Friday 21 May 2010

Consumers of the World, Unite, live, with loop pedal, and purple hair.

OK so it's not quite as shocking as MIA's new video, but it does feature a minority hair colour. Got to be worth a few Youtube views, surely.

Here is the first video footage in support of the new album. There are more on the way, but for now, check out a live rendering of 'Consumers of the World, Unite!'

'Consumers' will be the first single from the album. You may be familiar with Karl Marx's famous quote: "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains."

Here we are in the 21st century and the workers are away in another country, where the labour laws allow greater profitability and there are no unions. So today it seems that consumers are the sector in society with the power. We can bring about change through our buying habits: "Consumers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chainstores!"

Tuesday 20 April 2010

The winding road to album release: Latest news

I was supposed to be filming and doing a photo shoot this weekend. In the end the photo shoot got postponed, which worked out well since I was totally exhausted and it was chucking it down with rain all day.

The filming went pretty smoothly though:

Film guy Josh Klaassen filming "Consumers of the World, Unite... on Twitpic

Beautiful weather, beautiful room, did a nice live version of 'Consumers of the World, Unite!' complete with loop pedal, plus an interview for the EPK (electronic press kit).

I will of course be posting these when they are edited. Thanks to Josh Klaassen for the filming and post production, and Lauren for pulling this all together.

Since Saturday was cancelled I ended up spending much of the day uploading the album to Tunecore. That's who I'm using to distribute the album digitally. They need the tracks in very specific formats - bit rates, sample rate, and all that malarky, which took a bit of getting my head around. And the files are pretty big and take a while to squeeze up through the pipes and into cyberspace. So that was a few hours, and I still haven't finished!

I've also been working on layout of the album cover after receiving a totally excellent illustration from a friend in Athens (check out his other work at

I have decided I will offer the album in both digital and CD formats, since feedback from various quarters strongly suggests that people who still buy music often buy it on CD.

For me personally, this is a bit of a compromise, since the environmental impact of CDs is bigger than digital only. Still, the packaging will all be from recycled sources, containing no plastic, and the inks used will be organic and non-toxic. So I have found ways to limit the impact at least, while at the same time giving the album a decent chance to get out there in the world and be listened to.

I am actually quite excited to be getting another CD out. It DOES feel different to be creating something physical with music on it, rather than just a bunch of ones and noughts floating around on the world wide web.

Monday 12 April 2010

Initiate headless chicken mode

Even though the album isn't due out until mid-July, everything has to be rolling now so that I can get promo packs out to reviewers and radio in time, and start generating a bit of anticipation for when the album actually is available to buy.

It's quite a job, releasing your own album. I mean, being a musician is plenty of work in itself - maybe get a blister on your little finger, maybe get a blister on your thumb - but when you add all the other stuff it really mounts up.

It's really mounting up at the moment. I've got an illustrator friend working on the album design, shooting videos next week (which means we've been having meetings to work out what to do and how to do it), photo shoot in the next couple of weeks (so I've just been out buying clothes and I'm gonna need a haircut I guess), researching physical and digital distribution options, building a website for the album, writing promo babble and press releases - I can see why record companies were invented.

Oh yes, and I've got a Canadian and a UK tour to organise too.

At the same time, I'm developing a new live set, to include my shiny new loop pedal, and probably a harmonica mic, so I've been playing about with that quite a bit.

I've also got an MA dissertation to get in for the end of May - with LOTS still to write!

And living in community means meetings and spending time with people - a community isn't a building, it's something people do. Friday night was spent eating nachos and houmous and talking about how we can reduce waste. The goal is to get it to zero and I LOVE being around people who want to try to achieve this. We are going to be constructing a dedicated recycling room soon. Someone raised the idea of making it out of recycled bottles and stuff, a la Earthship. So that'll be cool!

Anyway, time to initiate headless chicken mode.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Opinion poll dancing (to music)

Have you ever bought a download? Do you prefer to buy CDs? Would you be prepared to buy a book with a download in it and try downloading for the first time?

Given that election fever is in the air (in the UK at least) and opinion polls are going to be coming out left, right and centre (hopefully more left than anything but I'm not holding my breath), I thought I would have my own.

I am hoping to release the album WITHOUT the option of buying it in CD format, because CDs are toxic and not recyclable, and 100,000lbs of them end up in landfill EVERY MONTH.

Instead I will produce a book of images, lyrics, illustrations and essays, with a download code for the album in it.

I have had mixed views on the feasibility this idea from friends in the industry. And I need to at least break even on this release and preferably make a little pocket money for what has been over a year of hard work so far.

So please share your thoughts, opinions and music-buying history. All wordage received with gratitude!

Sunday 4 April 2010

The Buddha said everything changes. I say fine, let's change everything.

I am now the proud owner of a full-body arctic camouflage suit.

I have decided to go with my gut. My gut is having visions. Last night's vision was me dressed as a soldier, standing in a forest for the photo shoot for my new album 'In Defence of the Wild'. Today I went shopping for an outfit.

As some of you will know, my first album came out on a UK-based indie label and had a few thousand pounds thrown at it. This second album will be supported by a couple of labels (one in the UK and one in Canada) but it will basically be self-funded. The upside of this is I can do what I like, promotion-wise.

So today I found myself standing in a shop in downtown Vancouver trying on army gear, while several young ladies from Mexico gave me fashion tips.

I am, in fact, a pacifist. A love soldier (the ladies in the shop found this amusing - I said it in order to justify my wearing multi-coloured sneakers with my arctic camouflage suit - a fashion no no, apparently).

But just because I don't believe in violence, doesn't mean I don't believe in conflict.

The current political and economic system is doing massive violence to this planet. For the benefit of all humans, particularly the children and the poor of the world, as well as the other species with whom we share the planet, we must say no.

We must get into active conflict with people who care only for their personal and immediate gain and we must force another way, non-violently, but effectively. I do not like to use force at all, but time is running out, and they will not listen to reason.

I am not talking about hatred for those in power. We must act out of love and compassion for all beings, including power-hungry, wealth-obsessed lunatics (sorry, that last bit just slipped out).

We must recognise the power we have as citizens and as consumers.

We can all make a contribution. My way is to sing, dress up as a soldier, and stand in a forest having my photo taken. And blog. And gig. And generally be in dialogue with as many people as possible on these important issues. And to come up with other solutions for living. And to live those solutions.

Right now, for example, I live in a cohousing community that recycles over 90% of its waste, uses greywater for the toilets, makes decisions by consensus, and is a multi-generational, multi-family 'village within a city' that is totally cool and I think is a good model for city living. Not only that, it's fun! (And it works - it's been going for over 10 years and there are plenty of others like it).

My cunning plan is to live in such a way that the current economic system is undermined (reduce, reuse, recycle, and practice mutual generosity with your friends).

By making active choices about the way we live, we can make a government that does not care enough about this planet and its people quake in its communal boots, as it is made irrelevant by an electorate who increasingly take charge of their own lives, and joint-govern their own communities by participating in making the decisions that affect their lives.

Democracy is not just putting an X in a box once every few years. The Buddha said everything changes. I say fine, let's change everything.

<a href="">Consumers of the World, Unite! by Padma</a>

Thursday 1 April 2010

The music that they constantly play, it says nothing to me about my life

I'm starting to look at booking a UK tour for later in the year. Where should I play? Who should I approach?

I care about music so much that most of it drives me insane. Most of what I hear on the radio makes me want to smash things up. So it is perhaps unsurprising that my music does not sit comfortably in the standard live music scene.

A room filled with beer-drinkers, chatting to each other about bugger all and checking out the opposite sex. While the musicians stand on stage and try to make an impression. They either play loud enough so that they can't hear what their friend is saying and are forced to jiggle in time to the drums, or look sexy enough or strange enough that at least half the audience look at the stage for a while.

What's the music like? What are the lyrics about? This is of secondary importance.

But sometimes you play a gig and the audience gets it. They are silent. They are concentrated and connected. There is what you might call a vibe. It's an amazing experience.

That is why I do what I do. At so many gigs I feel like one of those nutters standing about in Picadilly Circus, shouting my head off about Jesus, to people who don't even register that I'm there. But sometimes it's not like that. And right now I'm trying to figure out how to get more of those rare experiences on this tour.

My music is not entertainment (though it is hopefully entertaining). It is about communion, connection and change. It's about what we are doing to this beautiful Earth and why we should do it all differently. It's about my experiences of trying to walk a different path.

So I've decided I want to play outside of the standard circuit on this tour. If the mountain with not come to Mohammed, etc.

I need to be playing for people whose heart is open, who are not satisfied with the current state of the world and are aware that they are not satisfied. People who care about the planet and want to hear that they are not alone in this. People who don't want to yap yap yap about what was on TV last night, or what they just bought from Brent Cross (or whatever your local shopping centre is called).

If you are involved with a group or community that might fit this bill, please give me or my manager a shout (contact details are on my site at

And just so you can get a sense of where I'm coming from, here is a snippet from the new album:

&amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=""&amp;amp;amp;gt;This Land is Your Land by Padma&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;

Monday 29 March 2010

Totally Independent

This is a blog about my blog. My blog just got featured on the front page of The Independent website! Cool or what? Check it out: