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.

Imperfections V3

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/

News: The Beginning of 2015

So my last post was looking back on 2014, re-capping on my achievements throughout the year, and rounding up with a compilation of work. Doing this has lead onto a great start for 2015 (even though we’re four months in already).

April 11th saw me play my first live gig as 5th Spear at this years ‘Dim Swn’. This was a one day event held by co-founders John Rostron and Huw Stephens. The event first started back in 2007, and was quickly labelled ‘Best Small Festival’ by NME magazine after a great line up held in 2013.

2015’s ‘Dim Swn’ was held only for one day, seen as a taster for a longer weekend event to be held possibly later this year, and saw some great artists come to play for an amazing audience. Below is a playlist put together on Soundcloud of the artists who played this year.

So being my first gig, there were of course some hiccups, but I’m told nothing noticeable. It was great to get to play to a crowd, it’s been way too long since I’ve had such an experience, and found myself exhausted after the fact.

Photographer Gareth Bull attended the gigs held at Clwb Ifor Bach and managed to get some great photos from the night.

He was generous to send over some photos he took of my set and was kind enough to let me post them. Check them out over on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/5thspear

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Off the back of my set at Dim Swn, I’ve now been offered a small handful of gigs, and I’m really looking forward to my next one supporting both Blood Sport, and Giant Swan. I’m insanely excited to see both of these acts. Blood Sport being compared to bands such as ‘Battles’, and Giant Swan making loud techno-ish noises using guitars and FX pedals, which all looks like a hella lot of fun. You can buy tickets here and check out the even on Facebook here

Well I hope to see some of you at the next couple of gigs, and hopefully this year is going to be as productive as the last x