Three months since our last news post……that feels like a long time ago, and 2016, what a year that was. Sorry for such a delay, but 2016 was a busy one. Last year saw the release of new single, Ashen, & album #2 ‘Wide Awake I See The Storm’, we did our 4th European tour & some Aussie touring through VIC, QLD, NSW, & SA. We also played a run of shows inside & outside an actual climbing wall in Brunswick, Melbourne, we had some pretty special radio airplay from numerous stations around Australia & Europe, and we also had a lush Rhythms magazine review of the new album. It’s great to read some really special reviews of the album, and it’s of course thanks to the guys at Foghorn Publicity who do our Aussie publicity. Looking back over that list…..man, how is it possible we did all that……I can’t quite believe it myself.
Though a lot has changed since my last post. Months go by so fast, it’s key to keep moving forward. And after last summers’ European tour, the work is starting to pay off……people are buying our music, coming to shows, we’re gaining new fans, and linking in with some good people……we’ve played numerous festivals – medieval, fantasy, small community, and larger more experimental festivals. With the success of last years’ Castlefest, Fantasia Fest, Landjuweel, and Taribush Kuna, and through all our touring through Europe, we managed to get our first ever Irish festival booked in for summer ’17 – the BOYLE ARTS FESTIVAL.
YES…….I can’t quite believe it myself……it’s all good!! So yes, life is good, it just takes time to get there, wherever there is!!
Last September I flew back to Melbourne, after 30 plus shows through Europe, in two months. I sat and looked at my house, walked up and down the hallway 100 or so times, drank numerous cups of coffee, did a veggie juice diet, started more bookings, continued to play more shows, went for a 5km run or 2, and generally re-assessed what to do moving forward. Whilst continuing to play more shows, I needed and wanted to make a big change…….I was hesitant to come back to Melbourne and go back into the same pattern.
October arrived, and I decided to go on the road full-time. It was too hard going back and forth. I’d been inspired by all my travels, and tours, that to really make this sustainable, we had to make the move to touring full time. It was a risk, but definitely a calculated risk. I’ve toured quite consistently for others and for myself for the past 10 years or so, and with all the other work I’d done, it was not so much of IF, but HOW we would do this. And with my lease ending in mid Feb, I packed up the house in Melbourne, and turn a van into a portable home and music venue. In Dec I found it…….a 2002 Toyota Hiace Commuter, that I would convert into a mobile home, work space, living space, and with the ability to be a pop-up music venue.
The aim was that the tour would be all about the power of the people, staying open to opportunities that happen when you are present. So I sold, chucked out, gave away, threw away, pretty much everything, and moved the rest into storage. And in my search to get to what I have now…..it was too hard to find something that was already made, I decided to build the thing myself. Looking back it was a massive job, but at the time, I guess you just move forward, and try make the best decision you can possibly make at the time. Anything is possible really, and this is proof. 5 weeks later, it was done. Definitely not an easy task, you’d be surprised tho, that it’s all just steps. You might ask what we did??
- I watched a heap of videos, looked at van conversions, and planned out a few different designs.
- We took out the seats and stripped the insides.
- I insulated with reflectix, foam board, expandable foam, a massive roll of recycled insulation and other bits and pieces.
- Myself and Daniel my drummer in Melbourne, designed the space and got to work. After many hours……..and with the help of a few other builders, helpers and friends, we carved out our wooden panels, sanded, polyeurethened, and built the whole thing into what it is now.
- I got the van weighed and moved all my stuff in – PA system, electric violin, clothes, merch, kitchen, work stuff, bedding, everything, including the kitchen sink, quite literally.
- Along the way, I’ve had a few additions I’ve needed to do – sorting a few of the cables, tidying up the place, generally getting it more homely, finishing the roof, but we got on the road, and we’re now pretty much complete!!
You can see a heap of pics on our Instagram page, plus a hyperlapse video of the whole van fit-out is coming soon, but here’s a few pics to tie you over….. :
So where are we now?? It’s April, early April, and I’m at the start of week 8. After 10 years based in Melbourne, I’ve now released myself from one spot, from paying high rental costs, tying me down to one space, whilst also flying back and forth from gig to home, to gig to home……I can now actually tour Tailor Birds full time, keep our costs down, and most importantly, make impact!! What a thought that is…..perhaps we can bring some positive change in a world that is constantly changing. And the van is done!!! It’s now my home for when I’m in Australia, and it’s completely mobile.
Since the start of this new tour, I’ve played over 25 shows, through 20 or so towns, and all is well. Though last week we had Cyclone Debbie forcing the cancellation of a couple gigs up in Northern Queensland, but I’m safe, which is the main thing. Next week I’ll be up at the Byron Bay Bluesfest Busking Competition, and we’re then set to play the St Albans Folk Fest in NSW in just a couple weeks. This month is looking pretty nice. I love what I do, but yeh, it’s not all so easy……..it’s key to get a bit of routine within long drives, booking shows on the road, playing as much as possible, promoting as much as possible, staying balanced and generally finding what works, and what doesn’t. I’m a one woman solo act at the moment, and that was one of the main reasons to get this happening as soon as possible. So that I could test out this new touring schedule and change of life, and then could go to Europe for Europe tour no. 5, nicely sorted, and then come back with a more concrete touring system. And we’re getting there!!
It’s amazing to think that we now have the ability to pop up literally everywhere and anywhere – festivals, gigs, market shows, street pop ups, Australia wide, life is not too bad. We are a grass roots, tangible artist, bringing quality music to all parts of Australia, music to people that they can connect with immediately…..inspiring others to move forward with their dreams. And quite amazingly we’ve restored our happiness, having the ability to make others happy, which then makes us even happier…..we’re now a wheel turning in constant motion. And that to me is a success.
So til next time folks…..”I’m not sure where the road will lead, but I know it’s headed somewhere good, as my heart is warm.” Sophie xx