Amphibic make the ITV evening news!!!

Sorry for a bit of a break (two weeks instead of one) but one, I was dead busy last week, and two, I had the feeling that I was putting out too much!? Let me know what you think please.

One thing that I haven’t mentioned when I mentioned the Ideal Home Show the other day, was that I’m contemplating using stop animation to produce a video. I saw this stand by a company calle Hue Animation who supply you with their software, camera and plasticine to create stop animation videos. I thought it’s great stuff for me or other artists to create videos for their songs. You need 8 frames per second which means you need to create 1680 frames (individual pics) for a 3 and a half minute pop song. I can do that and I bet you can too! That’s my good deed for the day.

Jordan Reyne tipped me off about a bandcamp meet up which took place at the book club 10 days ago and I went. Bandcamp helps bands to sell their wares online and from what I saw and heard they do it better than most. They are very friendly people and even shelled out a couple of drinks and I’m sure you know that it’s almost impossible to get a free drink with a bloody gig in London!! It also had a bit of a ‘camp’ (as in tent) like atmosphere about it, a bit boyscout-y if you like. Anyway, I liked it. I do have a bandcamp profile now (see link on the right) and you’ll see it grow over the coming days.

After a couple more rehearsals we played our 12 Bar Club gig on the 1st of Dec. Just before our sound check an ITV camera crew appeared to do a feature on Denmark Street and its musical history (Sex Pistols, a Rolling Stone album was recorded there, publishers were and are based there, music shops and clubs are still there…). Well they filmed our sound check and did a mini interview with Imogen and myself and we ended up on London tonight, on Saturday evening. I found out on facebook.

The next day I went down to Goldsmith’s as Sam Lee (period folkster) was holding a master class there. He talked about his journey and how he got started. He has been running a folk club for I think 6 years in London, it’s called the Magpie’s Nest. Promoting other people for a few years means that he’s been able to connect with lots of very interesting people and is in a fantastic postition to release his own album. He did some unaccompanied singing of traditional folk songs which he does in a very serene way, I was damn impressed by the man. I had a very brief chat with him before he set off across the country to meet an Irish traveller community to hear their old songs! Great stuff.

Oh yes, our gig went well, apart from trumpeter Joe being off sick, as he’d spent the night bringing his guts up. Well, we still struggled to get 6 of us onto the stage.

Matt Jamison, Charlie Ashcroft and Jim Gellatly at Amazing Radio have all played our songs so far. Thanks lads. And I have to say, after listening to quite a few of their shows now, that they are doing a great job, only using unsigned bands and talent. Tune in sometime if you can. They are on DAB far left on the dial.

Right, last point. Am off to see the lovely Sarah Ward at JazzFM now, we’ll be talking about Christmas markets, catch up on old times and play a song. The show will be broadcast close to Christmas, but I’ll keep you posted. Laters.


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.

Days in the life of a songwriter 19

So yes, walked around the peaks in the Lake District near Kendal. We actually got to see Scotland from up there including some wind turbines on the sea. I had to suffer a bit due to  inadequate equipment (shoes) and general lack of fitness. Well, we took the half seven train to get back to London, only to be held at Rugby as some inconsiderate (or possibly reckless) person had stopped trains in and out of Euston by being under a train near Harrow. We ended up sharing a taxi to avoid getting back even later. This guy shared the taxi with us: He is a saxophone and cello playing classical composer, check him out. His name is Martino Scovacricchi.

I had been looking forward to Tuesday as Ariel Hyatt from CyberPr in New York was going to give a talk at PRS headquarters in Berners Street. She brought along some interesting panellists. Stephen King from Zimbalam (digital distributor), Matt Jamison from Amazing Radio, James from Deezer (online music platform growing like f***), Mark Muggeridge from Evil Genius (promoter and manager) and last but certainly not least, Jordan Reyne (singer songwriter who is making a living with her music by mainly performing online!!!) She is writing a book on this topic so keep your eyes peeled. Ariel’s talk was very good, all about what musicians need to do these days to survive and work towards making money from their art without the help of big record companies. The room was packed by the way, so yes, interest was great. Stephen King’s presentation was strong too and I will seriously consider his company when it becomes relevant in the near future. James from Deezer (who are already a big player in France) made a good impression but didn’t have an easy email at the company where he can be reached at. I think everyone was very interested what Jordan had to say especially as she wasn’t trying to sell a platform but was doing what a lot of people in the room aspire to do!! Playing music, making a living after ditching the day job, respect.

Afterwards we were all led down to the Champion by Atul and some banter and drinking of amber liquid ensued. Got to hear a great story of how one of the people present met Michael Jackson’s mum. Told the guy from Amazing radio how his CEO is married to my mate’s cousin. Mentioned my idea of possibly promoting some gigs myself to Lydia the pixie (Red Rose) and the Tall Poppies and Ariel took my address to send me the new version of her book as I had given her some grief about the typos. Oh, and also met an interesting podcaster from Suffolk. called Peter Clitheroe.

Right, playing a gig at the Luxe at Spitalfields market on Sunday and still need to finalise the line up…….. More on possibly playing some online gigs later. There will be some ‘How to do stuff’ sections as well soon!