This article is the fifth in a series of posts explaining how to bring your music on the road and get to travel with it. Read the series’ introduction , Post#1 , Post # 2 , Post #3 , Post #4, Post #5 and Post #6.
After a few posts explaining and suggesting how to get out and play your music travelling the world, I decided it is time to bring up a real example: The Blues Against Youth. This one-man band comes from Rome, Italy, although upon hearing you may think it is some piece of lost blues from Mississippi… nevertheless, it is a perfect example of how an independent musician has overcome its national boundaries and brought his music to a wider audience by, obviously, touring and travelling.
I asked Gianni -the guitarist and one man drummer – a few questions regarding the management of life on the road, wishing they may be useful and inspiring for others looking to expand their musical activities to the next level.
Do you think your dream of playing music around the world has fully realized?
Tough question In the last two/three years I have been to many European countries. I like to play my music wherever there are people willing to hear it. “Playing my music around the world” is not exactly the main goal, as there are places I would like to go to, and others that do not appeal to me at all.
How do you manage to spend so much time playing music on the road?
Behind these long tours there is a massive booking work which is mainly conducted by myself without the aid of any agent. I have to write many emails and make infinite phone calls, and I get through a lot of stress trying to create a geographically logical route… however, once the tour is scheduled and I’m in the car ready to go, I just do it and feel free.
Do you think you can travel in the traditional sense of the term -seeing places and experiencing different cultures – as a touring musician?
Many times I don’t get the chance to see much of the cities I play, and it’s a pity; when other times it happens, I enjoy it very much. Anyways, by talking with people I meet on the road, sharing time with them, visiting their houses, their bars and knowing their friends I can usually have very mind-opening experiences. I realized that there are many ways of living, and mine constitutes only one of the many limited points of view. This confuses me at times, but by the end of my tours I feel much better.
How did you start getting shows outside of your home country?
I started by emailing people, telling them about my music and waiting for answers. It took a while to get a real response.
Is the logistic organization of your travels hard?
For me, the logistic organization is the most important thing. If everything is set at best, I get stressed out less. I generally travel on my own, and if something unexpected happens (which is usually a bummer), I have to make something up. By being well organized, it is easier to overcome such situations.
How are you received in the communities/cities/countries you visit?
It depends on where I go and what people I meet. In general I am received pretty warmly. I like when there’s some “love” behind any organization. I like to taste local food and drinks, to know about traditions concerning what I eat or drink. I like when there’s a cultural exchange. It also happens to play in colder environments, but luckily much fewer times. When it happens I get an instant feeling, and I get the blues. This may sound bad but on the other hand gets me in the right mood to write new songs.