A day in Montreux with Freddie Mercury

It’s not too often that I publish personal blogs and this is only my second, but I wanted to write about my day with Freddie.

At a very young age I asked my dad how too much love can kill you? So young in fact that I have no memory of it.

I grew up listening to mostly metal, prog rock and classic rock with both parents fans of the genres. My dad was always a huge Queen fan, while my mum fell asleep at one of their concerts. Terrible, I know.

I had always been an unknowing fan of the music growing up, liking most of the popular songs as a child and forgetting that some of the songs I liked were even by them (e.g. You’re my best friend). It was almost impossible not to love Bohemian Rhapsody, I recall seeing the video clip in pre-school and hearing some of their songs at primary school discos and sporting events.

I got into more of their material when I started to sing in high school falling in love with songs like Somebody to love and You take my breath away. I even had the opportunity to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with a choir and full band behind me during a lunch time concert in high school. It always saddened me to know that I would never have the opportunity to see them live, like many other bands I love.

I was always a fan of Queen, and I was intrigued by Adam Lambert on American Idol, both my parents and I loved his performances on the show. It still never occurred to me that I would ever have the chance to see them live.

In 2012 when the announcement was made, I started to plan a trip to the UK to see them perform with Adam Lambert at Sonisphere, which was cancelled before I had made any concrete plans. I had to wait another 2 years until the tour came to Australia, where after attending the show with my family, I immediately bought tickets to the second show in Sydney the following night. The second night saw an impromptu guest appearance by Lady Gaga during Another one bites the dust. It was after seeing them live that I really felt a strong connection to the band and I started to explore much more of their back catalogue.

This weekend my partner and I went to Switzerland for a Black, Avantgarde metal show that he really wanted to see, so I made a request to stop in at Montreux so I could visit the Freddie Mercury statue.

Walking along Lake Geneva I looked out over the water to the snow capped mountains, swans are floating by, and it really was like a landscape painting in the sky… All of a sudden the songs A Winter’s Tale and It’s a beautiful day made so much more sense. It really was so quiet and peaceful, tranquil and blissful. There’s a kind of magic in the air, what a truly magnificent view…IMG_1493.JPG

My day in Montreux was much more than just seeing a statue. After a quick Google search I found out that I could visit the Queen Studio Experience in the famed Montreux Casino – yes the one Deep Purple wrote that song about. IMG_1495

The casino was reopened in 1975 with the newly equipped Mountain Studios, which was owned by Queen between 1978 and 1995 where they, and many others recorded a number of their albums including their final album Made in Heaven.

Brian May and Roger Taylor opened the Queen Studio Experience on 2 December 2013, the exhibition was humble yet powerful, free to enter, asking only for a donation to the Freddie Mercury Phoenix Trust. I walked into the main room of the exhibition to find myself alone with Freddie’s voice roaring through the speakers singing It’s a beautiful day, my eyes welled up with tears. I will admit that I still struggle to listen to Made in Heaven with dry eyes, and being in not only the city, but the studio where it was recorded was quite overwhelming.
The exhibition was filled with stories and information about the recordings, including how Under Pressure came to be. The cabinets were filled with merchandise from Brian May’s personal collection and also included hand written lyrics by Freddie, Brian and Roger. There was a set up of what the studio looked like back when they recorded there with both original and replica gear from the band.

There was a mini theater playing an excerpt of their documentary Days of our lives, where Brian and Roger spoke about the time they had spent in Montreux. There was also a replica of the sound desk where the album was recorded. You could play around with the mix for two songs off the album and stand in the spot where Freddie last stood to record these songs, and more tears were shed. IMG_1519

Montreux has such a rich musical history, from the Montreux Jazz Festival and Mountain Studios alone, a lot of magic has been created in this beautiful place.

I highly recommend a visit to Montreux if you ever have the chance.IMG_1534




Lyrics from A Winter’s tale have been used to describe Montreux.

Don’t unfollow your followers on Twitter

On Twitter, everyone wants a hoard of followers to show their popularity.
Twitter Marketing

If you’re not already famous and are starting from scratch, this can be achieved with a few different methods, some more traditional than others.

1. Write great content, engage with your fans, use appropriate hashtags and retweet content that your fans will want to read. Mix this with some patience and you will slowly build a genuine list of active followers.

2. Follow for a follow. This is where you follow users who have similar interests and hope they follow you back. Some users will automatically follow you back and some profiles will unfollow users who don’t follow them back within 2-5 days. Slowly but surely you can build your followers list using this method.

3. Businesses and celebrities have been caught out for buying followers, I wouldn’t suggest using this method. There are plenty of blog sites out there claiming to get you 10K followers, but what’s the point if they aren’t actually into your music and ignore all of your tweets.

There is an unspoken “follow for a follow” rule on Twitter. If you follow a user back, you should only unfollow them if you no longer like their tweets. I have noticed a growing trend of people ignoring this rule, growing their lists using this method and then going back and unfollowing most of their followers to make their stats look better, breaking the unspoken rule.

On Twitter I will follow back any genuine musician or band because we’re all playing the same game trying to increase our followers. Yesterday I realized my followers had dropped over the last month, because bands I followed back had now unfollowed me. Now some could say they unfollowed me because they don’t like my content, which I’d be ok with but some of them were new and unknown bands with tens of thousands of people following them and they were following less than 500 people, which as a stats person isn’t easy to achieve on twitter.

So what did I do? I cleansed my list. I used the website friendorfollow and had a look to see who had unfollowed me and then I unfollowed them, because to be honest their music wasn’t my style and their tweets weren’t engaging. There are still over 150 accounts that I follow that don’t follow me back and probably never will because they are well known international bands who can grow their lists more organically. This is the kind of content I like to occasionally retweet to my fans because we have similar interests in music genres.Friend-or-Follow-Pic-2

So why shouldn’t you unfollow your followers?

Don’t unfollow your fans! Twitter is meant to be social, and nothing is more awesome than when your favourite bands follow you back. This creates a positive connection with your fans and they will feel more likely to tweet to or about you to their followers, making them a positive influencer or ambassador for your band. This is how your band’s name will spread organically, by word of mouth from current fans.

Secondly, don’t unfollow other bands. This industry is hard enough to crack as is, so support your fellow musicians and follow them back.

But, if after two weeks they unfollow you, you have my permission to unfollow them back…