Friday, 30 March 2018

Name Dropping

As I alluded to in a previous post, one of the bonuses of working with industry professionals is you get to meet other industry professionals. Nowhere is this more true than at music industry social events.

I was invited to one last night near Kings Cross and what an amazing evening it was. As well as catching up with Christina Jansen who recently took some amazing shots of me a few weeks back, she also introduced me to a few people before she had to head off to a gig, and I ended up enjoying a glass or two and a yak with numerous people, some with amazing achievements under their belts.

One such chap was Chris Thompson of the Screaming Blue Messiahs, who was describing how David Bowie loved the band so much he tracked them down to support him on a US tour - and complained once in an interview that everyone sent him free albums - except the Screaming Blue Messiahs!

Another was Damon Summers who had few hits in the 80's and 90's in Europe and the far east with X Projection and has put together a new line up (who were all there too) to keep the music going - playing old hits and also new stuff written with guitarist Mark Campling. I ended up at some nightclub with the rest of the band for a short while afterwards - Singer Kyra Poole was wearing the coolest hat...

Speaking of cool, very cool was meeting and having a brief chat with Rob Davis who co-wrote Kylie Minogue's hit 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' (with Cathy Dennis). And speaking of Kylie Minogue, I had brief chat with Peter Waterman's business partner who was there too.

Jon Morter was another one - he ran the social media campaign that got Rage Against The Machine their Christmas Number 1 in 2009 (a feat he told me which couldn't be done now in the same way) while Sharon Matheson kindly gave me a little more insight about the industry from a music distributer's point of view.

There were also numerous singer/songwriter/musicians in various stages of their careers: Llio Millward who was utterly charming and kindly gave me a copy of her Heart Of Fire CD (which I am finding heartfelt, cool and hauntingly quirky), Selena Seballo, Crawford Mack being among those I spent some time with.

The wonderful thing was that everyone I spoke to was engaging and friendly, in contrast to what is sometimes the reputation of the music industry!

Friday, 23 March 2018

What's In A Name?

I have been looking for a band name for a while and finally found one we can get behind.

Everyone has a different view on what makes a good band name. As John Lennon famously said of The Beatles, "it's just a name, like 'shoe'." There are however undoubtedly some great band names and some awful ones.

"Royal Blood" is an example of a fantastic band name. It holds two meanings which are somewhat opposed to each other so it makes you think. Both words have emotional resonance so you feel something when you hear it. It is simple, memorable and thought provoking - meaning people remember it and possibly associate it with something important which may make them ultimately more interested in exploring the thing that holds this name - the ultimate goal of any music marketing campaign.

Other band names I really like are 'The The', 'Led Zeppelin' and a band I recorded once called 'Steaming Dog' - which they soon afterwards changed to 'The Grans', which I thought was a pretty awful name by comparison.

Regardless of whether you like it, agree with it morally or not, people judge books by covers and bands by their names. And if the name influences people to be more likely to want to know more about, and ultimately listen to your work, then it's a good name.

With all this in mind I also wanted a name that reflected the fact that it was my project, in a similar way to "Bon Jovi" being Jon Bon Jovi's project but is still a band in it's own right. "Simon and the Somewhats" or "Densley's Half Dozen" would have achieved this but ticked few other boxes.

A while back Mark suggested 'The Densley Engine' which some of us liked. I used that name on some flyers as it was better than 'The Simon Densley Band' but we still weren't convinced.

The other issue is availability. With bands forming all over the world on a daily basis and everyone wanting a unique name, the number of available decent names is dwindling. I came up with a few that I really liked only to find they had already been used somewhere else.  'Antiself' was one example, had it not been taken already we might be called 'Simon and the Antiself'. The 'Bunnyrats' was another. The internet is disappointingly good at digging up little known things.

With the focus back on my name again I remembered a geography teacher at school talking about an area being 'densely populated' and everyone looking at me. Perhaps there was something in that. Googling "Music Density Band" turn up a Phoenix (Arizona) metal band (Fifth Density) and a 'densitymusic' website that seems to be all about British blues guitarist Keith Thompson but no band call 'Density' itself. That was good!

I also decided to change the spelling to reflect that Densley is pronounced as if it has a 'z'. So Denzity then? I didn't like the look of that so I tried it with an e: Denzety? No, I put back the i and was about to remove the e again when I spotted the 'zeit' in Denzeity and immediately thought of Zeitgeist. That was good. Another quick look suggested Deity was in there too - also good, and split by the 'enz'* - which as an anagram of 'zen' makes the whole name an anagram of 'Zen Deity'... A cryptic crossword lover could have field day! I liked this name. So did the small number of people I suggested it to, significantly, people who had not really liked any of the other names I had put forward. So it was decided - the band would be called Denzeity.

While writing this post I googled "Density Band" again to check which band names had come up. Right there at the top was the facebook page of a New York three piece called... Density. How had I missed that? I really hadn't wanted to see that in there. I had already changed the whole website to reflect the new name and really didn't want to go back and start again looking for another one. However reason kicked in and I realised that Denzeity is quite a different word to Density, with a different pronunciation, regardless that it was a derivation. So Denzeity was staying.

*Split Enz was a New Zealand band with Neil Finn who later formed Crowded House (whom some people have said my music sounds a little bit like - although I don't hear it myself). They were big in Australia in the 1980s and I really liked them when I was a kid (and still do to be fair.)

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Getting An Image

One of the pieces of the puzzle that Sean (our manager) has been keen to get in place is to have some really good photos of me and the band. Last Tuesday evening I spent a few hours being photographed by Christina Jansen, one of Sean's contacts.

Christina is a great photographer and has shot numerous people including names like Robert Plant and Muhammad Ali. She lives (and has a studio) in Primrose Hill which gave us a good backdrop for some outdoor shots and makes it a good base to go and get some more shots around Camden and similar areas with the rest of the band over the next few weeks.

It was while there was some snow on the ground which it a bit unusual and we wandered around the local area using whatever backdrops we found. Then it was back to her studio (where is was a bit warmer) to get a bunch more shots.

We had a quick look through many of the shots afterwards and there were certainly some very good ones there. She has sent me through the first dozen shots which she has done some post production work on. Here are four of them which I think are good but I believe there are some much better ones still to come.