Jul 2016 - Blackstar HT Delay, Studio Building Part 2 & more.
During July the studio build has been progressing, as has the writing of new UN material. I revisited a childhood scene from the 1990's twice, received a couple of great items from Blackstar, found a scrumpled up eleven year old memorial to George Best and discovered Chicken Madras.
Blackstar HT Delay
You probably know already that we love Blackstar Amps & use a lot of their stuff. The HT Dual Valve Distortion is used a lot on Postcards in Real Time. Recently though they sent us two of the other valve HT pedals.
The first is the HT Delay, and being the obsessive user/collector of delays in general, I'm looking forward to getting very deep into this one. Straight out of the blocks I've found that the Tape Delay is really impressive.
Blackstar HT Modulation
The other pedal is the HT Modulation. I wanted this myself for the Tremolo feature. I use Trem a lot in recording, and have some favourite plugins for it. I used to have a good inbuilt Trem when I used Fender Twin amps, but for years I've been looking for a great pedal. Blackstar HT Modulation has me well sorted on that front now. Another thing I love is putting a Fender Rhodes keyboard through the flanger and saturating it which sounds amazing.
Studio Update: Part 2
The studio build is properly underway now. You can see below where the control room window and the dividing door is going to be. The blue/grey beam below is to go above the window & door, and the black beam is the upright to support the door frame. Gave them both a good thick coat of Hammerite. It will be great to eventually have our own studio for recording & rehearsing.
A thought about the future.
The two best experiences of being in a band have gotta be:
1) Finishing a record and seeing people buy it & support it.
2) Getting the chance to travel new places on tour and meet the people who supported it.
So the next stage in the life of UN requires two things that we've gotta get together:
1) A recording & rehearsal studio. (In progress)
2) A proper touring vehicle. (To come later)
After that we'll really be cooking by gas, as they say. More importantly we'll be able to get on the ferry and commit hard to touring.
Kilkeel, Co. Down.
This month I ended up being twice in Kilkeel, Co. Down. It's a small fishing town very close to the border between the two Irelands. I hadn't been there since 1998 when my grandparents sold their caravan at Leestone Caravan Park, but most holidays were spent there until I was 11. In Northern Irish towns badly affected by The Troubles as mine was, many people escape to places like this during the marching season, especially for "the twelfth of July weekend". I mean people who identify as both Protestant and Catholic, since this time is frustrating for the majority of people who have to close their businesses and remain inside when many roads and shops are closed. Our caravan (below) was the closest one to the sea, so much so that when the tide was in it would spray the front window and you could stand at the door and lob a stone underarm into the Irish Sea.
We used to walk along the beach looking at things being washed up from sea, collecting fishing crates & looking in rock pools for crabs (above). We'd go as far as Neptune's in the harbour, and tie the dog to the pole outside to go in. The harbour used to be very alive with activity, with dozens of fishing boats loading crates of lobsters, fish & muscles being carried off the boats. The two times I was there this month though, the whole place was totally empty and dead. I noticed a lot of the boats were flying flags with messages like "Vote Leave, Save Britain's Seas". Just an observation.
If you're on Instagram make sure and give us a follow. There aren't many food pics, just when something is spectacular. Like this spectacularly hot Chicken Madras.
As I was destroying a timber framed wall for the new studio, I found a bunch of newspapers stuffed in there from 2005 when I originally put up the wall. It was the week George Best had died, and there were special editions of the newspapers with pages and pages of quotes and pictures about him. One of the quotes is from Sir Alex Ferguson saying George was the greatest player he has ever seen. So there ya go, a ringing endorsement.