Jan 2013 | Paperlate 750, Irish Tour & 2013 plans.
Here's the January blog, a recap of what's been happening during the month, and some plans/thoughts on the next year or so. I've been bearing down heavily on material for the next releases (singles during 2013, then the next album in early 2014, hopefully). I'll start with some new year thoughts, and then get on to the stuff that actually happened...
» A N O T H E R B I R T H D A Y , A N O T H E R S E T O F T A R G E T S
THE 27 CLUB: Sometimes I forget what my age is, and just remember years by which songs I wrote in that year. 2005 was the year of "Silent Picture Show", and I was 19. Before that, in 2003 it was "Letter From Abroad". Then from ages 21-25 I finished the rest of the first album. "We Were The Ones" defines being 21 more than anything else can.
Saying that, I've always known strongly that what I did between the ages of 18-23 was a total waste of time from a music point of view. What I did was mostly session "work" as a guitarist for other people, and didn't record any of my own stuff to a radio standard because I had decided that I hated the music business too much, and all the people involved who had no affection for music itself, and had carved out jobs to benefit only themselves.
That's what happens when you go to London and meet people at major record labels, and develop a very pure hatred for what the music industry has been allowed to become by the lizards in charge. Anyway all this is leading to the point that during that time I knew I was wasting time (although always still writing, privately), but I had made the commitment to never being involved in music again. The best thing I ever did was in 2009, when I started to record songs again, not thinking that the business had gotten less hateful, but just doing it for my own satisfaction.
Since then everything has gotten better in the sense that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and it's been satisfying to see what can be achieved on my own terms without caring what people in the industry want me to do or having to find a way to live with myself after having compromised to suit what they want. Unquiet Nights is always going to continue to grow and be the vehicle for the song writing that I'm happy to consider my life's work at this point.
There is the sense of making up for lost time though, and the need to make a big statement at this age, when a lot of my favorite writers had a very noticeable peak in their work. Take for example, this quote:
“More than rich, more than famous, more than happy – I wanted to be great" - Springsteen on the writing & producing of "Darkness on the Edge of Town" aged 27/28, the follow up album to "Born To Run".
There was a documentary released about 2 years ago on the making of this album, and whilst I was already aware of how seriously Springsteen took the process of writing & recording, it's very powerful in showing the furthest extents that he's willing to go to, and push other people around him to go to, in order to get the end result exactly how he wants it. A feature of the documentary is the amount of songs that got thrown away or left behind, in search of the perfect blend that made the album, and how hard he was willing to push himself to keep writing better ones. What I'm getting at is that I want, more than anything, to get the best out of myself this time. To refine again and again and again, what will become the second album. To arrive at something by a process of alchemy, that is the absolute best thing I can do now at this age, when I should have hit stride and be doing some of my best work and something which will be timeless. Reign in the subject material and present something which is cohesive, human and real. The album is afterall, "the highest, most developed thing in Rock."
» P A P E R L A T E 7 5 0 T H S H O W : G E N E S I S C O V E R
PAPERLATE on Zuid-West FM (Netherlands) asked us to do a Genesis song for their 750th episode. They also had interviews with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and YES singer Jon Anderson. Steve had a lot to do with the naming of this band, so I wanted to be involved. I did a version of "Follow You, Follow Me", after considering different songs. Hear it here, or the full episode with interviews.
» R A D I O U P D A T E
Little bit of a slower month in terms of radio because we haven't had a release out during January, but there are a few things to report. "Shoulda Said.." was on Peter Storry's STRAIGHT TO YOUR HEAD podcast on iTunes, and it was good to see him posting some nice things about us leading up to that. Obviously as mentioned above we were on the PAPERLATE show which is syndicated in the Netherlands.
Next month we've been penciled in for an interview on one of the important radio stations in Dublin, picking tracks that have been influential and playing a couple of our own. So we should have that interview online during Feb, along with the RTE King Kong Club stuff (mentioned below). Also, "Burning The Tracks" is still on the Radio 2XS New Music Playlist, which is obviously brilliant.
I must thank Jill and Sian for helping to put some things together behind the scenes this month, much appreciated.
» R E C O R D I N G D I A R Y - S O M E N E W E Q U I P M E N T .
In keeping with the recording diary during the first album, I've started to do the same for the second album. This month I added a couple of bits of equipment that I've been using to develop songs. If you click the POD HD300 (left), you'll hear a demo of "Someone's Love on Drugs" that I recorded to test the loop function. It's okay, but I also got a much smaller Digitech DL-8 that I can carry around more easily, and which operates smoother. Sometimes UN involves playing stripped back or solo, and having the option to loop allows me to not have to just play chords in strict time, so I can improvise a bit. In recording situations too, it can help develop ideas a lot more quickly.
» S O L O N G , S K Y L A B
A QUICK GOODBYE to Skylab, the rehearsal space, recording studio & music venue that we frequent near where I am in Umbria. Good luck to the Speranza brothers who owned it, and were always nice to us. I loved the Hughes & Kettner valve amp behind me in this photo, and would buy it if I had somewhere to keep it! Gotta find somewhere else to satisfy my need for volume now, and for recording live guitar overdubs.
» I N D I E K I D S : P I N B A D G E S
NEW BADGE DESIGNS: You can see some of the ideas that Darren @ Indie Kids has come up with and that are being discussed on the FB thread that you'll get by clicking the image on the left. He's been working hard on them, and although it's a long time off yet, we'll offer some kind of extra package for people buying the 2nd album directly from us including badge sets and maybe other stuff for example a T-shirt if we can get that together.
» I R I S H T O U R 2 0 1 3 : D U B L I N , B E L F A S T .
LATEST NEWS: As you'll see in the current Lurgan Mail (left), we're playing THE MERCANTILE (Dublin) on Wednesday 13th February, and then in THE STIFF KITTEN (Belfast) on Friday 15th February. The Dublin gig is for RTE 2FM's King Kong Club, which is recorded and clips of the gig & the interview will be repeated on 2FM/2XM twice each during the next week.
The Belfast gig is very central (beside the Moviehouse Cinema), and being a Friday night we hope as many of you can come out as possible! Full details are on the tour page, and we'll keep updating as we know more. We haven't added a date in Derry yet, for those of you who have been asking, but it's still possibly going to happen. If not, see you in Belfast anyway?