Articles by George Hernandez

Classic Gold: Musicians & Step and Repeat Boards

Part and parcel of the music industry is the ‘industry’ part of it.

Despite the artistic attributes that musicians are afforded, many of them are also under the pressures that are similar to any other industry. Although they are predominantly concerned with creating art that speaks to their fan-base and engages more people, they are ultimately required to make money. 

For decades now musicians have been forced to attend functions, award shows and all other kinds of events that have not strictly been of interest to them. As such there are countless photos of artists standing in front of step and repeat boards, putting a brave face on but secretly wishing that they were elsewhere.

What is a step and repeat board, you ask? Well, we’d be glad to explain!

A step and repeat banner is used as a backdrop at promotional events. Whenever you see pictures from awards shows, you might notice celebrities posing in front of banners or boards that are plastered in sponsors or logos, this board is the step and repeat board and it’s purpose is to provide a convenient placement for advertisements and to give something for guests to pose in front of!

How can you get your own? 

If you’re setting up your own event, whether it’s a birthday party, wedding or anniversary, it’s a great idea to hire or order a step-and-repeat banner in order to offer your guests a dedicated place to pose for photos. Whilst your guests will naturally take plenty of photos whilst they’re at your event, by setting up a dedicated board you’ll be able to have a set of photographs that can be neatly placed in an album together.

You can order your own logo wall by contacting a large format printer or design studio. They’ll be able to take your designs and then print them out on a high-quality matte vinyl. This choice of material is particularly important as it offers good clarity for those taking the photographs. Should you opt for a cheaper, shinier material then you may find that your photographs suffer as a result. Shiny acrylics do not perform well as backdrops, especially when flash photography is at play. Flash photography reflects sharply of traditional acrylics leading to both the backdrop and the subject of the photo being obscured.

Now you understand what a step-and-repeat board is, let’s take a look at a few examples of musicians posing for pictures in front of them:

Rock and Roll Duos: Past and Present

Two-man bands who can’t be ignored.

The pounding beat of drums and blaring guitars have long been the staple sound of Rock music.

One of the reasons why Rock music developed to the place it is today is because of it’s accessibility.

The simplest Rock music tracks can usually be broken down into three basic chords, or notes. Often even the most complex Rock’n’Roll tracks are deceptively simple, the flourishes and finishing touches of the individual musician being the only things that elevate the song from being simply a few chords strung together with a big ol’ chorus. Even though the traditional Rock’n’Roll band will be comprised of a few members: Vocalist, Guitarists, Bassist, Drummer, maybe a Keys player. Sometimes you can make a lot of noise with just two guys.

The videos collected below show just how big a noise can be made with a setup that has been often overlooked in the world of Rock’n’Roll:

The White Stripes

The Black Keys

Death from Above

Royal Blood

Japandroids

Slaves

Live Live! Live On Campus!

 

It’s interesting when you see a band play their song live and they play it slightly differently and, you think:

 

‘Huh, I like this less’.

 

I get it a lot with the Pixies.

 

Maybe I’m just an idiot. I think if I was always seeing bands I loved live then I’d be fine and enjoy them changing the music, but as it is I think I just get annoyed that I can’t sing along properly and just feel that they are stealing from me the collective expression I was hoping for. The bastards.

 

Sometimes though it can totally work. Lots of bands promote their shows now (often to students with all that college advertisement stuff) specifically as being ‘different every night’ and ‘completely unique’ and stuff, but lots of people also love to see bands playing albums in there entirety, there’s clearly appetite both ways……

Trying To Learn About Nicki Manaj (And Her Black Fur Gilet)

 

That’s a song by Nicki Manaj in which at one point she wears a black fur gilet and sings about how, despite being played around by a lover, she still loves him.

 

She displays vulnerability in bounds, very different to the role she often plays of sexual dominant.

 

Or, as the Daily Mail put it: ‘NICKI MANAJ BECOMES A SEXY BUNNY AND POSES HALF NAKED WEARING A FUR GILET FOR HER NEW PILLS N POTIONS MUSIC VIDEO‘.

 

Firstly, what kind of a head line is that? Aren’t headlines meant to be, you know, short and snappy? That’s a whole story! The headline, by the way, is 22 words long, the article is around 220 words long. So the headline is a tenth of the entire article.

 

I quite like this song, I’d never managed to listen to a whole Nicki Manaj song before, but this one I did and thought it was OK.

 

I kind of feel that if I like it she might be failing though.

Blog

Prince

The Purple One has passed.

 

One of the finest artists who has ever graced the Earth, an Earth left a fair bit less magical now that he is gone.

 

Prince’s talent was extreme, like his style, his performance and his personality. He seemed to have been a true one of a kind, with a unique perspective and ability that was both outside of time and solidly of the world he was born into. It is hard to really grasp just how exceptional he was, he was so phenomenally talented in every aspect of his creativity that it is hard to give each of his talents the attention it deserves, the attention these talents would have received if they were spread across many artists.

 

He was a lyrical genius: a storyteller who could capture experiences and moments, imagery and advice, observations and insights, with a flick of his pen and a flourish of his voice.

 

His astonishing voice: he was perhaps the greatest vocal performer of his generation, able to dissolve into heartbreaking, spine tingling and body moving wordless vocal expression when playing live. Screams, cries, crescendos and the occasional extended sexual encounter would erupt from his lips and take the audience into his soul.

 

He could do the same with his guitar.

 

As a live guitar player he perhaps captured the power of the electric guitar as a solo instrument better than anyone bar Hendrix.

 

He had an ability to leap from the silky smooth to the gut wrenching, harnessing noise in what felt like a pure form through the strings and the instrument that would appear to become part of him. The guitar was a mere extension of the emotions he expressed and experienced right in front of you. He would tear notes out of it, ground it through the strings, ripping the very air in front of him, cutting through the mess and the fog and the confusion with a pure, unadulterated, heavenly noise.

 

For a particular example of him playing perhaps the greatest guitar solo ever recorded watch the bottom video. He was also, obviously and famously a maestro at every other instrument he turned his hand too. What is relevant about his playing every instrument on his albums, as well as producing, mixing and writing everything as well, is that this was a man who had incredibly singular and complex musical visions in his mind, and also the complete musical talent to realise them.

 

Prince needed to play every instrument. Prince needed to do everything himself. Because he was the only conduit through which his divine talent could flow freely. Prince was a true creative genius.

 

He will be missed.

 

The Importance Of Performance – Looking At TY Segall

It is interesting to take a moment to re-examine the divides we place between different art forms.

 

Between music and film and theatre and ‘art’ as in that which goes in a gallery.

 

And performance art and acting and poetry and writing and so on and so on and so on. If one is playing music to people one is performing and once one is performing, one is giving more to their audience than just the song.

 

Like it or not you are giving a new level of meaning and a new target for interpretation by the audience. So performance is important and you are a performer. You are not just a musician, you are a performer.

 

TY Segall, on the other hand, is a genius performer.

 

‘New Slang’- And Our ‘How To Set Up A Cleaning Business’ Comment In

Today’s beautiful morning track is ‘New Slang’ by The Shins.

 

To some extent made famous by Zach Braff’s 2004 film ‘Garden State’, in which Natalie Portman goes full manic pixie dream girl and plays the song through her head phones for Zach Braff’s main sad, emotionally stunted man character, changing his life in the process.

 

This morning’s comment is about cleaning businesses!

 

Who should you hire? What’s it like to work for one? Ever wondered how to set up a cleaning business?

 

We want to know your thoughts are on all these matters and more, so get commenting!

Rap’s New Direction

In recent years rap has slowly been deconstructing many of it’s established norms.

 

Rappers can now be insecure, they can be sad, the can be scared.

 

They can rap about depression, they can rap about love, they can rap about feeling inadequate. They can be nice, they can be nice, they can (once again) be funny. They can be, of all things, a very large ginger bearded white Armenian-American food enthusiast.

 

They can be Action Bronson.

 

Liverpool Music, Liverpool Airport, Liverpool Love

‘I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth’

John Lennon, Just Gimme some Truth

 

That is a quote from John Lennon.

 

It, absolutely bafflingly, is on the wall at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. If you don’t believe me, get out there! There’s easy Liverpool Airport parking offers out there, so you can get there very cheap.

 

What a city Liverpool is, would anywhere else take that quote from their famous sons and put it on their wall? You know, they could have chosen ‘All you need is love’. But they didn’t. And it’s not just The Beatles…

 

Stunning band. Stunning, stunning, stunning band.