Days in the life of a songwriter 26

Went to see a photography exhibition by Venetia Dearden. It was down in Brixton and we had to stumble along Coldharbour lane to get to it. The gallery is called Coldharbour London and is a great space, I think it used to be a print factory. At first I wasn’t sure about the angle the artist was coming from until I realised that the art was commissioned by a fashion house. Then it all made sense. Well almost.

I think I have mentioned that I have done some work to bring our track Dear Caffeine back to life. It has piano and violins in there now. Nick came round on Thursday night to check out the piano parts and we were joined by Rachel on violin who I met when she was busking near the Tate Modern. It worked really well and as we’ll have Tom join us on violin for the gig at the 12 Bar Club, I spent a few hours double checking the violin parts (one and two) and saving them as PDF documents so I could email them to Tom last night. I work in Logic and I might do a ‘How to’ blog post soon.

Sunday morning started in great fashion as we had two tracks played on Amazing Radio. In case you’d like to check out the show, it was the Amazing Chill on 20.11.11. Charlie Ashcroft played ‘Boy Doesn’t Meet Girl’ and then ‘Rocket Boys’ in hour two. He was filling in for Matt Jamison. They broadcast nationally on DAB and are on the olde net(te)… Then we were off to the Ideal Home Show as my partner’s company were one of the sponsors. She had to do an interview (on camera) for them, so it turned out to be a media heavy day. Sunday night mate Olaf and I went to the Bowery in New Oxford Street to check out Jordan Reyne’s gig there, supporting Marina Celeste of Novelle Vague fame. There’s a link to Jordan’s blog on the right. Jordan does celtic folk with an industrial edge. She uses machine noises and also samples her own guitar as well as voice. Visually, imaginge Pippi Longstocking living on a seafarer’s graveyard ;-). Marina Celeste had a lot of female admirers and two very good musicians with her. Das Fluff, who were also supporting, were a mix between Sisters of Mercy, Devo and Nina Hagen.

Okay, Monday I rehearsed with drummer boy Ben, down at the Imperial College before I went to Camden for Justin Wayne’s (link on the right) musician’s clinic at the Hawley Arms. I had submitted a track to be played (amongst other demos) and got to meet a couple of interesting people. One management person and Alex Kerr-Wilson who organises smallish industry showcase gigs in London. I though it was time well spent. Also met mate Atul there and had a couple of pints as a bonus. The Dead Saints had travelled from Manchester and provided some merry laddishness that was good fun. Oh yes, the 12 Bar Club gig is next week on the 1st….. laters.

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Days in the life of a songwriter 25

Failed miserably in my quest to finally see Ash’s film, Self Made, by Gillian Wearing. Only realised just before we wanted to go to the BFI last Saturday that they were showing it at half six which was much too bloody early for yours truly. So, no, it hasn’t been seen yet. Damn. My journey to the World Travel Market took place on Wednesday but I was a bit disappointed. It was alright, I just didn’t see as many old faces as I had imagined…oh well. I got some much needed CDRs in the post and also a bottom skin (it’s actually called side skin) for my blue Del Rey snare. So I can hopefully put it to good use soon.

Well, we still went out and saw a movie, Tintin and something unicorn (the Adventures of Tintin: The secret of the unicorn). It was very well done, with lots of action and 3D and all (the good people at the Odeon charged us a quid extra for the 3D glasses, after taking 17 something off us already) .. if I don’t lose them I can use them next time… Jamie Bell, was Tintin’s voice, Andy Serkis did a sterling job as Captain Haddock and Daniel Craig weighed in as the baddie Ivan Ivanovitch Saccharin. My mate Olaf confessed that he, at times, forgot that it’s a CGI animated cartoon, which speaks for the plot and the pretty impressive action scenes, but keep in mind, it is still a kids movie, you need to be a kid at heart to enjoy it. We had a good laugh and our Saturday was saved. Here’s the trailer:

Had a proper rehearsal with Ben and we’re almost there. A violin player from Goldsmith’s got in touch which means we are heading towards a complete line-up with full steam ahead. Today’s the day when I finally hook up my old piano module to an amp in my room, in order to be able to play/learn piano at any time without being hooked up to my computer. Have also spoken to Celine about some regular lessons, yeah!

I used to work for JazzFm as a techie a few years back (amongst a few other London stations) and I got a call from a lady whose show I used to work on. Her name is Sarah Ward and she asked me to do a little interview with her for a show near Christmas, to talk about music, travelling and Christmas markets. Jazz Fm was resurrected a couple of years back and is now online and on DAB, which is great for fans of Jazz as the old JazzFm became Smooth Radio. Anyway, working with Sarah was always fun and I’m really looking forward to seeing her again. There will be coffee and chats!

Almost forgot, looking forward to our gig at the 12 Bar Club on December 1st. Okay, time for lunch kids.

Days in the life of a songwriter 24

Haven’t seen the film Self Made yet but will hopefully rectify that this Saturday as it’s showing at the BFI. Managed to see Jari play with Sanai Joe’s group at the Archangel and met a few of Sanai’s friends too. I shot a video of them doing one song on my new Zoom Q3 (audio and video recorder) just to practise a bit. This was after my dentist ‘Tom” had given me a lovely new filling, he replaced an old one. On Thursday I went down to the Imperial College, met up with Ben in Beit Squad and had a little try out session at the Jazz-Rock society’s studio. Jake joined us on violin and it sounded pretty good.

On Saturday we went to a huge bonfire/fireworks display in Maida Vale, courtesy of our mate James whose flat borders this big garden where some pros perform a fantastic show every year. We came with booze, saw the show had a few drinks, met old pals and towards the end I played about 4 songs, as I had wisely brought the old Seagull acoustic along. A songwriter named Lucinda also played a couple of tunes on the very same geetaarrr. Had a great lie-in after that, yeah! Then went down to have a wander round Portobello and ended up in the kitchen and pantry place off Kensington Park Road, great sofas.

I quite like baking bread and I like using wild (slightly different) ingredients. I have this new stuff called Masa Harina, it’s what middle and south Americans use to make tortillas. Anyway, the variety I bought killed off the yeast in my dough (I tested this out on Monday in little test bowls!). Obviously the bread I made using about a quarter of Masa Harina, didn’t move at all. In short it didn’t rise. Now I know better.

Tomorrow I’m going to dip into the World Travel Market, surprise a couple of old faces and maybe meet a few new ones. Got out my Gibson 335 copy (it’s a Vintage VSA 535) a few days ago to run through songs in the set using the little Vox amp. This guitar still blows me away. Maybe I should get in touch with the makers and see whether I can strike a sponsorship deal. Anyway, also got the tap delay out (geek alert), it’s called Head Rush (by Akai) and got back in the swing of using it. You can tap a button with your foot to tell it the pace of the song, so your delay will be in sync. Love it!!! 🙂 Okay, don’t want to freak you out. Invite for the new gig on December first is coming soon.

Almost forgot. Last thing.  Sorted out a profile on Sonicbids where you can submit your music in order to get into festivals. Well, we are on it now and managed to submit to SXSW just before the deadline. Here’s our profile, Amphibic at Sonicbids. We are slowly getting there, when it comes to online presence.

Days in the life of a songwriter 23

I finally got round to arranging one of the big songs from the first album (Dear Caffeine) for what we are doing now, I mainly wanted to add violins and possibly viola to the existing cello line and the cello solo. So far I have added two violins to the chorus and the solo and I’m pretty happy already. Came up with a line for horn in the middle 8 as well, but need a bit more time to explore what could be done with brass here. Let’s see.

Spoke to Andy at the 12 Bar Club and arranged a gig there on December 1st. Will publish that on all the different platforms later today but have to go to the dentist and meet drummer Jari who is in town for a gig with Joe Sanai. Will hopefully be able to catch them at the Archangel in Kensington High Street tonight.

I emailed another college last week and got three emails back from 3 different instrumentalists and am meeting two of them for a session tomorrow! Yeah! All in the name of adding a couple more permanent members to our core line-up.

On Saturday I went to see Imogen perform Saint-Saen, Ravel, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky at St John at Waterloo with the Sinfonia Tamesa orchestra. The on average pretty young orchestra sounded fantastic. I also saw a violinist who I recognised as having been on the train with us some weeks ago when our train from Yorkshire got cancelled at Rugby late at night. Small world. We went for a couple of pints in the tiny streets just behind the church and then went on to see whether some of my friends were still celebrating Halloween at the Nordic bar. Made my way down from Goodge street station and remembered the old shortcut and there they were (at the back entrance), the first one I saw was Kristjan the goldsmith who had made a hammer and was Thor god of thunder on the night. Thury looked great too as Gene Vincent from kiss, including long tongue. Well I left them in full swing after a pint as I had to get up early to meet a group of people down at Stamford Bridge at 9am…..aaaahhh.

Next week I will try and see a film called ‘Self Made’ by Gillian Wearing who got amateurs to take part in an art project. To star as themselves or fictional characters. My mate Ash is in it and apparently it is quite revealing emotionally. Here’s the trailer.