So the new songs are pretty much finished from the perspective of recording and I’m now into the mixing phase of things.
Here’s a shout to all of the wonderful musicians who have devoted time energy and talent to making these songs whole.
The meeting of Vicky came from a random overhearing of her playing through the walls during a random recording session. Her playing was clearly so good and so lyrical that I knocked on her door and asked her to contribute to what was at the time my 2nd record. Since then she has gone from strength to strength not only as a player but also with the use of effects and even getting involved vocally at the live shows
She also plays in a host of other groups and you can learn more about her here: http://www.vickyflint.co.uk/
Dave has been working with me since day 1. We met when I was a member of the group PhoenixDown and Dave joined. He has a remarkable way of fitting into a composition no matter how busy or sparse it sounds and during the recording of Album 3 ‘Good Times With Evil’ Dave excelled playing faultlessly and everything in one take. Recording this new batch of songs has seen him take his technique to a whole new level.
Dave has started a dance covers band called Jazz Quiche. Check them out here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jazz-Quiche-Dance-Covers-Band/189183371107849
Riad would always take the modest route of describing himself as a “Jack of all trades and a master of none”. Frankly this is not true. The guy is a master of all trades and makes me feel like a jack of the very few trades I possess. I have taken to calling him the king of the low end because he always rocks all shows with his Double Bass skills and on this coming record, songs that he has created himself have become intertwined in the process. Not surprising really when the guys CV shows collaborations with Ninja Tune artists like Woob and Max and Harvey. Here’s to hearing more Abji Masterpieces in good time.
14 bloody years I’ve been sharing a stage with this man. It’s been a pleasure to see this man evolve from an Indie kid to a prog mastermind. No time signature to weird and no weirdness too unsexy. Leon joining the live fray just as work begun on album 3 ‘Good Times With Evil’ was the perfect shift to take the music forward. The combination of players made for the perfect gelling of simple and tasteful and complex and indulgent. Recording Album 4 pretty much started with Leon nailing 18 drum tracks in 1 session. A prolific start to set the tone.
One half of NolenNiu-de-Ossi Yasushi is a master of both Guitar and Shamisen. I had the pleasure of collaboration with these guys at the 2010 Kansai Music Conference. Since then we have shared many billings together and with technology being what it is I was able to ask for a collaboration with them whilst I’m back in the UK and they are in Japan. The results have had me so excited as it feels like the flavour of Japan is finally influencing my music as much as it has influenced my life.
The other half of NolenNiu-de-Ossi Toruko plays and sings with such character you can`t help but smile and relish the music when you see her live. Toruko has contributed some amazing accordion which references back to an ancient Japanese classical style Gagaku (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gagaku ).
I feel lucky that back in 05 when I begun work on my debut record, I was fortunate enough to be able call upon Roger who is a family friend to contribute some Tenor Sax and Clarinet to the record. He has been playing with Jazz big band ‘The Blue Notes’ for over 25 years amount other projects. He has since played on all 3 of my records and his involvement in the 4th has been a joy. It seems no matter what material is presented. He manages to contribute significant and interesting parts. Yet no matter what he plays he is convinced he is out of his depth. How wrong can one person be?
I met Eric whilst touring in Japan back in 09. He was in the Japanese capital performing as a member of the musical/physical theatre show ‘The Blue Man Group’. Eric has been drumming for years, he has toured with and shared the studio with Gary Newman and members of Wilco and American Music Club to name a few. I was lucky enough to share a stage with Eric a handful of times during tours. His style is unique and original as he dabbles with modern effects and plays on pre-war vintage drum sets. He is currently collaborating with Callum`s Whisky Tales who have released a wonderful debut record. I was intrigued to hear he plays an instrument called the Omnichord. I knew the sound of it from records by bands such as ‘The Phoenix Foundation’. But eric’s contribution to my new material has been exceptional.
Chris Hollis is not only a skilled an accomplished multi talented musician and writer. But he also a great producer who has worked with me on my 2nd and 3rd albums. Musically he has contributed on multiple tracks and has helped hone some of the material in refreshing and unexpected directions.
He is also a member of multiple bands and more information about his sound services can be found here: http://chrishollis.co.uk/
Ollie is another man due production credits amongst the new material. I came to know Ollie some years back but it was only since touring the UK and touring through Ollie’s hometown of Brighton that has given us the chance to work together musically. Working with him has been a pleasure as his openness to random sounds and ideas has resulted in productive and prolific sessions which I feel create and hone material that neither of us would create as individuals.
Ollie also plays bass for Indie/Electro band ‘Holland’ who are well worth a browse and can be heard here: http://www.facebook.com/thisisholland
When I first went full time with music I took to playing many open mic nights. I was lucky enough to hear Joel playing in St Albans as a part of a duo with another very accomplished musician called ‘Clive Batkin’. I purchased their album and to this day it remains one of the most listened to long players on my iTunes. To have Joel involved is my new recordings is a wonderful full circle for me from the days of folk clubs and open mic nights back in 2005/6.
Joel has recently relocated to Cornwall and is regularly working the live circuit in the South West of England. His website is http://www.hahastudios.co.uk/ and I strongly recommend anyone who is interested should pick up a copy of his Album with Clive Batkin uniquely called ‘G Force Trousers’ . Acoustic Instrumental lushness.
Chris Hare is a musical wizard creating ambient and ethereal masterpieces under the guise of Shamanic Technology who signed to Herb Records. Now regularly touring it has been a pleasure to be able to record 2 songs with Chris (1 of which was released as the secret track on my second album ‘The Distance From Here’ called ‘Misfit Theatre’).
To hear Shamanic Technology please click hear: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shamanic-Technology/159179610769750
I have shared a stage with Julia numerous times since 2000 when she joined My Pet Junkie also with Leon Camfield mentioned earlier in the Article. To hear Leon, Julia and myself blasting out some prog rock please check out this video.
Julia has been a supportive and wonderful presence for my music and I’m deeply grateful for her musical input once again on my new songs.
I met Francesco when touring out in Italy and connected with him immediately as we shared massive enthusiasm for music and also Zombies. Francesco is also a member of band the Daggers and electro Duo Zerocall with whom I have had a great time collaborating.
To hear more of Zero call please check them out here: http://www.facebook.com/zerocallband
Andrea is the other half of the band Zerocall and is also one 6th of the group The Daggers. He is also an intensely motivated musician and very passionate about analog Synth. A true joy to meet him touring in Italy and also to see him touring hear in the UK.
James Harrison has been a musical Compadre from as long back as 1996. Finally after years of sharing stages with various bands it’s a pleasure to finally collaborate with him on the song ‘All Suspense’. James is a multi-instrumentalist who can swim in any musical deep end. He can also remember the numerical sequence to the number Pi to a ridiculous degree. Also don’t ever try and beat him at chess. You will only lose…..and cry.
James or Jim or Harry or Ebo Harrison also plays in many projects including the wonderful Phoenixdown.
Thank goodness for the wonderful talents of Rachel. I truly and instinctively skilled player who has carved a living as a classical musician for years. She has worked wonders on all 3 of my previous records and her contribution to new material has been simply exceptional. What has also been wonderful has been to see how over time she has relaxed further into the approach of improvisation and off script spontaneity when approaching new material which has produced phenomenal results.
Rachel is also a member of the band Piefinger who have just released a new album. You can hear them here:
Ollie originally was living in the small Devonshire town of ‘Totnes’ when I met him touring through back in 2006. We stayed mates and when he relocated to Brighton I had the fortune of having him into play guitar on a track. He is now playing with a band called ‘Kings Mews’ and they can be heard here:
Craig has been an active musician on the hertfordshire scene for many years now playing in a number of bands aswell as solo, He is also regularly involved in theatre productions contributing from a musical angle. A collaboration came about for a song called ‘Navigate’ and led to craig contributing to a whole host of tunes. The man has an in-depth knowledge of music in almost every genre and possibly, just quite possibly out geeks me.
To hear more of Craigs music check out his sound cloud page here: http://soundcloud.com/craigharrismusic
Owen has been Bass player for ‘The October Game’ since their formation some years back. He is also an accomplished solo performer and more recently has been picked up for some world touring action as a member of Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) live touring band. Working with Owen is something we’ve both been trying to fit into our schedules for many years now and having finally got him involved I’m truly pleased with what he has brought to the table.
Marcus Harley originally hails from the Northwest of England. However I met him on the Island of Jersey when I was touring there last year. He joined me as an impromptu guest where he free styled a rap over one of my tunes. From there we took to sharing the stage on a regular basis and even embarked on a 12 date tour playing 12 venues in just one day. The connection was clearly there but it wasn’t until Marcus recently came to London to record some of his solo material that I was able to get him in the studio to contribute vocals to what was an instrumental track called ‘Suburban Sway’.
Joe is another one of those deeply talented and hugely supportive musicians that every music scene needs. We had shared many gig billings over the years but it wasn’t until we bumped into each other amongst the carnage of a ‘Lightning Bolt’ Mosh pit; that I think we realised quite how much we musically had in common. This lead to collaborations with myself guesting as guitarist in his band ‘The Otters/The Astronauts’ aswell as other projects ‘Midnight Moth’ and ‘The Helldrake Collective’. Joe’s inclusion amongst my solo work is truly overdue and it’s finally a pleasure to have him involved.
To hear Joe’s band The Astronauts please click here: http://www.facebook.com/TheAstronautsBand
You’ve been there since day one man. DAY FUCKING ONE!!!!!!. That’s what I would be saying to Nick during a poignant scene in a hollywood epic. However it is all true. I picked up guitar and struggled at the first hurdle. Then Nick picked up guitar and excelled at it. It was only from learning what he was playing that helped me evolve what I was doing. So it’s a pleasure to once again be working with him some 16 years down the line.
Nick is also a musician in many other bands including the aforementioned Phoenixdown.
During recording with Nick he mentioned that his wife Amy played the Flute and immediately I had a couple of songs in mind that could benefit from a spot of flute action. Amy stepped up and has delivered wonderful parts that compliment the songs. Amy is also a very active musician and teacher and aswell as playing in a multitude of bands she (with Nick) runs the Dan Tien performing arts school.
Check their page out here: http://thedantien.co.uk/
Dennis is another one of those creative multitalented types that knows how to push things forward. I was astounded when I first heard him playing as a member of ‘the Otters’. The kind of drummer who nails every part with the kind of intensity rarely heard. His own projects take on a more electronic feel and his musical reputation has taken him to far off lands to perform and record.
One of his many projects can be heard here: http://soundcloud.com/thermalbear
OK so a bit of cheat here because Haco’s involvement is not strictly on the record, more so with the bonus material that will come with some physical copies of the record.
Her music has been a massive inspiration to me for many years now, and back in 2010 I was lucky enough to share a stage with her amidst a tour of Japan. We collaborated and improvised and I relished the experience greatly. When I listened to the recording back many months later I was overjoyed with the results and after seeking approval from Haco it will see release in the near future.
In the meantime she has released another record herself called ‘Forever and Ever’.
I strongly recommend it!
More info about her can be found here: http://www.hacohaco.net/haco/home.html