Unfulfilled dreams….and unrealeased tracks!

 

We all have them….dreams and goals that never happened, or to stay on the positive side, dreams that hasn’t happened…..yet!

Procrastination-Doodle

 

Today I was going through some of my backup-disks to find some old tracks from Keep Of Kalessin because there’s been a glitch at the Official Webshop so some people haven’t recieved the download links when bying MP3’s.

So to fix this problem I need to upload some files again and I started looking for them on my backup disks. But when I did so, I found so many other files….so much music that is just sitting there….on my disk, unfinished, unreleased.

I have wanted to release many of these tracks for years and some are even decades old songs that I still think deserves to see the light of day. For someone like me it’s really frustrating to feel that I never really tap into the full potential and I guess some of you guys could relate to this!

I know a lot of musicians who are the same way and who end up extremely frustrated because they have hundreds or even thousands of songs on their computer. There’s just one problem. Most of these songs lack something, some piece to fall into place, to be done! Like 100% done!

For me, some songs lack a proper mix, but I don’t feel comfortable in doing the mix myself so I’ve just stalled the process. Many songs lack vocals, some are missing an ending or a middle part. So basically these are all great ideas, but they’re never really finished. Why? Because in most creative work 90% of the song/art is just 10% of the actual work! And the last 10%…..you know the last riff, the ending, the one lyric that you’re not satisfied with or the middle part that is not sitting right, all this, even though it’s just a small thing to fix is normally 90% of the work! Because the first 90% doesn’t even feel like work. But when you’re about to finalize the product it becomes work…..and it’s down right boring! So it’s suddenly easier to move on to the next project or song and do the “fun” work, the creative process of beginning something new!

I often see this in creative work, but also amongst businessmen. The risk though, is that you’re jumping from one project to another, without really finishing the project and maximizing the potential of it.

In recent years I’ve had to become painfully aware of this and also started saying no to many projects. Even though I’m this kinda guy who would like to be part of “everything” and do “everything”. But if you’re going to get something done, you need to focus! And you know what? I really suck at it! I suck so much at keeping focus that I need to have someone hit me over the head with a hammer to remind me once in a while!

Anyway, so today I went through my disk and I found so many songs, ideas and projects that I would really like to finish, but haven’t done so just because I haven’t been focused enough to say “ok, this month I will finish THIS project. Next month THAT project.” and then set aside time and a plan to actually do it. Much of this is also because sometimes, there’s an obstacle, something that just gets in the way.  And when you can’t find an immediate solution to overcome that obstacle you move on to something else instead of figuring out how to bash through that wall!

I have a goal of becoming better at going through those walls!

Procrastination is the enemy of all success and it is a demon that needs fighting on a daily basis!

I even procrastinated before posting this blog because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to share with you guys, but I decided to post some unreleased material here.

So here you go, some unreleased tracks that for some minor reasons never (or not yet) saw the light of day!

Headspin – Draw

Headspin – Self Deciever

Headspin – To the top

Arnt Gronbech idea, feat. Geir Mikael Reijners – symphonic song
– I wrote this song, but got help from my friend Geir Mikael to produce the orchestra. It has great potential, but never really finished it.

Alteration – The Beast Among Us
– I’ve had this dream about an electronic project for decades, but I never focused enough to find producers to help me with the sound and production as I’m not skilled enough to produce this kinda music. Even though I feel the ideas are good.

Alteration – unnamed song
– Electro-pop that I have great ideas for vocals on. Just never gotten around to finding that singer and producing this idea in a professional manner.

Arnt Gronbech – acoustic idea
– This is also a great idea, but I also have ideas on how to add vocals so I never got around doing that.

Arnt Gronbech – acoustic ballad
– Same as the “excuses” above.

Arnt Gronbech – piano ballad

Arnt Gronbech – guitar rock ballad

Arnt Gronbech – bonjovi-style
– I had this idea about a Bon Jovi type of song and went to get help from my good frien Jorn Viggo from the band Pagan’s Mind. Idea is great, but lacking vocals and minor adjustments that we never got around to finish.

In addition to all these ideas I have several disks full of symphonic music, acoustic music, electronic music as well as rock and metal.

And for now, my goal is to reach a level of success in business so that I can have my “dream home” with a studio where I can get all this shit done and every day try to better myself in regards of procrastinating!

Anyone else feel the same way as I’m explaining in this blog?

Hating the haters….

Today a friend of mine posted a comment on facebook. It was in norwegian, but I’ll translate it here:stock-vector-words-haters-never-win-269217320.jpg

“To be a fan of a band in the old days meant to really care about the music, defend the band at all times and really enjoy their existence…play air drums and air guitar every time your favourite song was being played…yeah, you name it.

Today it seems like everything has been turned around…that it’s more important to find errors, criticize and rather find excuses to stay at home instead of going to a concert when the “heroes” are playing right down the street. “We’ll catch them another time” you say. What happened with enjoying new albums and be happy that the artist still excist instead of analyzing, thinking and concluding that “it’s not good enough this time either”. I almost daily hear people that there is no good music anymore…WRONG! There is too much great music being released. So much that we are actually spoiled.”

I really agree with my friend here. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and sometimes I’ve been almost expecting to see the entire metal scene implode in on itself.

Because, there’s more fans that use their time and energy on hating and talking shit about the bands they don’t like, instead of using that energy to positively support the bands that they DO like!

I’ve heard many artists feel the same way and some have even quit the bands or stopped touring because of it.

introspection

See beyond the boundaries, break your confinement, open up your dogmatic mind. Man over board, a lifetime reward. A life lived in hate will just seal your own fate! – KEEP OF KALESSIN – Introspection 2011

Yeah, yeah. I get it. We play in a genre where lyrics often revolve around darkness, aggression, hate and those negative feelings, but music is a creative force and now I’m just speaking from my own point of view that Keep Of Kalessin’s music has never been about feeding the darkness, depression or negative emotions. It has actually always been about empowering the listener with our music. Our lyrics also mention the fact that you should break free of dogmatic thinking and that you should be your own master. And this is liberation for us.

I guess all the hatemongering from the bands really started to affect the listeners for real and I think it’s time we re-evaluate this.

Let’s liberate the scene together. Imagine how much further we would come if we supported the bands that we love! Imagine how much more could be created if we stopped holding everyone back. If the fear of someone “destroying the metalscene” just went away. A better fellowship with everyone and a more positive attitude towards the things we know nothing about. Because there are a lot of people (including me) that have said too much negative things about music that they really didn’t even give a chance.

And let’s face it, it’s not Darkthrone with their new black ‘n roll album or Keep Of Kalessin entering in the Eurovision Song Contest that is ruining the scene. It is the norms of confinement! The unwritten laws of what’s acceptable and not! It is all the hating and judgemental minds! For every word or negative comment you write, it takes 100 positive to give back the energy that you just stole from that artist.

So I hope that we can all start to think more and look inwards to limit the time and energy we spend on talking down someone and instead start using that same energy on positively supporting the artists that we love!

And here I am….hating the haters. Time to shut my mouth and do something productive!

I’ll start by giving my support to one band that I truly LOVE everything about, but because they’re very different they have gotten way too much shit in their careers. And that band is Bal-Sagoth! I wish they would come back with a new album and a show! I would travel across the globe to see them!

Who’s your underdog band that you truly love?

10 things you might not know about ARMADA!

armadaOur ARMADA album was released on April 3rd 2006 and even though you hear the expression “times flies” a lot, I must admit that realizing that it’s already 10 years since we released this album makes me both happy and scared at the same time!

I’m happy that this album stood the test of time and we still hear from fans that this album really made an impact on their lives, their musical taste and on the metal scene worldwide. People from other bands that we look up to often talk about this album as an inspiring piece of music.

On the other hand, it makes me a bit scared that time flies by so fast and sometimes you feel that you haven’t really moved an inch before you really start to think about all the single moments that you’ve experienced throughout those years! Which of course is plenty!

But let’s bring nostalgia to the table and let me share with you some of the things you might not know about this album and the process of producing it.

  1. When we were supposed to record the pre-production, Vyl came to the recording sessions so hung over that we only managed to record Winged Watcher and Many are We because he was totally unable to blast or play the double kickdrum. And even those songs didn’t sound very good. We said “oh, well. Let’s get everything else done in the recording sessions”.
  2. The process of recording the album took 8 months (yes, that’s 8 MONTHS!) longer than expected. This was mainly due to the fact that the band didn’t perform up to par and we were struggling to get the instruments recorded. We were, however, getting along with the owners of the studio which resulted in a lot of partying during our real studio time, which again resulted in the fact that we had to use whatever free time they had between other recording sessions because we had used up all our money.
  3. The studio went bankrupt just after we had finished our recording. We hope, and believe, that it wasn’t “only” our fault! 😉
  4. The title ARMADA was taken from the movie “The Chronicles of Riddick” and you can hear a sample from this in the title track where the commander says “Get my armada off the ground”. This movie as well as the movie Alexander were big inspirations for the album.
  5. The ARMADA title was decided on very early in the process and I had a vision of how the title track should sound. But when I was writing songs I always felt that “this is a cool song, but it’s not ARMADA!”. I remember thinking this for Crown of the kings, The Wealth of Darkness and The Black Uncharted. Until one special night at around 11pm, I took one chord and I felt goosebumps all over my body…..because in that moment, I knew that THIS was it. It was happening now! The best song I’ve ever written was about to manifest itself on my guitar! I then spent 8 hours writing the song. Without recording any of it. I just made the entire song in one go, with all the passes and details right there and then. And I remember calling my brother at 7am after I was finished, saying “I’ve done it! ARMADA is written!! And it’s fucking insane!!!”. Haha. I have never been more excited about a song and I remember this as something special because I’ve never written an entire song with all passes and details like that in one long session before or after. It was truly something unique and I also think that this song is something truly unique!
  6. Even though the band was struggling in the studio, some of the extra time used was because we did not have a singer when we entered the studio. It wasn’t until after we had recorded everything that we started looking for a singer. I had a vision about how I wanted it to sound, but when we started testing singers, I really had my doubts that this album would be any good. When we found Thebon, we decided to go with him, but during the recording process, we were struggling a lot. We were testing many different styles and at some point I remember talking with Rune (the producer) and I said that I wanted to release the album as an instrumental because I felt that the vocals were fucking up the atmosphere and not adding to it. I’m glad that we continued to work with Thebon and I also remember when he nailed the first verse on Crown of the Kings. In that moment I felt a huge relief and I now felt confident that we were actually going to get this album done!
  7. Because the studio sessions were really difficult and that we used a lot more time than expected, it was impossible to plan anything in regards to a release and video etc. Because of this we ended up doing a video to Into the Fire, which was not the song I wanted to do a video for, but it was the only song that we managed to finish the vocals on in time. We also hadn’t decided on a concept or title for the song so it was truly rushed and I remember we finished some of the lyrics actually after the video was recorded. The dude doing the video however, ran away with the money so the video was never even finished. Even so, the video was leaked to the internet and it looks damn ridiculous and should’ve never been released! The song I wanted to do a video for was actually Winged Watcher, but like I said….we didn’t have this one finished when the video sessions took place. Didn’t matter in the end though, since there basically was no video that got finished.
  8. When the album was going to be released, Tabu Recordings changed their label manager 3 times in the process of the release. We were struggling like crazy to keep any momentum of the marketing and distribution. We had this great album and we had great response, but none of the record stores had the album the first couple of weeks of release. It wasn’t until later that we managed to start pushing some copies. And remember, this was before Spotify! 😉
  9. The actual BPM on Vengeance Rising is 185, but at the fastest part we’re playing 16th notes in triplets. Which means that the actual kickdrum and guitar is running at 185 x 6. Which is an actual BPM of 1110! No wonder we were struggling with the recordings. :p
  10. When touring for the album, I played two shows a night as we supported Satyricon and I was their live guitarist at the time. I did my show with Keep Of Kalessin, ran back stage and put corpsepaint on, changed my shirt and got back on stage with Satyricon. I played 64 shows in 34 days!

So there you go! 10 things you might not know about the times around Armada.

I’d love to bring this whole era back on stage and I have some great plans on how to do that, but we’ll see what we can do about it in the next few months.

thanks to everyone who’s been supportive of Keep Of Kalessin throughout the years!

all the best,
Arnt Obsidian

 

New KEEP OF KALESSIN EP!

Today we’re sending out links to our new EP called “Heaven Of Sin” to everyone who signed up for the Keep Of Kalessin Cashback Card!

Keep Of Kalessin - Heaven Of Sin - Cover by Simon Bossert

Heaven of Sin artwork by Simon Bossert

The EP consists of three tracks that we recorded during the Epistemology recording sessions, but we felt that these songs didn’t quite fit on the album. Not because they’re not good enough, but when you write an album you kinda wanna stick with the whole concept and keep the correct kind of flow throughout the album.

The tracklist on the EP is as follows
1. Descendant – The Legacy of Kings
Fact about this song is that I wrote it for the Eurovision intermission that we did with Alexander Rybak. You can hear in the middle part that there’s a lot going on with violin and guitar. This song was actually written for the intermission we were going to do and I even showed it to the production team in early stages. However, since Reptilian was so fresh and had just been released, we had to keep promoting that album instead of “moving on” too fast with a new song. So we edited “The Divine Land” instead and did that together with Alexander Rybak which I think turned out to be a great performance!

The theme of the song, as you can see from the title is going back to Armada and Kolossus albums and building on some thematics from that era. Should be a nice little trip back in time for fans of those albums!

2. Typology
This is a track that I wrote in Spain back in 2012 and it’s very different from what you normally hear from Keep Of Kalessin. I write a lot of different types of music and it’s sometimes hard to find ways to release these songs. I think this one turned out pretty cool and I think it can be a great song to play live actually. Because it will help us break up the blast beats and add some groove to the show.

The title also stands out, like the song, but is also a simple reference back to the Epistemology album.

3. Heaven of Sin
This is a typical Keep Of Kalessin “ballad” like “Dark as moonless night”.
I had this song lying around for ages. If you attended any of our shows many years ago and got to see a soundcheck or linecheck, then you may have heard this main riff as I used to soundcheck with it all the time. 🙂

Everyone who signed up for the Keep Of Kalessin Cashback Card will get this EP for free today!

If you didn’t manage to sign up and still wanna get it, no worries. Just head over to http://www.keepofkalessin.com/#!fanclub/cfvg to sign up and remember to also sign up for the Cashback Card after you get the registration e-mail.

Once you’ve signed up you will get the EP and all other items for 70% off from our webshop!

Hope you like it!

Blackhearts premiere

This Friday we attended the world premiere on the Blackhearts documentary during Kosmorama, Trondheim International Film Festival.

The documentary is a movie about some black metallers journey towards reaching their dream of putting out albums and playing shows in Norway.

I have a small role in the documentary and the contrast between us, combining quite normal lives with touring, and the fans from abroad living only for black metal is quite clear. And in fact quite funny at times as well. The creators in Gammaglimt have actually made a movie about black metal that is very different than what you have seen before..

Seeing my face on the big screen in Trondheim’s largest movie theater was a new experience and especially when it’s a documentary it was strange and quite embarrasing seeing myself in that perspective. So I sank down in my chair a few times for sure. But I also see that I’ve come a long way since 2012 when most of these clips were filmed.

Here are some photo’s from the premiere:

Numbers regarding the Cashback Card!

After I posted the article about the Keep Of Kalessin Cashback Card earlier today, the response has been overwhelming! And I’m also starting to think how much this can actually benefit a small band like ours.

Check this out:

Spotify pays out around 0,003 euro per stream. This is divided between the record label and the band. So the band is left with around 0,001 – 0,002 euro per stream

If a holder of the Keep Of Kalessin Cashback Card buys something at Carrefour for just 1 euro, we get 0,005 euro! So it’s more than double what we get from a stream! The cardholder saves money, we make money. This is actually quite insane, but it’s brilliant!

Can this be a solution to small and medium sized bands struggling to make ends meet?

It’s no longer any secret that most bands out there are struggling to make ends meet.

We see bands of quite considerable size posting articles about their economic situation where band members are working two jobs to finance their musical passion in life. We see article upon article about bands calling it a day and choosing a secure economy instead of “living the dream” on the road.

As a touring musician for almost two decades I truly know the challenges a band faces when it comes to their economic situation in 2016.

In my 20’s it was cool to play in a touring band and it didn’t matter too much if I didn’t have money to pay my bills. It was so exciting to be on the road and play in front of thousands of fans that I didn’t even care about the bills stocking up at home.

But as life moves on, a stable economy becomes more and more important and not many artists manage to keep going through their 30’s when it’s not so cool to be broke and unable to support your family any more.

In the 80’s and 90’s bands for the most part had 3 sources of income:

  1. Album sales
  2. Merchandise sales
  3. Concerts / Live performances

As merchandise is mostly sold on shows, it’s important to understand that the only residual income of these three was in fact the album sales. You recorded the album once, and had royalty checks for those albums two to four times a year….every year for as long as the label was able to sell albums.

This meant that when you took time off touring to enter the studio, you still had something generating money. This is the beauty of residual income. Residual income is the only type of income that can generate some kind of freedom in life as it is not determined by the time you put into it, but it’s a job that you do once and get paid for over and over again.

And this is what makes it so damn hard for artists nowadays. It’s because the residual income is gone.

First you have to understand that ANY business that suddenly loose 1/3 of their income, normally go bankrupt in a very short time. Bands have lost one of the three income streams and it hasn’t really been replaced by anything else.

But you also have to consider the fact that this was the only source of RESIDUAL income! Which actually means that it’s more than a third of it. It was the only income that it was possible to build over time. You could record an album to start a residual income stream. Then when you recorded the next album, you started another income stream. And by the third album you would have a snowballing effect on it as for every album you released, you were able to sell a good amount of catalog releases.

Today you’re basically back to making money in “ordinary” terms like selling your time, however, as a band you have one hour a day where you are able to make all the money for you, your band, your crew and all tour expenses and on top of that make a living. All that income needs to be generated in the one hour you spend on stage + whatever you spend at the merchtable during the evening.

In the last couple of years I’ve made it my mission to study residual income. I’ve become quite obsessed with the thought of setting up income streams instead of selling my precious time in an ordinary job as I think this is the only way to freedom in life and as a musician it’s almost impossible to keep a job while having a fairly active band because you need to put time into the band and you need time off work sometimes for months if you’re going to keep touring. Not many jobs give you that option.

So there must be a way to fix this, right?

I think there are several ways for bands to increase their income, be smarter with the money they earn as well as investment options and possibilities out there, but there’s a huge lack of education in this area.

In later blog entries I’m going to talk more about the different types of options, but now I’m going to present one idea to you guys.

One idea that I’ve been thinking about for almost two years now and I feel that now is the time to let you in on it because as with all opportunity, there’s a window that is closing.

Check this out:

The Keep Of Kalessin Cashback Card!

In my mind, Cashback Solutions from the shopping community Lyoness is a brilliant way to generate residual income for bands, but I’d like to know if there’s something the fans would accept?

Utkast 45301062

We give you this card for free. All holders of this membership will recieve 20% off on any item in our webshop, concert tickets and merch as well as a free song when you sign up to our fanclub which is powered by Lyoness, the world’s biggest shopping community.

In addition to this, you can use this membership on about 400 000 shops worldwide. Especially in Poland, Austria, Italy and Estonia, the network of shops is beginning to be in great number. You can use this card on all Carrefour in Poland and get 5% cashback + shopping points on all your daily groceries which should be enough incentive on it’s own. But more than that, you know that every time you save money on shopping your daily needs of gas, groceries, clothes, music, web shopping and more…..you support the band!

At the time of writing this post there are almost 400 000 shops worldwide where you can use this membership to save money. We’re talking about big chains like Carrefour, Lidl, Sears, iHop, Applebee’s, Red Lobster, Statoil, Shell, McDonalds and more. Many of them are still on giftcard solution, but more and more are moving over to the cashback card in the months to come. In addition to this there are more than 50 000 small and medium sized enterprises and the community is growing with a new SME every 10 minutes! As if this was not enough, you can save money on more than 5000 online shops worldwide incl. Nelly.com, Boozt,com, Rock.com, Platekompaniet.no, AliExpress.com, Zalando.com, Hotels.com and many, many more.

So, the fans gets a whole bunch of benefits like mentioned above and the bands start making residual money on their fans saving money! It’s brilliant! Instead of being stuck with making money only on music and merchandise, we can now tap into the whole household economy of our fans. But not by adding to their household, but by helping them SAVE money on their household!

This also means that when you have a good fanbase that is supportive of the band by choosing to save money, the band will start to have a very solid income stream because people need to shop their daily groceries every day, every week, every year, no matter if we release a new album, a shirt or go on tour.

The amount of shops in the community is growing rapidly so there will be more and more options out there, but for now the four countries mentioned are the ones that are starting to set up big chains of gasoline and groceries, but more countries are coming in 2016 and 2017 so I truly believe that this can have a huge impact on the economy of small and medium sized bands! For sure, we should be open to look into possibilities like this in the market that is changing so rapidly.

Do you see the bigger picture here?

Your fans travel to your show, they fill up their car with gas and they use your bands cashback card to save 5-10% on gas. They go to hotels.com and book their hotel for the night. They save money on the hotel and you make money by them saving money! Your band is now making money not only on the show, but from their entire trip and their entire household.

Here’s an example of what’s possible to earn from these cashback-cards.

Let’s say that your band issues 1000 cards. It’s all free for the fans and we give away benefits in our webshops and on tour.

In the norwegian market we expect to be able to see an average of 5000 NOK to 10 000 NOK a month on these memberships when the infrastructure is up and running which is about 600 to 1200 euro.

But let’s keep it to a european standard and say that you’re able to issue 1000 of these cards and fans shop on average for 300 euro per month on groceries, gasoline, restaurants, bars, clothes, hairdressers, insurance, mobile phones, electronics and more through these memberships. The fans save 10-30% on their own shopping. The band makes up to 1% on their shopping volume. So in this case the band would make between 1500 and 3000 euro a month from these fans saving money. And this is still when you’re not touring!

Imagine if you as a band are able to issue 3000 cards, 5000 cards or even 10 000 cards?

More residual income means more time to focus on producing music, more time to go on the road, more money to put into shows etc. So this is a big WIN – WIN for bands and fans!

Morningstar Music is the acting management for Keep Of Kalessin and will be running a pilot for this project with 100 limited cards that can be used to save money on more than 500 big chains, 50 000 SME and more than 5000 online shops worldwide.

If you’d like to read more about it and participate in this pilot project, please go to http://www.keepofkalessin.com/#!fanclub/cfvg and apply! It’s 100% free and you’ll get our new digital EP for free on top of that! You can then also download the app to see all the shops in your area where you can save money.

Also, if you’re a band, label or management interested in more information about this project, please just drop us a line on mail@morningstarmusic.no and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information.

Hope you guys liked this post and feel free to comment! 🙂