NEWS: Human Imperfections EP now available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud

It’s been tough but I’ve decided that I’m happy enough with Human Imperfections that I would like for you all to take a listen. It’s also available for FREE.

The idea behind this EP for me was to give you an idea of me as a drummer, for those who haven’t seen me play live, I play live acoustic drums alongside anything I’ve released, this is my way of giving you an idea of what that can be like live.

So enjoy…

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News: January – Happy New Year

It’s the 1st January 2017, so it’s time for a fresh start, time to turn over a new leaf, time to make new year resolutions, and of course time to crack on with all of the new ideas.

I’m hoping to start this year on the right foot, and this requires some thought and planning. We all feel obligated to do this in some shape or form as it provides an aims for our achievements.

Last month I posted four blogs on Planning Creativity, and through writing these I have essentially made my plans for the year, and have other ideas ready to be planned.

I would like to let you know of a few things happening this Month…

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Human Imperfections EP – 27/01/2017

NEW RELEASE – On Friday 27th January 2017 I’ll be releasing my new EP ‘Human Imperfections’. Since performing the live show alongside Matthew Creed (Jammy Custard), I’ve developed a new found love of playing drums, and this EP is about just that. It’s the first time my drums (often only heard live) will be featured on a record, so I decided to take a step back from the electronic sound a little and just play. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. If you would like to hear it first, keep reading, else you will be able to purchase it on my Bandcamp page, and listen to it on Spotify etc…

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Human Imperfections EP Launch at Gwdihw – 25/01/17

 

Independent Venue WeekIf you would like a chance to hear the new record live, then come and join me at Gwdihw in Cardiff where I’ll be headlining at Lloyd Griffiths amazing night All My Friends with support from Simeon Smith and Tetrahex. You can buy tickets here

Creativity BlogThis month I’ll be blogging about a constant battle many of us face; Life vs. Creativity. I’ll be introducing the idea of what can stop us from being creative, and the hard/awkward decisions we’re made to make in order to compensate. This is a subject close to my heart as it’s been a constant struggle for me, so please read, comment, and talk to me. I’d like to hear how you deal with the battle yourself.

Future Plans – I have two more releases lined up later in the year and more blogs, so keep your eyes and ears open for news and updates, it’s best to follow me on Twitter or Facebook for more frequent updates @5thspear and Instagram for giggles

News: Releases and getting onto Spotify… Eventually…

I’m getting itchy feet… Is that the expression?

2016 has been very busy. The day job is doing it’s thing, and when I can I sit down in the studio and bash my head against a brick wall to see what comes out (Brains, hair, dust, paint… You know) I will.

So before Christmas I sat down for a week and got a bunch of ideas going. My project was a mess of loops playing over and over again, whilst I drank coffee, nodded along and tried to consider what their end result might sound like.

Well, they were all buried into my hard drive. There’s me thinking “none of this is good enough, I hate it all… blah blah blah”. A few months ago I came across some inspiration sitting in the studio of Nick Harrison (drummer of Sous Les Paves). Nick was wanting to talk about how to play live, and how we both work in the studio. We threw ideas back and forth,  and then I though “screw it, the best way for me to show you is this project file with all the new ideas I’m never going to use”. One by one we flicked through each idea “crap… crap… crap… oh wait… I like this”.

So it began. I discovered around 8 out of 20+ ideas that I wanted to work on. Standard. I got rid of all of the junk that was holding me back in the project, and kept the stuff that would keep me sane.

Since then I have been popping into the studio every now and then to sit down and arrange everything. Of course I’m still banging my head against a brick wall, but I’m getting somewhere, and I really like what I’ve got to show you.

To go along side this, I’ve decided to try and push my noise further afield. In this day and age, most people are using streaming services such as Spotify to listen to music, so even with stuff uploaded for free on bandcamp, most people won’t listen to it, others still don’t know what soundcloud is…

So within the next month or so (hopefully), Year One and Imperfections EP should be released on Spotify and other streaming services for you all to enjoy.

There is however a catch.

There is this well known dilemma that the music industry is failing. People aren’t wanting to pay for stuff, I’m exactly the same. It’s why I originally posted my stuff for free. This isn’t good. It’s come to my attention that people like myself, offering stuff for free, essentially means that people might not want to pay for the proper good stuff (I’ve said stuff a lot). I sit and watch interviews with people I aspire to be like, and what they’re saying is true. The internet is full of free stuff, that’s free for a reason. I’m beginning to believe in myself enough to put a price tag on what I create, to set an example and to try and encourage others to do so.

My releases will no longer be free through Bandcamp, but they will be free to stream from services such as Spotify etc, and available for purchase on Itunes, Amazon and Googleplay etc.

Onwards and upwards aye…

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News: 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.

News: What’s about to happen… New releases, Networking, Sŵn Festival and more!

I briefly spoke about what’s been going on this year, but didn’t mention what’s about to happen…

Workflow has been few and far between due to increased live shows and the day job. I spent quite a bit of time concentrating on how I was going to start performing my music live. Chose a drum kit, and created an Ableton Live template to have running beside me with my Livid Instruments CNTRL:R, a small Korg Volca Keys Synth, and sometimes a little Akai MPK Mini 2 Keyboard (mainly for playing the synth). Playing that synth live is a pain on the ribbon controller…

I’ve still got a lot of work to do on the live aspect of playing. I make a point of meeting members of the audience and talking to them about what they enjoyed, and try getting some honest critisism. Some love it, but some get bored of seeing someone ‘just play drums’ and want to see something more. I try to put as much into my live show as possible when I’m playing, but I think taking it one step further may be the key.

First of all what I’m playing. Live drums can’t be good enough if I’m just playing what’s already on the track, so my aim is to start experimenting more. Filling the holes a little, stripping back to the idea of live drums being texture to add to the production, something extra you don’t hear on the original to make my live shows unique. I discovered more recently that if I try recording my drums to place into my productions that it kills the need for them live, but I don’t want that to happen. For this reason I think the most I’ll ever record in is the odd cymbal or percussion. Adding a live sound on top of electronic drums is so much more powerful.

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NEW EP RELEASE 10/07/14

With this in mind, on the 10th July I’ll be releasing a new EP for you all to enjoy, entitled ‘Imperfections’. This release for me is a middle ground. I’m wanting to release another album by the end of this year, but that’s quite far away, so I wanted to get something out there for you all to enjoy in the meantime.

This EP is made up of 4 tracks… ‘Running Crows’, ‘Dancing Dragons’, ‘New Dreams’, and ‘Underwater Coin Catcher’.

I wanted to keep a vibe going throughout the EP, so I spent an afternoon creating ideas for it a few weeks ago in one session (picture below high on caffeine after I’d finished the session in my living room). Those ideas I arranged a week later in my studio, and I’ve been mixing them whenever I’ve had the chance to since. Finally I’m at a point where I’ve just got a few small changes to make before mastering them to send to you, and I really hope you’ll enjoy it.

I’m planning to do a short performance of this EP along with a couple of older tracks on the 16th July at Fizzi’s networking event at Fourbars in Cardiff. This is a free networking event for musicians and creatives to get together and meet each other. Create contacts, make friends… It was a great evening last time, and I’m so pleased to have been invited back to play for them. Although it’s a little nerve wracking.

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Free Music Networking Event 16/07/15

I would also like to mention that after the previous meetup I got in contact with Ian Tully, one of the attendees who runs ‘Cardiff Electronic Producers Group’ on Facebook. These guys meet up once a month or so, and the next one will be held at Waterloo Gardens Teahouse in Penylan, Cardiff on the 30th July. I’ll be there so it would be awesome to meet some fellow producers.

Last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST I would like to announce that I’ll be playing Sŵn Festival 2015 in November. Details about venue etc will be announced closer to the time, but I’m so very pleased to be featured at this event.

swn-festival-listings-poster-web“This year’s Sŵn will take place on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November (a little later than usual due to the Rugby World Cup) across a bundle of venues in Cardiff. If you’re new to the festival, all you need to know is that one wristband gets you in to all the venues (subject to capacity), as you walk/run/meander around to discover as much new music as possible.” – http://swnfest.com/

It’s always nice to see how other people describe you too –> http://swnfest.com/artist/5th-spear-2/