2015/08/09

FILMS & FESTIVALS

It’s been a busy few weeks since leaving the studio. This weekend I played at the wonderful Jenseits Von Millionen festival and then had a lovely recording session with Berlin Sessions. Sandwiched in between has been a ton of film work – most enjoyably a series of live videos for Universal’s “Elias”, music videos for Erik Penny, Ben Barritt and Jaimi Faulkner – as well as some commercial jobs which are funding life and the next EP ☞

Playing at Jenseits Von Millionen was a beautiful day in a little German town called Friedland. The town has only 700 people, and around 1000 people then arrive for this beautifully run event.

I played my show in the local church, and it filled up gloriously before playing. It was the most special show of recent times for me, especially embracing the challenge of singing without a P.A to around 300 people or so. Another highlight was catching up with the Bürgermeister, who bought me several drinks and whom, I discovered, knew more about my own musical history than even I can remember. A charming and unexpected moment.

I drove down with my great friend and musician Lea Johnson who opened the show, also to a packed church – and played a beautiful set in hushed tones. It was special to travel to the festival with such a great friend, as touring has been predominantly solo for the last year. Sometimes the road can be lonely, and it’s great to once again have a traveling partner.

The film work has been full on, and as ever, I’m just glad that it keeps coming in. I have been writing about the challenge of keeping one’s career going in modern times. The greatest boon for me has been the film work, and I am lucky that word seems to have got around enough that my portfolio for Kroft Films (press for the link) is ever expanding.

At the forefront of my mind is earning enough to complete the new EP after producer Chris returns from Livingston’s adventure’s in South Africa, as well as planning the travel for Journeys #3 in November.

I feel somehow that I am living a double life of sorts. I did a job for Paypal recently – a great team and a good experience, and the psychological space from going from doing solid professional work as a free lancer, into the creative space of writing and recording – and then the public presentation as an artist on tour or at festivals – is a continual leap. I don’t mean it in a complaining way, quite the opposite, I am grateful for the place I find myself. But it is surreal at times to switch between the roles, and curious to observe in one’s self.

I think it is a very modern experience to develop a sense of agility in one’s self and one’s work (photos from this point are stills from recent video shoots)

The fact is is that I find myself in the the strangest of places. There is the pull of the journeys project, and the need to keep my mind open as at some stage soon I will find myself alone, somewhere very far away, and most likely in temperatures far below anything I’ve experienced before.

And on the other hand I keep my mind focused on the professional front of working hard to make things work, and trying to build a surer footing for my life, and my art.

There is a paradox at the heart of things currently for me. And that is that I have wandered far far from the the path and pursuit of any traditional musical success. After the loss of the EMI deal I wanted to radically re-approach how I went about the business of living. There would be no compromise with regards to music – carrying on, and going deeper was always the plan. But I needed to find surer ground financially – and there in lies the paradox:

Things are far more grounded for me in terms of earning than they ever have been. In letting go of the pursuit of a traditional music success (as represented by the EMI deal), I have started to make things work. And that is not just with regards to the role of film in my life.

It is also with regards to music itself. Somehow, in reducing my self to my the essential – whether by embracing for this time playing as a solo artist, or cutting out labels all together and selling from my SHOP or developing the DOCUMENTARY series – somehow things are shaping up.

Life has become – slowly – sustainable. I am having to look after myself a lot more from the wild crazy days of the creatures, with its poetry, and lostness, and sleepless nights, and howling and wondering what the fuck is going on.

But life seems to be teaching me that sometimes you have to let old dreams burn to create the future that is intended for you.

I am looking after the small things, as best I can. And allowing these little blocks to build a new road. Most importantly I am letting go the need to see where it leads. Why always need to know? I feel – at times – the deepest exhale from the bottom of my lungs – and it’s complexion is not one of a sigh, but one of a release.

Most of all, I have embraced the nature of process, and the realisation that the one only way to sustain an artistic life these days, is to allow yourself to sacrifice something of one’s recklessness and trade it in for a new found responsibility – to yourself and your life – and to the people around you.

For now, I find that these simple revelations – found in the small stuff of life – bring a renewed creativity in my songwriting. And in the letting go of that ancient hunger – for success or recognition – my availability for the important revelations of song – and of life – broadens and deepens in a way I never could have imagined.

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Finally – here is a musical recommendations: Lars Mattiessen who I played with yesterday. An absolutely brilliant talent, and a gentleman to boot.

Comments [3]

  1. Yi ///

    I can really feel the sense of freedom and joy in your music that you speak of here. Not sure why but it is really satisfying to see someone find their way like you are doing… I read this with a smile in my heart. Good for you! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to every one of your posts, even though I’m on the other side of the world in bed nursing a cold at the moment. Hear me cheer your every insight and revelation! :)

  2. Jim Kroft ///

    Yi! First of all get better soon! Where are your writing from? Yes, “finding one’s way” – well, it seems to be a life long process. For me I am finding it interesting to document the gradual unfolding of a life in the arts here. For now, as I mentioned, I am okay to allow it to lead where it wants to lead. And enjoying letting this need to know. It is possible to live too much of life within the aspiration, or the construction of a future. Too easy to forget the simple relevance of the day. That is where, I guess for me, art and spirit have converged. In that it become far more about the doing, the process, than the end in itself. Especially liberating has been the freedom to remove myself from a sense of expectation – or what I want the result of something to be. Why not allow life to surprise you? Why “need” something your create to “do” something. Of course one takes great joy when someone responds to a song or it effects them. So mainly -thank you for checking in and giving me your thoughts. Best wishes! Jim

  3. Yi ///

    Thanks Jim! I’m in the USA, Pacific Northwest hanging out with my parents while my husband and son are hiking the Canadian Rockies. I found it particularly enlightening what you said about finding a kind of freedom while at the same time taking responsibility. People so easily see those two as contradictory and probably wouldn’t believe otherwise unless & until they discover it for themselves.
    By “finding your way,” I don’t mean some fixed path of course, but rather traveling in a way you feel comfortable and happy with. That can mean so many different things depending on who you are and where you are at in life. In as far as living is an art, we are all artists. At the moment I can fully relate to letting things unfold as my second book is at a hovering stage right now waiting for input from outside. I have both the instinct to rush in to push it along as well as the inclination to wait and see what happens. External circumstances are helping me to do the latter for a bit longer.
    Wish you much luck and delight in your film projects. Cheers! Yi

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