Django loves Juno. But does Juno love Django? (Don’t miss the cat-fight in slo-mo!)

Django just wants to hug Juno. He even snuck a kiss this morning! But watch what happens next…

Black cat Juno is a clever eight-year-old cat, thoughtful and generally gentle and very cool (but sometimes a little nervous). She has lived with us for a year and a half.

Django is a two-year-old ginger cat whom we adopted from the RSPCA a couple of months ago. As they described him to us, he’s a “total smooch”, who kisses and hugs and licks everyone and everything.

Django adores Juno and makes the most incredible sound when she’s in the room, or occasionally when he’s just thinking about her and wondering where she is. They’re impossible to describe, but I’ll try and get a good recording of them and post it here soon.

However, Juno hisses and whacks Django if he comes within about a foot and a half (45 cm) of her.

Still, though, she misses him when he’s not around and she seeks him out as often as she tries to get away from him. But she likes to keep her distance.

Django is the most playful adult cat we’ve ever met. He still behaves like a kitten, climbing and running and play-fighting and generally being hyperactive, until the afternoon, when he sleeps on the couch for a few hours. He tries to get as close to Juno as he can and we’re pretty sure he just wants to hug and kiss her like crazy. He’s irrepressible and will gradually edge up, to her, almost imperceptibly in small degrees. He might roll over or stretch every now and then, just casually, but every time getting an inch closer to her. And, in between, he’ll just sit and gaze upon her adoringly. She looks the other way, or else gives him THAT look, which says, “I see what you’re doing.”

Eventually he might lose control of his emotions and just go for her, sometimes with his special sound, his “name” for her, which is usually cut short by what happens next… as seen in this video, first at normal speed and then in slow motion.
All music by DC Cardwell
Film shot and edited by DC Cardwell

Click on the photos for a larger view!

Finally wrapping up my album which has taken longer than Sgt. Pepper to make. What should I call it?

Finally wrapping up my album which has taken longer than Sgt. Pepper to make. What should I call it?
Posted by Instagrate to WordPress

Andrea Kocevska sounding glorious last night. She’s almost finished recording her debut album with me. www.reverbnation.com/AndreaKocevska

Andrea Kocevska sounding glorious last night. She's almost finished recording her debut album with me. www.reverbnation.com/AndreaKocevska

How Social Networking Has Been A Game Changer For Musicians

DC Cardwell with Aria FA71 guitarDC Cardwell is a singer-songwriter, originally from Northern Ireland, now based in Melbourne, Australia. This part-universal, part-personal post was prompted by a question from a friend on “how social media has helped musicians”.


I believe that social networking has had the most profound impact on the relationship between musician and listener since the twin-pronged technological advances of recording and broadcasting in the early 20th century.

Both of those inventions allowed musicians to reach the listener without having to be in the same physical place and time. Before they came along, almost the only ways for an artist to propagate their music were by printed sheet music or by the folk process of memorization and repetition.

But the entire game has been changed again with the advent of social networking (and its close relative social media)

Unrecorded: How it used to be.

Old Graphophone (Gramophone, Phonograph) with horn

This record player is even older than me.

The value of social networking for music-makers is perhaps most starkly illustrated when we’re talking about a particular class of artists, of which I am one.

I’m referring to that large set of creative musicians who have learned to play music in their youth, been incredibly passionate about it, but never done it seriously or professionally. Instead, they’ve put the bulk of their resources and energies into other careers, marriage, raising children, other non-musical pursuits, or less creative musical occupations.

I found myself firmly entrenched in this position during the  “noughties”. Any chance of a music career had slipped away many years previously. I’d married young and my children were already well on their way towards adulthood. I’d had a perfectly good career in pathology for many years, but, for me, it had simply been a way of putting food on the table.

However, during those years just after the new millenium began, I acquired some computer recording software and a few microphones and started to make the kind of music that I’d been developing in my head over the years. Primarily a guitarist, I even learned to sing a bit, just to make things more interesting, and I began writing songs that I thought were reasonably OK.

Screenshot from DC Cardwell's Adobe Audition session for his song Birthday Present

My multitrack session for “Birthday Present”

I was astounded to find that I could record tracks that were of near-studio quality. Due to digital technology and decreasing costs, I could make music that, twenty years previously, would have required the finances and resources of a large record company and an expensive recording studio.

But who was going to hear this music? Sure, I could burn a few CDs and pass them around to friends. I could do some gigs around town, but it was far-fetched for a middle-aged family man with a mortgage to pack his gear into a van and hit the road, widening his audience by traveling the length and breadth of the country playing to whomever would listen.

It was also a long-shot to expect any record company to be interested in a distinctly unglamorous looking forty-something.

Tom Is Everybody’s Friend: MySpace changes everything!

WARNING: stuff about me for a while here!

But around 2004-05 I started hearing about MySpace. I was fortunate to be one of the computer-literate people who was already very comfortable with the Internet, and had even had some experience of primitive social networking. For example, by playing an online word-game I’d found that I could easily make friends with people from around the world. MySpace amplified this ability a hundredfold, also adding images and music to the mix.

I uploaded one or two of my songs to that pioneering network, and to my surprise and considerable delight, discovered that some people actually quite

DC Cardwell's Tom Song in Myspace player - screenshot

My Tom Song in the old Myspace player (screenshot)

liked my songs and even my hitherto unknown singing voice.

I even wrote a song about the network’s founder, “MySpace Tom” Anderson – not a joke song, but a wry 60s/70s-style pop song which answered a question I was often asked by newcomers: “Who is this Tom guy on my friend list?”

My song was called Tom Is Everybody’s Friend and, for a few days after it got mentioned on Tom’s own page, it went viral (or, at, least semi-viral) before the term was even known. I watched my friend count shoot up rapidly and had to field a huge amount of comments and messages. Suddenly I could really see the power of this new social network to get my music out to people all over the world. It was pretty amazing!

Meet The Author: How has social networking helped my music career?

That was the real birth of my new career. Since then I haven’t been one of those lucky enough to make large amounts of money from my music, but I’ve released my first album, Some Hope, recorded some songs in Los Angeles for a film, won a song contest, played a fair number of live shows in my own city of Melbourne, and, above all, developed a faithful, far-flung following of fans all over the world!

I’ve even gone one step further and quit my lifelong career in pathology to do music full-time.

(I’ve been very fortunate in that my wife, Marjorie Cardwell (now there’s a singer!) began a new career after several years of study, and now she supports me as I previously did her. With my new-found skills I was also able to record an album for her, release it and do the bulk of the necessary social networking required to build a fan base for her.)

Most of my middle-aged peers don’t reach that stage of being able to quite their day job, but the point remains – they can still find (and be found by) fans and distribute their music to the four corners of the earth, largely by means of social networking.

Of course, other ancillary online tools, such as blogs, Tunecore, CD Baby, iTunes, FanBridge, Internet radio etc. are also important, but social networking is the human factor of the Internet by which the independent artist connects with existing and new fans.

And, as we all know, the scene doesn’t remain static. We’ve talked about MySpace, and that was the beginning for many of us slightly older folk. But MySpace suddenly lost ground to Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube has of course, become a major platform for people to find and listen to music, and I did go through a phase of serious networking on it, despite its inadequate social interface. However, a while back my YouTube channels were suddenly shut down, I lost all my followers and view counts, and I had to start all over again so that was a bit of a setback from which I haven’t yet recovered! Google has been making improvements to the YouTube interface but in my opinion it’s still, unfortunately, too clunky to be taken very seriously as a social network. Speaking as a video creator, I do hope that it improves in that regard. But I suspect most video consumers aren’t particularly hungry for a better social experience on YouTube. At present, Youtube’s main role is as a repository for our “product”. 

Similarly, Reverbnation and Soundcloud have bubbled along as perhaps the best frees platform for uploading pure music to be shared on Facebook, although, for me, their social value has been much less significant.

Right now (late 2013) my main social platform of choice is Instagram, which may surprise some. For some reason Twitter never quite clicked with me in a sustainable way, but the addition of photographs and removal of the 140 character limit just happens to sit well with my personality.

Way With Words: How does social networking work for musicians?

Social networking is, of course, mainly a verbal medium. Photographs, sounds and videos can be a part of it, but the glue that holds it together is words.

Screenshot of a comment on DC Cardwell's MySpace page

A comment on my MySpace page from the classic mid-noughties era (thanks Jess!)

I remember how, as a young music fan, I was hungry for any information about my musical heroes. I used to collect interviews and articles – physically cut them out of magazines (I can hear some of you young kids sniggering down at the back) – and file them away. You couldn’t just look stuff up. Articles and photographs came in a trickle and you had to be alert in case you missed anything.

If I ever got the chance to say one or two words to an artist I loved it was just unbelievable good fortune! Can you imagine how unlikely that was back in those days?

But that human factor is much more readily available these days, if the artist is savvy enough to use the social networks. I’ve had conversations online with many of my favourite artists. And I’ve also found myself chatting with people I didn’t know and only later discovering that they are brilliant singers, songwriters or musicians. It’s quite nice when friendship comes first and fanship comes afterwards.

Very often people get to know me, and I get to know them, and it’s quite some time before they even find out that I make music. I’ve always been very careful not to be mercenary or cynical in my approach. I really, genuinely, do make friends with the people I meet online! People are smart and, by and large, they know if you’re being disingenuous.

However, I suspect that even if you’re not that good at chatting with people online, you can still make good use of social networking to advance your music career. It isn’t all about lengthy heart-to-heart conversations. here are other ways of using your natural characteristics to attract friends/followers/fans online. If you’re blessed with pithy wit I’m sure you can use that to gather followers. (I suspect that kind of person is even more likely to find their true home on Twitter.) You might be very knowledgeable about some subject – perhaps your favourite band or music style. You might be very beautiful (or at least buff up really well for photographs.)

Social networking is a reflection of life so there is no set way to make things work for you or for me. If it’s not an organic, dynamic process it’s probably doomed to failure. And I know that some artists will just never get it – will never be able to sit at a computer, or stare at their smartphone and see it as a portal to real, living, breathing people. You have to admire people like that, you really do! And just hope that they find another way of getting their music noticed.

In A Thousand Years: What does the future hold for social networking?

It’s hard to imagine social networking going away. Like the post office or telephone they are simply a part of life now. Many websites and platforms that aren’t primarily social still have a social networking element to them. In a way, it’s simply another string to the technological bow. But in my opinion it’s a game changer (I know, we all hate that cliché!) for musicians, and for anyone who is creative and wishes to make their art findable.

We’ve all read about how some extremely famous artists (if I mention Justin Bieber will it put this post up the rankings?) have made their careers solely by virtue of social networking platforms. And sometimes it’s even true. But for every megastar who has shot meteorically to worldwide fame, there are a thousand creative musicians who have slowly and steadily gathered many friends and fans who are hungry for good music.

And the good news is that, unlike major record companies, unlike the press, unlike radio and TV, these social networks are available to all!

Of course, none of this applies solely to people who had previously considered themselves “past their use-by date”. It’s just as important for most younger musicians. But I feel that examples such as mine are illustrative of the power in social networking.

Social networking is (or can be) important for almost every artist today! And even more so for every one who doesn’t have a record company, agent, publisher or other corporate entity to spread their music for them.

But for the non-touring, day-job-working, family-raising, or just stay-at-home artist, it’s absolutely essential and it makes possible what was previously impossible.

Twenty years ago almost every truly independent artist was severely restricted in their reach. Yes, there were a few early pioneers who kicked down doors and walls through sheer force of will. But with the advent of social networking the world became smaller – a lot smaller – for those of us who want our music to be heard beyond our own four walls.

Know Me: True fulfillment as a musician.

DC Cardwell's Some Hope CD

It still blows me away that (at my age)  I have become a singer-songwriter who releases albums!

That connection with the listener, and therefore the realization that my music is being enjoyed and appreciated, is the single most important thing for me as an artist. It’s worth more than money, by far. It’s what tells me what I’m doing is worthwhile!

Yes – I’m enough of an artist that self-expression is absolutely essential to me. And my motivation is, as I often say, “to make the kind of music that I want to hear.”

But beyond the actual act of making music, the most gratifying moment for me is when someone says to me, “Your song means a lot to me!” Or “Those words made me cry because I can relate to what you’re saying.” Or, “I can’t get that riff of yours out of my head!”  

Or, perhaps best of all, that most profound of inarticulate phrases, “Your music rocks!”

And the true beauty of social networks to me is that I get this kind of affirmation almost every day!

Now THAT is a result!

DC Cardwell

Listen to DC’s music here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Harrison in Graphite and Vinyl – from Marjorie’s archives

Marjorie was a huge fan of George Harrison right from the beginning of his solo career (when she was a very little girl). Here’s a nice portrait she drew of George for her ‘O’ Level Art submission. I recall she left everything to the last minute and did a whole lot of drawings the night before she had to hand them in. We still have the sketch book and it largely consists of this picture of George, a quick self-portrait (also below) and various items around her, e.g. a cup, her hands, her glasses, her boot, a banana etc. They make quite a nice couple, don’t they?

She still has the singles/45’s/7 inches (or what you young hipsters sometimes call the “vinyls” – ugh) to prove that she was a fan when she was just a little girl! She was much more advanced musically than I was at the same age.

You can see the full size version of her George Harrison portrait on our Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dc-cardwell/9381761109/.
I wish I had a video or recording of Marjorie singing one of George’s songs, but in the meantime, here’s me doing a ukulele & vocal version “Here Comes The Sun”, one of his two tracks which were major highlights of the Beatles final, iconic “Abbey Road” album.

Christmas Videos by DC Cardwell

“Christmas Must Be Tonight”

Originally by The Band, this song was written by Robbie Robertson and sung by Rick Danko on their 1976 album, “Islands”. In this video, I play regular acoustic guitar while Samuel plays a Baby Taylor tuned in the so-called “Nashville Tuning”.

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

From the poem “Christmas Bells” by Longfellow. We decided to perform this in a style heavily influenced by The Byrds, particularly in the guitar figures between verses played by me, and Samuel’s extraordinary Roger McGuinn-like guitar solo. Available on DC’s album Pop Art.

The Day That A Child Appeared

A Larry Norman song from his “Bootleg” album. I played the piano on this recording, trying to get it as close as possible to how it is played on the original, which I’ve always felt was very inventive and clever.

Christmas Time Is Here

My simple piano version of this song by Vince Guaraldi which appears on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” both as an instrumental and a sung version. A hugely evocative Christmas tune for many people!

Crowded House are the reason we’re in Australia

 

If it weren’t for Crowded House we wouldn’t be living in Australia. Kinda. Sorta. Pretty much.

Marjorie and I came to the band late, not long before Together Alone came out, when I picked up Woodface somewhere on CD and we instantly realised that tracks such as It’s Only Natural and Fall At Your Feet were a kind of music we’d been yearning for but had never really managed to find except in our own heads. We lived in Vancouver, Canada at the time and when we moved there in 1988 from Northern Ireland we were simultaneously perturbed by the prevailing poodle bands on the charts and heartened by the fact that every time we turned on CFMI classic rock radio while driving we heard the likes of Steely Dan, Van Morrison and other artists who seemed forgotten back home, swept away by the punk that we ourselves had loved and followed.

We were both “pop music literate” and knew that Neil had been in Split Enz. We loved I Got You when it was a hit in the UK. I’d heard Better Be Home Soon in the car on this “classic rock radio” which seemed unique to the New World, and been struck by its Beatlesque qualities. And we both knew Don’t Dream It’s Over, of course, and had admired it vaguely from a distance. And I recalled seeing them once on the MTV VMA awards (see video) and being astounded that they seemed to be a real band, playing real instruments and singing a real song. With a Hammond organ! In the 80s! Ever since then I’d made a mental note to buy one of their albums, but it simply didn’t happen until I picked up Woodface at a bargain price in 1993.

Live in Canada

Sadly, drummer Paul Hester had quit the band just two weeks before we first saw them in Vancouver and Seattle, but they were still a revelation live, a band who played smart, concise pop songs in the spirit of the “jam bands” – they never played a song the same way twice and you never knew what was going to happen at any moment. Neil Finn was edgy in the sense that at any moment he felt the freedom to do whichever option popped into his head, whether it was to morph into a random cover, play an extended free-form guitar solo, swap instruments with the drummer, write a song on the spot based on the support band’s setlist, have the band jam along to a demo CD that an aspiring musician threw onto the stage…

Crowded House backstage pass! Yeah! Wow! Cool!Crowded House backstage pass!

We managed to score backstage passes for their Seattle show. The show was great but being backstage afterwards wasn’t the most exciting of experiences. However, I guess there was a certain thrill of anticipation and the pass itself is quite nice!

I was hacking gently into the hospital computer system at my work and discovered that the network was hooked into a mysterious entity, The Internet, involving such things as “gophers”, a search engine named “Veronica” and something called “email”. Much to my surprise I found that there was an active group of Crowded House fans exchanging information, and that I was even able to set up an email account on my home computer using Vancouver’s Freenet text-based email service. Marjorie and I joined this community, known asTongue In The Mail, and in fact we’re still in it (although it’s been partly superseded by the Frenz forum, which I also use).

Trip to New Zealand

At one point in 1995 Crowded House were about to tour New Zealand and there was a vague feeling in the ranks that they might split up soon and this could be their last outing. I vividly recall saying to Marjorie, “You should

Marjorie's Ticket for the show in Palmerston North, New ZealandMarjorie’s Ticket for the show in Palmerston North, New Zealand

go and see them!” while realising that this was completely unfeasible. However, she took me at my word and three days later she was in New Zealand! She’d made arrangements to meet up with various people we’d met online, and she traipsed around after the band. Some of the people she met were close to the band and managed to get her backstage where she met, not only the Crowded House members and Tim, but Mr. and Mrs. Finn senior. This was, needless to say, quite a bit of fun. She had coffee with Mike Chunn (Split Enz bass player) and Dave Dobbyn and generally was made very welcome on the other side of the world. Even back then we felt really old and grown-up, having two children and being well settled down, so it seemed almost ridiculous that Marjorie should be on such an adventure. We’d sometimes play our own gigs at Vancouver’s rock clubs, look around and think “we’re old enough to be these people’s parents and I’m sure they think we’re like old fogies from another era!” Of course, looking back, we were only in our early 30s and nearly 20 years later we’re still running after bands and and still playing to people who now could practically be our grandchildren!

Marjorie's photo of Crowded House in New ZealandMarjorie’s photo of Crowded House in New Zealand

But that’s beside the point. Marjorie had a stopover in Melbourne on her way back to Canada. Neither of us had ever been to Australia before, but Marjorie simply fell in love with this city. Another internet friend took her round to see some of the Crowdie sites, such as Paul Hester’s café and Neil Finn’s old house where he wrote many of the Woodface songs.

When she returned to Vancouver, Marjorie simply said “We should move to Melbourne, it’s really nice!” Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when you have two small kids and an elderly mother-in-law (Marjorie’s mother) who lives with you. But we got the permanent residence visa application forms and had a look at them. We’d already emigrated once so the forms weren’t daunting in the least. We figured out that I, as a medical scientist, would have a reasonable chance of being accepted, but that if you were over 35 you had extra “points” taken off which would effectively scupper your chances of getting a visa.

Just up the road from where we lived in CanadaJust down the road from where we lived in Canada

And anyway, Vancouver is “really nice” too, to say the least! It consistently vies with Melbourne for the title of “The World’s Most Livable City” and it’s undeniably beautiful and comfortable. And we loved the Canadian people and had many close friends. So we filled out the forms but didn’t bother sending them.

However, two weeks before I turned 35, I mentioned that if we didn’t do it now we’d never get a visa. So we sent of the forms just so that we could say we’d had a go. Very shortly afterwards we got a letter saying that we’d been accepted into Australia! No interview or anything! And with that piece of paper in hand, we decided we may as well go and see what it’s like to live in Australia.

We moved in 1996, two boys and aging mother-in-law in tow (she’s still living with us 16 years later!) and have never regretted it, despite occasionally longing for real mountains, snow, the smell of cedar and the warm hospitality of Canadians… not that Australians aren’t hospitable, but they’re different.

Move to Australia

We stopped over in Auckland on our way to Australia, and were wined and dined very generously by ex-Split Enz members Paul Crowther and Mike Chunn. (We’d previously met Paul Crowther at a Mutton Birds show in Vancouver’s Railway Club when we popped in after our own gig over the road.)

One of our ENZSO ticketsOne of our ENZSO tickets

As soon as we arrived in Melbourne we heard that there was to be an ENZSO concert in the Rod Laver Arena. Exasperatingly, we couldn’t afford to go but I got a job after only two weeks and the first thing I did was buy tickets. Due to a slight misadventure we arrived slightly late and it was a very bizarre feeling to walk into a packed arena-sized venue and hear a full orchestra playing Six Months In A Leaky Boat with the audience lapping it up!

We’ve seen an amazing run of Finn-related events here in the hometown of Split Enz and Crowded House. The most memorable – sorry, unforgettable – were the warm-up shows for the Sydney Opera House Farewell To The World mega-show in which we got to see Crowded House with Paul Hester two nights in a row, up close, at the intimate Corner Hotel, thus more than making up for having missed out on seeing him with Crowded House before he quit them. It was very much a “who would have thunk?” experience for us.

We saw two more impromptu reunions of core members Finn, Seymour and Hester, one at “Hessie’s Shed” in the Espy Hotel, St Kilda and one at the TV recording of a Neil Finn solo show. And then, tragically, Paulo was gone, his life snuffed out by his own hand in this very city. But that awful incident doesn’t erase our memories of the sheer, joyful, uninhibited exuberance that he personified on stage.

Ticket for Corner Hotel warm-up show, 1996Ticket for Corner Hotel warm-up show, 1996

We got to see another Crowded House warm-up at the Corner Hotel, this time for their comeback tour. And it was surprisingly magnificent! Neither Marjorie nor I have warmed hugely to the two albums by the reunified band (save for about three great tracks on the first one which are up there with their greatest work), but the live shows have been almost as good as ever. And it’s typically admirable of Finn and Co. that they haven’t just done the get-together-and-play-the-old-hits-for-the-money-on-a-nostalgia-tour thing, but they’ve done it as a real band, written new material and simply carried on from where they left off. We may never get another Woodface, but on the other hand, perhaps we will!

~ DC Cardwell

 

NOTE: This is a quick, rough piece that I wrote as a comment on another blog, but it got too big so I posted it here instead. I may well come back to it , tidy it up and expand (or maybe contract) it later on. It’s also subject to revision by Marjorie if I’ve got some of the facts wrong!