Hello again: Day 1 of Techstars London

Many reasons for the radio silence – last post was from more than a year ago and a lot has happened since then! Today though, I felt it was a good day for a come back (and beware, I might come back with a vengeance!).

Where to start…

A year ago I left Mendeley (the company I worked for about 5 years) to start my own venture, Headliner, with my two co-founders and friends Maria and Stan

We’ve been working very hard for the last year to make it all happen. Last April we launched to the public and it’s been awesome, unbelievably busy and slightly frenetic at times since then. Even though it has been hard (working from home, though flexible and convenient, it can get lonely and  make you a hermit), it has been a great ride and I would do it again without hesitation.

Today is a good day to come back, because today we started our journey as a Techstars company and we can finally announce we are part of the Fall 2015 cohort. Needless to say I (we) am (are) incredibly excited.

Left to right Headliner's co-founders: Stan, Maria and myself. Slight look of fear I am pulling, but I promise you this is just down to the fact that I might be the most anti-photogenic person. I am actually super excited! Also, I need a haircut.
Left to right Headliner’s co-founders: Stan, Maria and myself. Slight look of fear I am pulling, but I promise you this is just down to the fact that I might be the most anti-photogenic person. I am actually super excited! Also, I need a haircut.

Aware there are tough times ahead – 3 months of intensive work, non-stop meetings, KPIs, deep dives, mentor madness… still, I get the feeling it is gonna be good fun and well worth it and really gonna help us grow. 

Inspired by Dom Davis’ 100 days of TechStars, I have decided to document my experience – mainly so I can reflect on everything that happens and analyse how I feel as the program progresses. And just before I forget, I am incredibly thankful to have Jesper, who is the most supportive boyfriend in the world(*). 

Today has been a great day(**) and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring. I think we are definitely onto a good start. And with this thought, it’s time for me to hit the sack.

Welcome back to my little corner on the Internet…

 

(*) First thing they told us to do was to thank our family for their support, since they will see very little of us during the next three months. Hopefully, i’ll still get to see him almost every night (will report on this later)…

(**) Check out the picture we took at an unexpected stop during our surprise activity…

From left to right: Martin from Sorry as a Service, myself and my co-founder Maria
From left to right: Martin from Sorry as a Service, myself and my co-founder Maria

Burning House

I have a problem where, whenever I find a tune I like (or album, or band…) I listen to it on repeat-1. Until it hurts.

So when people recommend some new music to listen to I usually keep the recommendations aside and come back to them when I’m done with my obsession at the time.  Then I am desperate for new things to discover. Run into something unexpected that simply blows my mind away.

I have a few solutions for this problem: one is get a hand on my folder on Spotify “New Stuff To Listen To” where all recommendations end up and play something randomly.

But, I found a better approach that makes me even happier and excited. Go to gigs. Not any specific gigs. Random gigs. Gigs recommended by friends. Gigs of bands I know absolutely nothing about.

Normal people would do some research prior to the gig, find out whether the music is their cup of tea or not. While I sometimes do this (especially if the gig is not particularly cheap), I’ve discovered that going to these shows without hearing anything beforehand gives me a much more interesting experience.

This is risky, as it can go both ways: you either love it or you hate it.  And I wouldn’t recommend it to people who are picky on their musical taste. But if you are like me, where there are little things you dislike and listen from classical to heavy metal and beyond, then give it a go, you’ll find that you’ll be greatly surprised – or extremely disappointed, but in that case, I’d just leave 🙂

Last week, thanks to our lovely friend Amandine, we had the opportunity to go to Cargo for a band we’ve never heard of before: Burning House. Great chance to put the experiment to the test!

It was a long time since I was in Cargo – so long, the back yard looked completely different since the last time I was there. I forgot how cosy of a venue it is. We arrived early and we were pretty much the first ones there.

At first I was a bit scared, it was already showtime and it was just the 5 of us there. Some more people started coming. Musicians on stage, show started.

The duo,  Hervé Salters aka RV Salters (keyboards) and Chief Xcel (DJ) were accompanied by a drummer and a bass player with really cool afro hair.

Their sound is 70s funky with a nice electronic twist and incredibly fun.

They also know how to put on a good show. Check out a video I took from the first row (quality unfortunately not great, but you get an idea of the dances RV was pulling while playing the keyboards).

Details of the dancing (at real speed..)  Details of the dancing (at real speed..)

 

Burning House just released their new (first) album Walking into a Burning House  so go and check it out because it’s awesome. It’s now available on Amazon, iTunes, Rough Trade and Deezer.

My favourite tunes so far: Tokyo Airport, Post Party Stress Disorder and Turn Off The Robot. Enjoy!

Great fun evening and super glad I got the opportunity to discover their music the way I did. Thanks again to Amandine for inviting us along!

 

 

 

Pretty Lights

I came across Pretty Lights not long ago. If I remember correctly, it was Jesper’s recommendation. And as like any other good recommendation, Pretty Lights became a little bit of an obsession.

 The first tune I listened to was Finally Moving from the album Taking up Your Precious Time, and he got me there. It’s a beautiful remix of the amazing Etta James’ Something’s Got a Hold On Me.  

 

After I listened to this tune like there was no other thing to listen to, I decided to give Pretty Lights repertoire a good spin. To my surprise, not only he made beautiful chillaxing tunes, but he also had very funky tunes. The type that make you want to dance, or at least bang your head. Give a listen to the following two tunes…

http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf

http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf

I got really into his music and for 2 years I wondered when would he come to perform in London. The wait was long, but it finally happened! Last September, we were lucky enough to have him here for a one only show in London, in the Electric Ballroom in Camden. Funnily enough, the same week the tickets were released, Jesper and I were saying how, with all the gigs that we go to, we’ve never been to this venue for real gigs (during the day it’s used as part of the market). There’s nothing like hitting two birds with one stone 🙂

Thoughts from the night: the DJ before Pretty Lights (I am sorry I didn’t catch his name) was awesome, and made sure we were in party mood for when Pretty Lights came to stage. We were even a bit concerned that he was a bit too much upbeat and that Pretty Lights wouldn’t be that hardcore (the DJ before was cracking some Knife Party, Feed Me and Nero tunes…) but to our surprise, Pretty Lights was beyond that.

He wasn’t giving a damn. He wasn’t there for joking, he was giving it all, and so was the crowd. We didn’t stop dancing until we left. It was amazing. That feeling of finally experiencing the music you love live is absolutely priceless. Some people looked at me like I was crazy or on drugs, even though I was completely sober – not a single drop of alcohol. That’s how much I was enjoying the music.

We also had some time to photo-document the night,  I hope you enjoy 🙂

It’s still summer (a tale of festivals)

Who would have thought this year we were going to have summer in London. After last year’s only-one-week-of-sun, the horrible winter and the not so good spring, I was losing hope. You see, for someone from the south of Spain it’s difficult to understand how’s it even possible to be wearing winter boots in June, even after 5 years in the UK, it’s hard to get used to it.

But the summer finally came and ‘oh! surprise!’ it seems it hasn’t left yet!

And with the summer the great festivals. Hooray! Full days of music for our entertainment and pleasure. This year I haven’t been to as many as I would have liked, but hey, something is something. 

Opening the season was Field Day. Myself and a group of friends headed to Victoria Park on the 25th of May (not quite summer, but hey, it was sunny, and that counts)  to celebrate the hen party of a great friend of mine.

It was a very sunny day, and we were ready to have fun! Lots of beer, dancing and good music. What I like the most about Field Day is that most of the music is quite unknown or at least not super main stream. And I like that. I like to be surprised with good stuff. I like going to festivals without doing much research prior to the event. I like walking around the place with a drink in hand and dancing to what my body needs at the time; and that has proven to be a great way to find new stuff to listen to.

Bat for Lashes  was a good discovery for me. I have heard about her before, but I haven’t really stopped and listened to her music until Field Day. It was stunning. She has an amazingly beautiful voice, and she did a great performance. Most of it wasn’t very danceable, but it was nice to sit down for a bit and just listen to nice music. There were a couple of more dance-y tunes and that was nice to bring us back up and keep running around.

 

Different style and genre, but yet another great discovery from Field Day was TNGHT. Now, I am not a huge fan of trap music, but these guys know how to rock it. And their tunes really make you want to dance. Check out one of my favourite tunes of this year (so far):

http://grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf

In July we headed to Secret Garden Party. I am preparing a dedicated post about the whole experience, because otherwise this one would be too long, but I would like to mention a few musical highlights in advance, of the 4 days we spent there.

First mention for the reggae band General Roots , not only because they were good fun and have an amazing cover of Joker Smoker by Triston Palma, but also because they took some lyrics from Pure Morning by Placebo and added them to that cover. Boom! 

Another great discovery was The Other Tribe , an electropop band from Bristol with an amazing energy on stage. I absolutely loved it and I danced like crazy to it. Good fun!

 

Enough of Secret Garden Party for now, it’s time to talk about African music! My friend Vincent’s girlfriend was part of the organizers of the Africa Centre Summer Festival that took place in Covent Garden, and following his recommendation Jesper and I headed downtown to see what was cooking. We arrived right on time for Kasai Masaiand man they were groovy! The guy ended up with a spectacular dance – I wish I could move my hips as well as him! Impressive. 

Later that night Nneka was playing. Unfortunately we had to leave before we could see her, but I later researched her, and her music is pretty cool. I particularly like her tunes Shining Star and Heartbeat. 

And to sum up, last weekend we went down to the Southbank for the  Sud de France Joie de Vivre Festival. It was kind of an “after party” organised by the Southbank in collaboration with the people from the Worldwide Festival. We were supposed to join our friends in Sète earlier this year, but we couldn’t go due to work, but we’re definitely going next year!

So here it ends my story about the festivals this summer. Make sure you enjoy the last days of this beautiful before lovely autumn comes to London. After all, 

In the summer time when the weather is high

You can stretch right up and touch the sky 

 

Hello World!

After a long time off the blogosphere, I decided to open this blog to write about what I love the most, music! You can check some of the motivations behind it here 🙂

For the first post (long due), here’s a recommendation I got from my lovely boyfriend’s brother, not that long ago. Pretty good alt-rock!

Welcome to my musical world and thanks for reading!