‘On the Road Again’

The world seems to be opening up a little more, so being able to ‘cautiously’ travel with music again, seems doable? At least, I will try for a time, see how things go. Campsites are open and it’s been a while since I camped – so a basic field on a farm in the Cotswold is the first stop.

It’s nice to back on the road, it feels like home.

Here I am in my tent; writing music, practicing, reading and simply just being. It is pleasant to be woken by the sounds of insects sieging the tent (I’ve never understood how they manage to get in, even when all is zipped up, ‘damn the insects’) and the songs of birds. It is also pleasant to sit still and watch those creatures do their things, imagining what their voices and conversations would sound like. The Grumpy Beetle, The Vivacious Robin, The Sarcastic Spider – all sound like great fantasy taverns…?

The neighbours were playing ‘invisible rounders’ last night, being it so dark, you could only see the ball on the grass or in your hand then it vanished from sight when throw – it slammed into their faces a couple times – but they were continuously jolly, they’re on holiday, away from home and outside of lock down. People generally seem happy, even with a ‘new norm’.

It was fun to sit and play guitar and watch the fairy lights flicker through tent walls and campfires surrounded with good company, good drinks and laughter.

The lockdown has been a strange thing, a very strange thing. I have definitely felt deflated and defeated at times during this pandemic. This is another reason for my travel: to relight my passion for music, travel and writing. I’ve built walls internally that have limited my creativity and personal happiness, I wish to break them down. And doing this – getting out and writing and performing and documenting, has smashed a few of those rusted bricks for sure! It seems to me that we can prevent ourselves from doing the things that we love doing, and it’s a crazy realisation, because it’s a crazy thing to do – happiness should be our number one goal – so why stop yourself? I definitely did, and I don’t want to continue putting myself down or saying no. I want to bring myself up, say yes, and create. So here I am, committing myself to living this life. I know that I can live a life where I create, travel and learn – that is all I want, and I wish to give this world those creations and hopefully some valuable knowledge found during the journey.

So expect live streams, vlogs, videos, blogs and an array of music happenings, and if you don’t hear from me, I’ve either trapped myself in those internal walls of ‘NO, YOU MEAN NOTHING’ or I’m at war with The Grumpy Beetle and his army.

I have also re-vamped my Patreon and know that I need to commit to it more, so – I shall do that. If you would like to subscribe to my music and journey with a monthly donation. You can do so here;

https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

or a one off donation – paypal.me/jameschatfield

Wishing you well, safe travels, James

One Man Band, Progression, 2 Months In

One thing I feel I’ve been doing recently is overthinking things, in a negative and nonconstructive way. I feel I haven’t given myself time to look at the progression I’ve made and congratulate myself for it. This feeling has definitely been a reoccurring theme that has propped up in conversations and, a tarot reading. And from this I’ve been taking more time out for myself, to meditate, journal and reflect on the progression and journey I’ve recently made – this new project with multiple instruments.
Just looking back at the first blog post I wrote about this made me smile a lot. My first step into this was on the 18th December 2017, so it’s been just over 2 months, I feel like I’m at 5% of where this can go. What I envision for this is way beyond what I feel capable of, but I know I’ll reach it with persistence and a strong vision. It’s a vision that changes day by day as I discover new music and draft new ideas. But I do need to start giving myself credit for the small victories and, relax dude, chill the fudge out! So, well done James, you’re doing alright, don’t stop you’ll get there!

Below – a recording of night busking with the guitar and bass, it’s a 20 minute jam improvising around the ideas I had at the time. I’ve been uploading more audio sessions to YouTube, as a way to track my progression and to give my audience wider content adding more depth to my journey. I love recordings like this because the street ambience is out of my control, so there are these interesting little sounds that crop up.
January 11th 2018

A month into this, I picked up my first gig in Worcester, Cap n Gown. This gig came from a Facebook friend messaging me after watching my progression through regular videos, giving me the gig opportunity (Which is why I encourage you to document your progression with online content, every day, if not as often as you can. It brings so many opportunities and people love watching you progress). It was a 30 minute slot, so I got writing more and started attending more open mics to boost my confidence on stage. Here’s a video from that gig – January 18th 2018 – We’ll Go Anywhere, lyrics written about how I desire to take certain people in my life to see the world. It’s not my best performance, which has been clear as I’ve used this as a reference when approaching venues/promoters and I’ve been shut down frequently, ah well! That ain’t gonna stop me!

As a massive fan on improvising and collaborating with people, I started taking this new set-up out of solo performances and explored it with other musicians. This video below being my first go at it, which is now one of my favourite collaboration pieces I’ve taken part in. It’s also featured on a recent album on BandCamp – Here – Which is an album full of collaborations with some very creative and inspiring musicians who happen to be some of my closest friends! So this collaboration features two incredible musicians, Dan James Griffin and Kimberley Frezel! January 20th 2018

And from this I’ve also been collaboration with this set-up in Sounds of Zephyr – which is a whole blog post and journey in itself. Lots more of that stuff to come! We’ve been planning some exciting things! Here’s the latest busking session we’ve had in Market Harborough. In this you’ll see that I’ve got a shaker hanging from my guitar, which probably looks ridiculous, but, set-up expansion will be explained!

So! Set-up expansion. I never saw myself becoming a one-man band when I first stepped into music, and I never thought that the guitar/bass/vocal set-up would expand. But then I met Anders Flanderz whilst busking in Liverpool for the weekend. He approached me whilst busking the first night I was there, and was really interested in my set-up, gave me loads of great tips on busking in Liverpool, telling me the best spots and times to play. Then I met up with him to share a busking spot the next day and saw his ridiculously crazy instrument attire. The things he was doing was crazy complex, playing 10 instruments at once, using all limbs and putting on such a fantastic performance, really taking the covers he played to whole new realms. He opened my eyes to multi-instrumental set-ups and suggested I should expand with foot percussion and vocal effects. So I took advantage of my friends (Connor Di Leo)’s drum kit, (whose house I was staying at during my Liverpool trip) and added some drums – here is the result.

So then I was like, I can do this, and I can add more and really work on this! So I got a glockenspiel – which takes me to my current set-up now;

I’m sure I’ll be updating my progression on this blog more. I’m sure I’ll be adding more instruments and try experimenting doing silly things. There’s lots of room for expansion and I have lots of ideas drawn out in my journals and I really think there could be something good come from all of this madness. So yeah! Keep sticking around, follow me on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and you’ll get to see/hear way more stuff on a regular basis!

Thank you for reading this post!

Check out my latest music – chatfield.bandcamp.com/album/liverpool-grooves-bass-looping-with-drums

If you want to help me on my journey then you can purchase my music (above) with whatever money you think it’s worth! Every little really helps out a lot, it keeps me alive and keeps the progression going! I really appreciate everything that you do and it warms my heart to know that my music makes people smile!

Follow your heart and keep being your true self! Don’t let anyone stop you following your dreams! You’ll get their, you’re a beautiful and wonderful human!

Lots of love,

James x