Post bloody Valentine's Day. A wholly depressing experience for single
people and a soul-destroying one for people in relationships.
Just to let you guys know what's been happening - we're (as always) working
on new stuff, trying to evolve musically and generally trying to reach the
Nietzschean ideal of transcending one's limitations within one's own
life-time. To wit: we are getting better and better musically, which is
hopefully good news for our audience. Dazed is surpassing herself
lyrically, Jimmy's riffs are getting astronomically sublime, John's
synthesising some really interesting sounds, Kez's harmonies are
heart-achingly amazing. I am listening to Brian Eno, reading his stuff,
trying to learn more about the quality of sonic delivery - as for my bass
playing, I'm trying to use melodic elements as percussion more, and it's
sounding sweet - big but not bulky; discernable, yet not unsubtle. We are
gradually abandoning tabulature in favour of scores, it saves confusion,
especially when trying to put together riffs.
I'm looking forward to getting back to gigging - I'm really looking forward
to the gig in Winchester. It'll be good to play to an entirely new
audience. They don't know what to expect and we have the freedom to play a
truly excellent show with just the right mixture of new stuff and old
stuff. And the promoter is nice, which is a rarity these days.
It’s been a busy six months. Not heavy, but high pressure gigging. Headlining Southwark festival was great – big crowd, lots of beer, lots of rain, a muddy mosh-pit. Faceparty was fun – just seeing Electric Six, Supergrass and Dirty Vegas alone was worth it. Har Mar Superstar is a laugh. Then there was the re-branding and the photoshoot. Hanging with Chad from Nickelback was good form – check out the pictures . By that time Kez had started working with us - amazing voice that girl, and Caroline Jago of Seventh Harmonic on drums. Caroline is great and has worked with members of Echobelly, My Bloody Valentine, Sports Bra, Gay Dad, lots of big names. She’s a brilliant drummer and extremely creative. We played a gig at the Underworld supporting Faith and the Muse – great crowd, about 1000 people, all insane. They gave us a good reception. Then it was back to the studio – several new tracks are complete – new version of Genius, You Can’t You Can and Target : London, one of our darker efforts. It’s about being in a place full of lunatics, most of whom are out to get you or rip you off, and all the while racing against yourself and all of them and to top it all off someone is trying to blow you up with a dirty bomb or drive a plane into your house. MP3.com went down in December, which was sad to see, but it left us with the proud claim that we’d had our music downloaded over half a million times. And today I’m told we are the UK number 1 on Garageband.com! Ain’t life grand?
Hello everyone. It's been a while. This diary entry carries mixed emotions
- I have a lot of good things to share, but also some upsetting news.
First of all, where the hell have we been for a year? Well, let's do this
Michelle, as many of you will have heard, is no longer with us. She
couldn't continue with us on our journey for personal reasons. We wish her
all the best on her own journey - we're 100% behind you, babe.
We spent about 8 months working on a new album, taking in several people to
help us with vocals along the way. The result of this is Press Here for
Release, which you can get here. We were very pleased at the response -
Meltdown Magazine gave it 5 out of 5, and it's not had one bad review Reviews .
Also, as you've probably heard already we've been working in the studio
with the lovely BB Seddiki, an excellent and respected vocalist - she will
be with us on stage at the forthcoming gigs. We hope that she'll be the
Shara Nelson to our Massive Attack. She is a truly great performer.
And so, onto our next live performance, the first in exactly a year. We are
proud to be supporting the wonderful Seventh Harmonic. But we are also very
sad that this is their last live performance. Still, we are all the more
honoured to have been asked to play with them on such an important, albeit
Finally, I'd like to reassure you guys that although last year has been
difficult and emotionally draining, we are back and we aren't going away,
so come and see us live, or drop us a line and we'll get together for a drink.
Love you all, as always.
Finally got round to updating the webshite. We've been very busy writing and
recording new material recently, but that's no excuse for neglecting our
fans (tsk tsk!). Anyway, great gig last night at the Dublin Castle. It was
the first of the "Gothic Summer" dates and the large crowd were really up for it
(and they were quite interested in the music too!). The whole goth thing is quite
interesting in that we're not a gothic band at all, and we don't really play goth music,
but our set seems to go down very well on goth nights. Can't argue really.
The other bands that were playing last night (Seventh Harmonic and Psychophile)
were very good. I especially liked Seventh Harmonic's set which was a pleasant change
from the norm, an intriguing ethereal ambient/celtic mix. Nice people too.
So, all in all, it was a good night. Au revoir!
Three thousand people. We have just played in front of three thousand
people. It's Sunday night and my head is still ringing from the gig 24
hours ago. Perhaps it is to do with lack of sleep.
Let me just go through what happened in order. We arrived at the site about
3 hours later than we intended to be met by a very flustered bands liaison
guy. Our two dressing rooms were occupied and we had to sit around for
about an hour until he got us some new ones - although the wait was worth
it, since these rooms had showers and things which was nice. The crew
unloaded our rig and dumped it all backstage (which was a large dome-shaped
thing) and sat around smoking and looking bored. Chesney Hawkes took about
two hours to soundcheck. He asked us if he could borrow some of our stuff
and I gladly lent him my stands. He is a nice guy, quite personable, and
they're a really tight band. We've decided to stay in touch.
Another nice group of people we met backstage were Blunt Instruments, a
funk/post rock outfit. Should remember to keep in contact with them -
they're really different to us musically but that makes it more interesting
and we'd be keen to do stuff with them at some point in the future....
Anyways, we soundchecked. It was reasonably sweet - except Michelle's
head-set mic was picking up drums and she had to use an ordinary one, which
didn't affect her too much, but it was still bad form.
Make-up. I looked like a young Marilyn Manson. Bad form. Decided to wear
shades on stage, mainly because I was beginning to get a headache and the
lights weren't doing it any good. In any case, the set went down amazingly
well, we started off playing to a small interested group but by the time
we'd finished, the space in front of the stage was crammed full - about
three thousand people in total. It is utterly terrifying to see my own face
close-up on a ten metre high screen. We were all very relaxed and quite
tight - the hundred-odd hours of rehearsals paid off. Also, seamless
instrument changes - big respect to our roadies. We played for 40 minutes
or so - and premiered three new tracks (Genius, Lucid and 6:01 (fake it)
where I do some growly Russian vox) all of which went down well.
We came off. Lonyo was on next, but his backing track cocked up. He coped
well on stage but when he came off, he was swearing like a trooper - not a
happy beast at all. Then we all got told not to move because Mel B was
coming on, so we all got hounded into a corner, which was cool because we
spent about 40 minutes chatting to Paul Boateng (a government minister, one
of the patrons) - whilst I don't necessarily agree with his all of his
politics, he is a nice guy, easy to talk to. Mel B's entire set was mimed,
which we felt wasn't amazing value for money, but she did talk to the crowd
so I guess everyone felt quite good about it in the end. I think her new
direction (r'n'b, basically) is interesting and ambitious, but I'm not sure
that she will be able to pull it off, her set seemed a tad tame to me.
Anyway, we exchanged contact details with Paul and after Mel B left, we
went and joined the party. Chesney's set was cool, mostly covers and his
one hit. Fabio and Grooverider DJed back to back - all very professional
and nice. Dane Bowers turned up unannounced and MCed for Spoony for about
an hour and no-one noticed. Unfortunately I missed Fourtet's set.
At this point I got the post-high depression. I moped, thinking about the
past, about exes, about my hopelessness in relationships and about my
inability to be myself. This was exacerbated when two American girlies came
up to me to tell me that our set was awesome. Quite a few people came up to
us to tell us that it was good, shake hands, get an autograph, etc, but for
some reason seeing these two being all chirpy and teeny-bopperish was
enough to send me hurtling into a fairly unpleasant place. I slumped in the
Chinese zone for a bit and felt worse. Then I passed out at 6am for a
couple of hours and then it was back off to London.
In the evening I want to see my family. My grandmother asked what my
immediate plans were. "To get some sleep," I told her.
I feel that we are at the foothills of something huge. I am glad that you
people are there with us. Thanks for your continued support. We plan to
announce a few more live dates soon, so if you weren't at the Revolution,
we'll hopefully catch up soon.
OH WHAT A NIGHT!
I have a food hangover. Ouch.
What a gig. Excellent sound onstage which is always good. Most of it was
quite tight and i do believe it was enjoyed by all. My drumming was
worse than it usually is as i had to use a regular mic (instead of my
headset thing) which kept getting in my way. I therefore completely
ballsed-up Can't Imagine which i'm not too great at playing at the best
Things i have learnt from this gig:
1. All those (long) hours of rehearsals paid off
2. We rock
3. We could rock more, given the chance
4. It is very hard to jump around and sing
5. It is even harder to do the above without hitting yourself in the
face with the microphone
6. Antons bass is hard and also hit me in the face
7. Anton has no arse
8. I am incredibly unfit and need to exercise more and eat less
9. I have a big arse
10. i dont ever want to be like Mel B (maybe i'd have her arse, but
Quite educational really.
And i broke a stick right down the middle which was quite nice. I
haven't ever done that before. Hopefully i still have it so i can keep
it as a momento...or just poke people with the sharp edges it now has...
Another highlight of the evening was James getting hideously drunk on
beer, wine and some awful concoction the guy at the bar made up and then
twice collapsing on the floor after losing the ability to erm, stand.
Anyone fancy a brew?
Must retrieve drum kit from loft soon. Have been putting it off for a
while now because im scared a family of spiders might crawl out of my
kick drum. Also hope it doesn't smell too much of stale loft. Am looking
forward to Oxford. Mustn't go too mad though since i've just paid the
Chiropractor lots of money to fix my back and don't intend buggering it
up just yet.
Anyway, I'm off to bed. Nice cosy bed. Where's my Mills and Boon?
Good news - the Oxford Revolution people have confirmed Mel B as the headline. Good PR. There may be a few line-up changes at the festival and whilst I am not at liberty to say what they are at the mo’, they are all good, if slightly amusing.
We are rehearsing more than ever - we have 32 hours of practice time booked before the gig. Each rehearsal is an emotional rollercoaster - the frustration of being unable to get one tiny detail right, combined with the overwhelming response to the music (which is, let’s face it, beautiful pain) which one experiences when it does go right. This, combined with being locked in a small dark room with no natural light for hours on end, is not doing our mental states any good. However, we now sound fecking amazing, false modesty aside.
I think we are in a position to reveal what our set-list at the Revolution will be. We shall play several of the old favourites, including You Can’t You Can, Mistake, It’s All For You, Inside and Can’t Imagine. We shall also be showcasing three or four new songs from the forthcoming album, so make sure that you’re there for the premiere.
Another thing. We are currently considering seeking damages from a major artist for what we feel may be an infringement of the integrity of our intellectual property. The song in question has been in the public domain since 1998 and the artist has recently released a single with an identical name and some similar vocal lines. We are consulting with our legal friends and shall inform you if we proceed with the case.
I am working on a song which is quite reflective of my mental state. Big slightly atonal acoustic guitar, sweeping organ, understated grinding bass, breathless vocals. That’s the idea, anyway. Not sure what it’s going to end up sounding like or what to do with it.
Sorry I haven’t written for a while. No excuses apart from the usual - I am jet-lagged from China and a bit knackered.
The usual stuff first: since we confirmed Atomic Kitten, we’ve been rehearsing like fiends, aiming at about 16 hours a week. Decided against warm-up gig in the end, for a variety of reasons. We have been striving for a more electronic-y live sound in rehearsals and I think we are getting there - more synths, more loops, more samples, crisp precise guitars. I have forced myself to forget everything I have ever known about distortion and learn it all over again. Before I would use it to scare people. Now I am actually using it to modulate and bend the sound.
It’s been exactly a year since I wandered over to John in the desolate-looking Dublin Castle and asked him whether he needed a bassist. I supposed he was still phased by the depressing reception the band got at that ill-fated gig which is why he decided to audition me. There will be no celebration of this anniversary - there is little to celebrate, since there is so much to do.
Spend the day stressing about the press release that’s going out on Monday. Almost forget to eat. My mum phones: “Are you eating all right, dear?” I lie and say yes.
Hit upon a genius idea - to release a track called “Fourtet”. The reason for this is that Fourtet has a track out called “Misnomer” and since we’ll both be playing at the same event, we really ought to repay the favour.
Ugh. Feel like a leper. I think bits of me are going to start falling off. Why did god invent the morning after the night before? Jesus suffering feck.
Up at 8, train to Southend, meet up with John, drive to Oxford. Get slightly lost on the motorway. 2 litre bottle of Evian in my lap all the way down. Tell John about last night - he giggles and tells me: “Good PR”. Arrive in Oxford forty minutes late, deal with a few phone calls during the drive down.
Meeting with Raph Mokades (CEO of the Oxford Revolution) goes well. We walk around the site, it’s huge. He shows us where the stages are going to be and where we’ll be performing. We talk about publicity for the event. We discuss the acts who will be performing along with us- all very good, very impressed. Excellent line-up: Atomic Kitten, Fabio and Grooverider, Spoony, Lonyo, Cherise, Fourtet and us. They are about to sign a huge main headline act - can’t really talk about that, it’s all a bit hush-hush right now. Sort out a few practicalities with him at their office, then go for a coffee and a crepe at a French place in North Oxford I know. Crepe must be about 50,000 calories, lethal with cream, chocolate, bananas, Christ knows what else. Raph is on good form, it looks like things are going well and everything is falling into place. It’s going to be rock.
We pay the exorbitant bill and John heads back to London to see his girlie. I go off to meet with a DJ friend - he wants to tell me about his latest project, GrindLounge. Exeunt stage left pursued by bear.
For some reason I am still jet-lagged from my trip to Russia, even though it was almost a week ago. In the morning I went to the Chinese embassy to sort my visa for China out and then went to the Hamleys to buy a light sabre. They’d sold out so I went home and tried to sleep.
At about 3pm I got a call on my mobile from a mate telling me about a gallery opening in Shoreditch - a lot of interesting people from the industrial / art-core scene will be there. I phoned around to see who was up for it, Michelle was and we agreed to go down at about 7. Peter and I talked about getting some business cards printed in the past and this seemed like a good opportunity to do so. He printed off a batch for myself and Michelle.
The useless bint was late, of course, but when she turned up I decided to forgive her the delay because she was dressed relatively sexily - certainly nicely enough to impress the collection of scary individuals at the gallery opening. I’d worn my Russian airforce coat for the occasion. The exhibition was by a guy called Genesis - a nice, fairly interesting bloke with green make-up, silver teeth and an overstated bob-cut. The rest of the clientele was mainly from the art world, with a few musos and über-goths.
The champagne and Guinness flowed freely (odd-combination - why?) and Michelle and I mingled with the crowd, handed out a few business card and generally had a good time chatting about music and art. The exhibition gave me a few ideas, mainly about sampling some orgy noises on a track or two that I’m working on currently. I was chatting to this Canadian girl and doing quite well with her (I felt), but just as I was contemplating propositioning her, for some reason Michelle decided that too much high culture in one evening may be bad for us and dragged me off to a strip joint. This was an unexpected turn of events, especially since naked women kept asking us for cash. Michelle, I must say, was rather more generous with them than me.
When the intellectual challenge of the sight of young women spreading their vaginal lips in front of my face exhausted its possibilities, we went on to some trendy bar with purple walls. I’m buggered if I remember what we were drinking there, but the upshot of it was that during the cab ride home Michelle kept falling out of the taxi in order to be sick all over Dalston. She had to get up at 5am the next day, worse luck.
What a gig last night! We were absolutely on fire. The crowd loved
wore my hockey mask and generally acted like a lunatic. Michelle
started behaving not unlike Jesus it put one in mind of Michael
Jackson at the Brits a few years ago.
Dazeds first gig with us the girl did well.
problem was the acoustics on stage and the fact that the
sods wouldnt let us soundcheck properly. I was quite pissed
off with them, to be honest. Anyway, as a result my guitar part
on Outbreak fell apart, so I had to get out of the situation by
leaping off the stage and savaging the crowd.
hundreds of people came to congratulate us and get a Misnomer sticker
on their forehead/nipples/crotch amazing response. I feel
that we are on the brink of something big. The crowd was very young
15-16. It was refreshing to see people who were prepared
to accept the music for what it was. That sort of age-group is untainted
with prejudices/solidified (or indeed congealed) opinions.
of the same is definitely a good idea.
on a list for a larger version in a new window)