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...

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.