Getting Social Series: Astronautalis Talks Channeling Creativity on Social

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Getting Social” Series, wherein we showcase TuneCore Artists and music marketing pros who offer insight on social strategy for independents. Because after all, there’s more to social media than sharing tour dates and funny pictures!

Today we’re sharing an interview with indie MC Astronautalis (AKA Andy Bothwell). Hailing from Minneapolis, Astronautalis has been releasing albums since 2003, blending hip hop with elements of indie rock and electronic music, (among other genres). His songwriting is a force to be reckoned with – no obscure subject is off limits, and few MCs possess the topic bank and flow to make things your high school history teacher forgot about captivate an audience.  Astronautalis has built his fan base in sync with the progression of social media in mainstream culture, and was named a top Instagram follow by Pigeons and Planes. We discuss his interest in photography, using social to promote new releases and more below:

You recently released The Very Unfortunate Affairs of Mary & Earl – tell us about this ‘historical fiction’ album and how your fans have been reacting to it.

Astronautalis: Technically, it is a re-release of a very old EP I made for a vinyl only release on a small label in Germany several years ago. It was my first foray into working “historical-fiction” into rap music, and based on the rather star-crossed love affair between Mary Queen of Scots and James Hepburn, the Fourth Earl of Bothwell, Scotland.   Hepburn is actually a VERY distant relative, and the story, (which involves murder, kidnapping, black magic, and more), has always been a point of great fascination for me. The process of writing creatively from history was such a thrill for me on this project, it became a bit of a hallmark for my next two full-length records.

Has the amount of time you dedicate to social media changed as your fan base has grown?

Yes, several times, actually. Initially, back in the MySpace era, I used social media to book tours, talk to the few fans I had, and lay the meager little foundation that I would later build my career upon. MySpace messages made things a lot more long form then they are now in the world of Twitter and communicating through the comments section. Back then, I wrote back EVERYONE who wrote me, in a true and full response. Even with my small fan base, it became quite the undertaking, and as things expanded, I found that I didn’t have the time to write so extensively to fans.

Twitter couldn’t have come along at a better time. It was quite the revolution to be able to communicate with anyone and everyone, but within the inherent limitations of the format it became less like letter writing, and more like text messaging, and thusly, more manageable. Lately, I find myself focusing less on Twitter, and even less on Facebook still. They are still both important tools for my business, but I get little reward from them personally. And while I am still engaging with fans on both sites, and using both as business tools, the only social media I engage in with any great passion is Instagram. I, personally, find it much more rewarding to scroll through an endless stream of beautiful photos, as opposed to people being outraged over Beyonce’s Grammy snub, you know?

Do you feel your fan base is one that is very plugged in?

Certainly! Isn’t everyone of a certain age, or younger? I think people are so plugged in at this point, they do not have an understanding of what it means to be NOT plugged in, you know? When the revolution in the Ukraine started last year, it was insane to be able to not just talk directly to people who were on the ground in Kiev, but people who knew my music? Everything about that is so bizarre to me. The reach of all things in the modern age, even weirdo rap music, is nothing short of mind blowing.

What do you like (and/or dislike?) about the process of building excitement and dropping a new release on social?

The things I dislike about the process are really only the things I dislike about social media in general, and the level of laziness it fosters in people at times. People using social media to ask questions that could be solved with a short Google search, and what not. (Which is pretty much the main annoyance faced by any artist who is really connected and involved with their social media).

Aside from sometimes feeling like a butler, pretty much every other aspect of releasing and promoting through social media is fantastic! Working on a record is arduous and exhausting work; totally mentally and emotionally draining. You spend the better part of the entire process second-guessing everything from your lyrics to your album art, to your choice to start rapping when you were 12. When the album comes out, your social media is the thing that builds you back up. It is like having every person, from every show you are about to play, all in one room at once, cheering you on; and you would have to be a total asshole to not love and appreciate that support/ego stroking.

Between Facebook and Twitter, you boast over 69K followers/fans – which of these two comes most into play during a touring stretch?

Facebook has become all about business for me at this point. I use it to post the brass tacks about shows and tours and releases, especially on and around said tours and releases. Twitter really gets the most use in my life once I hit the road, partially because it becomes a great way to interact with folks before, during, and after shows. Also there is A LOT of time to kill on those van rides, and once you have run out of podcasts and you can’t play Mario Kart anymore, Twitter is always there for you with some excellent diversion.

Similarly, how do you feel you interact with your fans differently in general when it comes to those two channels?

As I said above, Facebook is become so about business and promotion, with little personal flair, that most of the fan interaction has turned that way as well. Even though it is host to my largest number of followers, I found pretty early on that people don’t like it when you use the Facebook page like Twitter. They get annoyed if you post a lot through the Facebook page. So, I try to keep it short, sweet, and down to business. As a result, much of the folks writing me on Facebook keep to that tone as well, (i.e. asking for show/tour details). On Twitter is where the interaction becomes much more personal, and I’ll find myself discussing everything from sports, to rap, to Target’s line of “50 Shades of Grey” sex toys. Facebook is where you go for stuff about “Astronautalis”. Twitter is where you go to talk to Andy, if that makes sense?

You were named one of the top 25 indie artists to follow on Instagram – and for a good reason. Has photography/visual art always been an interest of yours?

My mother was a photographer and a photography teacher, so I grew up in a dark room. And while I have always owned cameras, and taken photos, for me, it was always a hobby. Honestly, till Instagram.

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Where/when do you find yourself getting inspired to share photos most often? Or do you feel it’s more of a random happening?

One of the reasons I have latched onto Instagram was the creativity it fosters IN me. While it is a great creative outlet, and a nice distraction from music for me, the thing I enjoy the most is having an endless stream of great photos to look through all day. Seeing the world though all of those people’s eyes has pushed me to see photos everywhere and made me think more like a photographer. While the most popular photos I post are certainly the ones taken on tour in exotic locales, showing things most people have never seen, some of my favorites are the ones I take just strolling through my neighborhood in Minneapolis.

What tips do you have for an independent artist who’s trying to tighten their Instagram game up?

I think it starts with what is in your feed. If you just follow your friends posting pictures of themselves at parties, or shots of food they eat, chances are that is what your feed will end up looking like as well. Think of Instagram differently then other social media. Use Twitter and Facebook for socializing, but use Instagram for inspiration. If you follow great photographers, you’ll start thinking more like a photographer, just by osmosis. But, take it from me, when you start unfollowing your friends because their pictures suck…you better think of a nice way to explain it to them. People take this stuff SERIOUS!

Your career has really progressed almost parallel to that of social media’s presence in mainstream culture. Do you feel this gave you a leg up in terms of how you engage fans now?

I think so. For myself, and a lot of artists who adopted social media early, we were already sharp on a lot of the ins and outs, while most of the big guys and major label artists were still scrambling to figure out what the hell a tweet was, you know? Social media is not the real world: there is a whole different set of social morals to live by online, and a lot of which are still being written. I think the early adopters have proven to be more nimble in adapting to change, and more innovative when it came to making change in how this relatively new set of tools can be used.

What newer opportunities do you see for independents in hip hop when it comes to marketing their music online?

Rap music is going through a really exciting stratification right now. Rap has replaced rock as the language of pop music, and as you see rap coming out of all these strange places and faces, it is producing an infinite amount of sub-genres within the framework of “rap”. From a creative standpoint, I think this is astoundingly exciting. Thankfully, we live in a technological environment that allows artists to use the pinpoint marketing power of social media to find fans for their version of rap, no matter what obscure sub-genre of a sub-genre they occupy. And as the technology grows and improves, our power in that realm will only grow and improve as well. It is in exciting time for democratization of the business of art.

What’s in store for Astronautalis in 2015?

Well, I finished a new record (shopping that to labels now). I am re-releasing my entire back catalogue of rarities (about 8 EPs or so?) in the coming weeks. I have been working on a performance art piece with some British artists at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Starting on a couple of rad musical side projects. Sketching some ground plans for a top-secret non-musical project this summer. Touring a bunch in the states and Europe. And hopefully riding the hell out of my motorcycles as soon as the snow thaws…if not sooner.

Getting Social Series: Tyler Allen Discusses Social Strategy & Digital Presence

We understand that when you’re writing, rehearsing, recording and eventually distributing new music, social media isn’t always a top priority. However when it comes to building excitement around and promoting that new release, it should be one the first things that comes to mind! Think about it: people who follow you on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr are doing so because they like your music. Once you’ve got them there, you’re able to bring them into your world to whatever extent you choose, and informing them of the awesome new song or album you’re releasing is the very least you should be sharing.

Tyler Allen is a music consultant whose firm, W Tyler Consulting, helps artists of varying genres and career levels establish and preserve a quality digital presence. He also offers strategy and artist packages for DIY and indie artists on a budget, so he has great first-hand experience and advice when it comes to making the most of your social media marketing efforts. Tyler was nice enough to explore the subject with us in an interview below!

Social media is, in the grand scheme of things, still a relatively young concept. From the collapse of MySpace to the explosion of Instagram, what do you feel has remained constantly vital for indie artists when it comes to social?

Tyler Allen: What’s remained consistently vital has been transparency and curiosity. This goes well beyond the constructs of “social media outlets”, from the days of Tiger Beat and Teen Bop magazines in the 1960’s, to Late Night TV and TMZ-esque sites, fans have always wanted a glimpse into the lives of their artists.

Sure, they want the music, and sure they want the videos and the latest news, but above all they want to feel as if they know these artists. Social media has become the gateway into the full vision of an artist from professional to personal. Whether they got it from a MySpace photo in the 2000’s, an Instagram or Vine clip from today, or whatever lies next, fans want that eclectic glimpse of an artist’s life and career.

Sure, there’s a delicate balance of what you post (promo vs. personal) but fans are always going to seek that balance; it’s a vital part of an artist’s brand.

How often do you hear artists interested in consultation or otherwise tells you, “Yeah we use Facebook, but Twitter is a waste of time…” or some variation of that? What is your reaction?

I actually get the opposite! I have a lot of clients that come to me and they are on every single current social media outlet, and aren’t able to keep up with them all. If you’re on an outlet, you need to keep it active—plain and simple.

My young pop artists who are doing radio tours and live shows – absolutely jump on every outlet – if you can keep up with it and deliver unique content on all platforms – let’s work with it.

However, my older veteran clients, who’s main focus is on licensing, and the occasional show—you simply might not need to be on every social media outlet if it doesn’t fit your brand. What’s he going to do on Vine? Does she have enough photo content to even keep up with an Instagram? Maybe, but probably not.

Social media is becoming a way for press and other decision makers to gauge your success and if you are worth their time. If they come across a thoroughly updated Twitter page, but also a Facebook page that hasn’t been kept up with, it’s a major red flag. Only sign up for what you can keep up with.

Though, in the same breath, just because you don’t see the use of an outlet, doesn’t mean it can’t help you! Social media is important, but it’s one pixel in a larger digital branding picture. It becomes an extension of your art, and your brand—so I do recommend taking on new outlets if it makes sense for an artist’s work.

A lot of us shy away from things we don’t understand, so try to understand an outlet first before completely writing it off. I always recommend Facebook due to it’s helpful ad structure and it’s stature of somewhat being an industry standard. I also tend to recommend Twitter for it’s personable approach to media and fans. Though, every artist’s brand, story and goals are going to be different. Therefore, their outlets will be, too.

How do you think artists can best capitalize on touring when it comes to their social channels?

Touring is prime time for social media. Because you always have content, right? You have photos and video clips from shows; you have photos from the road trips. It’s a great way to connect with fans on a professional and personal level.

A lot of artists let outlets go ghost because they feel as if they don’t have anything to talk about, but being on the road, you have lots to work with. You just have to find the time to make an update video, take photos around town and be really interactive.

As far as promoting the tour, one should have graphics made in advance, and use geo-targeted ads (ie. Twitter and Facebook’s ad managers) to start promoting certain tour dates in certain locations. I’d also recommend a scheduler such as Hootesuite, or Buffer, to schedule posts to go live when you may be on the road.

Facebook has made it harder to reach fans organically with each post. What other kind of challenges do you see facing indies as social channels evolve?

Very true. Facebook’s algorithm changes often, and this basically means if your posts aren’t being engaged with (commented on, liked, shared) they might not even appear on your fan’s timelines. So you could very well have, let’s say, 5,000 fans, but if you post something that doesn’t get any love, it might only be seen by 5-10 of those fans—if that.

There are ways to get around that—ie. Make your posts interactive, be conversational, ask fans to interact with your posts, etc. Nonetheless, this change in Facebook almost makes an artist (or any brand, really) need to purchase Facebook ads so their work is properly seen. Especially for folks who still have growing outlets.

I do see more and more outlets relying on paid placement, Instagram just rolled out ads for brands, and Twitter’s ad manager is always evolving. So very well, we could see similar changes coming from other guys—who may almost force our hands to buy ads. But who knows?

Right now the biggest challenge for an indie artist is over-saturation. Everyone has a band, everyone has a mixtape about to drop, and everyone is about to go on tour. It’s becoming harder for artists to stand out, because social media has given everyone out there a platform. Artists really have to find new ways to be creative on their social media outlets to stand out from the crowd.

Have you seen success among indie artists who use social to develop or nurture relationships with bloggers?

Absolutely. We call this “influencer marketing”, and it’s something that’s been used by large companies for a while now. Let’s say you are a clothing brand, it’s very common you send free samples to fashion bloggers for review, right?

For large companies this has taken on a whole new stage of strategy, where these bloggers and YouTube personalities get paid hefty sums of money to promote products. There are even influencer agencies that help connect these bloggers and brands.

This is a tactic that’s certainly usable in the music industry, and fortunately you likely won’t have to pay a blogger to write about you. Music writers are typically a very open bunch and a proper email, tweet or press release will do the trick. Bloggers are just as powerful as large corporately owned magazines and websites.

Though, on the flip side, there are influencers out there like major DJ’s, celebs or big outlets that will cover your work for a small fee or arrangement. I’ve had success in this, we recently paired an artist with a nationally syndicated radio/TV personality to promote a release through his blog and Twitter, and I’d say it was worth the investment. But grassroots pitching always seems to feel more rewarding.

What are a few of the most common mistakes you regularly see independent or unsigned artists making on social?

As mentioned previously, not keeping your outlets updated is always a mistake. Be sure to be active on your social media—social is the key word there, right? Also, be sure to have a good mix of content. I see a lot of artists that are too heavy on the promo side, and promo after promo is just too “salesy”. On the flip-side though, I see a lot of artists posting their lunch or their #GymFlow and not enough posts of their actual music. Have a good mix.

Each outlet should also have unique content, it can be similar, sure—but try to have a reason to be on every outlet that you participate in. Your Instagram should have certain content that’s different from your Facebook, and so forth.

Don’t be on an outlet just to have an account. Be fun and personable on each outlet. Have a unique message throughout. If you do share the same video or photo on multiple outlets, at least switch the captions or text up to make it different.

Lastly, make sure it’s pretty. Your band is a brand, and a major brand would never have typos or poorly photo shopped graphics. Make sure your outlets are clean and ready for public consumption.

What newer social channels are you excited about in terms of promotional/engagement potential for up-and-coming artists?

I’m most excited about new features coming out for the outlets we already have. Both Twitter and Facebook’s new video ads and video tools have been great for artists.

Integrations are also always great. The way Twitter integrates with Vine  is a great feature. Twitter allows you to play Vine clips straight from your Twitter feed, instead of just throwing out a URL. This is great because you can write a Tweet along with your Vine post, which kind of reframes the content to be unique to Twitter.

I’m also interested in Periscope and Meerkat, which are both live video streaming tools that integrate with Twitter. There was some conflict between the two as Twitter owns Periscope and the two apps essentially are the same. Regardless, whichever app reigns supreme, the concept is great for artists. This would mean fans could live stream your concerts, shows, meet-and-greets and more.

For an indie artist who doesn’t tour and isn’t making waves on blogs (yet), what practical advice do you offer for simply building a larger social community?

Be active! Your social media outlets are still a “media outlet”, so that is still your platform for greater exposure. Work on engaging content such as video posts, show clips and graphics, and give your fans something to talk about. I also recommend saving up for small ad spends, which can be used to promote your various channels and releases. A lot of people shy away from ads, but some artists don’t realize that even $5 a day for 5 days can get your work in front of thousands of fans.

Lastly, make media lists, and start submitting your work to blogs and press outlets! Sure you may not be ready for an album review in Rolling Stone, but sending your press kit to local media in the spots where you are performing can go a long way.


10686941_10202703937861306_3856894148549257883_nAs a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more about Tyler Allen’s music consulting and background on his website here.

Getting Social Series: Astronautalis Talks Channeling Creativity on Social

Welcome to the latest installment of our “Getting Social” Series, wherein we showcase TuneCore Artists and music marketing pros who offer insight on social strategy for independents. Because after all, there’s more to social media than sharing tour dates and funny pictures!

Today we’re sharing an interview with indie MC Astronautalis (AKA Andy Bothwell). Hailing from Minneapolis, Astronautalis has been releasing albums since 2003, blending hip hop with elements of indie rock and electronic music, (among other genres). His songwriting is a force to be reckoned with – no obscure subject is off limits, and few MCs possess the topic bank and flow to make things your high school history teacher forgot about captivate an audience.  Astronautalis has built his fan base in sync with the progression of social media in mainstream culture, and was named a top Instagram follow by Pigeons and Planes. We discuss his interest in photography, using social to promote new releases and more below:

You recently released The Very Unfortunate Affairs of Mary & Earl – tell us about this ‘historical fiction’ album and how your fans have been reacting to it.

Astronautalis: Technically, it is a re-release of a very old EP I made for a vinyl only release on a small label in Germany several years ago. It was my first foray into working “historical-fiction” into rap music, and based on the rather star-crossed love affair between Mary Queen of Scots and James Hepburn, the Fourth Earl of Bothwell, Scotland.   Hepburn is actually a VERY distant relative, and the story, (which involves murder, kidnapping, black magic, and more), has always been a point of great fascination for me. The process of writing creatively from history was such a thrill for me on this project, it became a bit of a hallmark for my next two full-length records.

Has the amount of time you dedicate to social media changed as your fan base has grown?

Yes, several times, actually. Initially, back in the MySpace era, I used social media to book tours, talk to the few fans I had, and lay the meager little foundation that I would later build my career upon. MySpace messages made things a lot more long form then they are now in the world of Twitter and communicating through the comments section. Back then, I wrote back EVERYONE who wrote me, in a true and full response. Even with my small fan base, it became quite the undertaking, and as things expanded, I found that I didn’t have the time to write so extensively to fans.

Twitter couldn’t have come along at a better time. It was quite the revolution to be able to communicate with anyone and everyone, but within the inherent limitations of the format it became less like letter writing, and more like text messaging, and thusly, more manageable. Lately, I find myself focusing less on Twitter, and even less on Facebook still. They are still both important tools for my business, but I get little reward from them personally. And while I am still engaging with fans on both sites, and using both as business tools, the only social media I engage in with any great passion is Instagram. I, personally, find it much more rewarding to scroll through an endless stream of beautiful photos, as opposed to people being outraged over Beyonce’s Grammy snub, you know?

Do you feel your fan base is one that is very plugged in?

Certainly! Isn’t everyone of a certain age, or younger? I think people are so plugged in at this point, they do not have an understanding of what it means to be NOT plugged in, you know? When the revolution in the Ukraine started last year, it was insane to be able to not just talk directly to people who were on the ground in Kiev, but people who knew my music? Everything about that is so bizarre to me. The reach of all things in the modern age, even weirdo rap music, is nothing short of mind blowing.

What do you like (and/or dislike?) about the process of building excitement and dropping a new release on social?

The things I dislike about the process are really only the things I dislike about social media in general, and the level of laziness it fosters in people at times. People using social media to ask questions that could be solved with a short Google search, and what not. (Which is pretty much the main annoyance faced by any artist who is really connected and involved with their social media).

Aside from sometimes feeling like a butler, pretty much every other aspect of releasing and promoting through social media is fantastic! Working on a record is arduous and exhausting work; totally mentally and emotionally draining. You spend the better part of the entire process second-guessing everything from your lyrics to your album art, to your choice to start rapping when you were 12. When the album comes out, your social media is the thing that builds you back up. It is like having every person, from every show you are about to play, all in one room at once, cheering you on; and you would have to be a total asshole to not love and appreciate that support/ego stroking.

Between Facebook and Twitter, you boast over 69K followers/fans – which of these two comes most into play during a touring stretch?

Facebook has become all about business for me at this point. I use it to post the brass tacks about shows and tours and releases, especially on and around said tours and releases. Twitter really gets the most use in my life once I hit the road, partially because it becomes a great way to interact with folks before, during, and after shows. Also there is A LOT of time to kill on those van rides, and once you have run out of podcasts and you can’t play Mario Kart anymore, Twitter is always there for you with some excellent diversion.

Similarly, how do you feel you interact with your fans differently in general when it comes to those two channels?

As I said above, Facebook is become so about business and promotion, with little personal flair, that most of the fan interaction has turned that way as well. Even though it is host to my largest number of followers, I found pretty early on that people don’t like it when you use the Facebook page like Twitter. They get annoyed if you post a lot through the Facebook page. So, I try to keep it short, sweet, and down to business. As a result, much of the folks writing me on Facebook keep to that tone as well, (i.e. asking for show/tour details). On Twitter is where the interaction becomes much more personal, and I’ll find myself discussing everything from sports, to rap, to Target’s line of “50 Shades of Grey” sex toys. Facebook is where you go for stuff about “Astronautalis”. Twitter is where you go to talk to Andy, if that makes sense?

You were named one of the top 25 indie artists to follow on Instagram – and for a good reason. Has photography/visual art always been an interest of yours?

My mother was a photographer and a photography teacher, so I grew up in a dark room. And while I have always owned cameras, and taken photos, for me, it was always a hobby. Honestly, till Instagram.

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Where/when do you find yourself getting inspired to share photos most often? Or do you feel it’s more of a random happening?

One of the reasons I have latched onto Instagram was the creativity it fosters IN me. While it is a great creative outlet, and a nice distraction from music for me, the thing I enjoy the most is having an endless stream of great photos to look through all day. Seeing the world though all of those people’s eyes has pushed me to see photos everywhere and made me think more like a photographer. While the most popular photos I post are certainly the ones taken on tour in exotic locales, showing things most people have never seen, some of my favorites are the ones I take just strolling through my neighborhood in Minneapolis.

What tips do you have for an independent artist who’s trying to tighten their Instagram game up?

I think it starts with what is in your feed. If you just follow your friends posting pictures of themselves at parties, or shots of food they eat, chances are that is what your feed will end up looking like as well. Think of Instagram differently then other social media. Use Twitter and Facebook for socializing, but use Instagram for inspiration. If you follow great photographers, you’ll start thinking more like a photographer, just by osmosis. But, take it from me, when you start unfollowing your friends because their pictures suck…you better think of a nice way to explain it to them. People take this stuff SERIOUS!

Your career has really progressed almost parallel to that of social media’s presence in mainstream culture. Do you feel this gave you a leg up in terms of how you engage fans now?

I think so. For myself, and a lot of artists who adopted social media early, we were already sharp on a lot of the ins and outs, while most of the big guys and major label artists were still scrambling to figure out what the hell a tweet was, you know? Social media is not the real world: there is a whole different set of social morals to live by online, and a lot of which are still being written. I think the early adopters have proven to be more nimble in adapting to change, and more innovative when it came to making change in how this relatively new set of tools can be used.

What newer opportunities do you see for independents in hip hop when it comes to marketing their music online?

Rap music is going through a really exciting stratification right now. Rap has replaced rock as the language of pop music, and as you see rap coming out of all these strange places and faces, it is producing an infinite amount of sub-genres within the framework of “rap”. From a creative standpoint, I think this is astoundingly exciting. Thankfully, we live in a technological environment that allows artists to use the pinpoint marketing power of social media to find fans for their version of rap, no matter what obscure sub-genre of a sub-genre they occupy. And as the technology grows and improves, our power in that realm will only grow and improve as well. It is in exciting time for democratization of the business of art.

What’s in store for Astronautalis in 2015?

Well, I finished a new record (shopping that to labels now). I am re-releasing my entire back catalogue of rarities (about 8 EPs or so?) in the coming weeks. I have been working on a performance art piece with some British artists at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Starting on a couple of rad musical side projects. Sketching some ground plans for a top-secret non-musical project this summer. Touring a bunch in the states and Europe. And hopefully riding the hell out of my motorcycles as soon as the snow thaws…if not sooner.