News: December – Nearing the End of 2016

Yet another year doing my thing. Year Two has been released into the ether, and all of the feedback has been positive which has delighted me. A real confidence booster if I’m honest. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be taken well or deemed as boring. ‘Waking Up With Clapping Head Syndrome’ and ‘Slightly All the Feels’ have been featured on both Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn’s shows on BBC Radio Wales also, so I’m glad to still have support from Adam in my second year.

October saw me playing 2 live shows alongside Matthew Creed from Jammy Custard. One being our first live set outside of Cardiff featuring at Bristol’s new electronic open mic sessions known as CHK ONE. A unique idea that really seems to have hit the spot with the community. Artists pre-register their interest to play and founder Jae Task curates the applications. They seem to be doing really well and hype around the night is increasing quickly. The guys live video the night, and I’m really please with how it turned out. Check it out below

November saw another live set at performed at Brickstock at Brickworks, a festival run by Fizzi Events. Cardiff Electronic Music Producers Network (CEPN) invited me down to play. It was a fun quirky evening. The same night I invited my friend Simeon Smith to come and take some photos using his oldschool cameras, and these are the new photos you’ve seen floating around my social media links. It was great doing a a shoot with this dude. He’s fun, creative, relaxed, and all round good guy.

At the end of November Simeon popped up again, and invited me to play alongside him for his own set at CHK ONE, which I was more than pleased to do. We performed tracks from his most recent EP entitled All Is Undone’. It was great fun playing a show and not having to worry about the electronic side for once, simply trying to be the best drummer I could. Something I hope to do again soon.

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I’ve recently added a limited run of CDs to my merchandise section on Bandcamp so if you’d like hardcopies of my releases handmade and put together with my loving hands, head over to http://5thspear.bandcamp.com/merch for that stuff, and keep an eye, as I’m making it my duty to make sure I have stuff on there at all times, but don’t you worry. I shall have it with me at gigs also. Hopefully.

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December is now a planning month, I’ve got loads of new ideas for what I want to get up to over the next year, and one of those ideas is running my blog on creativity, which I will be updating each week. The next news update will be in January, but there will be plenty of bits in between, so make sure to stop by, follow me on Twitter/Instagram for daily notes, and like my Facebook page for events and giggles. x

Playlist: Inspiring Influence

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.