I have some gigs lined up for the coming months. Here be some details...
Mon April 16th, 8pm, at The Half Moon, Putney
(93 Lower Richmond Road SW15 1EU)
Mixed bill 'Good Voodoo' night. £2.50 on the door. I'm on first!
Fri May 18th, time TBC, at The Cavendish Arms, Stockwell
(128 Hartington Road SW8 2HJ)
Mixed bill. Free entry (to the best of my knowledge).
The organisers strongly encourage people to come for the whole evening and support all the acts.
Fri June 5th, 8pm, at St Thomas' Church, Stourbridge
(Market Street DY8 1AQ)
A very special gig in a wonderful and unusual setting, with a grand piano! Two other local acts will be on the bill. More details nearer the time.
For the London gigs I'll be doing 15-20min slots.
My Stourbridge gig slot will be approx 40mins.
Meanwhile, the album release has been nudged back slightly again to July 2nd, for reasons too boring to go into. However, if you come to a gig, you might be able to buy a sneaky pre-release copy. Shhhh. That's a secret between you and me...
Tiring but inspiring week. The 1st year dance project at Arts Ed on
Wednesday was the highlight: a deeply emotional experience for me, with
lots of very encouraging appreciation received since. David Greenall's
sublime choreography and the students' focus and energy brought
something truly magical to the final performance in particular, though
obviously I didn't get to see much of it as I was busy providing the soundtrack!
It was particularly good to perform together with Tony Woollard and Charlie Brown (both contributors of stringy prowess to Alterations). Think their combined enthusiasm may have convinced me - over a welcome pint of Elbow real ale* after the performance - that I should do a live instrumental recording session with them (and film it) plus a few classical-ish gigs. I certainly have enough song material around that would suit this instrumental approach; it will just need some careful rearranging to preserve as many of the string quartet elements as possible.
Something to get my teeth into for the summer or autumn, perhaps, once the new album is released at the end of May. I'm all for letting my songs find new audiences in different forms, because they have a distinctive beauty even without words. And many people are much more attuned to instrumental music, in any case.
More on all this in due course...
(*Subtly nutty and smooth, in a no-nonsense northern style. Pretty much what you'd expect an Elbow album to taste like. I seem to remember saying as much after a few sips.)
So what have I been up to this past month? It really feels like I haven't stopped, but in a good way.
Firstly, I've been taken on by a tremendous company called Prescription PR to promote the album, which feels like a real step up in the world. They do PR for artists like Rufus Wainwright, Beck, Calexico and Richard Thompson, so I feel quite chuffed that they took a shine to Alterations. Hopefully this might mean a few higher profile reviews in due course: reviewers rely on trusted sources, after all. (That was the big lesson I learned from Ascendant.)
There's another gig lined up, this time at the renowned Half Moon in Putney on Mon April 16th. I used to perform regularly at their acoustic session night around 2002-2006, but took time off around Ascendant because of it's more classical thrust. The acoustic session has since morphed into a night called Good Voodoo, and I'll be the opening act that night with approx 20 mins of Northfield delights. I'm sure it'll be a great night of music from all the acts playing, so if you can afford £2.50 and the travel, come on down (or up)!
I've just finishing answering some rather detailed questions for the online US magazine Skope for a feature about me which will appear in the near future. Much furrowing of brow there was, but its good to think. I'll point to it in due course in a pointy-hyperlinky kind of way.
The slightly delayed (the make-up artist has a busy operatic rehearsal schedule atm) drag/zombie lip-sync affair for The Up Shit Creek Blues will be filmed a week on Sat. Expect creepiness. Also on the near horizon, a colourful hand puppet extravaganza for You Don't Need Me To Tell You That. As this is one of the MP3 giveaway tracks, I decided a YouTube video might be a jolly good idea, and it will make for a good balance with the other one. I've running up a steep puppetry learning curve even as we speak; it's getting them to sing different things at the same time that's the really tricky bit! :)
Been watching the rehearsals for the 1st year dance project at Arts Ed (the London theatre/acting school where I'm the head ballet pianist for MT). Stunning choreography by David Greenall (head of dance) as always, even in its unfinished and unpolished state. I'm genuinely thrilled by the whole thing: the beauty and the energy of it. Will say more about this in due course, but they're using instrumental music from both Ascendant and Alterations, and will be singing an edited version of Paradise By Numbers as the final piece. I intend to get it filmed.
Not really Northfield news as such, but I took part in a massive amateur production of Carl Orff's salacious Latin romp last WE. It was conducted by Christopher Killerby (who sings on both Ascendant and Alterations) and I played one of the two piano parts. It was big, boisterous and slightly rough around the edges, but a great community event with both young and old taking part. Nearly 400 people came to a (chilly and huge) South London church last Sat eve to hear the 120-odd performers, and we also took extracts to a choir event at the (stupidly warm and huge) Roundhouse in North London. Quite exhausting, but an achievement. Hats off to Chris for instigating and organising it all.
THE IN DEPTH ALBUM GUIDE!
Lastly, as you may well have spotted, there's now an in-depth track-by-track commentary for Alterations up on this website (see 'alterations revealed' in the main menu). It should answer a whole bunch of lyrical and musical questions, though possibly raise a load more in the process. Who can say! Go read.
PROBABLY SOMETHING ELSE!
But I really can't remember what it is. Time to close the laptop, methinks.
Until next time... mx
Having banished the Robyn/Electronic cover on the EP, I needed something else pronto to keep it as a four-tracker. Although I was toying with a newly written and rather gentle song, I felt in the mood for something spikier. Lo and behold, an old song called GOOD MONEY came to the rescue...
Having done a lot of reading (too much, probably) in recent years about the ongoing financial crisis, debt and the insidious effect of tax havens, I thought this might be a good time to revisit the track and rewrite the words pretty much from scratch. Musically it's quite unlike my usual stuff, being done and dusted in little over two minutes, primarily electronic and rhythmically manic. It comes across like a lightly scary fairground ride; the kind of thing Madness might have made were they politically motivated cybermen.
The backing track was created entirely on a Korg synth workstation many years ago, so it sounds decidedly retro and screwed up. Still, being a classical bod I never try to create things 'of the moment': I'm not clued up on technology enough to do that! As far as I'm concerned, a good song is a good song, and I think the lyrics are the main draw here (oh, and the catchy-ish melody helps). I'm intending to put a lyrical video for it on YouTube to highlight the message, and possibly grab the interest of the Occupy movement (who are namechecked in it).
You know how sometimes things happen in life that temporarily throw you completely and you can't think about anything else for a day or two? Well, that happened to me last week, as I was forced to accept a rather bitter pill regarding a cover version I was very proud of.
Then, having stomped around as if it was the floor that had done something wrong and scowled at the merest sight of any tiny red-breasted garden birds, I realised my temper would achieve precisely nothing and snapped out of it. However, I do feel like sharing the story, in case it helps anyone else considering going down the same route.
Back when I recorded Alterations, I thought it'd be good idea to precede it with a few digital EPs containing counterpart tracks from the album along with some new tracks. The moment seemed ripe for a few appropriate cover versions amongst the new songs, having never done any before outside of a live setting. Although I had a whole musical world to choose from, I settled on tackling some melancholic pop of a Scandinavian hue and giving it my own indie-classical slant.
The first of these was ABBA's wonderful The Day Before You Came, which became part of The Death Of Copyright EP. I checked what I needed to do to get permission and was told that as long as I hadn't altered the lyrics and melody (I hadn't) then that was all fine; I just had to enter the correct publisher/writer info and digital retailers would calculate what was payable to whom (I think the situation might be different in the US, but that's how it works in the UK). I was thoroughly pleased with my rendition and it was featured on a well-known covers blog in the autumn.
For the second piece I thought about having a go at a rather more recent piece of pop melancholy: Robyn's brooding Dancing On My Own. I liked how the gender in the original was ambiguous: lyrics online suggest she sings 'girl' in the chorus, but listening to it it really does sound like 'guy', which raises all manner of character interpretations and a strong hint of confused sexuality.
Whilst playing around with it (as a Yann Tiersen-esque waltz...) a flash of inspiration suggested to me that the main theme from Electronic's Getting Away With It might well make a good counterpoint in the chorus, and lo and behold it did so effortlessly. This is the kind of thing I do at work quite a bit: reworking and mashing up tunes in various styles for the entertainment of students.
What was lovely about this particular union was that Getting Away With it is also a song of unrequited love par excellence, albeit not a Scandinavian one. The chorus is: 'However I look it's clear to see/I love you more than you love me' which ties in perfectly with the Robyn song. It ALSO sounded bloody good as a waltz, even if syncopation meant it used mostly dotted crotchets. In my little world, it was a match made in heaven.
And so it was recorded in the same sessions as the ABBA cover, also with violin and cello. When the Electronic tune arrived in the rush of final chorus strings it was very moving. I hoped others would feel the same. Of course, there was the small matter of clearing it with the publishers, but I was fairly confident they would find my version artistic, tasteful and entirely appropriate, even if the setting was somewhat different to either of the originals.
I made inquiries: one publisher for the Robyn track (Universal), three for the Electronic one (Warner-Chappell/BMG Chrysalis/Sony ATV). Some were quicker off the mark than others, but the general tone seemed to be positive. Forms were filled in, MP3s supplied etc. And then in Dec it became clear from Universal that their writers (or their writers' office, I know not which) were not very keen to share a writing credit, even though they approved of the track. Meanwhile, the Electronic side wanted 20% split between them. Stalemate. As of last Friday, it was clear there would be no further movement from Universal and the track was officially banished from the world of 'allowed' recordings.
Now this was slightly irritating as it meant I suddenly needed to find another track for the EP, but nowhere near as irritating as then being told that I couldn't 'exploit' or 'utilise' the cover in any way online (because that's what art is for, isn't it? Exploitation and utilisation... AGHHH!), all because Robyn and her co-writer (Patrick Berger) - or someone representing them - felt the need to be greedy. Of course, by demanding everything, they're guaranteed to get nothing. I was assured it was pointed out to them that the project wouldn't go ahead otherwise, but to no avail.
Now I can't even let the track be listened to (legally) for free, which is frankly ridiculous. As everyone knows, YouTube and Soundcloud (to name but two) are full of artists doing unauthorised covers of songs, some of them mash-ups. Plenty on Soundcloud make theirs available for free download. The publishers I spoke to claim they don't have the time to police the internet, but this means there is an effective 'don't ask/don't tell' policy. Not exactly a great way to encourage compliance.
In my case, because I've already been told I can't use the track, I would get penalised much harder than someone simply being asked to remove a track for the first time (and YouTube users can have three tracks taken down before they lose their account, it would seem). I won't be risking it; I simply don't have the money. I could spend time (and more dosh) re-recording the piano and strings to change a few significant notes here and there, but for me the juxtaposition was what made the track into something special, and it would simply feel like an unfinished piece.
No doubt if I had a higher profile, this all would have had a much better chance of being sorted out. Maybe I should have inquired before recording to save myself the time and expense, but then hindsight's a wonderful thing. I (naively?) believed the writers would find the mash-up intriguing and want it to succeed. Well, cheers Robyn: if it was your choice, you've lost a fan's respect.
What I don't regret is coming up with the idea in the first place, because good art is not predicated on profit splits, and never will be.
Well now, another bit of news is that I've hauled myself back into the field of gigging in order to promote Alterations. I'd taken a good chunk of time-off in this respect, not least because most of Ascendant didn't really suit the acoustic venue vibe. However, the new album has various tracks that make perfect sense in that environment, so I'm taking them out for a ride, trainer wheels and all.
Gathering together my various collaborators is still not the easiest of tasks (busy lives and geography tend to get in the way), but I should be able to rope some of them in to live dates in the new year. Meanwhile, I'll be getting away with singing what I can, alongside the talented Gareth Forster on acoustic guitar and BVs.
Have done two gigs in the past week, one in Ascot at Jagz Bar (bit rough round the edges, dusting off cobwebs etc) and one at Power's Bar in Kilburn (tiny stage, but great venue; much tighter performance). The latter also featured the splendid Charlie Brown on fiddle (he plays on Alterations) and my recording buddy Andrew Holdsworth with, not one, but two, yes that's TWO, glockenspiels. The spirit of rock n roll is alive and well.
The setlist was: The Death Of Copyright/Some Songs.../You Don't Need Me To Tell You That/Waiting For Green/Nothing Impossible/Zero
I don't have any gigs for the new year lined up just yet, but they will happen, and all the relevant info will be on my new Facebook music page as and when. You can also find some pics taken from the Powers Bar gig on there. I'm rather fond of the widescreen reflection one...
Principles are great, in moderation. They give you focus, identity, a reason to get out of bed on one side and not the other etc. (OK, I may have made one of those up...) Sometimes, though, they just become an obstacle.
Bearing this in mind, everything I've read about music promotion lately has said 'YOU MUST BE ON FACEBOOK OR NO-ONE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY' (some did actually say it in boomy capitals). Lo, it has come to pass: my resistance has crumbled, I have become one of the hive. Assimilated.
(But of course, it's actually quite nice to exchange random chat with friends without having to phone them up and have a proper conversation, as long as that doesn't actually replace the occasional proper conversation.)
Anyway, I'm relatively easy to find on there as a real person, should you wish to look, but if it's my music you're interested in (presumably so if you're reading this...) the page you really need to go to is:
as that will have all the latest stuff about gigs/new tracks/videos/releases/you name it. If you do, please 'like' it, or I may cry.
OK, please excuse the upper case and three hyperventilating exclamation marks. We all have our momentary lapses.
It's time for a bloggy catch up of goings on in the world of Northfield.
Well, firstly, I've created another DIY animation video, this time for the lead track from the forthcoming EP 'Nothing Impossible'. Being a real happy/sad pop/rock song, I thought it deserved something suitably cute. Lo and behold, the little pink fish was born, and his purple friend with the gold fins too. But the purple fish disappears (and the viewer sees the horrific truth of what happens). What will the little pink fish do to find his friend again? Only one way to find out!
It's on the Sound And Vision page here on this website, and also on my YouTube channel. Please share with any of your friends who might appreciate cute bits of coloured card battling against hostile household objects. (Hey, who wouldn't?)
Secondly, the album Alterations is finally on it's way after much delay. I was wanting to do the two EPs first, so that was part of the reason, and there was a track in need of some belated tweaking too. However, I also hadn't got the artwork sorted, and that was a fairly major roadblock! But, tis done now, and the whole manufacturing hoohaa is underway. So... I should hopefully have some beautiful recycled fold-out wallety type things in the very near future. It won't be released til March, because I've got to do the proper promotional nonsense and send things out, but must of the album can already be heard on Soundcloud.
Of course, if you happen to see me at a gig between now and then, you might just be able to buy one in person...
Yes, that's the other bit of news. I'm finally getting my arse into gear and taking to the stage again. I already have a few gigs lined up (6th Dec, Jagz in Ascot, Berks; 11th Dec Powers Bar in Kilburn, London). Both are mixed bill affairs where I'll be doing half an hour or so.
Now quite a few (OK, a lot) of the songs are never going to get an airing in this stripped down acoustic setting, not least because the singers who could sing them are generally too distant or busy to be available. But, there are plenty of songs I can do myself, and so I shall. As and when I can get other musos and singers involved, I will. There will be more dates in the new year, for sure. I may even have to create a page on this website for them. Or... (involuntary shudder) join Facebook. Yes, it really has come to that, folks.
It's a brave new world in 2012 for me. I'm not sure it's quite what the Mayans had in mind, but there, what would they know?
So then, I appear to have a single out. A digital one, no less. (And indeed, no more.)
It's the first release of stuff from my forthcoming album Alterations and contains four tracks of precise loveliness in a variety of forms. Melodic piano and exquisitely arranged strings feature highly, as always.
In order, we have:
1 The multi-lingual plagiaristic funkiness of The Death Of Copyright – with additional Bach and whistling. Features me doing the English verses and the little Spanish bit, with previous collaborator Ellen Jakubiel doing the French and Antony 'pinot noir' Connor doing the German.
2 A semi-classical and downright gloomy cover of ABBA's The Day Before You Came for piano, cello, violin and voice. At least as depressing as the original or your money back (perhaps). Yes, it's me singing.
3 An extended version of a Philip Glass/Underworld inspired album track from Alterations; this version is entitled Headlonging (stretched out) and features yours truly intoning rapid-fire incoherence through a vocoder whilst previous collaborator Jon Payne once more soars chorally into the heavens.
4 The lushly orchestrated partner song to The Death Of Copyright from Alterations: The Forecaster (musically derived from track 1). Again featuring Jon (on lead vocal) and a chorus of dozens going 'mmmm' from time to time. There are occasional timpani.
The video for the title track is still very much up on YouTube.
A first review of the EP can be seen here on Bluesbunny.
(They're also featuring the video on their main page at the moment.)
It's available to buy from iTunes, Amazon and plenty of online others. Emusic might get round to it at some point, but timing doesn't seem to be their strong point. No doubt it will also be streamed on Spotify in due course.
Do 'give it a whirl', as they used to say: it contains quite large chunks of my heart and soul.
And share it with your friends, why don't you. They won't know what they're missing!
So, I finally succumbed to the inevitable and joined Twitter the other day. Not out of any great desire to tell the world about my breakfast (though I won't rule it out if it's particularly spectacular) or to remind people with tedious regularity that I made a DIY pop video, but just to ride the wave and see if it might turn out to be useful. And say hello to friends, obviously. :)
Unsurprisingly, I'm @marknorthfield. I might even find a way of putting a little twitter button on this website's contact page, like a proper grown-up. (Or a proper child, even.)
Well, howdy, one and all.
Despite the blogging quietness, I've been making sure my hands haven't been idle lately. I've just put up the first fruits of my labours in the form of a stop-animation video for the first single from the new album. It's called 'The Death Of Copyright' and features the lyrics of the song, along with some additional random thoughts, presented with letter tiles not unlike ones from the game Scrabble.
The official words slide on and off the screen, dance around, make shapes and faces, and generally have fun, whilst other words loiter suspiciously on the margins being faintly ridiculous or casting dark glances. There are a few visual gags, and a bit of verbal bullying. Most of it wasn't really planned: the tiles made me do it... :)
Being my first attempt at such a thing, I spent a fair few increasingly late nights putting it all together (4000+ frames were never going to happen in a hurry) and the end result is suitably DIY. However, I think it has a certain rough charm, and I've been bathing in a certain warm glow of achievement ever since, whilst being keen to press on with the next one, naturally.
Anyway, you can see it on YouTube here. The Death Of Copyright EP - from which it is inevitably taken - will be digitally released on 11th July 2011.
The other major thing I've been up to is recording a few covers. Originally I thought I might do a whole EP of Scandinavian melancholy (hey, someone's got to) but then I belatedly remembered I had a new album to promote! So, I'm going to spread em around instead.
First cover up on the upcoming EP is my version of a song from ABBA's twilight years called The Day Before You Came. A generally ignored masterpiece of gloomy introspection (and goodness me could ABBA do gloomy beneath their europop sheen when they wanted to), I've gone semi-classical with the harmonic arrangement (simple piano, cello, violin) and performed a typically precise Northfield vocal over it.
I've always loved this song: the fact that the 'chorus' (for want of a better word) is instrumental; the way the subtext (that the person being sung about is impossible to reach) is more important than the entire autobiographical lyric itself (the subtext is the song, effectively); the sheer relentless plodding understated sadness of it all. Entirely wonderful.
The next Scandinavian cover will be appearing on the next EP, and I'm not going to reveal what that is yet, though it is something more recent than the ABBA song. Actually, it's a bit of a mash-up with something else (non-Scandinavian) lyrically aligned, and I still need to get clearance to release it because of that.
Fingers crossed, eh?
So, if you read the recent rambly update post, you'll know that I pretty much took a year off from online promotional activities in order to concentrate on arranging and recording the new stuff (not to mention some pretty time-consuming non-musical commitments). In doing so, I completely missed this:
which has left me scratching my head rather. It's clearly heartfelt, but Adam, if you're reading this, you've nothing to apologise for! Really. Really really.
Of all the (what I consider) major music review sites I sent Ascendant to, turns out Sputnik was the only one who gave it any mention. Sure, it got PLENTY of blog interest, of course, and that was cool, but the big guns? Zilch. And then I belatedly found you'd actually given me that foot in the door; what's more, you put it in your top 20 of the year and top 100 of the decade. I'm not just 'quite pleased' about that, I'm genuinely thrilled.
That it's grown on you since is, well, pretty humbling, I guess. As an artist one always hopes to be able to affect people and enrich their life in some way, and whilst this is purely a subjective thing, it's heartening to be appreciated by a reviewer who has to plough through, and comment on, tons of music.
Yeah, it would have been splendid to get reviews from Pitchfork et al, but I strongly suspect they filter out virtually everything not attached to a known label or PR source (and certainly stuff with no former reviews attached). That's the problem when one starts from scratch: it doesn't matter how good the music is, it's a struggle against a headwind of indifference. And yeah, they have to filter somehow, I understand that. With the coverage I've received from Ascendant - yours especially - I might catch a few more eyes and ears this year. I know that's how the game works.
A final point: it's entirely likely you won't like my current project as much because I'm exploring different territory (see audio page), but with any luck you'll appreciate the artistic integrity of what I'm trying to achieve. I've deliberately gone off at a tangent in order to keep myself on my toes (or shoot myself in the foot, whichever you think more appropriate).
No doubt once it's been mastered properly you'll get to hear it. And you know what? I'm kinda looking forward to my first 'not as good as the last one' review. That'll be progress... ;)
A quick-ish (OK, I don't do quick) post to say hello, and no, I haven't died. Thanks for asking though.
I disappeared for a (long) while to concentrate on recording and other commitments. I know it's the done thing these days to update everyone with every single tiny studio tweakette alongside a few photos which prove just how jolly exciting it all is, but some of us aren't quite that organised. Really. That said, I may yet join the Twitterati, just to see what it feels like.
However, the upshot of 2010 for me is that the next album is finally finished (another ten tracks of baffling wonderment await the unwary...) and it all merely needs to be professionally mastered before being unleashed on the outside world. I'm focusing on creating videos atm, as I actually want a few things out there on YouTube before the album gets released this time, not a year afterwards.
Did I mention how splendidly disorganised I was? :)
Anyway, I will try to blog a little more frequently in light of things actually occurring - perhaps once or twice a month - and explain a little more about the thinking behind the album. Yes, it's another conceptual one, as if you couldn't guess. More so than Ascendant.
I'll also be reworking this website and my myspace to take account of stuff happening. Some things will come, some will go. I wouldn't cry if I were you. There should be the aforementioned video or two, sneak previews of tracks, maybe a properly retro extended version of something somewhere along the line... (A pop song? Surely not!)
And of course, there will be the reappearance of Nero, that blackest of cats.
Meanwhile, in the past 24 hrs, I've signed up to a thing called Jango:
(quite last.fm, but with more user-friendly features)
which has been something of a revelation.
Bandcamp enable artists to sell downloads at a much higher quality than anywhere else: the mp3 rate is typically 320 and, woo-hoo-hoo, they give the buyer a choice of download format, including lossless types. Very cool. They let one set a pay-wotcha-like price (a la Radiohead), with or without a minimum. Doubly very cool. As if that weren't enough, they will also process physical order payments, so I intend to discontinue the shop page on this site and link directly to my profile there very soon.
But... Most importantly of all, you can hear the whole darned thing streamed before you buy. Hurrah! Some sense at last. Hopefully we will soon be saying goodbye to those ridiculous 30 sec clips on iTunes and all the others which rarely give anyone a good sense of what the music is about, particularly if they happen to use part of the track which is not remotely representative of the whole (it's not like us mere mortals get to choose which bit they use).
One last bit of dull intertube news for you: I've just discovered that Ascendant is on Spotify. Joy of joys. Go and listen to my beautifully crafted links between tracks being interrupted by adverts for Homebase, why don't you... Or alternatively, go to the Bandcamp link and listen without. Hmmm. Tricky choice, huh?
Enough already. More soon.
Well, looks like another summer zipped by, the sneaky little devil.
Must confess to being torn of late between focusing hard on the music and doing my tiny part in the face of climate change and resource depletion. The latter issues are so critically urgent - and society's inertia so entrenched - that everything else just feels a little bit frivolous by comparison. I have consequently been actively involved with some political stuff this year (of a Green hue) and that has taken a fair amount of my time and energy. However, the music is still coming along in its own sweet time, and the new term schedule is deliberately more forgiving than any I've had since moving to London ten years ago.
The dance duet choreographed to Waiting For Green is (finally!) up on TheUbiquitousYouTube. See it here. At some point I may work out how to embed it on this site properly, but my technophobic side will no doubt put that off until a suitably rainy day (and get distracted by some suitably rainy day vinyl even then).
My good friend Rosaleen who filmed and edited it would have got it finished sooner had she not been going through a rather tough time, culminating in the decision to quit her job of nine years. I'm very glad for her sake that she has, because life is too short to put up with idiotic management types for any length of time. Go Rosie!
Now that she has more time for creative projects, I hope to collaborate with her on a few other video ideas. So... Watch that space over there.
Ah yes, I nearly forgot.
I've rather belatedly decided to start a mailing list for any official info - releases, gigs, films, collaborations etc. If you wish to subscribe, please get in touch with your email via the contact form and I'll add you.
Don't get too excited though - you're unlikely to be bombarded with information!
Well now, it's about time I started blogging on my own website - not everyone loves MySpace after all. This blog will almost certainly be duplicating the MySpace one (or vice versa, if you prefer) because there really are only so many hours in the day.
So, in view of that - here's one I made earlier!
(Yesterday, to be precise.)
Update time (with slight Northfieldian rant in the second half).
I'll confess to being a tad irritable this year so far - ill far beyond the call of duty with coldy/fluey stuff and have belatedly realised I'm working too many hours (yeah, it's only playing the piano, but I'm a perfectionist OK?) - seriously need to reorganise my timetable to have more time for the creative stuff.
Despite the above, I'm currently getting on writing the new album (it's about two thirds of the way there and I'm working within certain limitations I've set myself just to make life that little bit more fun). It'll be bloody marvellous when all the arrangements are in place, honest it will. Luckily, bunny season is almost upon us so I actually have some free time. Now all I need is to find the button marked 'inspiration' - I'm sure it was around here somewhere.
Meanwhile, the Waiting For Green choreography duet is almost ready to film (end of next month), though unfortunately I now need to find someone new to film it as the guy who was going to has broken his camera for good. Spanners, spanners. The previously mentioned cello piece is hanging in mid-air somewhere and will probably surface somewhere, sometime, in the way that cello pieces will.
On the more undeniably pleasing side of things, I've continued to have internet radio interest via Sonicbids and should be getting my first print review very shortly (if not already) in a progressive music mag called, unsurprisingly, Progression. Curious territory for me. I'm surprised they didn't find me too commercial (well, maybe they did - I haven't seen the review yet) but clearly the editor had his reasons for selecting me for review. Only a year after the album came out too - now there's progress.
Which brings me neatly to the exciting topic of release dates and campaign planning (woooh!). The whole deal of organising a campaign is clearly something I'm going to have to pay much more attention to for the next project. As the nice label relations woman I spoke to at emusic recently said when I phoned up (their email doesn't work, as I belatedly discovered) asking about the possibility of a review: 'but it was released last year'.
Now, never mind that it took the best part of six months of to-ing and fro-ing with CD Baby to get it on to emusic in the first place (even though they display the March release date on the relevant page), this is a website that exists to sell their catalogue - it's not a magazine. And yet even they (apparently) submit to the tyranny of release date schedules and 'what's new', in an age where such things are becoming increasingly meaningless because fewer people are interested in buying music physically. (Seen the UK singles chart lately? The current number one by Lady GaGa hasn't been 'released' yet and has been in the chart since the beginning of the year.) As far as I'm concerned, I'll be new to most people simply because they won't have heard of me - but no, that is just NOT THE WAY THINGS WORK.
I'm not so big-headed to think that my album is so important in the grand scheme of things and has to be heard by anyone who cares about music, but then what is a site like emusic for if not to promote quality independent musicianship even if the album isn't 'fresh this month'? It kinda goes without saying that independent unsigned musicians are the ones least likely to have a team of people (ah yes, a label) ready to push everything out there in the space of a month or so.
To give her her due, she graciously allowed me to send her a copy to pass on to their New York team; well, it got me off the phone politely, I suppose. (There, told you I was irritable.)
On an upbeat note to finish (nothing like finishing on an upbeat) I'm actually contemplating a live gig or two (well, probably just the one) this summer. A sort of in between album stock-take, if you like. Will keep you posted of any further developments.
Back in the real world of Monday, time for some sanity inducing seed-planting (I love it when the clocks go forward) and trying to decide whether the new Pet Shop Boys album is more retro than the Royksopp or vice versa. Release dates, release dates - it helps when you've got EMI behind you.