Playlist: Friends and Locals

Recently I’ve been feeling loved. It’s always wonderful to have supportive friends and family; something I’m extremely grateful for having.

I’d like to share some music from musicians I’ve become acquainted with over the past couple of years. I haven’t intentionally left anyone off this playlist, if you’re not on there it may be that I couldn’t find your artist profile on Spotify or Soundcloud (I also didn’t want to post demos/wips on soundcloud).

So below are two playlists for you to have a listen to this weekend…

 

 

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

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…

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.

News: What’s been going on… (With audio and video to enjoy)

So, previously I spoke about the beginnings of this year. Playing ‘Dim Sŵn’ in April, and the following gigs that playing such a great festival led to.

Well I have to say I’ve been kept busy. Since I’ve supported Bloodsport and Giant Swan at The Abacus, an art gallery that replaced the old bus station ticket office here in Cardiff. It was such a cool little venue to play, and the bands I was supporting were great to meet, making some awesome noises. Both bands were experimental and unique in their own way. I was massively impressed by Giant Swan’s crazy setup of of drum machines and guitar pedals. I felt silly asking them afterwards whether they had sidechain compression setup in there somewhere, the kicks were pumping so much. They didn’t even know what i was talking about. Pure, clean, analog noise. Awesome.

Shortly after I was given the honour of supporting ‘Slowly Rolling Camera‘. A band consisting of some AMAZING musicians, with jazzy electronic sounds often compared with ‘The Cinematic Orchestra’. I felt so lucky to support these guys, and to see some old friendly faces again. Their drummer being the amazing Elliot Bennett, and the tech head behind it all Deri Roberts, not forgetting their amazing bassist Aidan Thorne. All of which and worked with whilst studying at Uni. It was great to see what they’d moved on with and accomplished together.

This set saw me stripping back to just a laptop (no drums), controller and new Korg Volca Keys synth I’d picked up the week previous. It was an odd situation playing at the back of the venue next to the mixing desk, which I quite enjoyed as for once I could hear what the audience were hearing, yet led to people wondering when I was playing, thinking that I was DJing. However, it did lead to some wonderful comments such as ‘Is this Goldpanda‘ or, ‘This really sounds like Bonobo‘. I saw this as a good thing.

Anyway. My brother caught a few short clips and here was my fave.

Next saw me playing at Gwdihw. A small popular alternative bar tucked around a corner in Cardiff City Centre. They get quite a few bands playing in there, but this was a first collaboration between ‘All My friends‘ and ‘Electronic Music Wales‘, a night I hope they continue to do. All acts were electronic based. A duo called ‘Superhand‘ were headlining, with fellow support from a new group called ‘Ghostlawns’.

Superhand had elements of Clark in there, with vocals that reminded me of Emika. Some really nice chilled vibes, but crazy at times.

Electronic Music Wales were nice enough to invite me down to the venue for an interview earlier in the week, with a very passionate blog runner Harish. This was my first video interview, so I had no idea what to expect………..

I later got a last minute opportunity to play a short set at a new venue. Ten Feet Tall.. This was an odd mix of bands playing together. Fellow support were ‘How I Faked the Moon Landing‘, and indie band fueled by sounds akin to The Killers.

Tellison were great headliners, and again another great band to meet. Lovely guys, the lead having a day job working for Sega, which is freakin’ sweet. Their sound was a mish mash of bands such as Death Cab for Cutie and Reuben etc. One of the first bands in a while that I’ve walked up to afterwards and requested to buy a CD from, and I’m still listening to it. Some great tracks from these guys. Certainly my ‘cup of tea’ when I’m in the mood.

So that’s what’s been going on… Expect an update of what’s about to happen shortly…