Tag Archives: Berlin

A new month, new resolutions

1 Feb

February 2013. After a slow January hibernation, I had the sudden morning sense of the months’ temporal velocity. And an ache over how few of my many ideas make it out of my brain or past a coffee and chat with a potential collaborator. I do a lot of things – playing concerts, a house concert series, a new booking agency, friends, longer tours, songwriting, writing, collaborative events – but could I be more effective, more engaged, more organised?

Firstly, the promotional parts of the post: I have concerts coming up and I’m testing new, different material. If you’re in Berlin, I’d love you to come along.

Tuesday 12 February at Das Hotel, Kreuzberg. 21:00. Free entry. Two sets.
Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 February – English Theatre Berlin. BERLIN-KREUZBERG DE. 12:00 – 16:00. 5€. One on One singer-songwriter shows produced by Sofa Salon and Everyone is from Somewhere.
Friday 1 March supporting Bocage at Amiga Club, Treptow. 20:00.
Thursday 11 April with Salon Band at Kugelbahn, Wedding. Salon Band are reinterpreting songs from my ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ album. 20:00.

I am in my cave at 9pm on a Friday night doing up a blog post on organisation, engagement and resolutions.  Honestly, I’m not in much of a bar mood at this time of year. Winter, especially a grey, wet one, is like a damp, heavy St Bernard sitting on the knees of my sociability, so I tend to use Winter to plan, book Summer tours, make lists, found new years’ enterprises and the planning meetings force me out of the house. A useful Winter Blues coping strategy.

Plans for this year include taking guitar lessons to polish up the things I can do and add to my skill set. Take Yoga classes on a weekly basis, but I am yet to leave my cave at 8am in order to do so. Buy a Hagstrom semi-acoustic guitar to boost my live sound. Write new songs for the new band format. Rehearse weekly alone and also with the band. Find a band residency. Promote my shows more effectively. Use my diary everyday. See more songwriters. Get my booking agency’s festival and club lists in some sort of order. Find a writing class. Leave Berlin for reasons other than touring. Get a weekly sauna. See my friends more.

You can see the list is endless. I am an inverterate list-maker after my father, I suppose but, like him, many of those things don’t get done in the intended time. A rehearsal is delayed. I’m behind with the booking. I am as yet Yogaless. ETC.

The problem is that I don’t really know where to go from my position of (limited) success. I think that issue is rather one of goal-setting and prioritising. I came to Berlin with several goals in mind – to make a record, to tour Europe, to create collaborative opportunities, to write better songs, live as a musician. I have achieved all of them, even the living as a musician goal, but it’s still breadline scale. I was told last week that I’m not actually successful. I disagree, but I am aware that I had fairly achievable expectations and it’s not the wider definition of success.

On the day-to-day level, and even with years of organisational experience, I still find myself adding yesterday’s unfinished work to today’s To-Do list without much in the way of prioritising. I still take what’s coming at me rather than looking towards a greater plan. I still feel under-confident when picking up the phone to find work.

How high should I set my goals? Should I am for high expectations and achievable goals or high goals and achievable expectations? But I either work everyday for small money or find some way of raising my value. I can have another year of longish, small-scale tours or invest the year into developing the band project. I can take guitar lessons or refresh my singing training, but not both. Where are the hours in the day to do enough booking, practice, writing, planning and socialising?

If I think about my goals now, in twelve months time, I would like:
– to have become a better guitarist
– to have two sets worth of new material for the band in the direction I am starting to articulate
– to have established a working rhythm, income and reputation for the booking agency
– to live by myself
– to be in a kick-ass live band
– to double my 2012 income
– to utilise my health care and get my teeth worked on
– to holiday to at least one of my dream destinations
– to be well towards confirmed US and Australian tours
– to have a handle on the UK touring market
– to play at at least one music festival
– to have dinner parties more often
– to see more live music
– to develop a promotional strategy
– to develop a business plan or at least a set of goals and logical steps to achieve them. A friend does an annual life contract with himself.

Do you have suggestions for organisation and goal-setting? How do you manage your time and your life? I’d love to start a conversation about this and add helpful strategies to the website.

Cheers,

Sam

Tonight Lovelite

6 Sep

I have strange feeling this morning. It could be too much Party, as I’ve been frantically sucking all the juice from the remaining warm weather. It could be too little sleep as I’m work on the six Berlin Music Week events I’m involved in, plus helping with Eric Eckhart’s amazing DIT: Do-It-Together project, plus rehearsals, plus trying to find time to write new songs, plus tour booking for December.

It’s those things, but it’s also the feeling I get when I’m about to achieve a goal. A kind of weightlessness and unreality mixed with a heaviness or weariness. The Hanged Man tarot card has been my guide in this recent part of my journey – a suspended state where worldly cares fall away and you have the opportunity to assess your path, hanging between heaven and earth. I’m dangling from that tree, pockets empty, hair streaming down and a small smile on my face. I’m taking in all I have achieved and all the help I’ve had to achieve these things. I’m wondering what to aim for in the future and I have some intriguing, unexpected opportunities before me.

In recording my album ‘Close as a Slow Dance’, and in the last 15 months of touring, I have succeeded in both the major goals I set when coming to Berlin. Tonight I will achieve two more goals – making Wasp Summer a band in which I play guitar and supporting people I really admire in a major music festival showcase.

Two Australian friends of mine in Berlin happen to be great musicians – Stuart Braun, a journo-rock dog and gun drummer and Simon Morrison, a writer and long-standing punk bassplayer. They’ve kindly joined me to make Wasp Summer a three piece and we’ve hammered out some semblance of unity in the last few weeks and given these six songs a band feel. To make it work, I’ve had to radically change my playing from singer-songwriter strumming to a more minimal style in this short time. Paradoxically, as the sound gets louder, I’ve had to pull my vocals back, condense them, to keep the songs powerful in this new context. But I hear what I need to do. I worried I wouldn’t know how to do this stuff. But I do.

Tonight, we debut the band at Berlin Music Week, in a showcase with some of my favourite Berlin musicians and people. I have had some press, my Sofa Salon concerts have sold out, the hard work has paid off. Tonight, I crank up the overdrive and tell six stories the best way I can with some good friends around me. This is honestly the work I live for. Making music, making events and playing live.

On the weekend, I got an email from Bernard Zuel, head music writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, saying his review of my debut album ran in Friday’s Metro. Here’s the review. It’s really nice.

CLOSE AS A SLOW DANCE (A Headful Of Bees/bandcamp.com)
Three and a half stars
An Australian in Berlin makes an album of alt. country in Italy, Switzerland and Argentina. As you do. Those oddities aside, Sam Wareing’s voice has sand in its grooves and her songs have sadness in their bones so that they are both fragile and resilient. Best of all the songs have a rolling certainty to them: they feel good and they feel right whether it is organ and violin laid on neatly, suddenly swelling backing vocals or the right tone to the acoustic guitars. Waiting has whiskey drama, Dancehall At Louse Point rides a big twang and On The Outside Of You aches. It’s more than country rock though as the powerful I Hope You’ll Mend has something of the otherworldly grandeur of Dead Can Dance. – Bernard Zuel

So every time I think that this can’t possibly work, something new comes along to tell me it can. Today, I am grateful for my gifts, my opportunities, my friends and collaborators. I am grateful that the hard work pays off in big or small ways. It’s not taking over the world, but it is making a life on my own terms. Today, every day, I have succeeded.

Thursday 6 2012
Wasp Summer + Eric Eckhart + Nina Hynes + Miss Kenichi + Ken Burke + DJ Lapkat
LOVELITE, Simplonstr. 38, Berlin-Friedrichshain. 20:00. 5€ .

Love,

Sam

Our Old Oblivion music video (test edit 2)

10 Jul

Our Old Oblivion (test video 2) from WaspSummer on Vimeo.

This is the second edit. After the first edit, I recorded some new scenes, played with some extra effects (screen in screen! overlay! blur transitions! – I know I have gone overboard with the blur transitions…). I have also recorded further new material with some new characters so I will do a third edit with this new material.

I asked advice of some professional filmmakers and they have offered to take me through the process of storyboarding which will hopefully clarify both my storyline and edits.

Our Old Oblivion shoebox theatre film clip

4 Jul

Our Old Oblivion (test video 1) from WaspSummer on Vimeo.

After yesterday’s post, I took some test footage of my shoebox theatre using candles for backlighting and Thai ball lights and a bicycle light for front lighting. This is the 2nd edit. I’d appreciate feedback on my experiments and how to do this better.

I have written video treatments for 2.5 songs from my debut album (see sidebar to hear the tracks!) but I have no budget to have a film clip made. When I was a kid, my Dad obtained books where you cut out and glued together your own scale model cardboard theatre and Victorian house. I couldn’t bear to cut the books up, but it stayed in my mind.

When I thought about making this filmclip, Our Old Oblivion, in particular, I thought shoebox theatre format would be easy enough to do and tell the story without being ultra-literal, so I’ve made the set (a dirty, cheap motel) and my cast (the ‘I’ in the song, the ‘he’ in the song and ‘his’ ‘friends’ out of cardboard, gaffa tape, tracing paper, pencil, black card and photocopies.

What do you think? I’d love some feedback on my test clip.

You and I, we’re as close as a slow dance

3 May

Dearhearts,

I am finally here. At this moment. It feels a little like taking acid because I’ve wanted it so long that it’s become quietly surreal. It’s unimportant why it took so long, just that it’s done. I’m really happy about it.

After a year of dreaming about sounds and visual inspiration, mixing, discussing the artwork on Skype, researching online sales options and various phonecalls to the pressing plant; after failing to find out why GEMA (Germany’s APRA) wants to charge me to make my own record; after all the fun bits – recording in Italy, the photoshoot, the production notes and songwriting, my lovely rootsy songs, products of my work since 2002, are finally in shareable form. I would describe it as Alt.Country Folk and will say that it was inspired by Martha Wainwright, Neko Case, Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson amongst others.

Tomorrow, my first solo album ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ (through A Headful of Bees) goes live into the world on CD Baby and Bandcamp with pretty digipack CDs to follow next week.

 

Please, have a listen to the album on Soundcloud, share with friends, buy it if you haven’t already pre-ordered (IndieGoGo funders, rejoice – they come, and with it, further gifts!). Curiously, ‘gift’ auf Deutsch means ‘poison’, but no poison here.

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THANK YOUS
There are many, many people to thank for inspiring, working on or funding ‘Close as a Slow Dance’. Some to start, Mark Steiner for the connections and confidence, Henry Hugo for his production, thoughtful arrangements, contacts and generosity, Marcelo and Toto in Buenos Aires for the final sound, Mum for her good wishes, support and rent assistance, Damian Stephens (design), Jan Bechberger (photos) and Elizabeth Delfs (styling) for the lovely artwork you’re seeing, Susanne at Interdisc who shows such care for her clients’ CDs, Sascha, Dam, Justin and Darren for inspiring the songs, Michelle, Nicho, Chez, Naz and Lena – my Council of Ladies who always counsel courage, and those who, knowingly or not, gave a well-timed wise word to inspire this album – David Creese, Julitha Ryan, Sean Simmons and Bron Henderson, Andreas Lautwein, Cameron Wilson, Eric Eckhart, Matthew Barker, Ola Karlsson, Ben Revi, Jen Hval, Sean M. Whelan, Emilie Zoey Baker and Guy Dale. And the musicians who were so kind and surprised me with what the songs could be: Fabio Gallarati, Stefano Caldonazzo, Paolo Zangara, Vicki Brown, Henry Hugo, Leigh Ivin and Julitha Ryan.

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SHOWS
I’m doing two album launches, a club show at Heroes in Neukölln on International Star Wars Day – Friday May the Fourth – and a special Sofa Salon house concert/birthday fest at my place on Friday 11 May. Email berlinsofasalon [aet] gmail.com for reservations.

Plus I’m doing house concerts and club gigs across Germany and France through late May and June and a whole heap of Summer gigs. If you would like to host me for a house concert, email waspsummer [aet] gmail.com. Those folk who bought Skype or House Concerts, I will be in touch in the next week or so.

Links:
Soundcloud (listen)
Bandcamp (buy)
waspsummer.com (info)

Album Launch

13 Apr

Album News

cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

first look at full cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

I just got the artwork for the album back from my wonderful graphic designer, so I’m all set for getting the album pressed into shiny digipacks. There’s a preview. What do you think?

I’ve decided on two Berlin album launches – an intimate club show at Heroes Neukölln (Friedelstraße 49  12047) on International Star Wars Day, May the Fourth (be with you) and a Sofa Salon house concert for my birthday on May the Eleventh. Then I’m out on tour. Check the current dates below.

Please have this free Bandcamp download of debut rockabilly-flavoured single ‘Dancehall at Louse Point’ to help me celebrate the record’s release or just listen to the song.

Tour Dates

Apr 24, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Club der polnischen Versager – ANZAC Eve: Berlinerin Aussies & Kiwis w/ Sandra Serala & Lavender Drake & Kate Camp

Apr 26, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Ufer Cafe – Wasp Summer & Lena Tjäder w/ Lena Tjäder

May 4, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Heroes – Wasp Summer at Heroes

May 11, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Sofa Salon – Wasp Summer Sofa Salon Album Launch and Sam’s Birthday

May 26, 2012 – Thionville, LOR (FR) @ le Nimby – Wasp Summer’s ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 6, 2012 – Paris, IDF (FR) @ Pop In – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 9, 2012 – Blaison-Gohier, PDL (FR) @ Eric’s House – House Concert for Eric’s Birthday

Jun 22, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ PANDA Theatre – Berlin COMPASS: Summer Edition

Jun 29, 2012 – Hamburg, Ham (DE) @ Makrele – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 30, 2012 – Kiel, S-H (DE) @ Gaby’s House – Wasp Summer in Kiel

Dancehall at Louse Point

5 Apr

New, free single download

I am so delighted to be able to bring you Dancehall at Louse Point, the first single from my debut solo record Close as a Slow Dance. In Gold Coast parlance – I’m stoked as! No, it wasn’t named for the PJ Harvey/John Parrish album per se, but the song was always called Dancehall and the ‘at Louse Point‘ just seemed so appropriate to the theme of a Fifties dancehall singer trying to get over a louse who broke her heart. Please have this free Bandcamp download to help me celebrate the record.

Single launch

Tonight, I play the Berlin launch show at Laika (Emser Str 131, Neukölln) with another ex-pat Australian, Jason Kenny, who launches his album Fugitive. Doors at 19:30. Music at 20:00. I’m on at 21:00. The after-party is at Bethanien in X-Berg.

Album launches – May the fourth be with you!

I’m doing two Berlin album launches, a club show at Heroes in Neukölln on International Star Wars Day, Friday 4 May AND a special Sofa Salon house concert at my place on my birthday Friday 11 May.

Plus I’m doing house concerts and club gigs across Germany and France through late May and June and a whole heap of Summer gigs. If you would like to host me for a house concert, email waspsummer [aet] gmail dot com

Link

To celebrate the first snow, a carol

17 Dec

As the snow falls here in Berlin, and after a big night that started with ‘A Fairytale of New York’ and ended with ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, I decided to wish everyone a festive season by creating a secular version one of the more beautiful carols, O Holy Night. I’ve made 500 free downloads available.

Much love to you and yours,
Wasp Summer x

 

 

A Different Order, A Surprise

7 Dec

I was in a bar, CCCP, in Mitte. It used to be around the corner on Torstraße and I remember it as the smokiest bar in the world. Once I tried to find a friend in there and came out alone, unable to see and wearing an astrakhan coat of smoke. Now, they’ve jazzed it up. It’s a cocktail bar. If you were Putin’s security guards, you’d take your three nubile girlfriends here. Pictures of gangsters, like boxers, only with guns. A ponytailed DJ geeking on men’s voices, men’s stories.

I ask for a Lemon, Lime and Bitters. I have to explain it. Melisa says getting one in Berlin is just as bad as trying to get a Mocha Coffee. I explain it to the dezent barman, a dash or two of bitters on the ice, pour over lime cordial, or lime juice, and top with lemonade. No booze, no worries.

He comes back with a wonderful concoction all pink and orange, richly sweet/sour and medicinal with a veritable palm crown of mint garnish. It’s delicious. No-one wants any because it’s non-alcoholic. When we go to the smoking room, we’re told there’s no tab and we have to pay. I get out my 3€. He asks me for 8€. 8€? For a non-alcoholic drink? It’s got bitters and Jägermeister. Wasn’t it meant to be alcoholic? Not normally, but it was so, so tasty. Suddenly everyone wants a sip. He cuts me a deal. 5€. Decent.

I ask him for the recipe.

CCCP Lemon, Lime and Bitters
Muddle lime quarters in a tall glass. Add lime juice and sugar syrup. Add a few dashes of Angostura Bitters and Jägermeister. Top with lemonade. Add mint garnish.

The Stylist Speaks

28 Nov

In the mud and the dirt

Blog about the photoshoot for the forthcoming Wasp Summer debut album by designer/stylist Elizabeth Delfs: http://bit.ly/w4snNo