Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Teaching, Brixton and Websites!


It's been some time since my last report, but there's been plenty going on at DHQ and since this is as much a journal for me to keep track of things as a news feed for the website I'll go back to where we left off which was just after the Granville Sessions session at Pete's studio...

The weekend after that, with an already packed schedule of funk with Freshly, myself and my bongo brother Blades were seconded into an afternoon of Sax & Bongos vs a troupe of DJ's for some Exeter University folk to gyrate to. There were some good moments with lithe sunlit students giving it the beans to our stylings, and some not so good ones where one of the sickest drop builds I've ever had the privilige of rashing over crashed on it's arse when one of the ill-fated vinyl pushers accidentally slammed into a slowdance number by accident just as the current track had reached it's crescendo.

Still, we got paid, pushed some business cards about and set off on a 50 mile trip to Bude for a funk gig in Thom York's local boozer. Tasty.

It's learning time y'all....
The following week was my first one of teaching groups of primary school kids clarinet and what a baptism of fire that was. Imagine the sound you made when you first ever had a go at a non piano instrument. Awful wasn't it? Believe it or not, even your humble narrator when first blessed with a clarinet of his own to blow began with such honkings that nearby geese would head for the hills. Now times this by 20. Still, being of calm body and mind I have brought my little padawans, some numbering as many as 36 at one go, up to the point where they're kicking some one note tunes to backing tracks. Let's hope this continues as I'm expected to put them into a concert to show their relevent parentals/guardians/captors how well they're doing and I'm hoping for Bach sonatas from each and every one of them!

The next weekend where September shuffles off and October starts to make going outside a bit of a chore was also one where I was not blowing my horn, so I did what the normals do when a free weekend comes along and planned a getaway. 'To Surrey' I thought, and thusly took my better half, the intrepid Red Baroness home to meet my family for the first time on their own territory and to wish my father a happy birthday...

You're not driving that anywhere...
...Turns out a birthday it was, but happy it was not. At about 3-4am Friday morning and 80 miles out from our destintation on the most deserted country 'A' road we could have chosen, a lorry had a blowout in front of us and the resulting debris took our car off the road in action movie style. After the police and rescue people sorted the car out, my dearest father, who's birthday was becoming less happy by the minute, drove out to our stricken selves and ferried us not only home, but around most of London for the weekend too. Legend.

Also, and back to the point in hand, music, the boys from Granville Sessions were playing in Brixton and gave me a shout to see if I'd kick some bari with them on stage, so I plugged Hootenanny's into Google and found it was a mere half hour away from my lodgings. Obviously I couldn't pass up the chance to turn a non gigging weekend into a gigging one, and rocked up there ready to smash a wicked set and introduce my good lady to dirty London hiphop at the same time.

Playing bari Granville in Brixton
Needless to say the venue was amazing, the crowd were up for it, and African Head Charge who were on after us astonished me by being the most stereotypical Jamaican reggae band I've ever witnessed first hand. All older chaps with dreads and beards, accents so thick you could cut them with a knife, illicit domio games in the green room, and speaking of green, they were definitely advocates of da 'erb. Them chaps could play too, would have stayed and skanked all night if I didn't have a weekend of sightseeing to do!

Luke, topless conductor
Moving on, the Badcore Horns and our very dear friend and keyboard wonder Pat Pearson were back with Pete at Middle Farm again last Thursday, this time working for Luke Concannon of Nizlopi fame. His solo album is set to be a corker and, in my opinion anyway, every track I've heard from it has chart potential. Not only did Si and myself lay down everything from jolly soul stuff to Sigur Ross style moody pads, we all got stuck in with some gang vocals, so listen out for that one.

We ended up having the night there so we could spend hours getting the parts sounding just right and after a hearty home cooked meal and beer we all slipped into an 18 minute jam with the recently arrived slide guitarist from London who's name currently escapes me. There's a video and I'll get hold of it if it kills me (which judging on the difficulties of moving 1.5 gig of data it may well do). After that we tried jamming one of Lukes unprepared songs but decided it was too much muso gratofication to use for much so we'll keep that back until the real one is released.

Shirt modelled by Alex Norgate
Oh that reminds me, on the promo side of things. I've been busy weaving some dreams and made a real website for Badcore. Myspace was nice, but the glitches, limitations and downright retro-ness of the whole thing was getting to me so www.badcorehorns.co.uk was born. Along those lines, Freshly Squeezed have finally got our act together and have a run of rather lovely T-shirts for sale as well as a small number of original tunes in the bag. We're just waiting to get ourselves a new permenant bass player since our legend of a young gun Jake Galvin left to carry on his degree course far far away. If you play, and play good, do get in touch!

Sorry for the essay but I did try and make it readable,



Sunday, 2 September 2012

August Roundup: More releases, Videos and Sessions

As usual in the life of a working muso things come in waves. Sometimes ups, sometimes downs. Between the biggies you usually find yourself kicking around trying to plan for new projects, work on some current things you should have thought about sooner and grinding out a living with the regular stuff that pays the bills. However the ups usually make up for all the waiting and make you love your profession again and August has been pretty good as far as that goes...

So first up our old favourites the Seahawks have just released their next album 'Aqua Disco' with yours truly on woodwind and faithful music compadre, Alik Peters getting chordal with it. I've shown some pictures of the process on some earlier blogs and now you can hear/own it for yourself. If you like mellow swirlies and vintage beats have a look on Piccadilly Records and grab a copy.

Next are those Bristol based jazz junkies, Jag Harps and after our well documented trip to Real World Studios a few months ago to record the headline track 'New York', we finally have the video back from the shop for all to see. Check out the bunch of talented chaps I'm lucky enough to hang with and watch out for some one take wonder-soloing towards the end. Must say I was totally bricking it during filming but forced myself to keep it below the surface 'till the end.

The Badcore Horns, horn section for hire, were out once again in duo form with founder members, myself and comrade in arms Si Dobson down at Middle Farm Studios in Devon. Under the watchful eye of Pete Miles, we spanked some chunky brass lines out over the massive tunes of London based hiphop group Granville Sessions. They're not quite mainstream yet, but by Gods they should be and I highly recommend you have a listen to the material they have out at the moment.

If that was enough to whet your whistle then check back soon and I'll update the blog when their new stuff is released. Also, the Lena Smith Band in Plymouth have booked us in to record on their album soon at Beliefspace Studios so more on that too!

Freshly Squeezed are still cracking out the funk too. We're currently working on some actual real material of our own but it's sill a way off from performance yet. Until then we'll stay funky and most definitely orange.

I'll leave you with a photo of us recently looking our best and strutting our stuff.

Until next time...


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Gigs all over the place and recording at Pete's

Hey all, it's been a manic few weeks down here in the sunny South West with a lot of music going on. As is customary in the life of a self employed musician things can come and go in waves and this was one hell of a wave.

Jag Harps at Thekla
It began at the end of May doing an issue launch for Vice magazine aboard the Thekla up in Bristol. The Jag Harps were a studio based band first and foremost but our debut live performance outside in the real world went without a hitch and kicked the rest of the night off preparing for Breton's big performance.

Freshly on the road again
Then the funk machine Freshly Squeezed had lined up 11 gigs during the following week. We were on the road a whole load playing everywhere from Salcombe and Plymouth right up to Glastonbury and Birmighham. We were kept busy with student unions, clubs and a wedding too. Not bad for a week's work!

Real World Studios
Lastly the Jag Harps managed to swing some time in Real World Studios at the weekend. Set in awesome surroundings outside Bath, RW is Peter Gabriel's brainchild and we were lucky enough to get to play in it. The sheer amount of gear to gawp at meant we started a little later than planned, but have laid downs some live studio recordings and shot some video too. I'm waiting to hear back from Graham and the engineer to see what we came up with.  If it sounds as ace as it felt then we're in for a treat.

Oh, and I'll be taking on group teaching clarinet in primary schools at the beginning of the new term which will be good experience.If all goes well I'll be looking to do a lot more of that in the future.

That's all for now!


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Quantum Ironing

When you're running massively behind for a gig and you're all together in the band bus, the conversation tends to start falling apart quicker than the schedule for the festival you've just messed up.

Today's mental wanderings have tuned to ways to speed up 3 tonnes of vehicle and we've decided that grabbing the fabric of space time and pulling us along might just about do it. This of course means we'd be leaving huge crumples in time behind us making 2011 much longer, leaving 2012 with a few less weeks and generally messing history up for all of us.

Thusly to repair the damage we'd need to construct a quantum Corby trouser press to flatten things out again. What do you think? Quantum ironing sounds plausible to me. Then again I'm sleep deprived. It's probably best to leave this where it is.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Recording For Seahawks

Over the past two days I've been laying down some sweet horn sounds for the Seahawks once again. We've lived amongst a nest of cables and vintage gear putting together some crazy sounds.

Bringing flute and the whole hog of saxes in on this bad boy has been great and working with hot musos laying down Rhodes, sitar, guitar and percussion is most entertaining. Can't wait to hear the final mix.

There's talk of taking this very studio based group out on the road with their agent promising gigs up North. The fun's going to be translating it into a live ensemble.

Album to follow!



Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hey hey,

New year is well under way and things are a-changing down in Cornish land. The DH base of operations has moved and I'm now set up with a new studio space that won't suffer as much from the changeable weather conditions in this lovely part of the world. The new site design is ready to upload, just need a spare hour to transfer the files across!

I'm about to head out and record some new demo tracks for the Mala Jazz Duo and will return with some lovely new material to get things going as well as then being able to finalise everything else. Maybe upload some  cool pictures too.

Anyway, just for fun, check out these two groups. I'm all about seeing bands use studio sounding technology in a live environment and these guys are a perfect example.

Caravan palace are a group of French electro-swingers, getting the balance of old school samples and dirty synths. Awesome stuff. Check this video out here.

There would be a picture here, but Blogger deemed it too much of an effort, so pictureless I shall venture forth to Hidden Orchestra. UK based and awesome, these guys have loads of different session players in on top of their MPC/double drummers setup and make some great sample sounding tunes. Listen to Wandering here.