As a musician, plugging my trade in the modern music industry, the importance of a visual presence quickly became evident. Sadly for dinosaurs such as myself, the emphasis on aesthetics has some sort of relevance to most music in this day and age. With this in mind, I reluctantly signed up to Instagram about 3 years ago.
What followed were 3 painful years of forced photos, #complete #misunderstanding of hashtags, unanswered messages, and a few 1 minute snippets of songs. Since the 22nd of December, my platform, much like certain aspects of my music, has lain derelict. Now, I try to make this blog a learning experience for all concerned, so for those of you who want a model for how NOT to run an Instagram profile, then go to @louisrivemusic on the platform. It is shite.
So outwith the slippery slopes of social media, the next accompaniment to all musical output has to be that hallowed 3 minutes coveted by Beavis and Butthead: The music video.
I (naively) always thought that in an age of such readily available technology, just throwing together a wee video would be ridiculously easy. This misconception is akin to thinking you can play professional football merely by having shoes, or earn a Michelin star by the virtue of owning a non-stick pan.
Recent voyages into the moving picture accompaniment to my tunes have resulted in one misspent afternoon, walking down one of those alleys for the bins with a moody look on my face. I was going for that kind of gritty-urban-Richard Ashcroft in ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ vibe, all pouty and serious like. However, the bleak reality exposed by the editing process,brought through some home truths as I stared at my artistic creation, the self-titled:
‘Some bloke hanging out by some bins in Glasgow’
If, like many musicians, you are planning to make a homemade music video, then I think setting is a key aspects to take into account, thus Glasgow City Council’s municipal services probably don’t cut the mustard.
Instead, flying the flag for canny location shooting is Randolph’s Leap with ‘Up in Smoke’. The rugged beauty of the Scottish coastline trumps the questionable charms of G11’s bin vennels each and every day. There’s a lot to be said for Scottish countryside. Outwith the privatised, grouse slaughter zones, it’s actually very pleasant to look at.
The song came out in November of last year, and it’s message of everything going up in smoke still rings true to a current crop of musicians for whom playing live is quickly becoming a distant memory.
Hail to the waves that crash and roarUp in Smoke
Hail to the sun we’ll see no more
Yeah, that about captures west coast Scotland in a nutshell, a quick reminder of the all-encompassing grey that I readily embraced when returning to these shores from Barcelona. Artistic work featuring the theme of pointing out the obvious deficiencies in the Scottish meteorological pattern could be a genre on its own, and ‘Up in Smoke’ follows a long tradition that goes back to Tacitus and takes in Walter Bower, Alistair Grey, Travis and many others. Randolph’s Leap continues this fine practice, no doubt aware of the historical significance of the eponymous Thomas Randolph, a non-musical addition to the 8-piece, whose original 14th century leap was undoubtedly made in crap weather too.
Anyhow, it’s dead catchy; the song that is. From a touristic point of view I feel that it gives a grand overall picture of modern Scotland (the song) connected to the Hollywood idyll of Caledonia (the hills and glens etc), certainly an improvement on my jittery walk through the bins that day.
I write irreverent articles about anything to do with Scottish independent music. If you want me to do just that for your song then get in touch.