Kotebel was the first band announced for the 20th Anniversary edition of ProgDay festival. We have taken this opportunity to organize 2 additional concerts in New Jersey (at Roxy&Dukes – organized by NJ Proghouse) and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. In order to help cover our travel costs, we launched a crowdfunding campaign. As a compensation for your support, you can get links to download any album, or a free physical copy. Also you can have an exclusive link to download our first live album. For the moment it will only be released as a digital download and features the complete concert that we performed last year at ProgResiste Convention festival in Belgium. The live album will not be available until later this year but you can get it now through the crowdfunding campaign. You can get all the details of the tour and the crowdfunding here:
Thanks in advance for your support!!!
First of all I want to wish all of you a year full of health, satisfactions, tons of love and good music! I also want to welcome a fair number of fans who have recently suscribed to our blog. Welcome and please, feel free to share your thoughs! This is what a blog is about, isn’t it? Now here to some news:
Those of you who follow us on FB may already know that we are the first band confirmed for ProgDay 2014. We will play on Saturday August 30th, but the time is not fixed yet. More information at www.progday.net
The band will arrive to US a week earlier and we are trying to schedule a few gigs in the NE region. We will play in NJ (stay tuned for official announcement, venue and date) and are currenly securing at least another concert in the Washington area. We will post this as soon as we have the confirmation. It’s very exciting for us to do this mini-tour because we have played in many festivals in Europe, but have never played to our US fans. We are really looking forward it!!
Our next release will probably be a live CD with our performance at the Prog-Resisté Convention last year. Some of you may know that I moved to the US (Washington metropolitan area) and will be living here with my wife for two or three years. I’m slowly building up what I need to work on the mix (I’m setting up a small studio here) so it is hard to tell when we will be able to release it. Hopefully this year.
Also, we are working on new material for a next album. For those of you fond of Omar Acosta (like me ;-)) I have some great news. Omar will participate in some of the tracks; in fact, I already have the final recordings for one song that we have completed, called “Post Ignem”. We have 2 pieces ready that amount to aprox. 17 minutes and several pieces currently being written. Something very special about this album is that Adriana will also participate as a composer. At least one piece will be written entirely by herself and the two of us are working jointly on a piece called “A Bao a Qu”. This is the last creature from the Book of Imaginary Beings that I wanted to work on. Do some investigation on the story; it is perfect to put music to! In all my years writing music I have never done group composition. I have always worked and developed the ideas on my own until I have a full template, and then work with the other musicians to fine tune the arrangements. So this is a brand new experience for me and the outcome is incredible!!! So, even though this new album will take some time to see the light, I’m very excited about it.
Feel free to participate and share your thoughts about Kotebel, progressive rock, music in general or whatever you feel might be relevant to this group!!! Take care. Carlos.
Kotebel is now entering a new phase and I would like to share this news with you. But first, I would like to ask for your support. As many of you know, our last album “Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble” was the winner in the category of instrumental music in the 12th edition of the Independent Music Awards. This is an important milestone for us because this is not a prog music related award. We competed against bands of all genres all around the world. IMA has another prize call Vox Pop award, based on votes from the public. The deadline to vote has been extended to July 26th, so please help us getting this additional prize. Winners of the Vox Pop will get additional marketing support from the IMA. You can cast your vote here:
Now on to the news:
I will be moving to the USA and will be living in the Washington DC area for a couple of years. This opens opportunities for us in the US because I will have better access to promoters and opportunities, but poses a challenge in basic activities like rehearsals. We have found some tools that theoretically will enable us to set up virtual rehearsals; if they are as good as they claim to be, and latency levels are acceptable, we should be able to continue our planned rehearsals. At any rate, this new situation will not prevent me from writing music for our next album because this is pretty much an individual activity. In fact, I have already about 15 minutes of music ready to pass on to the band in order to refine the arrangements. There is of course one immediate consequence of this and is the fact that we will not be playing live again until 2014.
We did a multitrack recording of our gig in Prog Resisté Convention in Belgium, last April. The setlist features a complete rendition of the Piano Concerto, as well as songs from our Ouroboros album like Amphisbaena and Simurgh. In spite of the difficulties (César was given a cheesy amp similar to the one he had when he was 12 years old) and other problems with the sound levels of some tracks, we have been able to generate some fine premixes and have decided to release our first live album. It will be a double album, featuring all the pieces that we played in the concert (1:30 hours). My moving to US will delay its release a bit, but I hope we can have the album available by Christmas this year.
We are looking forward to this new Kotebel phase. Change is always good and we will do our best to take the most out of these new circumstances. Keep well. Carlos.
I want to share this excellent news with you. Our “Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble” has been nominated for Best Instrumental Album in the 12th edition of the Independent Music Awards. This is great news not only for us but for our dear genre in general because ours is the only progressive rock album nominated in this edition.
Here are several related links:
By the way, in the link above you can vote for our album. There is a special Public Award based on votes from the fans so help us (and progressive rock) out by casting your vote!!
This page features a Q/A with questions prepared by the IMA organization.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you!!!
This week we sent the manufacturing order, so the album is on its way! Thanks again to those who supported our pre-order campaign. If all goes smoothly, we should receive he stock and be ready to ship in about two weeks. We will send all our pre-orders before putting the album on general release. We plan to intensify our “live” activity this year in order to promote our new album. So far, we can confirm our participation at the “Worlds End Music Festival” in Austria, in August. More dates will be added so be sure to check our site regularly!
After many months of intense work, the Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble is finally completed!! The album will include a bonus DVD with the recording sessions. As I mentioned before, due to the nature of the concerto, we had to do the recordings in a studio that had an appropriate grand acoustic piano. Of course, once you made that decision, it was foolish not to record the drums as well. And then, why not record guitar and bass as well? So one thing led to the other and we decided to record it live in a very nice studio in downtown Madrid. The result was so good, that it deserved a good mastering as well, so we invested much more than was previously anticipated in the production of the album. Things always turn out for the best. We decided to reach to our fans in order to help us finance the manufacturing of the album. I think it is a good way to involve the Kotebel community – it gives a feeling that everyone has been part of the release of the album. We are confident, with your help, that we will be able to manufacture the album in just a few weeks!
About a year ago I wrote a post about what we were up to for our next album. Back then, half of the second movement and the first movement of the Piano Concerto did not exist. I finished writing the Concerto during the backend of 2010, and since then a lot of work has been put into fine-tuning arrangements and studying each part (especially the soloist, of course). We have now gone through the more complex passages and hope to be prepared to go into the studio by mid September. The album will feature another beast left over when we selected creatures from the “Book of Imaginary Beings” to make Ouroboros. This one is a very common: The Hippogriff. “The Flight of the Hippogriff” will be presented in two parts, separated by one or two pieces. This work is intended as a contrast to the piano concerto; there is no acoustic piano and is much simpler in its overall conception. Both parts should not take too long to assemble, so we should also have them ready by mid September. After our gig in January we have not scheduled any concerts and still there are no plans for immediate ones. But we are already developing some very interesting alternatives and hope to be in action, live, in 2012. We had to devote exclusively to the preparation of the Concerto if we wanted to have it ready throughout this year.
Based on progress done with our rehearsals by the end of August, I will update the expected recording and release of the “Concerto for Piano and Electric Ensemble”.
Here’s an audiovisual project done recently by Adriana:
Lately, I have seen a growing tendency, especially from new/young bands, to just post their work and give it for free or, at the most, putting a donation button. Some justify this by saying it is a way to protest against the state of affairs in the music industry. Others say that they are doing music for artistic or personal realization and they don’t do it for the money.
Had I ever formed part of a musical endeavor with some sort of commercial potential, I would not have the moral authority to say what I’m about to say, but luckily it is not the case. In all my years writing classical music, and now through Kotebel for quite some time, the driver has been the same as these younger or novel bands: to create art.
The problem of piracy has to be examined from many angles and I do not attempt to cover them all here. I would like to concentrate on two:
– The intrinsic value of a work of art
– Sustainability of an artistic project
If we were to add the cost of all the materials and the hours plus all related expenses that Picasso incurred when painting “Garçon à la Pipe – Boy with a Pipe”, and compare it to the selling price it has today ($120 million), what would be the margin of this “commercial” transaction? Would anyone in his right mind be willing to pay millions when the cost, even assuming outrageous hourly rates for Mr. Picasso, would probably not even reach $ 10.000?
If you believe there is value in the work that you have created, why give it away for free?
People that listen illegally to music don’t seem to be aware of how much it costs to launch an album on the street. If you start to count from the moment you sit down in front of a blank piece of paper, and start adding hours and expenses related to composition, arrangements, rehearsals, recordings, mastering, manufacturing, distribution and promotion (yes, we do all this ourselves in Kotebel) the price tag goes up to several thousand euros. After 10 years, Kotebel is still not able to produce enough to cover its costs. However, in only 1 illegal site alone, the number of downloads of “Ouroboros”, had they paid 5 euros, would have allowed us not only to cover the cost of releasing “Ouroboros”, but also we would now have the resources required to cover the studio expenses for our next album.
Here are classical reasons that people use to justify why they do illegal downloads:
If I like the stuff, I will probably buy the album and recommend it to others
Imagine that you go to the supermarket, go to the winery section, pick up a nice bottle of red wine, and go to the cashier. And you say: “I’m taking this bottle of wine and I’m not going to pay for it but don’t worry because if I like it, I will recommend it to my friends and I will come back for more – and next time I will pay, I promise”. We know what would be the reaction of the cashier, but more than that: what would the others in the cue think? Do you think they would say “Hmm, interesting… he does have a point” or “This moron wants the wine for free and here I am willing to pay for my shopping basket!”.
Why should I pay for something I don’t know if I am going to like?
I could easily go back to the same example as before and argue that we buy many things without knowing beforehand if we are going to like it or not. But in our case, it is even more ridiculous: most sites (certainly in our site you can) have a wide range of long samples so the listener can get a pretty good idea of the type of music that you are going to have. It would be like having in the winery section a small bottle for free, so you can try the wine before you buy it.
The price of CDs and downloads is too high
People tend to apply the same rationale for commercial music – that sells in the order of millions and hundreds of thousands – with Art Music that is sold usually in hundreds or few thousands in the best of cases (yes, some exceptionally reach tens or hundreds of thousands but they represent and insignificant percentage). In order to get some significant revenue from sales, Art Music should be sold three or four times more expensive than commercial music. The arithmetic is simple. Yet, you find that many artists (like Kotebel) sell their music at prices even lower than your average commercial release. Going back to the question of intrinsic value of the work of art, if a fan is not willing to pay 10 euros for a CD (excluding shipping) or 5 euros to download a complete album, then I wonder if it is a fan that we really want to have.
We still need to go a long way in this Copernican shift that the music industry is undergoing, but eventually, whatever new model these changes eventually lead us to, it will, without a doubt, end up finding a way to make sure people pay for what they listen to. And, hopefully, this new model will allow artists to get the major portion of what is paid instead of the ridiculous percentages that artists have been receiving for the last 60 years.
So here you go. My take on piracy. I welcome supporters of illegal downloads to challenge my arguments. And I’m not being cynical; I would really like to know if someone can give me a convincing argument as to why piracy is good for the artist, the listeners, and the industry et al (as some claim).