Okay, so here we are well over six months after the first proper blog post…. Apologies, of course…. When there’re so many things to do –songwriting, rehearsing, managing, booking, etc. etc. –blog-writing does tend to find its way to the bottom of the pile, especially when we’re keeping up the steady stream of tweets and upbeat Facebook snippets anyway. Well, here I (Mr. Paulo) am finally doing it now, taking advantage of a period of respite from work (yes, I do that as well!)…. And there are many, many things to tell you….
Firstly, things are about to really kick off! Really. …As in, at long last the publicity leading up to the EP release is about to get rolling. We’re just waiting for the final copy of the design (by Reading company Little Big Ideas) and the order for the physical CDs will go straight in; after which promo. copies will be going straight out to print mags. and later to online mags., radio stations and blogs…. The digital release version of the EP should also be available for pre-order pretty soon; and a free download will also be on offer! Exciting times! Let’s just hope I can keep on top of it all!
…And then, the actual Launch at our ‘mothership’ venue, Reading’s much-loved Rising Sun Arts Centre on the 26th September. We’ve been lucky enough to secure two of our absolute favourite local acts as supports for the night: Jack Cade and The Everyday Sinners and The Oubliettes; so the quality will certainly be there…. We’re hoping this’ll be quite a party; and obviously there’ll be gimmicky extras such as free grapefruits or grapefruit juice thrown in! MAKE SURE IT’S IN YOUR DIARY!
It’ll be a relief to get that EP out of the way at long last as the whole process has taken such a long time…. The recording was done ages ago and while it would’ve been easy to get the CD straight out there, I wanted to be patient and get all those annoying little boxes ticked in terms of generating buzz, making it sound hot etc. etc. pre-release. That meant firstly getting our Clear Water video done… and that actually took a looong time in the end: after the filming I had to get to grips with the editing process from scratch and that proved a bit tedious, although it probably seemed to take longer than it actually did because of work and personnel changes in the band (more on that in a minute)…. Anyway, it seems to have been worth it as we’ve been rather pleased with the reception: it’s up to well over 600 views at the moment (don’t forget to give it another view now if you want… here!) and we haven’t even started the publicity campaign yet…. After the video got finished work got intense again and it’s only been in the last month that I’ve been able to organise myself enough to make final decisions on artwork, digital distribution/physical release options, the publicity timetable etc. etc. At last it seems to be all set…. I’ve got my lists of addresses/contacts ready and waiting for when the final copy of the design’s through and CDs printed-up…. Then when that big push is over in September, we’ll be able to sit back for a bit of a breather (although of course we’ll still be gigging) and get going on the album…. Again, the admin. side’ll be lagging behind the creative side though! We’ve actually already got enough material for the follow-up album… or at least we’re not far off: we’ve already been playing nine new songs at gigs… and I’ve got at least a couple more in the songwriting pipeline! So after the breather the focus is going to be recording recording recording, honing in on the concept for the album, getting a fresh photoshoot sorted…. And then I suppose there’ll be the next video to work on… probably Perfect Life will be our lead song…! Okay… don’t get too ahead of yourself, Mr. Paulo!
Personnel. A lot to report here since the last proper newsletter. A that point, our bassist at the time James Histed had taken a bit of time out to ponder his ability to commit what with all his other pie-fingerage; and he did indeed decide to sling his hook in the end –obviously very sad for us, but also very understandable…. Fortunately, after a couple of months of gigging without a bassist, the very excellent Mike Muggeridge stepped forward to offer his services in the bass department and his tidy lines have been providing a classy foundation to our sound ever since…. We’ve also had to bid a sad farewell to dancer Sharon Lawrey, whose impassioned interpretations first captured our hearts when she first danced to our music at a festival last summer. In the end I suppose we all had to accept that the prevailing genre-separation of music and dance is there for a reason: her audacious manoeuvres were leaving audiences uncertain where to focus their attention! She made a gorgeous contribution to the aforementioned video though; and her involvement with us certainly made us aware of how our music works with types of dance. Moving on to another change, back in October 2013 we were referring to Helen as a ‘guest musician,’ but she’s long since settled-in as a full-time band member; and has in fact flourished rather dramatically. We are now lucky enough to have her elicit magic in many shades for most of our repertoire…. However, sadly her days with us are numbered too and soon we shall have to issue yet another sad and unwilling goodbye: the rapid ascent of her primary project Bright Shadows, combined with a number of other factors including a career change and relocation, have left her unable to commit in the long term…. Boo! We’ll still have her with us until September though; and she’ll be playing with us at the EP Launch! In a timely stroke of good fortune, another fantastic clarinettist by the name of Rachel White showed interest in joining at the same time as Helen started having doubts… and she’s already working with us with a view to her stepping straight up when Helen steps down… and you may even see Rachel play with us before September if Helen can’t make a show! Rachel’s also an excellent backing vocalist, so we’ll be able to work comfortably as a four-piece for any gigs that Maija (who also has her hands full with musical ventures!) can’t make…. So, yes, the past few months have been difficult in terms of managing the changes; but at the same time, Maija and Will (who’s been on board for over a year now) continue to provide an undertow of stability…. Onward we roll!
Gigs. There’s been no shortage of gig offers coming our way… no problems there! And the fact that we’re now working towards gigging sometimes as a four-piece means that we can move up a gear in terms of number of shows: the fact that Maija can’t do more than a gig a month was holding us back a bit, but the idea is now is that we’ll be doing some shows with Maija and some without…. Obviously not ideal as we’d like to have her playing with us every time… but certainly realistic and workable! You can see the full gig schedule here. As you can see, our next show is at Caversham Festival: we’ll play the Acoustic Stage as part of the Bohemian Buskers showcase on the Sunday (13th July) at around 3.30…. And then more gigs the following weekend! Probably our most exciting date is the Towersey Festival gig on Sunday 24th August: exciting because this is a festival in the proper ‘hardback’ sense, i.e. not bands in a pub beer-garden but a large scale event for which people pay hundreds of pounds to get in and camp for the whole bank holiday weekend, household names playing etc…. Okay, we’re of course only playing on a sideshow stage, but still…. It is a folk festival, strangely! They obviously interpret that pretty loosely for the stage we’re playing on at least!
As you can probably gather, we getting a little bit more serious and focused in every sense now…. Gigging, publicity, thinking about our line-up in the long term… and so on; and obviously our focus now is the EP Launch and all the admin. that goes with it. One area we evidently need to improve on in terms of publicity is our blog and newsletters, so you WILL be seeing more like this from us in the future….
In the light of the push towards the EP Launch, it’s fair to say that songwriting is taking a bit of back seat at the moment…. As we’ve already nearly got all the songs we need for the follow-up album to the EP that isn’t even launched yet, that does surely make sense! The ideas are definitely there… and indeed one idea seems to be unstoppably growing towards complete fruition (incidentally, this looks to be the happiest song I’ve ever written)! I’m just in no rush at the moment!
One last thing! THANK-YOU for supporting, listening, viewing, commenting… and generally for giving a shit about what we do!