everyone involved, I love you all. xo
Here are a few pictures of my trip to England last year and a few behind the scenes snaps of shooting the video.
I wrote Istanbul eight years ago when I first moved overseas. Istanbul is a song about one’s yearning for their homeland and a tale about a truly magical city.
My dad is Turkish but he moved to Australia long before I was born. Anyone who is a second generation immigrant like me will know how the homeland always comes up as a sort of pull – a sort of tension and a sort of dream. You sit as a kid and listen to the stories, hear the accents, go to the classes and you start to dream. Sometimes you try to imagine what it is like to be your auntie or your uncle so far from their birth land.
When I look back now, writing Istanbul perhaps came from my own inner yearning. I suppose just like my father all those years ago, I was to missing my home in Australia. I hope you enjoy my song and these beautiful images. Istanbul is truly a magical place!
In light of the heart breaking violence in Istanbul this week 28/6/2016, I dedicate this song to the people of Istanbul and to all those affected by such atrocities right across the world.
Yours truly Eran xo
I’m older yes wiser but somehow more fragile than before. I’ve got more questions than answers, no resolve in mind.
I’m not the man they expect me to be, I’m not the man I knew before. The growing pains of maturity, where do I fit amongst the cosmos?
My pleasures are tainted for the oppressed and suffering, the thought alone can sometimes leave me puzzling.
The decree of western life has got me bogged in despair, humanity at times seems beyond repair.
I’m working for holidays to give me a breather, no time for anything I’ve lost my demeanour.
No hope for me, I won’t sing on T.V! I once was a singer, now it seems like a glimmer.
I can’t sleep sometimes for guilt and regret, I’m sorry to those who once gave me the best.
I miss my mum, where did you go? I hope your resting somewhere, but nobody knows.
I’m half Australian & half Turkish and I was just thinking that both my ancestors could have been staring down the barrel of a gun, trying to kill each other in cold blood on the shores of Gallipoli. It’s Anzac day morning here in Australia, a public holiday for the entire nation where Australians remember the sacrifice of those who died in the war. In 1915 the Anzacs landed in Gallipoli Turkey, and a bloody battle went on for eight months. Thousands of young men were killed on both sides, the Turks and Aussies suffered great hardship. There are never any winners in battle, only loss. Lest we forget.
A beautiful sunny morning here in Melbourne; I’m sipping on my Aldi coffee and listening to one of the most poignant songs, well to me anyway. It’s such a beautiful song, and you may know it. It’s Cuddle Up by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. I’ll share a little story with you about this song.
My closest friend & song-writing partner in crime Robin Millar introduced me to it about five years ago. I was at his studio in London, putting down some vocals for a tune we just wrote. I had done a few takes that were ok, but I was having a really hard time. Sure I was in tune and all the rest of it but it just wasn’t working out, the magic was missing.
Robin was sitting on his famous black leather couch that has followed him around for decades from studio to studio; may I say it’s been in the presence of some of the greatest records ever made. It’s almost a shrine piece. It was made by French designer Le Corbusier and is in fact over 100 years old but looks kinda good as new and like it was designed in the 1980s.
So, feeling stuck on how to approach the vocal… I could see that Robin was also in thought mode… we both just sat in silence for a while. We knew that we had written something really special, and we knew the vocals had to be just as magical. I’m sure sometime past and Robin must have made me his famous tea with a ginger nut biscuit accompaniment. By now I was probably sitting at his wooden coffee table from his travels to morocco by the window looking out to the park. Almost a ritual.
Out of nowhere Robin says, “Abdul have you heard Cuddle Up by Dennis Wilson?”, [Abdul & Achmed are our songwriting names … no idea why] “No” I replied. He said, “fuck man, you need to hear this song, it will change everything”. So we found the song, Robin played it to me and I was bowled over, simple as that. Yes shivers down the spine filled with emotion. It was the most tenderly sung vocal I had ever heard, it’s so powerful it makes me cry every time I hear it. Where has this song been all my life? Robin you are a genius mate!
Robin was right, and he knew that I would understand what Dennis Wilson would show me. Mr Wilson really taught me a thing or two that day, and it wasn’t about trying to copy vocal imitations, but about understanding the approach I was missing at the time. It changed everything about my recording of ‘You broke my heart’.
So, we walked back into the studio and cranked up the gain on the U87 till the point you could hear a mouse fart. Instead of singing I started whispering in your ear, my voice was so faint that I couldn’t feel my voice working anymore. It was such a dreamy vocal, so unperfected and so far removed from anything I had ever sung before.
I don’t really know why I feel like sharing that little moment with you now, but I feel indebted to Cuddle Up maybe that’s why. And I’m glad to be young and alive. I remember sitting cold and alone in my bedsit in London many times after that, feeling hopeless without a friend. Missing my mother at times who had left for another world. I would turn off the lights sit in complete darkness; play Cuddle Up and just cry. It’s amazing how you can count on a song; it’s your rock, your inspiration and an outlet when least expected.
So here I am, back to the here and now. I’m sure many of you think I gave it all in. Never in a million years! It has been quiet on the music gig front, but I’ve been working really hard behind the scenes and practising the piano like mad… I didn’t tell you I bought an old but REAL piano… what a difference from the plastic electronica!. I’m obsessed.
I’m trying to gain traction in the rain, as David Crosby would say. I’m still partially wearing my invisible cloak, and to be honest working for the man is really taking its toll on me. Am I an artist or a bloody telemarketing guru? I’ve got to keep reminding myself.
I’m still feeling the backlash of being a free and independent artist, I’m almost certain that most of my emails end up in a trash folder of agents and managers. I’m getting really used to that. Heck… even venue bookers don’t want to know you unless your screaming dollar signs now days. I get it guys I really do we all need to eat, but if nobody is willing to put their neck out to take a risk then what chance do we all have as artists?
It’s all trivial I know, I feel foolish for having a whinge about it… on this day of all days!
My higher self reminds me every day that there are still over two million displaced refugee’s from Syria right now, with no home to call their own and just the clothes on their back who would do anything to trade places with me. I’ve got no right to be sour about a damn thing… I’m healthy, I’m loved and I have a roof over my head.
There is a lot to be positive about, as they say good things come to those who wait. Here are some updates.
I’m playing at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on May 14th @ The Super Unsigned music festival, it should be fantastic exposure for me and I’m going to need you guys to get behind me and buy some tickets. Haha!
I’ve also just been asked to play as the opening act at the Melbourne Town Hall May 17th for a Turkish artist Ismail YK. Ismail is massive back in the old country [that’s Turkey not Blighty!] and playing in front of a Turkish home crowd of 1’500 is pretty exciting. Hmm I will need to start brushing up on all those Turkish phrases my aunties used to shout at me when I was, as usual, getting into trouble! I wonder how that will go down as my between song patter “good evening everyone, now get down off that wall this minute or I’ll give your dinner to the dog!”…
I feel like a broken record sometimes and I know I keep telling you guys there is new music; it’s no lie honestly. There is. I’m determined to put out a new record later this year, so watch this space dudes and dudesses..
Thanks to those who continue to support me. There is much more oil in the pipeline believe me, and I’ll be posting the dates of my upcoming shows very soon.
Your blessed and over-sensitive friend
Here is a link to Cuddle Up by Dennis Wilson. I hope you love it as much as I do!
And here is ‘You broke my heart’ by me if you haven’t heard it.
Here I am again; just in from work and digesting that awesome $7.50 Curry I got on my way home. It’s a local place I always go to with real home cooked stuff like Mama made it, as they say. Amazing!
I really shouldn’t be eating curry! I was actually food poisoned by an awful pizza over the weekend; I was out of it for two whole days with all the usual symptoms that I can probably spare you with. Anyway I’ve decided to sit my backside on the couch and fire up Abbey Road [still the pet name for my Macbook] and talk to you, It’s been a while…
It’s official… We’re back to routine… Nabila & I got back 3 weeks ago from our trip to the U.K & Turkey. I know what your thinking, wow you lucky bastard I need a holiday too. Yeah credit cards are fantastic. Not!
But it would be a little imprecise to say it was a complete holiday, as in sitting by a dappled pool, watching mermaids ride dolphins while the sunsets. Not quite!
It’s like pilgrimage for us, Nabila and I. You see we both met over there In London back in 2009, she’s from London I’m from Melb. You get the drift? Happy Wife Happy Life! Just joking.
It’s something we try to do every 2 years, visit family, friends & catch up with everyone. For me honestly It’s like coming home again.
Everything about moving to London years back changed my life for the better and there’s always going to be an eternal connection there for as long as I live.
For Nabila it’s really important to have this time, she hasn’t seen her Mum or Dad and her entire family for over two years. They’re such a close-knit family. I definitely know at time’s it isn’t easy for her living so far away. I’m really glad we’re able to do this when we can.
So on our travels and in between all the family time we did a few day trips out to the Countryside, Palaces, Gardens, Mansions and all that enchanting historical stuff England has to show off. It was beautiful & the weather was Sunny almost every day. Doesn’t sound like England I know, but it was!
Our third week in was the great trip to Istanbul, just the two of us. I’m a Turkish son of an immigrant but I’d never set foot on Turkish soil before.
I was really excited – but crapping myself! You see somewhere down the line way back when, my Dad decided it would be an amazing idea to register me as a Turkish Citizen – to have dual nationality. “You know son if anything happened in Australia you always have somewhere to go”
“Makes perfect sense and why not?” I hear you say.
Oh I agree! One tiny weeny snag though… any male citizen of Turkey, 18 and fit is legally required to complete their Military Conscription in the army. If you look at a map of the world and you look at all the countries that surround Turkey on every side; if you read the news or even stick on the TV while doing something else, you will certainly know that being in the army in Turkey in 2013 isn’t exactly – well, isn’t exactly a Turkey shoot!!!
So I had to get my paper work sorted in Aus, to delay my conscription for 15 years – the maximum – before I could even think of heading to Istanbul. Seemed crazy for an Aussie kid who’s never step foot in the country of his forefathers but there you are.
Trust me, I was bricking it as we touched down. I’d heard stories of people getting to the airport and being arrested. Thrown in a divvy and driven to the desert to shoot cans and ride camels for 15months … or worse!
Besides all that stuff, I’ve always been dreaming of visiting the country my father was from. I was always fascinated hearing about the culture, history and the stories of my father’s early childhood. It had inspired a song I wrote about the famous city itself, titled “Istanbul”, 3 years ago.
My Dad isn’t from Istanbul, but from a small town called Eskisehir. Apparently a very quiet little place in Central Anatolia when he was growing up, but a thriving city nowadays.
My dad told all of us kids magical stories of his younger days the 70’s, growing up selling Turkish bread & watermelon in the local bazaars and streets when he was 7 years old. During the summer break his father [a driver of a Coca-Cola truck] would take him on his interstate journeys driving through the steep hills of Anatolia drinking warm bottles of coke and arriving in Istanbul. They would stop on the Galata Bridge and dive into the Bosporus for some respite in the heat. I’m getting off the beaten track here but it’s great to reflect on those stories.
So Nabster and I arrived In Istanbul, palms sweating, looking even more guilty than usual when you pass through immigration with no drugs or smuggled laptops! No drama at all! Through immigration, smooth as a silk worm’s thighs.
From that moment on I was in my element. It felt like coming home. A deep feeling of familiarity. Of belonging.
Istanbul is the perfect fusion of old and new, the modernist and the traditionalist. A beautiful city a beautiful people and an amazing abundance of history and culture well and alive.
Walking through the old cobblestone streets of Suleymaniye at night I felt a connection an emotion really something I’ve never felt before. No melodrama here, I really felt like I belonged there as much as I do in Melbourne. One thing for sure, that city, that country and those people are now permanently lodged inside me and if there is one certainty in my life it is that I shall visit that city again and again throughout my life.
We had some great times over those 5 weeks in August away from home, but it wasn’t going to be complete without catching up with one of my closest friends and partner in crime Robin Millar.
Robin and I have mustered up 40 odd songs together spilling our emotions pen to paper with the ring of a Gibson acoustic most times. Never pre-orchestrated but it just happens, from the forces of the music gods. If they exist? Hmm I’m sure they do!
“Man I’m coming to town you better get the tea going mate!”
I caught up with Robin for maybe 6 days in total. We had no grand plan to write together. Just to hang out talk about stuff, music, life the world and everything else that’s happening. Stuff that close friends do.
But as it always seems to go, we ended up writing four new songs, I mean who would have thought? Not me that’s for sure, but that’s the magic of music, connection and a greater force we cannot explain.
We’re both really pumped about these four new songs, we recorded them down then and there and I’m very excited. I’m super proud of our new work together.
So I’m building up to something here, I think. I haven’t got a plan or a clear view of what road I’m taking right now. But there’s something in these songs and I want to be careful about how I do this. Sure I know the easy thing is to play them live work them up with the band and get on with it, but I want them to be heard by more people.
This stuff takes time, I may or may not be onto something here, but I’m a big believer in taking on inspiration as it comes and Running with it. These new songs have totally fired me up.
It may mean I’m under that radar for a while, but I’m putting on my thinking cap. I’m still searching, planning. Heck maybe somebody is going to lead me on to a new path. Who knows?
It’s all great though; I’ve had a great break with my wife in that big open world of ours.
I really look forward to sharing my new music with everybody & I’m excited about what’s to come. I’ll keep you posted, I promise.
As always I’ve written way too much – but I was always one to fail those 200 word essays back in High School. As if you couldn’t tell!
So that’s my update for now. Well done for reading all of that! I’ve uploaded a couple of pictures of our journey overseas below.
Love Eran xo
I love this time of year; in fact it’s probably my favourite season. After a long hot summer in Melbourne, I’ve really needed the change.
All those pretty colours that seem to tango in the air & leaves that crunch beneath my feet, it’s really quite beautiful and refreshing just to walk around Melbourne right now.
The air feels crisp and the cool brushes my face with the motherly sun kissing my cheeks. That’s my autumn affair.
I’m writing from the over crowded lounge room of our new rental, we just moved houses 3 weeks ago. We’ve still got stuff all over the place. We really need to get this sorted; I’ve been contemplating the local op shop honestly, maybe a midnight drop when Nabsters sleeping. I really can’t believe how much stuff we’ve accumulated. Most of it belongs to the Mrs though! I am but a simple man etc [har har]
If you haven’t noticed I’ve been under the blogosphere radar this year, please excuse me it’s still January in my head.
No but in all honesty I’ve been in transition this year; I’ve been filtering through my life, sorting through the thought chamber that keeps me ticking and rolling like a Penny-farthing.
I think it’s like cleaning out your computer hard drive and getting rid of all the junk.
Anyway I’ve just decided I’m letting go a little more this year, or perhaps I’ll try to; No I’m not turning into a dole bludging musician, I’m just going to take things as they come. No expectations!
I’m tired of trying to stop myself trying to premeditate life and my career, or perhaps where I’ll be in 10 or 20 years. Ridiculous. My higher self in no way subscribes to that kind of thought process but I’m human and sometimes it just creeps up on ya.
I want to take that side of it easy, as I usually have done. What will be will be, my mother used to say. Right as ever mum.
I know I’ve put pressure on myself over the last year, expecting more return from my efforts…like some fucking banker or something! Sometimes these trains of thought creep up in your head like a bad smell and you have to deal with it.
There is a shortage of good gigs around. There is a shortage of good discerning agents. Hell there’s a shortage of everything everywhere in the world right now. What there is never a shortage of is supposedly wise, helpful and in-the-know people telling me that I’m not doing enough for my career, or that I need to be out there ‘on the scene’ more to be seen and heard… I know it’s all meant well, but I really get tired of it.
I used to think ‘maybe they’re right’, but you know what? I’m actually doing enough, I’m doing it… I’m living life and this is my journey.
The only thing I do regret is that you can’t get festival slots as a singer unless you have a big profile or a big agent representing you. I regret it because I love playing to lots of people and festivals are real fun.
Some bloody brilliant news though, I’ve just told Robin to free up his flaming calendar. I’ve just booked my flights to London and I’m going in August. It’s going to be excellent and I can’t wait to catch up with everybody. Who knows what may flow from the creative juices this time.
I’m sure most ordinary people like me would agree that it’s been pretty upsetting reading the news over the last week. The ongoing massacre of innocent people in Syria is simply unbelievable and unacceptable. The recent devastation in Bangladesh – The Nabster’s motherland – has, of course, particularly hit home. It’s very difficult to find the right words. I still find it hard to stomach every day that I have it so easy and they have nothing.
All this, as usual, has me thinking that perhaps I have a greater calling; I feel it’s almost my duty as another human to help those in need, people in crisis and devastation. I feel powerless in this crazy world but I owe it to them. Something more than just a donation, but then I think what could I possibly do? That must be such a common dilemma. What does inspire me is that so many people, particularly young people, are getting out there and making incredible contributions, efforts and sacrifices for the world’s most oppressed people. I laugh out loud when I hear, see or read older people talking about ‘today’s younger generation’ as though they are all little scumbags. They are our one great hope.
Before I wrap up, I just wanted to thank those special friends and fans that keep encouraging me to keep doing what I do. I know it’s been a quiet start to the year on the gig front, but I’m feeling seriously re-inspired and re-invigorated as ever and I can’t wait to get back on stage and play again.
And there’s a special treat for reading all that.
Here’s a new tune of mine called ‘Time is on our side’ enjoy!
Until next time.
Eran James xoxo
Laughing all the way to the bank? Not quite
Something strange happens when you write a song. While you’re in the middle of it, the world that song is talking about is the centre of your world. The feelings the song is conjuring up are your feelings at that moment. The burning issue, the desire or the little philosophy are what you are living and breathing at the time.
Then the song gets finished and in a way you give it away. you hand it over to others to listen to. You let them make their own stories, their own feelings, their own lives feed in – you give them ownership…and that’s great.
But sometimes your own song can come back to bite you in the arse.
I posted ‘Laugh out Loud’ a couple of weeks ago. I was in a hurry hustling to get a gig organised. Then today I thought ‘you know I haven’t really thought about that song since I wrote it’ and I sat with a cup of pretty horrible supposed-to-be-good-for-me tea I got suckered into buying online – and gave it a good listen.
Shit Eran, you need to start taking your own advice man! ….
I guess being human we don’t always practice what we preach & I for one tend to forget from time to time. It’s a part of life & the daily grind but when I do stop and think about it, I’m always happy and grateful for even being alive.
Here I am today, worrying if I’ll keep my job next year. We’re all really starting to feel the crunch & things are shaky here. Raising funds for Deaf Children has never been a greater challenge, I actually hope things pick up for the children’s sake. It’s not really about my job though I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a part of what’s on my mind – but as they say today it’s those first world problems.
Apart from all that stuff something much more important has really been on my mind recently you know … all the unrest in Syria. It’s not the only place of devastation in the world of course but I couldn’t help but cry at work when I saw the pictures on the office TV – 4 young and innocent Syrian girls murdered, left in white sheets & tied in pink bows! What the fuck! How dare anyone do that to anyone for any reason whatever? Absolutely unforgivable. No excuse. No mitigation. No just cause. Monsters.
I’m angry my heartache’s every day. Like a lot of us, I suspect, I don’t quite understand what’s really going on in Syria it’s complicated, but like many I’m left feeling helpless & wondering how I can help?
I heard just the other day a young Aussie bloke was caught in the cross fire doing aid work in Syria, it’s all so very sad and upsetting. I really hope there is a way out of all this tragedy in the world, one day … what a ridiculous childish naïve fantasy that statement looks when I read it back … and what does that say about the human condition?
I’ve taken on some extra baggage the last few months, it’s family. My older brother recently pulled through a whole heap of trouble. I really do worry for him. Jeez we make some pretty stupid choices at times … but he really is a great guy & I love him dearly. I keep telling him how lucky he is to have a second chance & start all over. So I’ve been around more often, trying to support and encourage him to make better choices this time. I’ve been stressed just thinking about it all, I know it’s his own life but I hope he doesn’t ever go back down that particular path again.
But back to ‘Laugh out Loud’ Eran and enough of this looking at your feet man! I’ve had a really fun time gigging this year & I’m grateful to every single person who has turned up to my shows & made it special. You are the best … and believe me it’s unbelievable when people come and listen and tell me how much they love it – and that’s another thing which sounds shyt when I read it back by the way! Trying not to sound phoney is even more difficult than sounding phoney … oh shut up Eran.
It’s really amazing to think… almost this time last year I was touring with Elton, seriously where has this year flown off to? Crazy I know, but I’ve been feeling a little flat as the year is almost closing in, the summer is almost here but my plans haven’t been quite as successful as I first painted in my own mind [dangerous stuff. Listen to the song mate….] . I really wanted to play a whole load of festivals this summer, but it turns out I was a little late for some submissions or promoters were simply too hard to reach. I guess it’s one of the many things I’m wising up to more about being an independent artist. Like for instance I’m finding it really difficult to get some business folks’ attention sure I’ve got some great people around me but I’m trying to gain traction in other areas & get the ball rolling. Sheesh’ I’d better finish writing my Turkish Gangnam Style track, that’s what my friends keep telling me! Seriously I think it’s probably harder to come from being a teenage pop singer to being an adult singer songwriter than it is coming from absolutely nowhere. I really believe that ‘the industry’ would probably already have made its mind up about what it thinks Eran James is and what he’s capable of. Of course in a way I was reborn. I started again. I learned my craft and now i’m rebuilding – or building again – from the ground up, or maybe actually from a little below ground.
No problem with music lovers, fans, friends. When they hear it they get it.
But agents, promoters, managers? I’m invisible. I’m wearing a cloak of invisibility. I don’t exist…I’m in a parallel universe where Adele and Mumfords are the biggest selling artists in the world – credible, no beats, no pop gimmicks. They are selling more than Justin Bieber but the industry isn’t listening. Isn’t noticing. I’ve gone where things are going and they are stuck in the past clinging on to where things were. I’m connecting with real people about real things, they are watching the X factor and thinking that’s where music begins and ends…..oh bollocks, .
Take a line from yourself and Laugh out Loud Eran! It’s all industry standard, from what I hear, but like many of us I’m sure we get tired of playing the waiting game?
Oh shit, I’m a musician. That very very clever American bloke William Buckley said ‘central to every good musician’s life is disappointment’. How did he know that? He wasn’t even a musician … but he was pretty spot on. Patience Eran patience!
Reasons to be cheerful? Well I guess I could say I’m already gearing up for next year & I’m excited to see what it all brings.
Nabila & I just celebrated our third anniversary together two weeks ago; I’m really grateful to have her in my life. I love her to bits & she really is the best thing ever. She keeps me humble & pulls me through. By the way she makes some killer curries to. Yumm!
Nabila surprised me with a gift to celebrate, she bought me the Neil Young & Crazy Horse ‘Psychedelic Pill’ record & Neil’s book “Waging Heavy Peace”. I’ve got the album on high rotation on my car stereo every morning to work, best gift ever.
And by the way….Go Mr President & well-done America. One huge sigh of relief this week after hearing President Obama was keeping office for four more years. I never tread deep into politics, but I think it’s fantastic news for all. Honestly you don’t see many kids’s screaming Mitt-Romney & what really pulls at me is the enthusiasm youth of America & the world have for Obama. The Generation & the voices of tomorrow love the guy; I think that’s saying something. Or it may just be the presidents-taste in music, who knows? I think the mans all right.
So I’ll shut up now …. off to read some Mr Young, until next time Salaam Namaste. (well that’s if you haven’t tuned off already)
Love to all, I’m always yours and you’d better believe it! I know I always send gushy tweets thanking everyone for coming to every gig but if you want me to be the sulky tosser instead and thank no-one for anything I’m sure I can do that one too! Just let me know…and if you’re the person who wrote to me saying you were going to tattoo some lines from Laugh Out Loud somewhere on your body? Very nice flattering tribute mate … but maybe avoid the line “What am I living for, What am I living for”?
Or maybe not?
You broke my lens cap
Hotter than July? If any of us had thought Stevie Wonder was an Aussie that track title said either he came from Darwin – yeah right! – or he weren’t from down under…
Winter is a time for getting your work done, getting the heating going and cuddling up… assuming you have someone to cuddle up with. It’s also a time for going and checking out new bands, new movies and apparently the peak time for relationships to bust up.
The song ‘You Broke My Heart’ has been living with me for two years now. Breathing in my ear. Looking at me over my shoulder. Nagging at me. I still find it hard to sing without choking…even alone…that is very weird indeed. It’s not even really autobiographical. It’s about you…it’s about me feeling what you are going through….and you is anyone going through that pain of being separated from the one you love, either by circumstances or because the other has just gone gone gone, as the righteous Brothers said.
So I challenged myself to put images to what happens when I sing the song. I love singing it and I love the depth of feeling it brings out in me. I love the way it makes me feel and taste the world. It’s very black and white imagery but very strong. It makes me love my lover even more. It makes me want to hold on and cherish everything I have and it makes me cry…
So out comes the video camera. Makeshift tripod [don’t ask!], makeshift lighting [don’t ask!] wait for the right sky/mood/girlfriend/feeling…and do it hungry…like I was when the song was written…bloody starving, and I don’t even remember why…i think we just didn’t have any food and I wasn’t about to stop.
What I like about this particular version of ‘You Broke my Heart’ is that it was sung the same day the song was written so everything is absolutely raw…i’m experiencing the emotion for pretty well the first time. I sang incredibly quietly [really really quietly, couldn’t do that in a live show] and had to work real hard to control my voice at that volume…which made the whole effort of singing it about ten times as draining as if I’d been belting it out in an arena…very weird.
So got the camera out…set it up on the Eranopod, trod on the lens cap and broke it into three pieces….thought it was rubber…ho hum…and just pushed at my creative envelope whatever that is. The result is this film which is very personal, very intimate, very naked. I’m incredibly grateful to Nabila for being there, to the sky for being there and to you for being there making me want to write the song, sing the song, video the song, put up the song and pray that it means something somewhere.
I do not like being proud. I don’t like it as a concept and I don’t like it as a character trait in me or in other people. Not at all. But I’m quite proud of this little 3 minutes of me but I hand it over to you to keep.
I remember growing up how often Mum would say “The year’s flown by!”
I never really got it. But now the older I’m getting [creak creak] it’s really starting to hit home what mum was feeling.
This Blog is well overdue. It’s already July! Half the year gone. Where have I been?
It’s no excuse for not talking to you but I hear so much about how artists are supposed to be social media gurus and spend hours online perfecting self-promotion. I will never be that person. I’m a songwriter first. A singer second. A performer definitely. A dreamer far too much. A thinker far too much. A worrier yes. A warrior yes. A marketing guru? Er, not really.
But with half the year already gone, I do think you deserve an update.
The last blog was January. I was fresh off the stage from touring with Elton & high on life with so many things on my list. [I don’t actually have a physical list of course! That would mean I was organised and businesslike.I hear laughter.., the list lives in my head like a parrot on my shoulder nagging me all the time “Do this, call that person, deal with this problem, get that fixed, write to that company” and so on and so on. I don’t feel even slightly accomplished being mid year already.
Anyway that’s not to say I haven’t had a good year so far – I’m definitely feeling great about a lot of things.
I started the year scratching my head a bit, after touring with Elton around Aus in front of 15,000 people a night with my mates Robbie and Dean; that’s a tough gig to follow. Being on such a massive tour for one month is a complete spin out from reality. Amazing it was but so far from my little gigs in Melbourne playing to 30-50 friends & fans.
Going it alone was getting a little too much to handle. Hustling gigs, organising travel, sound engineers, ticketing, humping the gear, putting the ads out for the shows..couldn’t have done this without the astonishing Nabila – The Nabster as Robin calls her!
I just wanted to focus more on than music & my fans. I needed someone who loved my music & completely got what I’m about and who worked in the biz.
I thought I should start by getting in touch with all the “top line” artist agents in Sydney and Melbourne..what kind of stupid idiot did that make me? Been there done that is the story of the last 8 years of my life. 2 minutes into each phone call or email exchange – of course they were all prepared to talk to me because of who I am/was – I remembered why I’d turned down the big record deal in 2010 and turned away from that whole big time showbiz thing.that’s why I was so astonished when Elton called my mobile at work and said ‘Hi Eran come and do some shows with me’. I’ll always answer when Elton calls because you don’t forget your friends. Not ever.
Anyway back to looking for a new supporter who felt me and wanted to let me be me and show me to the world..God that sounds awfully arrogant but that’s what I felt honestly.
It wasn’t easy, but eventually Brian Hender my friend & soundman put me onto Deb Herbert at Rude Bookings.
Deb loved what I was doing and wanted to help so so much. I’m sure some of you might have already bumped into her at a gig or two. She is such a cool chick.
Deb has been great, she booked me a small tour & a few radio interviews to start things off. I met her in March and by April I was playing Melbourne, Sydney & Perth. I had such a great time playing again in different states.
You people remain amazing.& for the first time I started selling copies of my latest EP – Down the Road. That was quite a weird and surreal feeling asking people to support me and buy something which was entirely under my control. No A&R manager, no sleeve designer, no stylist, no fancy new York studio. Just a bunch of my songs done simply. Direct.
Lot’s more gigs to come & I can’t wait to play some Festivals in summer.
I have to ask did anyone get down to see Bon Iver in concert this year? I saw them in Melbourne at the Myer Music Bowl in March.
Honestly folks, it was probably the best gig I have ever been to, I reckon there were at least 15,000 people standing with their jaws on the floor, mind blown.
Anyway I love Justin Vernon regardless, but I went home that night feeling like shit. “I’m not good enough!”
I’m still doing my job working for Deaf Children Australia & I’m really really happy that I’m still able to do that work.
They have been so brilliant working around my gigs. I’m determined to really make a difference to them this year. It’s DCA’s 150th birthday this year..I know, incredible! It’s such a brilliant charity and if a musician can’t be arsed to get up in the morning to do some work for deaf kids then I don’t know who can. It’s such rewarding work – plus I get paid for it which seems like a ridiculous privilege to me.
But I’m not ashamed of that and I need to eat.
If you read my Facebook or tweets you will have noticed I went up north with Nabila to Cairns & Port Douglas in June. I know a lot of you were envious but it was my first proper holiday in my whole life…
Wow, I had such a great time up there & yeah basically lived a little. The weather was perfect every day; the whole place was amazing to say the least. We did a lot of the stuff you do up there but I have to admit I did spend a lot of time sitting around the pool with a drink and doing absolutely nothing!
I’d definitely say snorkeling in Great Barrier Reef was the highlight. If you haven’t been to Far North Queensland, your missing out I’m tellin ya.
Now to some great news, I’ve just been endorsed by Yamaha Guitars Australia. So I’ve armed my self with a secondary acoustic guitar, tobacco sunburst absolutely beautiful.& I now have my first ever Electric Guitar. Based on the Telecaster. It’s a Yamaha Pacifica Mike Stern.
Big thanks to Jaclyn Williams for putting it all in place for me. Thank you
Yamaha & look out world, Eran’s going heavy! Not!
I’ve just finished having a long chat to Robin over Skype this evening & I’ve vowed to do some thing about my boring YouTube page. He’s a pain in the arse basically. Always on my case about my blog. He doesn’t give a toss about my career he just get’s bored sitting in the rain in London and wants new stuff to read.
My big project for the next few weeks is to get some really interesting videos of the tunes etc sorted out. Once again no swanky video directors, exotic locations..unless you call my living room/studio exotic! I’ll be experimenting with my video camera with a few ideas over the next few days & eventually get some new videos up. Definitely Eran..
So more music, more videos & more gigs… That’s a promise
Heap’s of love to all my awesome friends & fans. Thanks for reading.
Here’s a little update for my next few gigs:
Melbourne @ The Empress Hotel – July 12th – 7:30PM
Brisbane @ The Dowse Bar at Iceworks – August 2nd 8:00PM
Gold Coast @ The Loft Chevron Island – August 4th 8:00PM