Olympia UK tour

Really looking forward to playing bass guitar with the fantastic Australian band Olympia:

  • May 17: Omeara, London
  • May 18: The Great Escape, Komedia, Brighton 
  • May 20: The Great Escape, Patterns and Brighthelm Centre, Brighton
  • May 21: Hoxton Square Bar, London
  • May 23: The Lock Tavern, London
  • May 27: Sound City, Liverpool

Sarah Blasko tour

I have a couple of weeks off from playing synthesizers and brass with Bear’s Den. The timing worked out well so I’ve been able to do a tour playing electric bass and double bass with the incredible Sarah Blasko. The first show was in London last night and it was a real honour to share the stage with such fantastic musicians – Sarah Belkner (keys), Ben Fletcher (guitar/keys), Seb Sternberg (drums) and of course Sarah herself. Very much looking forward to the rest of the tour, full dates as follows:

London, UK – Union Chapel – Tue 10 May
Tickets here

Manchester, UK – Ruby Lounge – Thu 12 May
Tickets here

Brighton, UK – Hope & Ruin – Mon 16 May
Tickets here

Bristol, UK – Thekla – Tue 17 May
Tickets here

Paris, France – Les Etoiles – Thu 19 May
Tickets here

Brussels, Belgium – Les Nuits @ Botanique – Sat 21 May
Tickets here

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Bitterzoet – Sun 22 May
Tickets here

Berlin, Germany – Grüner Salon – Tue 24 May
Tickets here

Supporting LNZNDRF on tour

LNZNDRF is a new band composed of the The National‘s Scott and Bryan Devendorf, as well as Beirut member and The National/Sufjan collaborator Ben Lanz. They’ve announced their self-titled debut record, which is out February 19 via 4AD.

I’m very happy to be doing a short European tour supporting them. Big thanks to Craig Montoro for recommending me to them. Dates are as follows:

02-19 London, England – Oslo
02-21 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique–Rotonde
02-23 Berlin, Germany – Grüner Salon
02-25 Berlin, Germany – Kantine am Berghain
02-26 Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia

This is my favourite of the tracks they’ve shared so far:

Recent undertakings

This is just a quick update about a few things I’ve been working on recently, partly to remind myself:

  • recorded some double bass for Fear of Men. Look out for their debut album proper in 2014. Also stood in on bass for them at Simple Things festival in Bristol. They write amazingly catchy perfect pop songs.
  • I was honoured to get to contribute to the upcoming record from one of my all time favourite bands, Hamilton Yarns. I played a bit of guitar, vibraphone and synth.
  • I’ve been working on the music for two plays by the brilliant playwright Annie Siddons. It’s been a fantastic new challenge for me and an absolute privilege to work with so many talented actors and the director Justin Audibert.
  • Not sure what’s going to happen with them, but I’ve really enjoyed working on remixes for the likes of Landshapes, Nick Mulvey and Emiliana Torrini. Some time soon I’m going to put all my remixes online in one place.
  • Have nearly finished the new Sons of Noel and Adrian record, I’m exceptionally proud of it. We recently enjoyed an inspiring little tour of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia which has spurred us on. Ben Hampson is mixing it as we speak.
  • I’ve just about finished my first solo album, thanks to a last minute recording session with the exceptional drummer Tom Heather.
  • Played a couple of shows with the Moulettes, the God of Hell Fire himself Arthur Brown joined us on stage. Also played on their new record with an absolute all star cast.
  • Did a tour with The Mariner’s Children supporting Bear’s Den, they were incredibly fun guys to tour with and I hope to do so again. They’re set for world domination in 2014, look out.
  • Nearly finished the Emma Gatrill album too and I’m really proud of how it is sounding.
  • Had a great time playing gigs with Rozi Plain and Rachael Dadd too, always a pleasure
  • I got to play a bit of trumpet with Animal Magic Tricks at a Brighton show, she’s an incredible songwriter and I’m hopefully working with her on making her next album which I’m very excited about

Festivals, sessions, releases

I played my last few festivals of the year with Willy Mason at the weekend (many more to come with other bands). It was an absolute joy playing with him (and bandmates Gardner Allen and Raymond Black). You can watch some highlights from our set at Latitude Festival over at BBC 6Music.

Also last week I played a BBC Radio 3 session playing guitar with Bella Hardy. You can listen to that here. I’ve now done sessions for BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6… any suggestions on how to get a Radio 5 Live session would be much appreciated!

I’ve been recording a lot with the Moulettes over the last few weeks, the final day of recording was yesterday and it’s been a lot of fun so thanks to them and to Joe Gibb.

Today I’m off to Church Road Recording Co to record some double bass for Fear of Men. Should be fun.

Busy summer begins

My festival season began with a baptism of fire this year – a warmup show at Southampton Joiners playing with Willy Mason, The Mariner’s Children AND Emma Gatrill, three hours sleep in a Travelodge on the M3 before an 8am ferry over to the Isle of Wight festival to perform with Willy Mason before getting the hovercraft (yes, HOVERCRAFT!) back to the mainland and a train to London Waterloo arriving just in time for soundcheck with Woodpecker Wooliams for Yoko Ono’s Meltdown Festival.

Now I’m in the studio with Campbell Austin, AKA T.S. Idiot. He’s a fantastic songwriter but he keeps taking the piss out of me for having a website. I know you’re reading this Campbell: GET WITH THE TIMES, MAN.

Besides Campbell, it’s been an absolute pleasure to play with a load of exceptional musicians for the first time: Sam Walker on the multiple keyboards / shaker / cape, Anisa Arslanagic on viola and violin, Hannah Miller on the cello, Ollie Austin on the drums, Bjorn Dahlberg on bass clarinet and Jim Mortimore on bass. I’m looking forward to playing with many of them on the Moulettes recording sessions, which take place immediately after these in the same studio with the same producer (Joe Gibbs). It’s nice to be working Monday to Friday with these guys then three or four festival appearances each weekend for the next month or so – good to have some kind of routine.

Also off to Corsica Studios tonight (great venue) to support Landshapes at their album launch. I’ll be playing with Eyes & No Eyes, and also played trumpet and tenor horn on Rambutan, the album that Landshapes are launching.

Festivals

I’ll be playing at the following festivals this summer:

A heavy month

I’m finally back home in Brighton after two tours in a row, playing with two bands on each of them. I’ve just done the maths and worked out I played forty-three live sets in twenty-nine days with five different bands.

First was the tour of Europe with Sons of Noel and Adrian and Eyes & No Eyes. These are two bands where I get to make an exceedingly large amount of very loud noise, which is always fun. We started in London then went through Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, trying and succeeding to maintain what others might dismiss as an unsustainable level of fun. The shows were fantastic and driving around the alps was absolutely stunning.

After an exceptionally long drive we arrived back in Brighton and Willy Mason was already waiting for me… we had a quick pint, a short sleep, then did two days of hard rehearsing. It was remarkably easy to get the songs up and running despite the fact that drummer Felix Weldon and I had never met the the other guys in our transatlantic group – Gardner Allen (keys), Nina Violet (viola) and Farley Glavin (guitar). We had some great extended psychedelic jams and drank a lot of Orangina.

The next day was a long one too, as I played with Sons of Noel and Adrian, Eyes and No Eyes and the great Damo Suzuki at the Green Door Store. It was a fantastic night, you can hear a recording of the Damo set below and there are plenty of videos on YouTube too.

Then the next day another long hard rehearsal, made better by the fantastic home made sandwiches at Brighton Electric, then off on tour the next day. As well as playing with Willy, Felix and I were supporting with our band The Mariner’s Children. Shortly after the doors opened for the first show in Portsmouth, I was delighted to learn that the opening solo act for the whole tour, Siobhan Wilson, was astounding. A wonderful, effortless voice and great songs, keep an eye out for here.

The unsustainable level of fun was once again maintained across a really enjoyable run of dates around the UK and Ireland. This was due in no small part to the omnipotence of tour manager Mido and the high spirits of lampy Tom Laurent.

On our return to London we still had the EP launch for the new release from The Mariner’s Children to do. It took place at The Lexington and went off without a hitch – expect videos soon.

Got back late on Monday night after that one, had a whole day off, now I’m very much looking forward to playing with Emma Gatrill supporting Tiny Ruins tonight at The Hope.

January 2013 activities

I’ve decided to do regular updates on this site detailing my musical activities to try to drum up some more interest in my work. As tends to happen, I’ll probably just do a flurry of blog posts over the next couple of days then relapse into e-obscurity.

Last Saturday I played at King’s Place with both Sons of Noel and Adrian and Woodpecker Wooliams. I prefer the excitement of sweaty rock clubs to concert venues, but it was refreshing to play with a nice PA and great engineers and it was a good opportunity for the live debut of my new flugelhorn (the best Christmas present ever) as well as my Yamaha CS-5. I can’t get enough of analogue synths recently. I also just got a Kenton Pro Midi to CV convertor so I can send note information to them and I’ve been having far too much fun with that.

This is my setup from a recent BBC 6Music session with Woodpecker Wooliams for Tom Robinson

This is my setup from a recent BBC 6Music session with Woodpecker Wooliams for Tom Robinson

Over the next few days I went up to Ben Hampson‘s somewhat al fresco mix room. It’s a little bit like sitting in a Scandinavian sauna crammed full of gear in the Sussex countryside. We finished off the upcoming Eyes & No Eyes album mixes, which I can’t wait to send off to mastering. It’s the fourth album we’ve worked on together after Alessi’s Ark‘s Time Travel (of which we only did about half), Sons of Noel and Adrian‘s Knots and Woodpecker Wooliams‘s The Bird School of Being Human. Final touches to the E&NE album included sending a few things through my eccentric, temperamental old Italian tape echo – the loveable Melos. It won’t give you an echo that’s in time and it skips and warbles all the time but it adds so much character.

Trusty, quirky tape echo unit basking in the sun at Ben Hampson's mix room

Trusty, quirky tape echo unit basking in the sun at Ben Hampson’s mix room

After that Ben and I spent two days back at Brighton Electric recording overdubs for Rachael Dadd‘s new album. We were mostly just adding finishing touches after recording live takes in Brighton Acoustic then assembling a studio in Rachael’s house in Bristol to record the bulk of it.

Rachael plays a lot of prepared piano on the album, and so we’ve experimented with preparing other instruments to create unique and evocative sounds. This included threading wool through a harp’s strings, and creating a colourful desert guitar sound using tin foil at the bridge then doubling certain notes that jump out using the clarinets.

It’s been an eventful week; on top of all that I’ve managed to record some horn and synth parts for Peggy Sue‘s third LP, some overdubs for the debut album from The Mariner’s Children (also a Hampson/Hamblett production), do some “pre-production” and write some parts for Emma Gatrill‘s second album (and record her playing some vibraphone parts for Fear of Men), as well as rehearsing with Steve Aston ahead of our recording trip to The Hatch Studio in Worcestershire. More on that soon.