Added on Monday 6 Feb 2012
Hello from Portsmouth, New Hampshire…
If you're going to start a blog in winter around the arts community in the Seacoast region of the eastern United States (and let's include Kittery, Maine, shall we?) there's only one place and one project to begin with. Last week, as it is every year, the Portsmouth Music Hall was host to the launch of the RPM Challenge 2012. If you're a budding musician in Glasgow – or anywhere else on earth for that matter – RPM is something you really should be thinking about. Here's the deal:
"Record an album in 28 days, just because you can.
Recording can only be done in the month of February – no prerecorded songs.
All material must be previously unreleased, and we encourage you to write the material during February, too."
RPM – 'Record per Month'. It's something our town is immensely proud of – and so it should be. From a local event only a few years ago, RPM now attracts participants from all over the world, with over 2,300 albums submitted last year, including some by fairly well-known folk you can even collaborate with. Some up-and-coming stars of American music got kicked into gear by RPM too – including the darlings of the area at the moment, Tan Vampires.
As the RPM folk say: "Don't wait for inspiration – taking action puts you in a position to get inspired. You'll stumble across ideas you would have never come up with otherwise, and maybe only because you were trying to meet a day’s quota of (song)writing. Show up and get something done, and invest in yourself and each other."
I can vouch for the truth of this. I got dragged into it – almost literally! – by my friends Seth and Isis from Breakfastsong! three years ago, and after some guest vocals on their albums I finally made my own RPM record. I usually don't have much time and end up squeezing the whole thing into the last week in a seat-of-my-pants home recording overdose, but it's always worth it – like a pure adrenaline shot in the arm for creativity. Accept no excuses of yourself!
Swan (Live on Bow Street) (Dharma Rascal, RPM 2011)
Get started: "Sign up for a profile at the website. Send a physical copy, postmarked by noon on March 1st to: The Wire, 10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 201, Portsmouth, NH, 03801, USA. On your profile, enter the date you mailed it to us. Then, kick back and enjoy that sense of relief."
Follow the RPM crew on on Twitter: @RPMChallenge #RPM12
ps. Comment and let me know if you take up the Challenge!