Thursday, 7 June 2018

Back into the Studio

Yesterday I had a Facebook friend request from someone I didn't really recognise and having no mutual friends I was about to delete when I noticed he was also a member of one of the same musicians' networks as me. He was also trying to send me a message which I decided to accept, given the mutual membership. It said - "Would you be available next week to record?"

I suddenly remember a week before I'd replied to a request on Facebook by an audio engineering student called Francis looking for bands to record for free. I looked at his profile a bit more and realised it was the same guy!

I must have been one of fifty acts to reply to the message so didn't think for moment he'd choose us. So much so that I hadn't even taken the time to enthuse about how wonderful it would be to have the studio time. I just wrote "We've got some stuff that needs recording and no money" and included a link to our videos page.

One phone call later and we're all booked to go into the studio next Wednesday! I had already booked a rehearsal for the same time so I knew everyone was available - it couldn't have worked out much better really. And then we will have a few days afterwards to finish things off as necessary, so we don't have to walk out with a half finished job.

Of course it won't be quite the same as going into a professional studio. They have an impressive equipment list but the guy recording it is still learning his craft. What works out well for us though is that all five of us have had extensive studio experience and both Bora and I have been professional audio engineers and producers. And that means we can guide the session to get professional results out of it which is great for us, but also great for Francis as he can spend some time working with experienced recording engineers and learning from our experience too!

We've got a lot of stuff to record. Now we have new arrangements of  "Chasing Rainbows" and "If You Can't Join Them Beat Them", we need proper studio recordings of these, and we need one of "Never" too. I also want to get some new songs down, particularly "My Version of You", "Missing Pieces"- a song I wrote with some input from Mike, and a totally new one called "Killer of Your Soul" (which isn't quite a sinister as it sounds...)

It's been a while since I've been in the studio so I'm really looking forward to it. It should be a blast! (As well as a chance to get into doing some seriously good recording!)...


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

New Words, Old Song

At Saturday's rehearsal with Bora and Gary I introduced a couple of new songs to them - "My Version Of You" which I posted about on Sunday, and "Permanent Distraction".

Permanent Distraction is both an old and a new song. It used to be called "It's Not Real", a song I wrote and recorded a while ago but was never completely happy with the vocal part. A few months ago I decided to just scrap the original words and wrote a whole new tune and lyric over the top of the original music.


Like "My Version Of You" this was the first time we'd all played this song together and the first time Gary had heard it. Once again, as you can see above, they did a pretty amazing job with it. And I'm much happier now with it as "Permanent Distraction".


Sunday, 3 June 2018

Version of a Rehearsal

Having some major gigs coming up including nearly an hour and a half show in July we need to keep on top of rehearsals. But with band members busy with holidays and other projects, we must sometimes make do with smaller groups of us. Both Gary and Bora were available yesterday which was ideal, as being our two newest members we could go over any stuff they were still unsure of. It was also a good opportunity to introduce a couple of new songs to them which both Paige and Mike have already worked on.

Gary offered to host the rehearsal at his place and suggested we set up a video camera in the corner of the room.


Above is the first recorded public "performance" of my new song 'My Version of You'. To give you some idea of how good these guys are, I had only jammed this with Bora once before (just the two of us) and Gary hadn't heard the song at all. We just spent about half an hour on the song before making this video - I recon they smashed it!

I'm looking forward to playing this with the full band. It should really rock...


Saturday, 26 May 2018

Surprise Gig Invitation

When you get together with the band for a rehearsal you don't assume people can hear you through the door. And you certainly don't think they'll be impressed enough by what they hear to immediately offer you a showcase gig - but that's exactly what happened at Vineyard Rehearsal Studios last Monday.

As mentioned in the previous post, this was our first rehearsal with our new bass player, Bora so we weren't quite sure how things would sound. Bora had learnt all the material, certainly well enough to play along with us using occasional charts and his natural feel and experience contributed to an overall sound that was both tight and expressive.

We started out by jamming over a simple A7, D progression which more or less materialised and then worked through several songs from 'the list'. After a couple of hours we took a short well deserved break, only to find Amanda, one of the studio owners was so impressed with our sound she wanted us to perform at a public event they put on every so often to showcase the best bands that use their facilities.

It is quite a compliment to have seasoned music professionals really like your stuff (Amanda is a drummer in a Prince tribute act) and so of course we agreed to do the gig! It will be at the Shortywave Cafe in Bermonsdey on Friday 13th July.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, 24 May 2018

Back To Bassics

Now that we're starting to be offered some decent gigs, we need to be able to play them. That not only means a tight professional sounding set but everyone being available to play when the gigs come up.

Unfortunately Marcel hasn't been able to commit to the necessary availability through no fault of his own but through work and other circumstances. He has therefore needed to step down as our full time bass player but has at least agreed to fill in as a dep player when we need one and he can make it. (This may also explain a lack of blog posts for the last month or so...)

And so the search for a bass player began again. Several people answered the ad with three ending up jamming with us: Suleiman, Herman and Bora. From which Bora turned out to be the right guy for the job.

All three were good - as were the other people we didn't see directly (based on recording and videos of previous work) but Bora had the rare combination of ability, the right feel for the music, enthusiasm for what we're doing and availability to be able to play more or less whenever we need.

He had actually contacted us from Turkey (where he was living) saying he was looking for a band for when he arrived in London. I had a one on one jam with him two days after he arrived and then last Monday he played with the full band for the first time less than a week after being in the country. He had learnt the songs and sounded great!

It is not surprising he is such a good player. He has recorded several albums and toured with a number of acts in Turkey including a singer called Can Bonomo, who I am assured is a household name in the country. He did sing the Turkish 2012 Eurovision song contest entry, Love Me Back so I'm sure it's probably true (with Bora playing the bass on that performance - even though the band was supplanted with dancers for the actual show).

For the first time now it feels like we can start actively going after gigs knowing we can play just about whatever comes up. And that's a great position to be in with such a great sounding band...


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Release The Slave

In the flurry of last weekend's social media activity I created a couple of new band websites. Both Music glue and Bandcamp include music downloading and on line merchandising and so I have taken the advantage with Bandcamp to 'release' another of my songs.

'Slave To You' was always a little different to the other songs in that it encroaches almost into RnB territory. An amazing horn section from brothers David and Ricky Mian and some brilliant additional vocals from Rietta Austin, Kristen Cummings and Laura J Jones really set this song apart. Mind you I'm blown away by what every musician did on this track. Andrew Raiher's guitar solo, Ben's bass playing, Jessica's Fender Rhodes, and more - they all really came together and helped craft a fantastic piece of music which I feel proud to have written and privileged to sing and play guitar on.

What I really like about it is that it sounds like a bunch of musicians in a room together playing a song they love and having a blast. That is really what I wanted to capture on the record and am so glad to have done so.

At over seven minutes long and without an obvious chorus, Slave To You is perhaps not likely to become a staple of commercial radio, however it is a song that is very listenable and enjoyable (if I do say so myself) and worthy of being heard by those who may enjoy it.

There is a cut down version of this recording in case radio does get interested and the band is currently working on a slightly different arrangement of the song but I'm glad to get this one out.

Bandcamp won't let you release a song without cover art so it was lucky that Christina had sent me the next lot of photos so I could whip something up quickly. I think this picture above just about covers it.

Listen to it here...


Monday, 23 April 2018

Getting Social

As every musician knows, a very small proportion of the job is performing music and a disproportionately large time requirement is spent on promotional activities.

It has been time I got a few more social media channels happening for a while now and I have spent most of the weekend getting more of them sorted out.

So in addition to the website, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Reverb Nation and this blog the band can now be found in the following places:
To be fair the Youtube account already existed but I tend to use it for video storage and then link to videos from elsewhere. However I found out today I need 100 Youtube subscribers before they'll allow me to use https://www.youtube.com/channel/Denzeity as our URL. I've 15 already and don't really know how I managed that so if you want to help me get up to the magic 100, please click on this link and subscribe (if you are not one of the 15 pro-active legends having already done so...)!

Music glue has been offering a chance to play the Leeds festival so that was an important one to sort out and I've been meaning to do Bandcamp for a while. These are both actually pretty much full website applications specifically for musicians so when I say sorted them out, I really mean I've gone and practically created two new websites for the band.

So now you can find us in even more places...


Sunday, 22 April 2018

Pic of the Bunch


I was very pleased recently to get a bunch of finished pictures back from Christina Jansen, the photographer who had been working on the next lot for me (see some of the previous ones here).

I guess photos for a photographer are a bit like songs for musician. In both cases we don't want anything of ours going out there that might spoil a good reputation - in other words we want our work to be the best it can be before it's made public. So for this reason Christina prefers to make sure the images are at their best before delivering them to the client.

The nice thing is she will often include a few different versions of each one with a few different effects tried out that she thinks might work in certain situations. I particularly like the starkness of this one on the right here for example.

I've certainly got a few I can work with now. I just need to get some of the whole band...