Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Terry Edwards

This is a video of Terry Edwards. He played sax on the Fierce And The Dead record. Hes bloody good. Google him now :)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Anthrax - Celebrated Summer (Husker Du cover)

Anthrax cover a Bob Mould song. Massive win.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Should I make my new album free/pay what you want?

IMG_0493 by mattstevensguitar
IMG_0493, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.

Pay what you want has worked really well for me - it has allowed me to build an audience I never expected, it has been great. I've been very lucky.

My thoughts on all this is that you should use "Pay What You Want" as a way of building an audience, as free marketing. In the early days of your career it is very hard to get people to even listen to your music, let alone buy it. I've been there, when you haven't got audience/radio/podcast/blogpress support you are just another person asking listeners to "check out my music" - I hate that phrase.

The idea is that you exchange the download for the audience's interest and an email address. Hopefully then at some time in the future they will decide to pay for something you sell and tell their friends about your music. I seems like an honest exchange, especially when there is so much music out there at the moment

When I started making my my music available "Pay What You Want" I had no idea that the music would a couple of years later be reasonably successful and I'd end up with print press, playing quite big gigs and thousands of downloads. I didn't expect that and I'm hugely grateful to my audience for making that happen. It worked :)

So what now - someone emailed me the other day saying "established acts like you giving away albums spoils it for the rest of us trying to get going". I asked everyone on Facebook and the response was mixed, some said I should some said no.

Well first of all I'd say I'm not really an established act, I'm very obscure and why does what I do relate to anyone else's business model? I want as many people to hear my music as possible, this is what most musicians want.

I would like music earnings to cover recording costs and help with my living expenses, this seems realistic - this is what happens at the moment. But I am not entitled to anything, it is all down to if the audience likes the music. Musicians who say they are entitled to payment for music because they have worked hard at it, even if no one likes it are crazy. Nobody owes you anything, if anyone likes your music you are very very lucky.

Even if I do decide to make the next album a paid download I am aware a free option will be available via torrents/DL sites within a small amount of time as my music is freely available on torrents now. This is good - free promotion! I'd be very worried if Ghost wasn't on the torrent sites. If your music isn't torrented it means no one wants to share it. Not good.

Artists should take torrenting as a compliment. So perhaps making paid downloads a main feature of my website is a good idea, with the option of a free version still being available somewhere online. However if people do decide to torrent don't get their email address and I can't build a relationship with them for years to come - email addresses/relationships are worth a lot over the career of a musician.

One thing I am concerned about is that "Pay What You Want" is becoming less remarkable. Perhaps to be interesting and remarkable it is time to say this album is £5 and that's how much it is. Is an album that is charged for of more value to the listener?

If I don't charge for Relic I'll probably charge full price for the next one, they're not cheap records to make. I think we're at that point now, the audience are there, the torrents are available. I think it is almost at the point to charge for my music rather than do "Pay What You Want". Change is good.

Do some audience members perceive that if an album is available free that it is not very good?

What do you think?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A brand new website - thoughts and feedback please :)

I've been busy building a new website - have a look here and let me know what you think:

Thanks for having a look :)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Monday, 20 June 2011

The End Of The Road

IMG_0449 by mattstevensguitar
IMG_0449, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.

That's it then, Ghost gigs over. No more acoustic gigs for a while and next time it will probably be a very different set list, even though I've been playing a couple of "Relic" songs in the current set (Rusty and Scapegoat) and they seem to work well live. I'm not sure how much of the new material will work with just guitar to be honest, the new stuff has some more complex arrangements. It was nice to put up a live album to end it all - thanks loads to everyone who has purchased it, I've been amazed by the response - you can get it (free/pay what you want) at:

I'm really pleased to say the final gig in Islwyn was one of the best Ghost ones, great crowd and I got to play a couple of songs (Big Sky and Get Carter) with my friend Alun Vaughan (some of you may know him from prog rock beat combo Panic Room) on bass, he is brilliant. A lovely small appreciative audience and the other acts Andy Long, Dr Lewney, Alun Vaughan on great solo bass and the wonderful guitar duo Chris and Dan Fry were all great. A wonderful way to finish it off. I was so pleased so many people made the effort to come and see me so far from home and I still find it amazing when they know the songs.

I've a couple more gigs booked for later in the year. I'd like to have some other musicians with me for them, if possible or they may be guitar and pedals gigs - perhaps for a one off gig next year? I'm not sure really. Any volunteers? :)

For months all I've been doing is worrying about getting theses gigs done, I'm happy it is all over so I can think about finishing the next album for the autumn and look back on the year I've had at the half way point.

In the last 7 months I've played with Barclay James Harvest, Panic Room, Godsticks, Alan Reed, Touchstone, Credo, Also Eden, Fish, From Great Height, Jump and loads more. I've played to 20 people some days and hundreds the next. In London Islington Academy, Kingston, Blackpool Electric Garden Festival, Brighton Great Escape Festival, Mattfest, Rotherham, Islwyn in Wales, Rushden and all sorts of other places - Leisure Centres, to pubs to festivals to big london venues and the wonderful Peel. I've met hundreds of amazing, lovely people and some people who thought I was an idiot playing along to backing tapes (surely if I were using tapes I'd make them perfect every time?). Classic Rock Prog, Alarm Press, Progression, CRS,Acoustic, R2 all picked up on my stuff as did some wonderful podcasters and bloggers, I've been very lucky. Its interesting how opinion polarises as your music becomes more well know (and I'm still very obscure). Some people really got it and some people said "why won't he sing" - not everyone is going to like what you do and I'm very thankful for the wonderful people who do get it.

Stuff I've learned:

Book Train Tickets in advance
Some promoters are better than others
Take photos
You can get away with a lot if you look like you know what you are doing
People are nicer than you think
Twitter gets people to gigs.
Be careful what you wish for
Don't google yourself after a support slot :)

For the Relic gigs I want to do a week tour rather than spreading them out, if possible. We'll see, depends how the album is received really.

I'm going to be offline for a while to work out some new stuff and start again with the new music. And do some Fierce And The Dead stuff.

See you soon and thanks lots,.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Matt Stevens

Sunday, 19 June 2011

New Live Album Out Today - Pay What You Want



I have a new 7 song 40 minute live album/EP out today:


It is just me, a guitar and a loop pedal in front of an audience at the Electric Garden Festival. There is a full review of the festival here


Pay what you want or free - if you do decide on the free option please tell your friends, word of mouth is really important. If you just tell one person or burn someone a disc it makes all the difference. If you can share it on Twitter or Facebook or a forum I'd really appreciate it. 


Funds raised go to getting the recording done on album number 3. I only need to do another few more days on it and it is done. We're also about to run out of Ghost on CD, it will probably be out of stock for a while so if you want one its here.


Thanks loads for your support



Wednesday, 15 June 2011

An experiment in the pricing of music

I'm trying something new. For some time I've been using the 'pay what you want' method to distribute my music, to allow me to grow my audience. Thats been for a couple of years now.

It seems to have worked well, but I've been thinking of ways to reward the people who choose to pay for the music - this is an attempt to do that :

This album is a live download of the gig I did at the Electric Garden Festival in May 2011. 7 songs. It will be available for a limited time only.

The official release (pay what you want/free) is Sunday 19th of June but if you'd like it early you can download it for £5 (minimum) today. The idea is to try and reward the people who have supported me by paying for music in the past by getting the music to them early. We'll see if it works! Any funds will go to finishing off recording, mixing and mastering my 3rd album which is nearly done...

The download includes 2 essays and photos.

Thank you.

Artwork by Ben Marsden of

What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea?

Monday, 13 June 2011

"Its A Shit Business"

imgres by mattstevensguitar
imgres, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.

Just read about a musician complaining about how low their CD sales are, then saying they don't promote their music or play live or spend any money on advertising. Another musician was complaining "they don't get the breaks" that they used to get more people at gigs and they can't get the support slots with "big acts". But its never them to blame.....

If you don't tell people about your music you won't sell anything (and say thank you to the people who help you!). You have to invest in what you do to get anywhere. They'll spend £800 on a guitar and worry about spending £5 on getting some flyers done. Its crazy.

If you're not bothered about having an audience that is fine - if you love making music and want to do it just for you thats great. Music is a wonderful thing to do as a hobby. This is fine, its great. Just do it, I don't blame you. Worrying about commercial factors will ruin most music anyway. (BTW this how I make records, then I worry about trying to get people to listen to them later).

But don't complain when you don't sell any records if you don't put the work in, making good music is not the only thing you have to do to engage with your audience.

Its just the way it is.

The world does not need more bitter musicians moaning about lack of exposure. JUST GET ON ON WITH IT.

Build a small audience, treat them well, ask them to tell their friends and say thank you. Reinvest in advertising and work hard at promo and be good live. Be grateful for any exposure you get.

The most important thing is to realise that NO ONE OWES YOU A LIVING FROM MUSIC.

Be thankful for anyone who listens to what you do and stop moaning. Start working if you want to get anywhere but no one wants to hear another moaning musician, its also fine if you don't want a career in music, just don't complain about it if you don't sell any music. Music should be about more than money. Music is awesome, the best form of communication ever.

If its making you unhappy do something about it! As The League Of Gentleman said "its a shit business". :)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Hobby Bands

IMG_0487 by mattstevensguitar
IMG_0487, a photo by mattstevensguitar on Flickr.

A well know figure in the "prog" scene made a statement about how "hobby bands" were ruining the music scene for pro bands.

Yes I know "proper prog" fans, I know I'm not really prog (don't start) .

This is crazy. No one is entitled to earn a living through music. If you can't earn a living through your music its because your business model doesn't work. If you want complete musical freedom get a day job or work out ways of growing your core audience or earning more revenue. Don't blame the brilliant, talented bands out there doing music FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC!! You'd be surprised how many well know bands also have a day job or some other income stream to keep things going. Its just the way it is. It doesn't mean the music isn't as good.

I've seen the old pros heading towards the end of their career doing the last few tours to try and get some money in the pension fund or get a new patio. These aren't happy people, they are just clocking in, doing the job and looking forward to getting home.

If a band is out there doing music for the love of it, with real dignity surely that is a better thing?

I can pay for recording and a proportion of my bills through the support of the listeners. I realise this is a privilege, not a right. My audience constantly amaze me. Their support allows me to keep making records. Ghost wouldn't exist without them.

Nobody is entitled to a career in music, when you put money before music its never going to make for great records.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A couple of Videos


The gig at the weekend was fun. A superb curry with good friends and some great bands. I met a lot of people I've only ever spoken to online and made some new friends. A good day.

A couple of videos – One shot by Mike from the excellent From Great Height and a video for shot by a fan :)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Web stream gig today



I'm streaming a gig on the Web today at 6pm UK time (about 5 and a half hours from now at:




Please tell your friends :)


Its looking like the Cafenoodle Ning will close soon - but that may not be the end. There are a few projects we need to finish off first. I'm really proud of the noodle community but I just don't have the time and funds to keep it going as a Ning network. 


If you are musician we're doing one last all day gig stream in July - let me know if you want to join in :)


Thanks loads



Friday, 3 June 2011


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Hope you're good? 


Been busy here again. 


On Sunday I'm doing a streaming gig at 6pm UK time you can watch free here:


International times are:


Thanks to everyone who brought the Fierce And The Dead CD - the limited version sold out and the new version with different artwork should be shipping soon, the download is still available here. The reviews have been really positive so far and the feedback from listeners has been really great. Much appreciated.  


There is a live review of the gig i did in the new Classic Rock Presents Prog out now - really positive :)


This Saturday I'm playing at Mattfest (not as in me!) at the Peel in London, I'm a bit of a last minute addition to the bill! The running order is - 




DOORS 1.00pm


F.G.H. 1.30-2.30pm


UNTO US 3.00- 3.45pm


MATT STEVENS 4.15-5.00pm


GREY LADY DOWN 5.30-6.30pm




NERVE TOY TRIO 7.30-8.00pm


ALAN REED 8.20-9.05pm


TOUCHSTONE 9.30-11.00pm


Will be great to see some of you there :) More info @:


The following weekend I'm playing in Rotherham then the week after its Islwyn. 


See you soon :) and if you want to order CDs/Downloads and support me in creating more nonsense you can here. Its the only way i get to this stuff so thank you. 


Thanks loads



Matt Stevens 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Mattfest and Classic Rock Prog

The amnesty gig last week was great - really good to support something I wanted to support.

There is a live review of the gig I did with Credo last month in the new Classic Rock Prog mag out today:

Text from the prog magMatt Prog

I need to work out how to show people I don't use backing tapes and that everything is created live :) but i'm bloody pleased they liked what i do. I've worked hard to try and get the live show up to speed this year.

This Saturday I'm playing at Mattfest (not as in me!) at the Peel, I'm a bit of a last minute addition to the bill! The running order is -


DOORS 1.00pm

From Great Height 1.30-2.30pm

UNTO US 3.00- 3.45pm

MATT STEVENS 4.15-5.00pm

GREY LADY DOWN 5.30-6.30pm


NERVE TOY TRIO 7.30-8.00pm

ALAN REED 8.20-9.05pm

TOUCHSTONE 9.30-11.00pm

Full info ere:

Get there early - FGH are great - tickets are £20....

Thanks loads



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