It’s easy in this overshared world of ours to think that success has to be obvious and visible and glamourous. My success is comparatively smaller, but no less significant.
I grew up playing trading card games – Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardcaptors, Digimon, the short-lived Harry Potter TCG, others I seem to have forgotten (I didn’t get into Magic until much later).
Five years ago today, my cousin and I brought our card game Sopio to the market – initially through our YouTube audience, later through card game and hobby conventions, trade fairs, card/hobby shops and live tournaments across the country. We’ve dealt with major companies like Firebox and Forbidden Planet, been nominated for nationally-recognised card game awards, released seven decks and sold at least 30,000 of them worldwide (I haven’t asked Danny for the updated number).
If you’ve been a part of that in any small way – either through buying, playing or even just sitting through one of my stupid videos rambling on about this game we made and love – thank you so much :)
Right through this weekend, if you want to buy either our first ever Sopio deck (the easiest way in for people new to card games) or our newest deck (with the best and funniest puns), we’re offering them for £5 here:
Thanks for reading! Much love
When I was recording Nowhere Left To Hide, I started to feel my production was getting a bit stagnant. Scared Like Me, Exploring Tomorrow, Make It Rain and Beyond You are solid tracks but they’re very safe. I found myself getting into the same habits when making production choices.
I felt I wasn’t pushing myself enough and didn’t wanna record more of the same.
Then I went to Edinburgh with Tom Law and he took me to a jazz show (because he knows how to treat me right), and I was amazed four musicians could play a two-hour set using just a piano, saxophone, double bass and vocals and make the songs so varied and dynamic.
Thus, I decided it would be an interesting challenge to record an album with 100% real instruments – nothing electronic.
Epigrams and Interludes was mainly influenced by Lady Gaga, and Nowhere Left To Hide was influenced by Les Miserables; in the last twelve months I’ve been hugely influened by Ed Sheeran, who blew up with his album ‘X’ (which is great), and I was also inspired hearing Taylor Swift share her goal for ’1989′ to have a cohesive sound – to feel like an album, not just a collection of songs (which is something I’ve not done since Parrot Stories really).
So my first new track, Breathe Again, has only four instruments (in the spirit of that jazz show) but the total count for the album so far includes electric and acoustic guitar, piano, bass, drums, harmonica, harp, violin and saxophone.
I’ve only recorded four songs so far and it’s been incredibly collaborative. I usually work alone, playing every note myself (usually into MIDI keyboards) but for this, the violin will be played by a guy called Richard, the sax by a guy called Nathan, I have backing vocals done by a girl called Liliana, harp played by a girl called Scarlett, and even the album artwork will be designed by a girl called Robyn. Recording is taking place in London, Bristol and California. Again, it’s very different to how I do things normally and that’s exactly what I needed.
The name of the album is Split Infinities (I’ll explain why another time). Here’s the track list (not in order yet):
All We Have Is Now
You Are Loved
More To Life
Where Is My Friend?
Can’t Get Enough
Learning How To Love
If I write anything great between now and then, it might change. Also, I put ‘Everything’ in those quotes cos I’m not super happy with that title but haven’t found a better one.
So that’s how things are going :) Looking to have the whole thing recorded by summer and the album promo beginning around October with lots of music videos!
Thanks for indulging me in reading this, you’re very kind. If you want some fantastic musicians to listen to, google Natalie Shay, Kate McGill, George Reece and Charlotte Campbell, they’re all brilliant, you won’t regret it.
Much love xx
“It’s better,” Greg Holden said, “to make your mistakes than to live without knowing; it’s better to fall on your face than to stay on your feet – as long as you try”.
Greg Holden is a musician. He and I worked together in the Apple Store on Regent Street in 2008, back when I had about ten thousand subscribers and he had four. Not four thousand; just four. Four people.
I watched his stuff and loved it, especially his song The Art Of Falling, the chorus of which is quoted above. So I made a video called ‘Greg Holden’ and told everyone to subscribe to him and he got a thousand subscribers in less than a day and now he’s living in New York and got signed to Warner Music.
(There’s obviously a much larger story in-between ‘Alex Day made a video’ and ‘got signed to Warner Music’, but I’m not the man to tell it. Still, at least I ended up getting a record deal for SOMEONE, eh.)
I stopped making YouTube videos a few months ago because I felt frustrated that I didn’t command the sway I once had. In actuality, of course, I just wasn’t trying hard enough. One-take shaky-cam videos filmed in windy parks aren’t the best way to build back a following, this just in.
So, in the spirit of failing being better if you try, I’m kickstarting my YouTube channel and you can learn more about that here.
In music news, I’ve recorded FIVE NEW SONGS toward a new album and they’re coming along. Three of the songs have live harp on them and two of the songs were written in Plum Village, if that gives you an idea of the sound :) Right now I would describe it as ‘Complicated Days: The Album’. Or maybe ‘Hearts: The Album’. Either way, if those words mean anything to you, they should mean you’re excited. I hope, anyway. I’ve reached the end.
I’m gonna keep this brief:
I really, really hope you like this :)
This was a hard album to make. In a lot of ways, it was an album I needed to make. It’s quite raw and makes me feel a bit exposed. But I love it and I’m very proud to have it and to share it. I think parts of it are my best work and overall it’s probably the most cohesive release I’ve ever put out.
The album costs £5 digital download, or it’ll be out tomorrow on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and all those other places. As always, you get it a day early for being kind enough to read this.
I’m not selling a physical CD for this but I am selling a physical USB card with the album on, limited edition (about a hundred or so) – get that here.
I need you guys with me tomorrow: if you like the album, please share it with whoever you can.
And feel free to email me and tell me what you think of it – just reply to this post if you’re getting this on email. I’ll read every one.
Now the work begins fresh. Time to record even newer stuff!
(PS I got snapchat if you want – thatalexday)
If you’re reading this it probably means you signed up to my mailing list on alexday.ninja or my old website, alexdaymusic.com – I’m very grateful for you doing that :)
This is going to be a long one so please bear with me if you have the time. Of course you have the time. Just put your phone on silent for five seconds of your life and focus on one thing for a change. (It’s mad isn’t it, that I can’t go a paragraph without snarking you? The very audience that have given me all of the best and worst days of my life, and yet I always focus on the trouble instead of the triumph. Sorry about that. I really am grateful; there are over three thousand of you on this mailing list which makes you more than the 900,000 subscribers or the 127,000 Twitter followers or the 58,000 Facebook likers. You are the ones that made the extra effort. You are the ones who care the most. I think, anyway.)
First thing’s first; I have an album out next month. I won’t be talking about it much in this email and I won’t be selling you anything else today, but people keep asking me if I’m still working on music, and it concerns me, because for the last eight months I’ve been very public about releasing an album in October and yet everyone seems to have forgotten. Some future of music I’m turning out to be, he smiled.
So just for clarity: my fourth album Nowhere Left To Hide will be out in October. I think it’s October 4th; it’s the first Sunday in October, so whatever that date is. All the singles I’ve released this year will be on it: Scared Like Me, Make It Rain, Keep Me Up and Beyond You.
In fact, just to give you something new, here’s the track list:
1. Make It Rain
2. Exploring Tomorrow
3. Complicated Days
4. Love Conquers All
5. Keep Me Up
6. You Don’t Deserve Me
7. I Might Fall In Love Tomorrow
9. Good Enough For Now
10. Two Faulty People (featuring Sarah-Grace Neal)
11. All I Can
12. Scared Like Me
13. Beyond You
I did that from memory, I think it’s right :)
My other song, Ugh! Your Ugly Houses, is not on it. I’ve earmarked that for a different project, an album of all covers called Legacy, which will be out in the future, when we’re all just blobs in clouds streaming data directly to our brains.
In terms of non-music writing, I’ve started a fiction book and I’ll be reaching out to agents, publishers etc when I’ve made more headway with that. The first draft will be finished by the end of October. If nobody picks it up I’ll self-release it like I did with my train book. I might not be the most successful YouTube author, but my book has nothing to do with vlogging and I wrote it myself, so there’re two USPs for you.
My daily life revolves around focusing on music and on writing, which is why I haven’t been making videos; I see it as time I could spend working. Today, for a sample day, I woke up just before 5AM, I’ve done some writing and a lot of reading and I just came back from a meeting with a music manager who may be helping me to organise some gigs.
I’m also a bit over making videos, if you hadn’t guessed. So I can’t see myself doing it that often. Nine years is a long time and my best work on YouTube was around 2010 anyway. I’ll probably upload some music stuff, though, when my album comes out.
I’m writing this in the Apple Store – I told the gentlemen at the entrance that I don’t have wifi at my place and he kindly permitted me to use the laptops and wifi here to update you. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE being internet-free at my home. It helps me get so much done. It’s blissful.
I’m living near Kingston, just outside London. My room has laminate flooring that I laid down myself (which made me feel very manly). The building used to be a police station so it has a lot of character (the last place I lived in – ‘the dream flat’, as I called it – used to be a biscuit factory, and before that, I lived with a guy called Charlie in a converted matchbox factory. I’m sensing a pattern).
Another Apple Store worker just came over to ask if I was alright. I politely explained I’d been permitted to use the internet because there’s no internet at my home. He smiled, thumbed-me up and said “go for it mate, go for it!”. Apple are lovely. Obviously their products are the main reason are brains are completely turned to mush, but the staff are very nice.
I’m very privileged that I get to do what I love every day without getting a ‘proper job’. I still make plenty through YouTube adsense, book sales and music royalties, as well as Sopio/Lifescouts money. I have you to thank for that, so again, since I don’t do it enough: thank you. (I started work on Sopio Deck 8 last week, so that’ll be online and at some trade fairs like the UK Games Expo next year.)
All that, I think, will sustain me long enough for me to get the Next Thing underway. Hopefully it’ll be a career in writing. Music is more fun but far less likely. The music industry (like the vlogging industry, if we can now call it that) is all about making YOU the star, where the publishing industry only care if you’ve written a good book or not. That may change, but hopefully not before I crack it. I like the focus not being on me. I’ve never really liked the recognition very much. I just wanna make the best work I can make.
I’ve also set up a Goodreads profile! Check it out here. Goodreads is a social network for reading. It’ll tell you what I’ve read, what I’m reading, what I’m planning to read, and you can also follow other authors, review books and share your favourite stories with Facebook. It’s super cool. I’m currently reading The Man That Time Forgot, which is about a man who travels through time and space every time he falls asleep. Think Doctor Who, but instead of a TARDIS, he’s just tired. It’s great, anyway :) Apparently it’s Amazon’s number one time travel novel, according to their bio, so it’s got that going for it too. Check out The Man That Time Forgot here.
That’s all my news. I hope your days are joyful. Let’s speak soon :)