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Saturday 28 September 2019

Scrapbook part two

Things have been a bit interesting here of late. Will explain more in due course but in the meantime, and my apologies for the delay, here is batch two of the scrapbook from my recent-ish song-writing course.

The Last Sense You Lose

What I Know To Be True

The Last Damn Time

Only A Small Step

Sunday 8 September 2019

Scrapbook part one

I went on a songwriting retreat last week. As well as being a great week away from it all with some great people, it was also pretty productive.
I'm not sure how many of these will survive in the longer term but I thought I'd share the rough recordings of the songs as they formed.
Four this week, four more next.

Fat Rolf

The Map

The Least and the Most


Saturday 8 June 2019

Monday 27 May 2019

Tuesday 12 February 2019

But what's it all about?

Some people, via the miracle of social media, have listened to the EP and said, "well, it's dark enough alright, but is it art? I mean, really, when you get right down to it, what, in a manner of speaking, is it all about?"
Ok, they may not have said that precisely, but that's the general gist of it.
So here you are, song by song, the stories behind the stories...

A Prologue
Way back in the days of The Driven Man album, I wrote a song called For The Record, about someone who's killed and is seeking permission (not sure from whom) to kill again, to somehow balance the books.
This song then became my idea of what had let to that confessional. Hence the title, and the repeating theme of the song!

Track 2 on the EP, Stone on Stone, was born of two widely separate streams of thought. 
Many years ago I lived in Amsterdam for a bit and used to drink occasionally in a bar near the docks. There had been a bar on that site since the 16th century and some of the flagstones were from the original building. I often thought about what stories they could tell and what, given the somewhat rough nature of the docks area, had been spilled on them over the years.
A couple of years ago at a song writing retreat in Devon I was sitting on an old slate floor, looking at the way the stone had chipped away in layers at the corners. Almost like a reverse accretion process, with each chipped layer revealing a layer of history underneath.
Sometimes you can't help but be overwhelmed by the inexorable drive of things beyond your control when you start having these thoughts.

We actually have Asus computers to thank for track three on the EP, 300lb Brick.
I used to have a very nice little Asus netbook, but the motherboard died turning it into little more than an expensive doorstop, or a £300 brick as I described it.
At which point it dovetailed rather neatly into some thoughts I was having about how simple things become difficult when there is a weight of risk or responsibility. 
For example, walking along a 6" wide beam 2" off the floor is trivially easy. Doing the same thing 20' in the air suddenly becomes difficult.
The 300lb Brick became my metaphor for the effect of carrying that extra weight.

The last track on the EP comes with an apology to Tom McRae. I'd bought an album of his and put it straight in the car stereo. But at the time I had a 6 disc changer in the boot and I wasn't driving very much. I listened to it once and then it took a while until it came round again.
In the meantime I wrote this song, and I was pretty happy with it until that CD came round in the car again and I realised that I'd lifted a whole chunk of the melody. 
But a couple of years ago I got the chance to speak to him and apologise in person, and he was very cool about it. 
So here it is, Goodnight:

Sunday 27 January 2019

The Dead Detectives Club

I can't remember when I first started working on the first of these. Years ago for sure, maybe a decade? Maybe not quite that long.
It's been a long road at any rate, but without further ado, here's the new EP:

The thing about working on a project over this timescale is that things change. I've changed computers twice, changed interface once, changed guitars, microphones, DAWs, rooms...
Trying to then pull it all together into some kind of homogenous mass adds a new set of challenges compared to the band EP from last year.
But I'm happy with how this came out. Sometimes you just need to say that something is done, and then move on.
This is done and I am content.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

All quiet on the southern front...

It's been quiet on here, sorry about that. But stuff is happening. Slowly.
Things have been a bit difficult on the non-music front recently but hopefully they'll be settling down over the next couple of months.
But we've still been practising, sporadically, as a band, and we've got a cracking gig on Friday night (tickets here: and I'm about 90% there on the next solo EP.

Shall I give you a spoiler? Why not, it's going to be called, "The Dead Detectives Club."