“Off on your travels again?”

88177443_127280722048331_6657968601867223040_n

I’ve been bouncing about a little again. “Off on your travels again?” as my Nan would say. Back on the road. Which is where I’ve always felt comfortable, even if it’s a night sleeping in the car eating tiger bread and spinach for dinner, I really enjoy it. The element of the unknown and adventuring is there. Since the last blog post on here, I’ve been across to Carmarthenshire, then to Worcestershire and now I reside in Oxfordshire, I think then heading back that way again – to Worcestershire and then to Carmarthenshire.

Because in Carmarthen, I was fortunate enough to have a cosy chalet offered to me by a friend Ken, who owns the Pantyrathro International Hostel. Having stayed there in the summer and performed a show there, Ken said: “anytime you need a place to stay you’re more than welcome to come by here, in exchange for a gig or two“. Arriving on the 4th of Feb, I spent a couple weeks here. An incredibly quiet and relaxing space to be in. The chalet park itself was empty, it was an all-round peaceful place. Waking up to the sound of sheep and bird songs, a morning view of the rolling hills of Carmarthenshire. It served as a space to heal some mental wounds and to reestablish a drive to create music and step back out on the road again. Close by to the town of Carmarthenshire, busking was mostly done there, with some trips to Haverfordwest and Swansea. I can’t wait to go back there! Morning walks across the beach and through the rolling hills, then a space to write music and read plenty. It’s also so great to sit with Ken at the bar, grab a drink and hear about his travelling stories (he travelled across the world since the age of 15, running around meeting many and gathering; artefacts, art and material from all parts of the world, selling them in UK markets during summer, funding his travels for winter). 

84519127_2646581872241235_2223155272333918208_o.jpg

A goal here was to write some new songs and sing some words. Instead, I developed habits of songwriting and practising regularly. So there aren’t complete songs that I was hoping for, but seeds were planted and half-written songs were created. Which I am now developing as I busk. It’s an interesting way to develop songs, taking a small idea composed in focused practice and then improvising around it a bunch whilst out busking – testing different avenues for the song to venture down. Part of me still feels I sound the same and play the same songs over and over again, but I do see the development even if it is a little bit.

Below are some videos, taken from a busking set in Haverfordwest and one in Carmarthen. The second is an improvisation with a passing flautist, I never caught his name, he kind of just appeared, pulled out his flute and started jamming. He rode a bike that was an amalgamation of several bikes, colourful and mix-match. Supporting the XR flag on the back end of the bike, he came from the XR gathering that was happening just west of that busking pitch, a drumming parade around the town handing flyers to the locals. Carmarthen itself is quite green and forward-thinking, lots of vegan cafes, a zero-waste store, many independent establishments. It is such a lovely place, and with each busk, I would meet new people and have some really great conversations, the locals really seemed to appreciate my music.

“I’ve got no money, but I can give you a handshake!”
The kindness of a stranger is brilliant and hilarious 🙂

“Take everything you own and put it in your car, you can drive away, you can drive so far” – Newton Faulkner

Inked87644057_496661621236355_7034626423293739008_n_LI

 

That’s kind of what I’ve done. Packed all I own into my tiny car and started to drive away. I don’t own much and don’t plan to either, I try to minimise my possessions as much as I can, and avoid buying new things. Because there isn’t really anything I need or desire, other than; to create, explore, learn and connect with others. All I really need is my friends and family, the equipment to create and perform music, some good books and a mode of transportation – and a boatload of rice and beans.

I’ve been busking in Oxford from 23rd Feb till yesterday (27th). And from that created a lot of new musical ideas, experimenting more with my delay pedal. During last summer I made a habit of recording at least one busking set and uploading the entire set to this Bandcamp page;

26th Feb 2020, Cornmarket 7pm, Oxford by Chatfield Audio Journal

Revisiting that website I’ve uploaded and hope to continue doing so. I record at least one busking set per busking day and have no idea what to do with the backlog of it all. So in the form of this – ‘Audio Journal’, or an album of my favourites in ‘Captured Moments’, seems the better way. Or maybe never upload any of this music and just leave it to float around in the streets in the time I am there?

Here’s a more favoured improvisation from recent busking sets 🙂 Going for a more electronica sound.

I guess the point of this blog post was a brief catch up of the journey that has been had. I’ll aim to upload more frequently and with more interesting stories! 🙂

 

Mindfulness for Children in Stroud – Visit 01

Last Tuesday (1st October 2019) I performed some music at an after-school group – Mindfulness for Children in Stroud. A space for children around Stroud to relax after a day at school, to get creative, to learn about mindfulness through meditation and yoga and a place for them to be themselves and socialise with other children around their age. The children really seemed to enjoy having live music being performed, the first song – Patience – they all sat watching in silence. Here’s a little video clip taken by the group coordinator – Alice Lowrie;

It was so much fun. I met Alice at a campsite near St Davids, both her family and mine were camping on the same field, my Mum being quite a social person brought us together. Alice and her partner were intrigued by my music so I performed a few songs for them and their children. We exchanged Facebook contacts and kept in touch. I then noticed she organised this group and messaged asking if she ever wanted some music, I’d love to play!

Any excuse to go back to Stroud really, I love the place. I was originally recommend to go their by a Monk friend of mine – Keli – from Cardiff “Stroud is the best place in the world … (on a Saturday)”, and Keli has travelled all across India, so Stroud must be something special! Turns out it is – I love it! The first time I busked there a woman yelled at me whilst I was playing “Come every Saturday! Stroud needs your music!” – ha! That was on the 7th of September, I’ve been every Saturday since (except 28th September cause I was in Carmarthen).

The Mindfulness session started with a circle time, a chance to introduce ourselves and share what our favourite instruments were. A jar of golden glitter indicated who’s turn it was to speak. Then I spoke about what I do – I’m a street musician, a busker, I play music on the streets for people and sometimes people share a smile or some money. Followed by questions, but not really questions, turns out all the children and their parents were buskers too! They were all so overjoyed to put their hands up and make up stories about how they busked with violins or that they go busking with their Dad. It was more of a ‘Strouds Busker Meet-up’ group aha. It was brilliant.

After a few songs, the children got excited to doodle on the CD cases I brought with me. I continued playing whilst they ran off to sketch cats and rainbows and their own faces. A chorus of felt-tips scratching on cardboard accompanied the music, with the random outbursts of laughter and animal noises. I slowed right down and went as quiet as I could at one point, no-one was talking, just concentrating on their designs and the felt-tips scratching filled the room, it was quite a magical moment, I recorded the session and this song is available (send me an email if you’d like to hear =]).

mindfulness stroud

One boy, Ronnie sat right beside me as I played. Every time I finished a song he would ask “Can you do that again?”. Ahhh it was just brilliant, we all had such a nice time and Alice insisted that I come again to play. I’m hoping to bring my friend Theone along for some Maefield improvisation 🙂

Its such a nice group for the children to come after school, relax, be themselves and socialise with other children. The leader Alice is amazing, she’s doing an incredible thing for these children!

Be sure to check the Facebook page out and follow their journey, maybe you’re from Stroud and are looking for a group like this! Or maybe you’re also a travelling musician and would like to play an event like this! 🙂

Go go go – www.facebook.com/mindfulchildStroud


Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

If you’d like to support it further you can join me on Patreon. A subscription platform, where you donate a price of your choice, rewarded with different benefits, like exclusive tracks and postcards. Link below;

www.patreon.com/chatfield 

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Online Tips – paypal.me/jameschatfeld

Have a great day!

The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’ gig!

On the 27th of September I played a concert at The ‘Pantyrathro International Hostel’. Which is in South Wales, near Carmarthen. I stayed here a couple times this summer (2019), and connected really well with the owner – Ken Knuckles. Ken is an avid traveller and spent his childhood travelling with his family, then as an adult would travel across the world for 6 months at a time. We conversed a lot about travelling, it was incredible to hear his stories and he’s a great story teller. When Ken travelled, the internet wasn’t super prominent like it is now, so most of the time he didn’t know exactly what to expect from the places he visited. I’ve made this a habit to not look into too much detail about the places I’m going, to allow the unknown to surprise. I feel always knowing too much information can ruin it at times.

Every time I visited this hostel I would always meet new characters and connect with people from all walks of life, one of the may joys a hostel brings. Hostels for sure take introverts our their comfort zone, but it builds your ability to socialise and hold conversation. There’s always so much to be learnt by conversing with new people, we’ve all got lessons and stories to benefit one another. – a blog post about this Hostel


So after walking into the hostel with my guitars on my back, those at the bar asked me to play a song – they liked those songs – we booked the gig. The great thing about having a portable set-up means you can play on demand, anywhere. The great thing about music, you can fit it into almost any environment and provide entertainment and value to people, as music is cleansing for the soul in numerous ways.

We promoted the gig on local Facebook groups and flyers around the town. The turn out was 6 people, but it was amazing, it really was. Feeling rather nervous about the show, as I hadn’t properly gigged in some time. I feel like I don’t gig often, but that maybe because I felt too many fails from organising shows, spending so much time on building a set of songs specific to the gig, and no-one turning up but myself and the staff – ha! I guess it’s part of the trade, you just got to keep on gigging. So this time around I didn’t solely spend my time writing a new set of songs or postpone busking to practice for the gig, I just continued busking and noted any improvisations to revisit for the gig. So my set list contained a lot of instrumental songs with looping and space for improvisation. I did include a couple of songs with vocals, here’s one;

Which is actually one of the first songs I wrote with this dual guitar set-up. Back when I jumped into the trio of vocals/guitar/bass, part of me wishes I just stuck that out and kept on writing with vocals, but once again those moments of failure pushed me down. But I’m learning to just accept failure, ignore judgement and do that which makes me happy. So I have been writing with vocals more these past few months, I yet have any completed songs, but I’m on the verge of finishing a few.

With only a small crowd of people it allowed for conversations and connections to be made with ease. At times we had group discussions about travel, certain song stories and their confidence in me to travel the world and perform to many thousands in the future – who knows what will happen! It was full of laughter and smiling, which made it more comforting to play and feel good in myself. Taking the time to look up and share eye contact with everyone during a song really helps settle those nerves. Ken said he noticed how when I smiled whilst performing, everyone else would begin to smile, an infectious feeling. Smile at strangers more – it can highly impact someones day. 

I met Paul and Deborah, who we’re so kind to offer a place to stay whenever I visited Haverfordwest, even if they’re away I can camp in their garden, well that’s just brilliant 🙂 The following day they gave me a bag of goodies, as I reminded them of their son. Very lovely people. I met Paul (another Paul – Paul WS) during the day of the gig, rehearsing upstairs in the hostel, Paul walked past then asked if he could sit in, “sure!“, he videoed a few tracks and took pictures.  When I finished a song he said “You’ve just played the soundtrack to my life“. He told me his story and the journey he’s currently embarking, which is tough going. I won’t go into specifics as it’s personal, but he’s been through hell, and yet his optimism on life is inspiring. Walking across Wales has healed his mind and soul massively, we went for a sunrise walk the morning after the gig.

“Depth over distance, every time…” – Ben Howard


Following the conversations with Paul WS, I wrote a track ‘Freeze Frame’. Here’s the idea behind that phrase from Paul WS;

“Freeze Frame” – Paul WS. We only have today, each day brings a whole collection of moments, a series of frames, just like a film. Take a snippet, one frame of each day and freeze it in your mind. That way of capturing the good moments, allows you to go back and hold gratitude, it aids you out of the darkness because there are always going to be good moments, even if for just that single frame.

You can really learn a lot from conversations – converse more with strangers and dive into questions 🙂


Lessons learnt from the gig;

  • Talking with an audience isn’t actually that terrifying when you just be yourself and open up. Eye contact helps, so does a smile – do it more.
  • Singing works, keep practising and keep song writing.
  • Early mornings outdoors gifts energy for the day.
  • Music is healing and holds a meaning to each individual. Don’t stop gifting it to the world#

Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

If you’d like to support it further you can join me on Patreon. A subscription platform, where you donate a price of your choice, rewarded with different benefits, like exclusive tracks and postcards. Link below;

www.patreon.com/chatfield 

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Online Tips – paypal.me/jameschatfeld

Have a great day!

Church Doors Cove – Take Your Gifts Everywhere – You Are Important

This spot – Church Doors Cove in Pembrokeshire, is just beautiful!

An insanely captivating view with the best invitation to jump right in, swim and climb. Best thing, this spot is a couple minutes away from the YHA hostel in Manorbier. Every morning I’ve stayed here, this has been one of the first things I’ve seen. I love it!

I sat upon a high rock watching the water and songwriting, see video above.

All my stuff there. To the left of this picture was a couple of families, so I was partial supplying music for them, but songwriting isn’t really a performance, repeating things over and over slowly to gain precision. At least I thought it wouldn’t disturb the families – it didn’t – because the next day (as in songwriting was 20th,the next day-this day the 21st) whilst I was busking in Tenby, the Mom’s of each family approached me.

“I saw you at Church Doors yesterday, I thought you were busking but then I realised you were just in your own world. But it made it magic. It was really soothing and fitting to the spot, thank you”.

It was crazy that we bumped into each other here, or is it crazy? Because both Tenby and Church Doors Cove are tourists places to see in Pembrokeshire… What is crazy? Another question for another blog post.

From this I learnt that just being you and taking your gifts everywhere with you, not being afraid to just do whatever it is you do. Can open doors and give people something of meaning.

You are important, your existence is important.

Important means; to hold great significance or value.

You are of great value!

Goodnight, sleep well.

__________

Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Join me on Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Have a great day!

Live at The Oil Basin: Drums and Tings

Earlier in November, I performed a solo set in Worcester at the Winbrew Trip Co. which later evolved into a Maefield gig (new duo, a later post will add detail), then into a huge jam with a bunch of my musician pals from Worcester.

For the gig, I played a lot of new stuff, which currently involves a small drum kit (hats, snare and kick). My set-up has changed a lot over this year, going from solo bass to double guitars 18th December 2017, now with drums/vocals and quite recently little weird additions saucepans/glockenspiel/tongue drum.

Everything keeps falling into place with the set-up. I have a vision for a much larger set-up ready for tours and bigger gigs. Slowly but surely, I’m getting there.

Here’s a track I wrote with added drums/vocals;
Written whilst staying in Liverpool.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

For the gig, I didn’t sing as my confidence was very low, so I stuck to just instrumental. You can listen to it all here;

 

 

Sunflower Shed Sessions

Recently I visited Bournemouth for a busking trip, was originally planned to stay there for just a weekend. But loved the city too much, there’s so much beauty here, great busking spots, beaches, swimming, so many vegan cafes and goodies, basically an all round amazing place! Here I met Allie Kenward, who kindly gave me a place to stay, showed me around Bournemouth and became a bigger part of my music than I could imagine. She joined me busking, took videos, painted CDs and suggested more ideas for a bigger show. Sunflower Shed – Allie’s allotment, was a lovely place to play some music, so we did a few sessions here, where I played music and she did her gardening things!
Video above is the first one we did, Video below is our second session!

Sunflower Shed Sessions 2 was kindly filmed by a floaty artichoke! Thanks dude!

Here’s some audio clips from these sessions;

A combination of music and gardening. Something I’ve wanted to do for ages! Allotment gigs, so that’s a goal in mind, to get an actual Allotment gig sorted!

I feel chilled music and gardening have similarity in how they soothe the mind and bring some form of therapy to us. Quiet and relaxing music really helps calm the mind down, it can almost be an escape from reality and bring you to a totally different world in your mind, (“I was sat here, but my mind was away on the coastline in the sea” said Timbo, a guy who recently saw me out busking in Hereford) some music really resonated with me and sends my minds on wild adventures, brings back memories and feelings, nostalgic and beautiful it can be. Gardening too, it’s a raw natural thing that connects you with nature and the textures of plants can be soothing to touch, away from everything busy and into the wild with plants.

What are your thoughts? Does gardening relax you? Would you like to see more music/gardening things?

 

All the best,

Much love,

James

 

 

Himley Hall and Park – Improvisation track 18th June 2018

On the route back from busking in Wolverhampton, I stopped off at a beautiful place called Himley Hall, found a lovely setting to play in and improvised this little tune.

As I was setting up to play, I said to myself, maybe I’ll find love tomorrow. That thought inspired emotions and those emotions created this track. It’s interesting how the soul sometimes just speaks and pours out music. I really like this track and it’s most definitely one of my favourite things I’ve created in a while.

I was hoping to play for longer and get some more tunes, but the gates to the place were closing close to the time I played. I mean, I could of just got trapped in and played all night here…. But then the warmth of home and my dog! Anyways video is below, give it a listen! I hope you enjoy!

Video Catch-Up 8th-13th June 2018

Hey! I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I’ve still been out doing things! Daily videos are becoming more frequent and I’ve been doing lots of album work! So kinda got distracted from blogging more frequently!
I feel I’m slowly shifting my life into a more flowing stream of creativity and mega content uploading. After listening to this video a few times, my passion for creating loads of content has increased,
“you’re one song from getting all that you want” – Gary Vee.
I 100% agree with this guy, if you can release high amounts of content on a regular basis, have the ability to record and publish your music and have the music to do it, then why not do it? Why not just release everything you do and build this huge pool of content for everyone to enjoy and to add to your legend. That one little riff you post could spark a huge interest from the right person and get your music on some upcoming film!
So just do, and just do more and just do, just do, do just, do do the just do do!

Anyways here’s a bunch of videos I’ve released the past few days!

Don’t really know what I’m doing, never do, never will. But I know I wanna start singing more. This idea came from that desire! Bass guitar is just one big drum stick!

Some improvisation out in Worcester was playing opposite Be The Change Foods, which is a super great Vegan cafe, they brought out a little cookie for me too!

Some more improvisation in Worcester, this time with a loop pedal! Which is something new for the set-up with two guitars, so much fun to play around with!

This is some improvisation whilst busking in Hereford, later in the evening 6pm I believe. When this idea came to mind, I instantly thought a vocal line on it would be really cool, so I tried to keep it simple in hope that I can get a vocalist to sing over the recording of it!

Enjoying the sun in the garden with my looper and guitar and dog – Roxy.
Looping Garden Sessions was born, maybe there’ll be more, who knows!? Too many ideas I keep getting, that’s why I just want to release everything, so nothing gets lost!

The Birth of Captured Moments – Album(s) Update – Busk of 6th June 2018

So ALBUM UPDATES

James Chatfield Bass

https://jameschatfieldbass.com/

I was in the studio yesterday with my good friend Jack Pederson. Recorded a few songs and listening back, we both felt something was wrong. For start, I didn’t really feel comfortable in the studio, and the sound wasn’t what I was after, it sounded great but just wasn’t what I fully had in mind. We then compared it to some of the busking recordings I have recently done and there lay the problem. These songs weren’t meant for a studio, they were created in the streets and belonged in the streets. The space in which these songs sit in is important, and this comparison made that fact clear. The passing foot traffic, life going on around me, helicopters passing, laughing and puppies barking all add depth to the songs, and capture what I do perfectly. The music I currently make and play fit the streets, as I spend so much time busking, and I guess that’s why I felt uncomfortable in the studio, not because of nerves or pressure from that red light in the studio but because those songs belong outside amongst the sounds of the world. And both I and Jack felt there was so much missing after going from the street recordings to the studio recordings. “Just release this, this is what your music is and who you are”, Jack said, and that changed everything, he spoke many inspiring things and we threw so many ideas around.

This is what we came out with.

To begin making the conscious act of recording every busking session I do, anytime I play music outside, all collaborations etc etc, record them all. To capture the things that I’m already doing and compile my favorite bits from these recordings onto an album. With the amount of content that will come from this, I can do so much, and with it a monthly album release, each with their own titles and the subtitle of – Captured Moments Vol.1,2,3 etc. I can’t think of a better way to document my journey and give everyone who supports my music a huge batch of content to listen to. Plus all the videos I release on a daily basis, the content will just be huge!

There’s something exciting about releasing the raw performances out on the streets, capturing the random sounds that occur, conversations, comments, passing bicycles and all that life brings. It means that I can just continue doing what I do, adventure and record the journey, documenting in an audio format for the world to listen to. Each month will contain so many memories and hold many stories. Themes could occur, i.e. a month of playing near water, busking on riversides, parks, water fountains etc. So many ideas came from this conversation with Jack, and I’m extremely grateful for it!

I also have ideas for an actual studio album, but that would be more of a composed environment where I would get other musicians to collaborate and get involved. For now, I wish to continue my busking journeys and give you all the music I have!

Above – clip from today’s busking session, this is a short clip. Below is a full version of today’s improvisation. I say ‘todays improvisation’, as if I only did one, I always improvise haha. And this new way of documenting will give all that I do, to you!

Following on from what I wrote above, about the conversations in the studio. Todays busking felt very different. Knowing that these songs are going to be documented. I approached everything a little different, not in the sense to make things ‘perfect’ (perfect doesn’t exist), but treating the streets as an instrument in some ways, giving it space to ‘play’, if a sound occurred that fitted with the song, then I’d keep playing that riff with the sounds occurring. Listening to the streets as though it was another musician I was performing with and responding to what it did….sounds kinda crazy, but it added a lot more to busking.

With all this is, it just adds way more excitement to my music and busking, I feel excited and feel like I’m slowly but surely becoming a better creator and improving daily.

Also today – a photo shoot with this dude – Sam Watkins. His Instagram tag is @samwatkinsphoto and also @trekrooms

Beautiful view beside the river, Worcester is just beautiful! Photos and videos to come from this within the next few days!

Its been a long day, but I’m really happy with everything that is happening and becoming at the moment! Really excited to capture these busking moments and release it for you to enjoy on the move!

Much love!

A Busk of Stourbridge – 4th June 2018

A day busking in Stourbridge, where I discovered the above riff! (below is the full improvised track around this riff). It’s pushing my boundaries a little with what I can do with these two instruments, but I love the challenge and trying something very new for the first time in the streets, it puts pressure on it to almost make it ‘complete’ there and then, as though I know exactly what I’m doing, when in actual fact, I have no idea! But hey, that’s the beauty of busking, you can do what you like, and people seem to like what I do.

Trying to forget what the right hand is doing with the percussive pattern and let my left hand do some more basslinr riffs. Splitting my mind as much as I can.

I bumped into two guys who have seen me in many places on my busking adventures, they said some very loving and hopeful encouraging words to me. Telling me how they really appreciate and admire my lifestyle and music choices, I feel incredibly blessed for this to have happened. A wonderful day.

Most of my walking and communting on the train has been spent listening to ‘Zhivago’ – https://open.spotify.com/album/2CLZbOCE9u7KvLM6fOXk9C?si=bkFTcwOdSZStBn0IPedYzQ

A wonderful EP done by some wonderful people, one of whom ‘Daniel Tween’ is a good friend of mine.

Have a listen and give them a follow.

Many blessings to you! Have a beautiful evening.