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2016

So it’s begun. We’re already 13 days into 2016, and I can’t believe it. Any fellow creative will understand. I look at what I’ve done and I think of all the time that I wasted, it gets me down, I get upset. HOWEVER. 2015 was also packed with a load of stuff that pushed my music making passion forward. You can scroll down and look through sparse blog posts regarding what I got up to. Adding it all up it actually puts a grin on my face. I’m very lucky to have gotten to where I am so far in such a short period of time.

The highlight I’m looking forward to though is this…

MY FIRST HEADLINE SHOW.

To see my name in big on a poster like this is awesome. I’ve stepped into a few bars around Cardiff to have people say they’re coming and looking forward to it, which I hate to say, makes me hella proud of myself :)

Blue Box Promotions is run by the legend Adam Whitmore, who I’ve met before at networking events and who also takes part in a lot of other promotion groups around Cardiff. When he first invited me to come and play at Free For All festival I jumped at the chance of kicking the new year off with a festival show. When he asked if I would headline the Friday night, I was ecstatic.

Thanks to all. Lets start 2016 with a bang… After those big flashy things exploded in the sky… Peace x

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Nearing the end of 2015…

This year has been amazing. I’ve gone through loads of stuff in previous blog posts about what I’ve been up to. Gigs, releasing an EP, more gigs… and more gigs. It’s been GREAT.

We’re about to head into the last 2 months of 2015, and I’m getting excited for what might be around the corner. I’m hoping to start moving outside of Cardiff with my live show. Becoming a part of the music scene in Cardiff has been a great experience. I’m eternally greatful to John Rostron for putting me on in the first place at Sŵn Festival earlier this year as it opened up so many doors, but I believe it’s time for me to try and introduce myself to some new faces.

I’m so happy to mention again that I will be playing at the longer packed weekend that is happening this 7th – 8th November. You can buy tickets and check out the rest of the line-up here

I’d also like to say a big thank you to Lloyd Griffiths, who’s seems to have been a firm believer in me, and has invited me to come back a good handful of times now, which has led to even more opportunities for me.

Last but certainly not least. Adam Walton… This man is actually who made it happen. In a sense. Having he not played my track ‘Changing Time’ on BBC Radio Wales at the start of this year, I think I may have given up by now. That first radio play is what led to John picking me up to play Sŵn, and every gig I’ve had after that. I’m actually writing this whilst listening to his show (Every Saturday night on BBC Radio Wales from 10pm). I also highly recommend his book ‘On Making Music’. You can buy it on Amazon (if you’re like me you like to own something physical), or offer a donation to download it from the website (it’s actually free but it’s such a great book he deserves some credit… Not for his phone!) I read it earlier this year, and it’s a great read from front to back, highly informative and a good laugh too. I imagined him reading it to me the whole time, much like I did with John Cleese’s Biography.

Anyway, moving on from mushy thank yous…

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to play in such an odd location. A back alley! Partridge Lane in Cardiff to be exact. This was the first time I had Matthew Creed from Jammy Custard Studios join me. We’d spoken a handful of times about working together, but a good man called Ziggy pushed us together, and what that did was beautiful.

Matt works in animation, and has been doing visuals for a well known local band called Albatross. These visuals were often pre-made to match the songs story, but I asked Matt whether he could get involved in a more interactive way. I had an old M-Audio trigger finger kicking around in a box, so gave that to him.

Matt now sits on the side of the stage next to me, and performs the visuals live in time with what I’m doing. No click track. He’s playing an instrument. It’s ace. I’m really pleased we’ve managed to get to work together, and can’t wait for what else he might pull out of his hat next time around.

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We’ve done two shows together so far. Both were a bit of an experiment, but we’re hoping to fine tune our current setup for Sŵn Festival so please do come along to check us out. Matt’s an artist in his own right.

Dragon Era

Around two years ago I was told by a friend I should attend this night called ‘Dragon Era’. If I’m honest, I hadn’t started gigging, I didn’t have anything up on soundcloud at the time worth mentioning, and I basically didn’t have anything better to do, so I thought. Why the hell not.

It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for a while. Attending that first night introduced me to wonderful group of fellow electronic music producers in and around Cardiff. Rhys Evans has worked his butt off pulling these compilations together. A brief introduction to both Ryhs Evans (Stereoripe) and Leone (Phantom Islands) has led to myself being a part of the last three compilations which are featured on Bandcamp (links in Listen & Watch Section)

Next Year…

As mentioned, I’m hoping to move outside of Cardiff with my live shows. I’ve really enjoyed playing to an audience again, and have so much fun doing this. However, I’m planning to do this with new material. So the plan is to put together a new album by January/February, so WATCH THIS SPACE.

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Inspiring Influence (Spotify Playlist)

I recently went on a journey to Bristol, and found for the first time in a while I was sat, on my own, headphones on and listening to music without interruption from the outside world.

Sitting behind me I have shelving holding around 500+ CDs spanning multiple genres, and on this thing I’m writing on (computer) I have access to the worlds library of music through services like Spotify, iTunes, YouTube etc.

I’ve been thinking more and more recently about how my ears have become pigeonholed to a genre since using Spotify. I used it to find new music, but this is often through the function of ‘related artists’ to what I’m already listening to. For this reason It’s very rare these days that I search for a new artist/band to listen to that aren’t based around an electronic backing, as this is predominantly what I listen to these days.

I’ve had a playlist in Spotify for some time. It was labeleld ‘Sounds to re-create’. These weren’t tracks to copy, but more the soundworld that I wanted to start exploring more. I’d play it whilst running, walking to work, cleaning the house or in the shower (surprisingly the shower thing is when it all started… My girlfriend had bought me one of those bluetooth shower speakers)

What I started realising is that yes, this had a big impact on how I was writing music, but I wasn’t sure if it was positive. I think it definitely helped me to find the soundworld I was looking for, but has it made my creativity stagnant?

Today I decided that I was going to expand on this playlist, and start to incorporate more. I then started to recognise that my music isn’t just influenced by what I’m listening to now. Musically speaking (as apposed to soundworld) I’m heavily influenced by what I was listening to in the past. I find that melody lines are influenced by Pat Metheny guitar licks I used to hear being played by my Dad (he had this mixtape that would be played in the car on long holiday car journeys), harmonies that I personally relate to nu-metal vocals (Deftones, Korn, Linkin Park etc), build-ups I feel are influenced by post-rock (This Will Destroy You, Sigur Ros), Rhythm and Basslines from Hip-Hop/Beats, Nu-Jazz etc (Flying Lotus, Shigeto, Bonobo, Mount Kimbie, Cinematic Orchestra).

As I’m writing this I’m realising more and more where my sound has developed from, but also that I need to make sure those multiple influences are being recognised by my ears on a regularly basis, rather than just thinking of them from time to time.

So. For this reason I spent a good few hours (seriously, like 5 hours doing this) surfing through my music collection, and picking one track from almost every artist. The track’s I chose weren’t necessarily my favourite track (although some simply are), more just a track that might incorporate the bands overall sound (quiet and loud peaks).

From doing this, I have also started to find the connections between bands that I listen to a little more. I’m heavily influenced by harmony over genre, I couldn’t tell you the specifics but I feel that there is a running theme. I was never a genre based listener as such, more if I found an artist or band that I literally liked the ‘sound’ of (whether that be electronic, jazz, nu-metal, rock, whatever) that I would want to hear more, and often aim to buy their catalog of albums. (My amazon wishlist is crazy big)

Anyway, I would like to share this playlist with you. If I’m honest, the genres aren’t exactly wide-spanning, but what I believe you will find is that if you listen to a bands catalog, there’s often a lot more going on with them.

I also recognise that the time I spent listening to music most was whilst in my mid-late teens/early 20s, and where I developed most of my CD catalog working a day job and living with my parents (I had access to way more stuff through my Dad’s vast collection whilst I was living at home. I’m still trying to buy all the stuff I really enjoyed of his)

I’d also like to add that yes, a handful of these artists/bands I’m not proud to have liked, but I wanted to recognise the music I listened to whilst growing up. Some of them were one hit wonders for me, If I hear one track I like, I will often buy their album and give it a few listens despite the stigma attached to them, and they will surely have influenced me in some shape or form.

I’m planning on updating this playlist slowly as time goes on. Some tracks may be replaced. So enjoy, maybe you’ll find something you like too. It is in a vague order, but I suggest hitting random and going from there. See what it comes up with.