Monday, 17 December 2018

Thats A Wrap!

Photo by Christina Jansen (

Well, here we are in December and at the end of a very busy and wild year for the band! We have gigged ourselves silly over the last few months and certainly caused a stir on the London Music Scene. A personal highlight for me has got to be our gig at The Castle in North Acton, as soon as we walked through the door we were greeted with two highly intoxicated punters trying to hold each other up as they danced through the room, I knew from that moment that it was going to be a great gig!

Now we have what looks like a solid line up, we are definitely looking for more gigging opportunities for 2019 so if you know of any venues in London looking for bands then feel free to send them our way, we'll definitely get the place going wild from the first number to the last and will enjoy doing so!

A huge thank you needs to go out to all of the venues/rehearsal studios/ photographers and fans  that have supported us this year: The Fiddler's Elbow, The Castle, Cafe 1001, The Short Wave Cafe, Christina Jansen Photography, Matt Connolly and last but definitely not least ALL of the wonderful people that jammed along to our songs, brought our merch and interacted with us on Social Media!

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year, see you all in 2019!!

Saturday, 1 December 2018

1001 Promo Film Shoots

One of the industry people who has long championed our music is TV video plugger/promoter Matt Connolly. He recently took our History self made music video round to music TV stations and had a great response to the song but that the video itself wasn't polished enough for broadcast.

So he is helping us to do something about it by putting together a promotional live video of us, filmed (mostly) at our upcoming gig at Café 1001 on Friday 14th December.

Matt knows what he is doing. He has worked with numerous big names including the Buzzcocks, Marilyn Manson, East 17, Pop Will Eat Itself, Marianne Faithfull, The Charlatans, The Prodigy, The Cult and Katie Melua - just to name a few... And like all serious promoters, to protect his reputation he only takes on acts that he believes have what it takes to make it.

He has seen us play live several times and said that our live energy and quirky stage presence is just as worth showing off as our songs and musicianship. I'm happy with that!

Given it's being shot in a venue on Brick Lane on a Friday night close to Christmas there's sure to be a good crowd anyway - however for the sake of the video we'd like it packed with enthusiastic people! So if you're not averse to popping up in a music video and want to see a great show and join the Christmas party it would normally be £10 on the door but we've got tickets for just £8. See our ticket shop for details! We only have a limited number though so do it now!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Mersey Side Project

Mock up of the program for
Rhinestone Cowboy - The Glen Campbell Show
Tomorrow's the day! Three members of Denzeity join Amy Westney, Colin Garrett and Chris Loach in Liverpool to put on the show: "Rhinestone Cowboy - The Glen Campbell Story".

If you thought Glen Campbell is pretty far removed from the music of Denzeity you'd be thinking pretty much what I thought when it was first suggested I audition for the part of Glen. So why are we doing it?, I hear you ask...

Well the first thing I realised when I went through the Spotify list of songs we're performing is that Glen Campbell did a huge range of stuff. People often think of the song 'Rhinestone Cowboy' when they think of Glen Campbell and if they're not really into that song, might see little reason to explore his other work. I am a little guilty of that and that's one reason I'm so glad I took on this role.

He did a cover of the Foo Fighters, Time Like These, and even for a rock fan like me, in some ways I prefer Glen's version. Once you get used to hearing it without expecting Dave Grohl's version, it's a really good take on the song. I also had a bunch of, 'I didn't know Glen Campbell sang that' moments! Songs like 'Dream Lover', 'MacArthur Park' and 'Southern Nights' were all him!

Additionally I discovered a whole bunch of new songs that I really love - and may end up covering a few myself with Denzeity at some stage. Songs like 'Highwayman', 'Ghost On The Canvas' and even 'Turn Around, Look At Me' which has grown on me since I first thought what an odd set of chord changes. It reminded me of the old big band style a bit, which actually Glen did quite a bit of, and what is great for me is that I have come to understand that style of music so much better. That's not to say I'm going to do an album of big band music, just that I've seen a new set a ways that chords and melody can flow and work really well. And actually the song Rhinestone Cowboy has grown on me as well!

The vocal style is quite different to what I usually do and requires quite a bit more proper singing technique. It was odd to hear both Gary and Bora say, "I didn't know you could sing like that!"

So tomorrow morning it's an early start. I've got to be at Upminster tube station at 8am to be picked up for the road trip to Liverpool. It's going to be long day but we're all buzzing and ready to put this show on. It's going to be a great night! And - there are still one or two good seats available if you want to come along - but quite a few of them have gone since yesterday so book quickly!

There's even talk of taking it to a few other theatres around the country so watch this space... but don't worry - the rock will continue with Denzeity soon enough - in fact there's a gig in a couple of week's time at the Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane - Friday the 14th December to be exact... Hope to see you at at least one of these events!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Cover Girl

Denzeity playing at the Castle, North Acton

The other night we played a charity gig at The Castle in North Acton. Despite a few setbacks we managed to pull off a really great gig. We had a bunch of people dancing at the front and other people spotted trying to leave but hanging just inside the door until we'd finished playing. And we were persuaded to do an encore - not bad for a half hour set! (Thanks @georgepitt_ for the photos...)

Simon Denzley playing guitar and singing with DenzeityMike had an emergency dental issue at the last minute so we had to go on as a four piece with Gary and I (mostly Gary) covering Mike's lead guitar riffs and solos as best we could.

Ellie Daymond on the front cover of Rhythm magazinePaige was also not available for this night so we had Ellie Daymond covering for her as our drummer for the night. We'd only managed one rehearsal with her and that was with just Bora and me so this was the first time she'd even met Gary! However she was true to form and played really well. So a great night in spite of the problems!

A few days later Ellie's Facebook page was promoting her featuring on the front cover of Rhythm Magazine! I thought this was very cool - (even if it was just a mock up they were doing for every drummer who chose to pose for them at the Drum Show).

So thanks Ellie - this one's for you!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Feeling Well Composed

I was recently asked to write some music for a girl called Gloria Kirk from Missouri in the US. She had put out a call on one of the Facebook musician groups for someone to compose music to go with some lyrics and a rough melody she had come up with, so I offered to help. As she liked my other music she asked me to do it.

So I started with just a recording of her singing the words with a rough melody and timing and a lyrics sheet. It was clearly a very different style to my normal stuff. She apologised that it was much more 'girly music' than I normally write but I didn't mind. It would be an interesting challenge.

To cut a long story short (i.e. leaving out the description of the song-writing process and subsequent recording) I finished the song for her and sent her back the recording I had put together of it.

I was very pleased when her first reaction on hearing was, "I love love love it!" Later on she wrote to me saying, "I have listened and am still listening to “Simply Safe” and I totally love it."

I had put down a rough vocal on the song which I wasn't happy with but assumed she was going to sing the proper vocal herself. However she is actually planning to get a couple of other people to sing it as a duet. To my surprise she quite liked my vocal on it, saying, "Everybody who has listened to your demo of Simply Safe loves it. I know it’s not your kind of song but you sound great!"

Later on she wrote to me (and she's happily given me permission to quote her here):
"I know you said that your vocal is not very good in the “Simply Safe” demo, however as I said before, every time I have somebody listen to it they are all in awe... So you must believe that you are great even with your not so good vocal (in your opinion). The most frequent comment I got was “Ohh...I want that. He is very good. They want to know when/where they can buy/download it. That song somehow, the great music you created, and with your vocal... you are making people want to fall in love again. That’s the most common comment I have heard. They want somebody."

So I'm feeling quite chuffed about that! And with comments like that I could hardly hide the song away, however before I made the song public however I decided to re-record my vocal so it is at least listenable (in my view). That's the version you can now hear above.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Open Mic

Last night I went along to a new open mic night that I've not been to before. It was the Metrojam at the Metropolitan pub in W11, just next to Westbourne Park tube station.

It's been a while since I've played an open mic and it was good to get up and do it again.

What I really enjoyed about this one was that it wasn't just solo acoustic stuff. There was a house band which would back people up if they wanted. This meant most people would do covers that the band already know, however as the band were so good I realised they'd be able to play their way through some of my songs with the simpler chord progressions.

The first one I suggested we do was 'Slave to You'. I had Ross Gordon on Drums and Lefty Pete on Bass (due to his handedness, as opposed to any political persuasion as far as I am aware...) from the house band, and also Charles Best who'd got up to play some guitar. This is how it went:

Afterwards people came up to me in disbelief that we'd never rehearsed that song before, even less that we'd never played together before or even that the other musicians hadn't ever previously heard it. But that just shows the calibre of the musicians who joined me there on the night!

Thanks to Paul Mason for filming this - in fact it was Paul who I bumped into at a music industry event last Thursday, who invited me along to this particular open mic event - so thanks Paul for that too.

While I'm handing out credits, it should be mentioned that the night was run by a sublime guitarist (and pretty good vocalist) called TJ, who led a very tight and funky house band. I should also mention the plethora of talent that got up and played (or just sang) on the night. Even if I hadn't played myself I still would have enjoyed it as a great night of musical entertainment!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Taking Over Glen Campbell

A few months back I was asked to audition for the role of Glen Campbell in a tribute stage show. The organisers originally approached Mike as they already knew him and the role required a guitar player but Mike said he wouldn't be able to sing the part and suggested me instead.

The only Glen Campbell song I knew was Rhinestone Cowboy so I learned to play it and sent them an audition video (see below). A few days later I'd landed the role!

I have been learning around 28 songs for the production and have come to admire the man himself having found quite a lot out about his life and legacy. He recorded over 70 albums so 28 songs is a tiny fraction of his work.

The other musicians already involved are involved in other projects too and two have had to pull out due to conflicting commitments. Soon after I joined the show the bass player had to go. They asked if anyone knew a good bass player so naturally I recommended Bora, who happily came on board.

More recently the keyboard player dropped out and so Bora and I suggested Gary, who also agreed to the gig.

That means three out of the six musicians doing the show are now Denzeity musicians. It's good for me as I'm used to working with these guys. If anyone else drops out though we could end up taking over the show! Although it's unlikely as the other guys seem pretty solid.

It should be a really good show and if you want to come and see it, it's at the Epstine Theatre in Liverpool on Thursday 29th November. For more details and to book tickets click here!

Update 4th November 2018

I've just spend most of today rehearsing with the 'Glen Campbell Band'. We were up in Milton Keynes (as that was the most central place for all 6 of us in the band) making a 6 hour rehearsal into a 14 hour day once transport is taken into account.

The rehearsal itself went really well. For a first rehearsal, the songs basically came together really quickly and really well. Amy, Chris and Colin, who were part of the show before Bora, Gary and I arrived, all seemed quite pleased with how everything was sounding.

A couple more rehearsals and the whole thing should be sounding really tight. Looking forward to the 29th!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Great Vibes

This Saturday we're performing at Soho's very own St Moritz Club in Wardor Street. Regular readers will be aware that due to an Edinburgh Fringe commitment, Gary is not available for this gig with us so we've roped in a chap called Mark Glentworth to cover for him.

When I say 'a chap', Mark Glentworth might better be described as one of Britain's foremost vibraphone players, and the composer of the percussion standard "Blues for Gilbert". (There are hundreds of videos of people performing this piece of Youtube - I happen to think this one is quite good.)

He is of course a highly accomplished keyboard player as well but he's agreed to bring his vibraphone along too. The opportunity to do something really different was too good to pass up!

For those who think this might make a weird mix, I took an acoustic guitar round to jam with Mark last week to see how things would sound. He was just filling in on the keys but we tried a couple of keyboard solos on the vibraphone instead and they sounded mad! 

So for possibly the only time ever - this Saturday night will be your opportunity to catch Mark Glentworth performing on vibraphone with Denzeity!

You have got to hear this for yourself! Hopefully we'll get some video of the night but if you want to see something really special - join us at the St Moritz Club, London, this coming Saturday night!

Friday, 10 August 2018

Hello from Edinburgh!

Hi guys! Gary here!

As some of you know, I am currently not with the rest of the band at the moment as I am currently in Edinburgh playing the world renowned "Edinburgh Fringe Festival." I am fortunate to be working with the talented "Ivy Paige" from The Voice (2018) as part of her new show "Seduction", it is going really well! As I am writing this, we have 16 more shows to go of a 26 show run, its intense and a lot of hard work but I am enjoying every second!

Here's the first of a few video diaries documenting my time down here. hope you enjoy and I look forward to continuing to rock out with the band soon!

Monday, 6 August 2018

Gigride Playlist

A while back I signed up with Gigride to try to find some live gigs. I was pleasantly surprised that the CEO and Co-Founder, Marco Santesso emailed me back personally to say, "Thank you so much for getting in touch and great songs, really enjoying them!" (I'd sent him History and Slave To You).

Gigride also run an internet radio station specialising in "emerging bands from all over the world" and it seems they've put their money where their mouth is in that last week I had another email from Marco saying they put our two songs on their playlist!

Naturally I've tuned in to have a listen to see what else is featured here and in doing so I've discovered a rich seam of remarkable and uncommon musical offerings! I am reminded of when I lived in Melbourne, Australia (a few years back) and listened to alternative and independent radio pretty much exclusively (RRR and PBS mostly). It also reminded me of when I ran a small recording studio and the many and varied bands which would troupe through every week for me to record demos / EPs etc. for - every one of them with an amazing and unique sound of their own. Whilst some of the tracks aren't quite as polished as what you'd expect to hear on commercial radio (many aren't far off), everything I've listened to so far has something about it making it very listenable and worth hearing.

They suggest you think of them as "a '70s pirate radio" station, and just like 70s pirate radio, I've no doubt something amazing will emerge from this abundance of musical talent sitting just below the surface and again change music forever...

A Good Kimbofest

Last Saturday we played Kimbofest, a music festival which has a back story worth recounting. It was started by Kimbo Cranfield around ten years ago after his mother died from Alzheimer's. Whilst most people would quietly mourn, Kimbo decided to try and raise some money for the Alzheimer's Society by putting on a couple of live bands at a local venue in Chatham, Kent.

He did the same but a bit bigger the following year and over the years his charitable event has grown into major multi venue music festival centred around Chatham.

Our lead guitarist Mike, being a local down that way has played Kimbofest every year for the last 4-5 years with whatever band he happened to be in at the time.

Kimbo himself was there and being quite a talented photographer took a few shots of us including the one of Mike here.

There were a few organizational issues (there usually are with things like this) but everyone was very relaxed and we played a pretty good show and the crowd enjoyed it.

The highlight of the evening came after the event when one of the punters, Simon Russell wrote a blistering review of our show:
I was trying to shuffle off home via Sainsbury's after an afternoon drinking session in the Prince of Wales pub in Chatham but got press-ganged into venturing to Poco Loco to the Kimbofest. I am glad I got my arm bent as I got to see this outstanding band. I was not expecting to be blown away to such an extent. Even without their first team drummer Denzeity put on a top class show. Unfortunately their set was ended prematurely due to time constraints. This misfortune, however, leaves me with the memory of them rocking out like Led Zeppelin to their song 'Never'. These guys can really rock. I did a couple of double takes to remind myself that I was in a pub in Chatham. Passionate vocals, Hendrixesque guitar and the keyboardist reminded me of Ian Curtis losing control again. I bought the T-shirt. Go see them.
I'm so glad to have played down there and hopefully help raise a little money for the Alzheimer's Society. And hopefully, if Simon's review is anything to go by, the punters will have been glad we did too!

Monday, 30 July 2018

Latest Live Videos

I mentioned in the last blog post there was some video of the Fiddler's Elbow gig last week floating around. It has emerged - thanks kindly to Christina Jansen who popped along to see us play but being a professional photographer, couldn't help but get a few shots and some video!

This video below is the first public recording of our new song 'Version Of You' with the full band. I guess this blog is a good enough place to give it it's first airing...

The thing that really surprised me was the quality of the sound mix out the front. It always sounds different to what you can hear on stage, and usually on stage there are important elements you can't hear properly while performing. The front of house mix sounded great though - so all credit to sound guy.

Here also is the first recorded performance of us doing 'Never' with Bora on bass and Gary on keys. It's also the first video in front of a live audience, the previous video being done in a rehearsal studio.

It's worth pointing out that 'Never' was a song written by a mate of mine (Tristan Baker) and his band Scapegoat. I heard their version of it and loved it enough to add it to our list. The songwriters are: Tristan Baker, Nigel Cadzow, Helen Cadzow and Phil McGowan.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Show Us Your Ts

It's a surreal ego boost to look down off stage and see people in the audience wearing your t-shirts (especially when they're dancing)! Tuesday night at the Fiddler's Elbow was only the second show where we had t-shirts available and I counted at least four people wearing them!

Tiana and Lisa (who played guitar with Emma Danelon who was supporting us) were happy to take some photos in the t-shirts and a few with us as well - which they sent to us after the gig.

The show went really well too. According to Sharky behind the bar we "really entertained the crowd", he said as he put two ticks next to us in the big book of bands...

Apparently there are some really good photos and some video of us on stage which I look forward to seeing soon I hope. Thanks Christiana, Steve and Harvey for your help with this!

If you want to get your hands on a Denzeity T-Shirt - visit the shop on our website!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Mini Tour

We've been pretty busy lately. We're half way through a stint of four gigs in two weeks which while not sounding a lot is the busiest we've been to date. Both last Friday at the RBL in Worcester Park and the previous Friday at the Shortwave Cafe went really well.

We've also gone from supporting Sweden's Skuldpadda tomorrow night (Tuesday 24th July) at the Fiddler's Elbow to being asked to headline with them supporting us! And we've got another show coming up next Saturday after which Gary heads off to Edinburgh for a month long gig with the festival up there - so we might have to take a forced short break from gigging after Saturday. And then to top it off the St Moritz Club in Wardour Street, Soho made contact this morning to ask us if we could play there over the next few months!

It's not like a proper tour but it almost feels a bit like a mini tour, especially with having to organise the logistics and marketing for every gig individually.

So if you'd like to give us a hand - especially with the advertising - please link to our shows and social media on your social media. The more people who come along to these shows the more of them we'll be offered, and the better those shows will be!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Second Fiddle

After last Wednesday's successful gig at the Fiddler's Elbow, we've been invited back to support Skuldpadda on tour from Sweden at their show on Tuesday 24th July!

We've got a bit more time to plan this one so hopefully we'll manage to get even more people along to the show.

We're also looking at shooting some multi camera video - possibly for a new TV show looking to expose new bands and live talent - (stay tuned...)

We might possibly give away some free t-shirts to those who turn up early too. Either way it should be a great show so put it in your diary now! Tuesday 24th July - Fiddler's Elbow - Denzeity supporting Skuldpadda (we're on stage around 9pm). See you there!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Playing the Fiddle

There are several pub venues around London that tower above the music scene like sentinels standing atop their individual long and solid histories of British Rock music. These have long been associated with quality live rock music and fondly invoked as being the cradles and melting pots where many band started out who are now household names. The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden is one of these.

So it would seem that one of the many websites we signed up to months ago to get us gigs finally came through with goods last week - a gig tonight at said Fiddler's Elbow! Whilst the assumption is they had some bands pull out last minute and needed anyone they could get quickly, they have put us in the headline slot - I trust that means they must have listened to our stuff!

This is a great opportunity to demonstrate to at least one major venue that we can put on a proper professional show with great songs. If we get everyone enjoying themselves we might get asked back to do Friday/Saturday night when we can play to some seriously packed audiences.

Either way it should be a blast - if you're reading this, come along and see us play this iconic venue!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Recording Progress

A couple of weeks ago we headed into the SAE studios to record a few tracks. We had been invited by Francis and his team as a recording project for assessment as part of their audio engineering course.

Below is a quick look at the sessions so far (including a mini snippet of our new song Version Of You)...

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 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...

Monday, 16 April 2018

Unexpected Record Deal

A few weeks back Epic Micky messaged me to say a chap over in the US wants to release his dance version of History and wanted to make contact with me to get the necessary permission / forms signed etc. Shortly afterwards Matt, the owner of the record and distribution company Louis Capet XXVI messaged me about this as expected.

A few days later I received an email with a 9 page music contract which I needed to sign and return to him so he can get on and release the song. This admin stuff has to be done right to make sure there are no problems down the line, and so it was important to read it through properly and have one or two others advise me on it as well. There were a couple of small changes I wanted to make but overall it looks to be a good deal for all concerned.

As heady as all this sounds, it is not a recording contact as such. It is permission to release (a.k.a. distribute to music retail outlets) and promote Micky's dance version of History which of course features my vocal from the original song - which inspired Micky to come up with his part of the track and so is a collaborative effort. There is no money in advance but if the song does well then Micky and I will get an equal share of the artist's royalties which is a nice thought - regardless of how large or small they are likely to be! I'm not holding my breath mind you, but hey - you have to give these things a try and do what you can to make them as successful as you can...

Hopefully it's all a sign of things to come but either way I never considered that my first record deal would be for an electronic dance record!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Another Perspective

Joe WrightCareful observers will have noticed that the last keyboard playing incarnation didn't last very long. Joe did two rehearsals with us and one gig (not in that order) before realising that he couldn't commit to a serious band as he had his own serious band on the go and so had to step down.

Gary Cunningham playing with DenzeityOnce again the call went out for suitable keyboard players while I scoured the various musician websites. The search produced two very good keys players: Fabio Parisella and Gary Cunningham. Both loved the material, both were excellent players with bags of experience and both were really nice guys. Fabio was earning a living playing in over half a dozen cover and tribute bands while Gary had just finished a tour with The Signatures and was looking to settle down and return to a more 'normal life' of finishing his studies with occasional musical exterludes (yes I did make that word up).

This meant that whilst Fabio was busy most Friday and Saturday nights with other bands, Gary was available for a few gigs here and there when we needed him - as long as it wasn't too often. So by default Gary got the first gig - and thoroughly proved himself in the process. So until things get really hectic and he needs to pull back a bit, he'll likely have most of them...

But wait there's more...

There is something else that sets Gary apart from many other people I've worked with. Firstly and most obviously is the fact he is 19. Musicians with his level of competence, musical understanding and confidence don't normally exist below the age of 25 in my experience. What youth usually lacks is normally made up for in enthusiasm but in Gary's case it is not made up for, it is instead thickly spread over the top of his musical skills resulting in someone with a combination of both that you rarely see.

Gary also happens to be really good at social media with a great blog and video diaries. He has posted two videos re the band already: This one is of our first (and to date only) rehearsal as a full band:

And the other one here is Gary's take on our gig in Winchester on Saturday.

These are all available on Gary's Youtube page.

It's nice to enjoy someone else's perspective on all this for a change!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Changing Rainbows

As well as doing my own original material, Denzeity are also doing a couple of songs written by friends of mine which I recognize as being great tunes with huge potential. In an earlier post I mentioned one such song, Never, by my old mate Tristan  Baker and his band 'Scapegoat'.

KJ Hansen
One other is a song called Chasing Rainbows written by KJ Hansen, and old friend with whom I played in several bands (and make a point of finding time to jam with whenever I happen to be in Melbourne). This was a sad song written as an acoustic finger picking ballad and widely recognised by our extended circle of friends as a stand out song. It was such a melancholic piece that KJ routinely refers to it wryly as, "that old wrist-slasher"!

Whilst the arrangement evolved through various bands into a bit of a power ballad it was always rooted in the acoustic guitar arpeggio that was KJ's original vision.

Mike then, in his usual style, when I introduced the song to him, suggested it could work much better as a faster rock number. I was more reluctant to change Chasing Rainbows than even some of my own songs. I felt like the custodian of KJ's principal work being asked to hand it over to be butchered and reimagined like tearing up a Monet painting to stick crumpled bits of the canvas onto a wall as some modernist reinvention of painted art.

After continuous appeals from Mike and the other band members to give it a try however, I eventually reasoned with myself that a) It won't hurt to at least listen to the ideas, b) I had the final say in the end so could always veto the changes, c) Mike had a good ear for this sort of thing and might be on to something , and d) The original song continues to exist regardless and I have recordings of it in this form. I also reasoned that we would be just as able to perform either version depending on circumstances. And so over the course of a few hours in a large brick rehearsal room in South London, the knives were wielded and the surgery was performed.

What we got back at the end was indeed a faster, rockier number. It was also, to give Mike his due credit, a great sounding piece of music. I felt it sounded like a completely different song but it was still those same wonderful chord changes and desperate lyrics that KJ wrote all those years ago. Everyone in the band commented on how much they liked it and it was clear it would certainly be a popular song live.

We caught the new version of Chasing Rainbows on video at out most recent gig at the Railway Inn in Winchester:

All songwriters are precious about their work to varying degrees and I hope KJ won't be too upset that the original intention of his song has been altered in this way. The fact that it works so well in a wide range of styles demonstrates what a quality piece of song-writing it is.

Incidentally if you are in Melbourne, KJ can be seen performing at various venues around the place including some open mic nights at places like the Acorn Bar. If you want to hear Chasing Rainbows as it was originally intended (as well as a bunch of his other great songs), I highly recommend it!

Here below is a recording I did of the original version of the song for comparison - don't be fooled by the picture - it's me singing but I used KJ's picture as it's his song.

Update 6th April

Having Messaged KJ several days ago to play him the new version of the song, I heard back from him this afternoon and the response was positive. He was indeed "quite pleased to see us do our own take on it", and thought "it doesn't sound disrespectfully removed from the original".

So feeling a bit relieved and pleased that I have the songwriters blessing to continue down this path - and looking forward to performing it again soon and making a proper recording of this version too.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Name Dropping

As I alluded to in a previous post, one of the bonuses of working with industry professionals is you get to meet other industry professionals. Nowhere is this more true than at music industry social events.

I was invited to one last night near Kings Cross and what an amazing evening it was. As well as catching up with Christina Jansen who recently took some amazing shots of me a few weeks back, she also introduced me to a few people before she had to head off to a gig, and I ended up enjoying a glass or two and a yak with numerous people, some with amazing achievements under their belts.

One such chap was Chris Thompson of the Screaming Blue Messiahs, who was describing how David Bowie loved the band so much he tracked them down to support him on a US tour - and complained once in an interview that everyone sent him free albums - except the Screaming Blue Messiahs!

Another was Damon Summers who had few hits in the 80's and 90's in Europe and the far east with X Projection and has put together a new line up (who were all there too) to keep the music going - playing old hits and also new stuff written with guitarist Mark Campling. I ended up at some nightclub with the rest of the band for a short while afterwards - Singer Kyra Poole was wearing the coolest hat...

Speaking of cool, very cool was meeting and having a brief chat with Rob Davis who co-wrote Kylie Minogue's hit 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' (with Cathy Dennis). And speaking of Kylie Minogue, I had brief chat with Peter Waterman's business partner who was there too.

Jon Morter was another one - he ran the social media campaign that got Rage Against The Machine their Christmas Number 1 in 2009 (a feat he told me which couldn't be done now in the same way) while Sharon Matheson kindly gave me a little more insight about the industry from a music distributer's point of view.

There were also numerous singer/songwriter/musicians in various stages of their careers: Llio Millward who was utterly charming and kindly gave me a copy of her Heart Of Fire CD (which I am finding heartfelt, cool and hauntingly quirky), Selena Seballo, Crawford Mack being among those I spent some time with.

The wonderful thing was that everyone I spoke to was engaging and friendly, in contrast to what is sometimes the reputation of the music industry!

Friday, 23 March 2018

What's In A Name?

I have been looking for a band name for a while and finally found one we can get behind.

Everyone has a different view on what makes a good band name. As John Lennon famously said of The Beatles, "it's just a name, like 'shoe'." There are however undoubtedly some great band names and some awful ones.

"Royal Blood" is an example of a fantastic band name. It holds two meanings which are somewhat opposed to each other so it makes you think. Both words have emotional resonance so you feel something when you hear it. It is simple, memorable and thought provoking - meaning people remember it and possibly associate it with something important which may make them ultimately more interested in exploring the thing that holds this name - the ultimate goal of any music marketing campaign.

Other band names I really like are 'The The', 'Led Zeppelin' and a band I recorded once called 'Steaming Dog' - which they soon afterwards changed to 'The Grans', which I thought was a pretty awful name by comparison.

Regardless of whether you like it, agree with it morally or not, people judge books by covers and bands by their names. And if the name influences people to be more likely to want to know more about, and ultimately listen to your work, then it's a good name.

With all this in mind I also wanted a name that reflected the fact that it was my project, in a similar way to "Bon Jovi" being Jon Bon Jovi's project but is still a band in it's own right. "Simon and the Somewhats" or "Densley's Half Dozen" would have achieved this but ticked few other boxes.

A while back Mark suggested 'The Densley Engine' which some of us liked. I used that name on some flyers as it was better than 'The Simon Densley Band' but we still weren't convinced.

The other issue is availability. With bands forming all over the world on a daily basis and everyone wanting a unique name, the number of available decent names is dwindling. I came up with a few that I really liked only to find they had already been used somewhere else.  'Antiself' was one example, had it not been taken already we might be called 'Simon and the Antiself'. The 'Bunnyrats' was another. The internet is disappointingly good at digging up little known things.

With the focus back on my name again I remembered a geography teacher at school talking about an area being 'densely populated' and everyone looking at me. Perhaps there was something in that. Googling "Music Density Band" turn up a Phoenix (Arizona) metal band (Fifth Density) and a 'densitymusic' website that seems to be all about British blues guitarist Keith Thompson but no band call 'Density' itself. That was good!

I also decided to change the spelling to reflect that Densley is pronounced as if it has a 'z'. So Denzity then? I didn't like the look of that so I tried it with an e: Denzety? No, I put back the i and was about to remove the e again when I spotted the 'zeit' in Denzeity and immediately thought of Zeitgeist. That was good. Another quick look suggested Deity was in there too - also good, and split by the 'enz'* - which as an anagram of 'zen' makes the whole name an anagram of 'Zen Deity'... A cryptic crossword lover could have field day! I liked this name. So did the small number of people I suggested it to, significantly, people who had not really liked any of the other names I had put forward. So it was decided - the band would be called Denzeity.

While writing this post I googled "Density Band" again to check which band names had come up. Right there at the top was the facebook page of a New York three piece called... Density. How had I missed that? I really hadn't wanted to see that in there. I had already changed the whole website to reflect the new name and really didn't want to go back and start again looking for another one. However reason kicked in and I realised that Denzeity is quite a different word to Density, with a different pronunciation, regardless that it was a derivation. So Denzeity was staying.

*Split Enz was a New Zealand band with Neil Finn who later formed Crowded House (whom some people have said my music sounds a little bit like - although I don't hear it myself). They were big in Australia in the 1980s and I really liked them when I was a kid (and still do to be fair.)

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Getting An Image

One of the pieces of the puzzle that Sean (our manager) has been keen to get in place is to have some really good photos of me and the band. Last Tuesday evening I spent a few hours being photographed by Christina Jansen, one of Sean's contacts.

Christina is a great photographer and has shot numerous people including names like Robert Plant and Muhammad Ali. She lives (and has a studio) in Primrose Hill which gave us a good backdrop for some outdoor shots and makes it a good base to go and get some more shots around Camden and similar areas with the rest of the band over the next few weeks.

It was while there was some snow on the ground which it a bit unusual and we wandered around the local area using whatever backdrops we found. Then it was back to her studio (where is was a bit warmer) to get a bunch more shots.

We had a quick look through many of the shots afterwards and there were certainly some very good ones there. She has sent me through the first dozen shots which she has done some post production work on. Here are four of them which I think are good but I believe there are some much better ones still to come.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Deep End Of The Thames

After a good rehearsal on Monday the four of us (unfortunately our new keyboard player, Joe couldn't join us due to an emergency) feel that we are just about ready for some serious gigs. Ideally we'd do a few more warm up gigs first and have started putting feelers out to see what's available. Even more ideally we'd have a rehearsal which includes Joe before playing in front of a proper live audience.

All that trepidation got pushed out the window yesterday when a message from Mike revealed he had got us a gig in London for this coming Sunday. It's on The Tattershall Castle, a boat moored on the Thames just near Embankment tube. I was really up for it and so was everyone else. The only problem was that Paige is scheduled to be in Hastings doing a BBC introducing gig until 7:30pm and Mark, the promoter had put us down to start at 7:30.

I contacted Mark directly and explained the situation. He had seen the live videos and was really keen to have us play and agreed to move us to the headline spot at 10pm. Just enough time to get Paige up to London in time for the gig - and without a sound check.

The other slight issue is that our new keyboard player has never played with the other four of us as a group before and had only rehearsed with Paige and me once before, prior to major changes to the line-up and some of the songs. He is however pretty confident he can do it, and actually I am too - given that at the first rehearsal he came to he had learnt all the material and played it pretty much perfectly right the way through. I sent him details of changes that have been made and links to us playing the songs live on video.

So first proper gig: rushing to get there on time, unrehearsed with one member and no sound check. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. We're jumping straight in the deep end. But I know these guys can pull it off and make it work well. That's why I like working with good musicians.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Key Change

Having taken two steps forward recently, the inevitable step back came at the weekend in the form of an email from Mark saying he need to bow out of the project. As he put it:
"I can't fit everything in and do it all justice. If it were all about being in a band that was going places I'd junk one of the other bands, but I've realised I'd miss my friends (some roots in these bands go back a long way)."
Mark, or Wilko as he prefers to be known, was the only other person who was there from the beginning, or at least the beginning of this particular musical project. He was very good at playing just was was needed, never trying to draw particular attention to his part but filling the gaps as required. I only realised how much work he was actually doing when I was going through the raw footage of the videos we made a few months back. It was an eye opening experience to see how much he was doing, making continuous small adjustments to his sound at the same time as played the parts. Usually I miss all that as I'm too busy playing my own parts. He was also a natural at finding and singing harmonies and made an invaluable contribution to our overall sound there too. We will miss all that, plus his pleasant and friendly nature. At least we got to play one 'sort of' gig with him before he left.

You can go and see Mark perform with Asylum Affair (Classic Rock Covers Band). I would recommend you do, having done so myself, and also with the Pink Floyd tribute band I, Floyd, which is one of the reasons I thought Mark would be the right keyboard player for me. I plan to go see them too when they up and gigging again, which I am reliably informed will be in the not too distant future.

Luckily one of the first things Wilko told me when he joined was that he already had commitments with other bands and we might need to get in a dep player from time to time. With that in mind I contacted Joe Wright and got him along to a rehearsal a few months ago when Wilko couldn't make it.

Joe was an excellent keys player, had learnt all the material I had sent him and got along with everyone too. So when I got the news above I contacted Joe to see if he was still available. He will be rehearsing with us next week...

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Warming Up

For a while I've been going along and playing acoustically at 'open mic' nights at various local pubs. Performing is the best way to hone a performance and it has also been a great way to meet other musicians and like minded people.

Maria Ahern runs a number of these nights and she offered the band a half hour 'featured artist' spot at The Oak in Kingston on Thursday.

Other than Mike and I getting up and playing together at a previous open mic gig (and Mike's local pub if you count that), this is the first time any of us have performed together in public so it was really just a 'warm up' gig. Added to this, Marcel couldn't make it so I had to fill in on bass guitar while Mike had to then cover all guitar duties - which made it the first time we had ever played together with this line up and instrumentation. However I knew the guys were good enough to handle it - and they did it just fine! Added to that I threw in one more challenge and decided we'd perform the cover 'Hey Joe' which we'd never played together and which Paige had never played at all. Again I knew the guys were good enough to handle it and yes they did.

There were some issues with sound on stage - it was difficult to hear the bass through the PA (I was missing a bass amp). Given the nature of the night, set up times are very short and there is no 'sound check' however this is part of the challenge of performing.

The highlight of the night was 'Never' which the audience loved. It was also a good opportunity to introduce the band to few other people I know who were there and meet a few new ones!

Being a musical collaborative sort of night (as these things are), Danno Sheehan was short a bass player and asked me to fill in during his set too which I was more than happy to do. It was bluesy based stuff including a Rolling Stones cover so nothing too difficult. We still couldn't quite get the bass sound sorted out on stage but the audience enjoy it and it was fun to do.

We'll be starting to look for more gigs now. When we've got all five of us there it will be sounding even better.