Thursday, 25 December 2008

My job in Camden

So I started a job at this school a couple of weeks ago, in the role of Performing Art’s Technician. It was actually the first job I applied for when I first arrived in England two months ago, though I only got asked in for an interview four weeks later.

Basically my job entails maintaining the equipment in the drama and music departments, and providing technical support for either class or school production. They can employ someone like me (and another person who does a similar job in the fine arts department) because the school is an “Art College” under the national education framework. It therefore gets extra funding for equipment and support staff for its art departments.

Onto the school itself. People had warned me about London public schools, saying they are rife with gang-related violence, and the classrooms really unruly. As far as I can tell so far only the latter in true, with the teachers spending most of their time trying to keep the kids on task. So far I haven’t witnessed any stabbings though – Though I did help one kid out the other day record a rap over a “grime” track where the main hook was “This is not a child’s game.” Coming from a 14 year old I found that kinda cute. One odd thing about the school though is that only 25% of the students are girls. This is apparently due to a high percentage of girls-only schools in the area.

Anyways enough of my stupid fun-facts. Here’s some photos.


The front reception area.

Ahhhh England

There's a staff smoking area. This school officially rules!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

SXSW

Okay so I got an email the other day from the South by Southwest organisers informing us that our application to showcase at the 2009 SXSW music festival was successful. Naturally I was totally stoked. We'd applied to SXSW before, and been denied, so this felt pretty good.

However now the band is faced with the mammoth task of trying to raise enough money for plane tickets, accommodation, and visas for the US. Adding to our problems is fact that half of the band still resides in Dunedin, New Zealand, while the other half are in London.

Now I've always been the (often foolish and overly confident) optimist in the band. I personally think we can pull this one off, but I think the others have very real concerns about how the hell we're going to raise this cash. The only other band from Dunedin to have actually managed to go in the last 10 years or so has been Die!Die!Die! and I think they had managed to tie it into their existing touring commitments in the US.

So yeah, anyone got any good ideas? HELP!

Monday, 1 December 2008

The Windmill, Brixton

So I’ve started working part time at a live music venue down in Brixton called The Windmill. It’s awesome. It’s pretty small (capacity would have to be 100-150), run by Irish people, has a reasonable PA (EV acoustics), and appears to be the preferred small south London venue for up-and coming touring bands. Tim, the promoter is really enthusiastic, clued up, and friendly which makes things easy. So far I’ve done sound there 3 times, and 2 nights have been dominated by really awesome American bands. I love doing sound for well-toured bands; they’re really easy to make sound good, are easy going when faced with poor foldback/other technical issues, and generally make good music which is actually enjoyable to listen to.

Smoke or Fire. Notice how the British are actually moshing/dancing/enjoying themselves. Crazy.

Okay so the first night of American bands I did featured a Fat Wreck Chords band called Smoke or Fire, a relatively straight-ahead California-style punk band headlining, and they were supported by a bizarre powerpop/Americana/punk band from Florida called Fake Problems. I wasn’t so much into Smoke or Fire’s music (I definitely would have loved them when I was 16 however), but they really were awesome at what they did, were really friendly, and were really easy to make sound good. Fake Problems however I really did enjoy, though probably mostly because I spent most of the time trying to work out where the hell they were coming from. The guys were all really baby-faced and twee looking, but would flip from playing post-hardcore stuff to country, and back to pop punk. It was pretty weird, but they were really tight, really nice guys, and definitely had enough of an “x-factor” for my liking. Unfortunately the stuff they’ve got posted on their myspace doesn’t really give much of an impression of what they’re actually like live.

My view from the mixing desk: Fake Problems

The next night I had the pleasure of doing sound for a guy called PW Long, the songwriter from ex 90s grunge band MULE. This guy was ridiculous. It was an awesome mix of growly, moody Americana – mixing blues, country, and folk. Though please don’t get the wrong impression, this was not the usual brown vest wearing, airy-fairy cheesy folk artist. This was a guy who’d played in touring “grunge” bands in the early 90’s who’d just gotten angrier. He certainly played his beaten up old strat at levels that would have probably more suited a band situation than solo in a small, and admittedly that night, basically empty venue. However it worked, I got my jollies, got paid, and had an awesome time.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Truancy

So yeah I haven't written in awhile. This is because pretty much I want this to be a blog about the stuff I'm upto musically, and at this stage finding my feet in a new city means that making music has weaned off. It's difficult to make music in a big city when your running around trying to get an income and a place to live sorted out!!

Anyways I've been to a few gigs since I've been here - I've seen Lawrence Arabia two time, both of which were awesome. Last night Anthony and myself were the only people in the club (The Old Blue Last) getting overly exciting about seeing him and his band play - I think us singing along to "The Kinds Of Feelings That Happen On Summer Beaches" at the top of our lungs made both the audience and the band uncomfortable. Haha.

I went to Hot Chip at the Brixton Academy on Friday which was pretty amazing. The venue itself is ridiculous, it's purpose-built for pop music, has a sloping floor so you can always see, sounds amazing, and is really well organised. I hadn't listened to heaps of Hot Chip before going to the concert, but they put on a pretty decent show. It seemed to me that they were a little out of their depth with the occasion, but the crowd seemed pretty into it.

Uh that's enough, I'm hungover.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fuck you Air New Zealand!

Okay so today I went to go vote in the upcoming NZ elections. I trundled down to the New Zealand Consulate near Piccadilly Circus with a couple of old-school Dunedin friends, Liz Sherrif and Danny Vincent O. We saw a few “trad” London sights on the way.




So once in the building we had a bit of chuckle listening to all the other plonker NZ accents (of which I myself am also guilty of possessing), and went ahead and voted.

Afterwards I inquired at the desk if I could fill up my water bottle from their cooler. The ladies behind the desk politely informed me that they didn't have a cooler, and suggested that I ask nicely at the neighboring Air New Zealand office for usage of theirs. So I ambled up the stairs to their office, walked through the doors, and coyly asked whether I could fill up my water bottle.
“Are you an Air New Zealand customer?” the travel agent loudly asked in some kind of northern European accent.
“Uh, no,” I sheepishly replied, somewhat in shock.
“Then no, no you can't,” he shouted, wildly gesturing that I should get out. So I left, angry and humiliated, all the while regretting not saying things like “well you're not a New Zealander, so fuck you!” among others.

I was so fucked off at being treated like some kind of hobo from the street, the kind that walks into offices asking for a light, or at least a few paperclips.

Anyways I instructed Liz and Danny to leave the building, then I walked up to the glass office windows, and took a photo of the cunt. Yea! And now your on the internet arsehole. Fuck you and your stupid NZ airline. The food's shit, and the airhostesses are dowdy.

I've said my piece, now I can carry on spreading my CV like a pornstar's seed all over the information superhighway.



Booo!

Friday, 24 October 2008

First UK music "industry" experience. Haha laughworthy

Okay so since I've moved to London I hadn''t really done anything music related apart from going to odd show (I saw Die!Die!Die! the first night I arrived - they were amazing) until today. I don't have my drumkit with me, so I haven't been able to play, and anyways I've been so busy getting set up that I've barely thought about it.

Me and Matt at Die!Die!Die!

So it appears that due to a few unfortunate logistical problems back home, neither Chris nor Logan will over in the UK till next year. So I figured I'd try and play drums with a few different bands and stuff, in an effort to keep my chops up, and meet some musicians. See over here it's difficult to practice a drum kit, unless you teach the kit, or have a good job, because space is at such a premium - preventing me right now from having a kit at home, and rehearsal studios are expensive (around 5-10 pounds per hour).

So this brings me to my first experience with auditioning for an artist over here. Crystal Whatsername (not posting her real name yet because it's a new city and I don't want to loose my thumbs - though if you want a link to her music just message me and I'll gladly give it to you) advertised needing a drummer on the ukmusicjobs website. I sent her a message, and a rehearsal was jacked up for today, at 3pm near Westbourne Park.

Before the audition, I downloaded the two tracks off her myspace which she wanted to learn. I was pretty put off by the cringeworthy lyrics, and the tasteless rhythm section arrangements, but thought "fuck it, I might as well get used to auditioning with people I don't really want to play with first." I organised a drum practice room in Shepherd's Bush, and took the underground. On the tube I worked out the song arrangements, ready for me to rehearse at the studio.

So at 2:55 when I finally found my way to the place where my audition was meant to happen, I got a text saying, "Sorry we gave you the wrong address."
"Thanks," I grumbled to myself. Anyway I legged it to the new location, Westbourne Rehearsal Studios in Bayswater, and met the Crystal and her bassist, who I've forgotten the name of.

First impressions weren't good when Chrystal introduced herself, asked where I was from, and then mentioned that she new Eric Watson. "Cool," I cringed. At this point the bassist started ranting about how he was friends with the guys from Killing Joke. I tried not to listen.
"Why don't you two jam for a bit," she encouraged, and her boy the bassist (who was sporting a Gibson Firebird - perhaps not the best bass for an acoustic singer/songwriter project) started trashing around playing a bunch of heavy basslines which I attempted to play along with. This guy really overplays, and is pretty bloody loose. I fucking hate loose bass players - I've only ever played with decent tight players for so long now it was a real shock to have to play with this plonker who thought he was the shit, but was really pretty bad.

Where the whole hilarious affair occurred

Anyway after we "jammed" Crystal joined us and we played the two songs she wanted me to play. Afterwards while I was being invited to come back for a second audition I was doing my best holding myself together by looking at the floor, and avoiding eye contact with Crystal, and plonker. I quickly left, thinking "fuck this."

London lesson #1: Don't bother audition for anything that you've not listened to at least 3 times.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

RAP and The Tweeks yo!

If I said that yes, The Tweeks had a change of format, with me on the “one and twos,” Logan MC'ing, and Chris and Anthony as dual hype men, I'd be lying. However if was to mention that we unexpected got $800 something dollars, I wouldn't be lying. Fuckin' sweet aye? Let me explain.

So in 2007 I came across the RAP (Recording Artists and Producers) fund section of PPNZ's (Phonographic Performances NZ Limited) website. It mentioned something about getting paid royalties for your music recordings being played on radio and TV, so I signed us up. And when I say signed us up, I actually mean, I half completed the process online, and failed to send in our signed hard copys of the agreement. I guess that part of the process was a needless formality, cos we still got all this extra cash. Fuckin brilliant. So if your a recording artist, get off your arse, sign yourself up for the fund, and in about a year and a half, you'll get some sweet cash. Brilliant.

Yesterday I finished mixing The Biff Merchant's album. The making of this record was perhaps the smoothest, fastest, most satisfying experience I've ever had in my time as a sound recordist/mixer. I mixed the record in 5 straight days, with very little interruption, and because we hadn't cheaped out on good recording gear, it sounds fuckin' sweet, with virtually no “fixing in the mix” carryon. I think that's the way I'm going to make records from now on – clearing 2/3 weeks out of my schedule, and trying to finish the whole thing from start to finish in one go. Not only is this better for workflow, it also results in a more focused, cohesive sounding product. Bloody brilliant. Thanks to the boys for making it such a smooth, and creatively satisfying process.

Also yesterday The Greatest Rock n Roll Band HAY MAN! had their last Dunedin show at The Backstage. Thanks to The Mentalists, Molly van Dijk, The Biff Merchants, The Julian Temple Band, and Left or Right for providing such great support. Also thanks heaps to Tom Bell for Logan Hampton for the sound and lights. It sounded and looked amazing.

Friday, 3 October 2008

No blog for two weeks! WTF??

Yep see that slightly, disappointed, faux-staunched out look I'm giving the camera? I like to imagine that that is what you, the readers, feel about my blogosphere truancy. It also sums up my feelings of our gig in Queenstown a few weeks ago. It was pretty shit really - the tourist season had finished a few days beforehand, and we played to an audience of 10. Including the bar staff.

However The Tweeks are a seasoned touring machine. We know how to deal with these types of scenarios. Basically that involves smoking pot and drinking at various times before and after our set. Below is the aftermath.



The following week I had my final lessons teaching the drumkit to high school students. To those out there who don't know me very well - this is how I pay my bills. I can't really be bothered going on about it, but hey check out what I found in the John McGlashan staff room. Telling isn't it?


Next on my list of carryon was The Tweeks' last NZ gig. It was pretty awesome to see that many people out giving us a send off - thanks to all you peeps that came - it was a pretty special night for me.. I'm not too sure how the actual music ended up sounding (there were a few wrong'uns) but hey I had a pretty sweet time playing. Thanks heaps to Tono Tonnon, David Good, Andy Biff, Sunset Cinema, Sharkbait (omg fav new Dunedin band!), and the Slur-Tones.

The very next day I ended up running around setting up for The Biff Merchants' recording session. The Biffs and myself have been planning this for almost 6 months, and it's awesome that the project is underway. On the Saturday, in my sorry state, we set up an ad hoc studio in Sammys. Holy shit that place is messy - really filthy. We found a box of 7" singles of Bon Jovi's "Bad Medicine" lying around in the kitchen. WTF?

I mean fuck I can't really complain - Sam, the business owner let us run loose in Dunedin's coolest mid-large size venue for 5 days - free! Pretty cool huh?

Here's some shots.



The Biff Merchants, caught in headlights - haha



"Stu, are you using a Digi 002 Protools interface, connected to a Digimax ADAT converter and an Apogee Rosetta 200 via S/PDIF, with preamps from JLM, Hamptone, Great River, and Buzz Audio?"
"Yes, cool aye?"



"Stu, I really like your microphone choices, I feel like they really bring out the character of our instruments, while being practical to our 'all at once' recording situation."
"Ow thanks guys!"

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The weekend: 10 hours sleep total. Nice job dumbass

Okay so last weekend was rediculous. The Tweeks played support for OdESSA at Backstage, I did sound and DJed for the Biff Merchants gig the next night, while inbetween doing 20 hours in the studio with Graeme Downes for the new Verlaines shiz. I got about 10 hours sleep on Friday and Saturday night combined, and have myself a serious dose of tinitus by the end of it. Yep Stuart, your going to make it past 50, sure!

Anyways let me "break it down" for all you folks back home. The Tweeks played a loose, sarcastic, yet generally up-beat set on Friday night. Logan and Chris have really hit their stride with the crowd interaction thing (something we've been terrible at in the past), and is a real highlight for me to witness from behind the drumkit.

OdESSA followed, and played amazingly as always. They really are one the country's great live bands, and they're really nice guys to boot. They have two things holding them back in my view: A lack of general direction "career" wise (stop laughing), and an inability to get there live energy captured on record.


Both of these things are probably some of the hardest things to do however, but the things that in my view really get my music phallus hard when done properly. The guys in OdESSA all seem to hold down reasonably steady jobs, and have steady girlfriends, and don't really seem to communicate all that much about future plans and stuff, so haven't managed to tour OZ or elsewhere apart from NZ. And the thing is they'd clean up overseas, they're so good live.


The capturing the "live" feel thing is another difficult thing to do... I think that perhaps there choice of producer, Aidan Mills, has something to do with this. Aidan is an incredible sound engineer (especially live), but I think he failed on finding an appropriate way to capture the bands live energy. The first record has some killer songs, but sounds a bit flat. The second record has some awful songs which should have been culled, a few good ones, a little bit better production, and a little bit better live energy, but still aspects sound a bit dull - the vocals probably mostly... Also there choice of artwork (one of the emo/punk tattooists, can't think of them right now) baffled me somewhat.

Anyways I won't won't go into the Verlaines recording too much - apart from to say I met Stephen Small, the guy who plays the keyboards with Graeme when he performs acousticly, and sometimes with the Verlaines. He is an incredible piano and keyboard player, and was a pleasure to meet and record. He also plays keyboards in a band called Autozamm.

Right, onto my rant. Readers out there may know I'm not the greatest fan of Autozamm. However, know that I know that a really awesome guy plays in the band, that I have a friendly relationship with, I'm probably not going to go around slagging them off as much, because I respect the guy in the band. This got me thinking, that as the most of the reviews and stuff are done in Auckland, the reviewers probably know people in most of the Auckland bands they review, and therefore don't critique them as harshly as they would of bands where they don't know anyone (i.e. bands from Dunedin). It's so much easier to really dig into a band in which you don't know anyone.

Thoughts?

Anywaysss onto the Biff Merchants' "Pants Optional, Pass the Parcel" party. I did sound for the Biff's and Emergency + Phone which was fine, but the highlight for me was naturally DJing my favourite music inbetween sets and after the gig, with my pants off, and wearing my Dad's fishing hat. Man I'm cool.

Robbie obviously wasn't feeling the music

Friday, 5 September 2008

Methven and Wellington

Methven

Okay the next day we played the Blue Pub in Methven. It was a pretty standard night at the Blue for us. Logan, Chris, and Anthony got pretty shitfaced (Logan the most, Anthony the least) pretty early in the evening, and we played like total crap. Fortunately the crowd was even drunker than them and didn't seem to notice. Hell the crowd even seemed to kinda like it.

Now playing a long set of A sides, B sides, and covers isn't a highlight for these kinds of gigs, but playing on the same bill as a band made up of 30yr old Christians* certainly is. The band in question were called The Exchange, and they were actually booked in for the Friday night before we were. I think Luke was a little dubious about the quality of The Exchange and happily booked us as well.

As to the music, let's just have a good giggle aye? If different types of music was like the different kinds of sweets at the Willowbank dairy, The Exchanges would have been a 50c “Parachute” mixture, with a covering of Creed sauce. It was pretty bad and funny at the same time. You know the kind of bad funny when you can bear to watch the band for about half a song, then you think “fuck I actually can't stand this, this is shit.”

The Exchange. Raise "The Goat" motherfucker!

Anyways after the gig I was getting drunk and high (and the rest of the Tweeks were getting drunker and high), and the Exchange came upstairs to hang out. It was pretty funny watching them smoke and not knowing really how to use a cone and stuff. Ahhhhh I could go on about it but I won't.

Anyways the next day we had to get up kinda early and drive to the shitchurch airport, for our flight to Wellington. Logan was really hungover and really didn't look too well in the back of the van. The dude doesn't drink that often so when he does he has a tenancy to go overboard, which is kinda ironic cos he really can't handle his alcohol**. Anyways we managed to get into shitchurch airport, and onto to the plane no worries – which is a first for us – The Tweeks in the past are very prone to having their flights delayed. It really fucken sucks.

Wellington

We were picked up by our mate Chloe Lewis (from KOTAC) and got straight into Welli, enjoyed some curry, did a good interview with a dude (can't remember his name sorry – it was for the Late, Late Breakfast though) at Active, and got to the Mighty Mighty for setup and soundcheck.

Mighty Mighty is a fuckin great place to play. The people that run that bar, Matthew (forgotten his last name) the bar manager, Richard Neame (the events manager, big boss man), and Sally Rees (sound person) really kick arse. Rich saw on the poster that it was our video release tour, and asked us if we wanted to play the video in the bar. We said yes, and he went out of his way to organise the projector, screen, and all that hoo-nanny, which your average events manager wouldn't bother doing.

One of the support bands, the Dissentors, lent us their backline which was really awesome of them. This is pretty much the only way small touring bands can do things if they're flying, and borrowing gear can be a real headache. Often gear doesn't work, or isn't what we need etc etc, but the Dissentors stuff was fine. Fuckin' brilliant.

Sally did a great job of sound for us, with soundcheck lasting about about 20 minutes. We've had sound problems before at Mighty Mighty, but they've gone and invested a bit more money in the PA, and it was cranking.

Anyway we went back to Anthony's mum's house at Johnsonville, got a few hours chilling/sleep in, and then went back down to the venue to watch our first support band, Spoongoose play.
“Spoongoose, aren't they from Dunedin” you say. Well they are, but they moved up to Wellington a couple of months ago. They played a great set, with Alex Barker filling in for an absent Leilana Quinger (who is currently hanging out with some pinkos in Thailand). At times the crowd noise grew over there quiet acoustic songs, but mostly they managed to project their songs to a good crowd of interested listeners.

The Dissentors were really cool. The Wellington three-piece played a sweet set of noisy, twisted Dunediny pop music, that really reminded me of Onanon. I've noticed this tenancy for us to book and really get into noisy, interesting, yet sloppy sounding bands, while our band can end up sounding quite polished and poppy. Odd. Just saying.

The Dissentors ruling

We played probably our best ever North Island show. It was fuckin sweet. I'm not going to brag much more, but it really was fuckin' fun. Afterwards we Djed for a bit, until we got “distracted” by whatever was in the water, and ended up yarning away with our Wellington friends for ages. After the bar shut, Rich drank with us till about 8:30 in the morning. It was really awesome, though I really can't remember much from the hours 6 till 8:30. However this photo popped up on my phone, with the timestamp 7:47am.


Ow yeah thanks to Stu Young (from The Outsiders) for putting our posters up in Wellington. Fuckin' cheers!

*Readers should note that while I'm an Aestheist, I am not predjudiced to race, religion, gender, or sexuality. I just really hate Christian bands. Not bands that are made up of people who happen to be Christians, but bands who play “Christian Rock.” You know what I'm talking about.

**It should also be noted that when Logan is this drunk he's really really fuckin funny. In this photo you can clearly see Logan heckling someone (a Christian rocker), and me almost pissing my pants laughing.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Dux De Lux, Shitchurch 28th August

On Thursday we played at The Dux De Lux. I was lucky enough to fly up to Christchurch (or “shitchurch” as it's known in The Tweeks), as I wanted to squeeze another day of recording with the Verlaines in. This meant I missed out on the horrendously boring drive from Dunedin to Christchurch which I've done about a million times this year. Fuckin' tight.

Now I've talked about The Dux De Lux in Queenstown before, but not the Christchurch one. It is run by a very good venue manager, Ross Herrik. Ross is a very fair, straight up, pleasant dude. He is really really busy, and therefore quite difficult to get hold of to actually book a show with. However he always has time to chat to us, and seems genuinely interested in what we're up to.

I like to imagine that bars are an extension of the bar owners' personality. In this case Ross seems to be the type of fellow who enjoys cheese, cigarettes, beer, and music. The Dux De Lux pizzas have retarded amounts of cheese on them (which makes me quiver with pleasure – cheese is my favourite food). It has one of the best outdoor bar (and smoking) areas in the country, award winning beers which they brew on site, and live music 3 or 4 nights a week, almost all for free.

All in all, it's a pretty sweet place to go, though some people lament the affect the Dux's policy of no door charges has had on the shitchurch music scene, as apparently people can be pretty reluctant to pay door charges... I can't really comment as we haven't done many door gigs in shitchurch, but just puttin it out there ya'll.

We were supported by the Stefan Van Soest Hit Machine, a loose, poppy, band that remind me of old school Regurgitator and Presidents of the USA. They were fantastic. Marcus Winstanley from The Undercurrents did the sound for the gig, and the onstage sound was fuckin' bangin' for no soundcheck. Sweet.

Hit Machine!!!!

After the gig we were chaperoned by our mate Rose (who's parents play in the Bats), and took us to a party with the guys from the Insurgents, and another band oddly called Tweek. It was cool to catch up with all those cats, and smoke from their awesome Shisha thing. Bangin. Many thanks to Rose who let us crash at her place. Perfect.

The Thirsty Ram, 23 August, Queenstown

“Well after last night's debacle, you all get one beer each, and as many soft-drinks as you want.”
“What is this, Hell?” I mused to myself.

"Hell"

In a way it kind of was. It was a Saturday night, and Sunset Cinema, plus myself and the rest of the Tweeks were at The Thirsty Ram, Queenstown's latest “live music, sport, and gaming” bar (it's two weeks old). Just think a cross between Diggers, Shooters, the Grumpy Mole, and any other country/western themed bar, except that there are no windows, and it's in Queenstown, which makes it worse.

“Why are The Tweeks playing at a place like that? Aren't they weird or indie or something?” your probably thinking to yourself. Well I'll tell ya. We got $1000 plus petrol to play there. And we're the type of band that'll do almost anything to get $1000.

Anyway let me give you a run down of our experience with the venue. We arrived, and the staff (I've forgotten their names already) were really helpful with helping us load our gear out of the van, into the venue. That's the first sign that the venue was new. Helping the band. Haha. Anyways, we ended up spending about 2 hours setting up and sound checking, because our boy Matt the sound engineer was pretty disorganised, and didn't really have that much of a handle of the sound system. He kept on getting us to sing acapellas which was a particularly bizarre and funny highlight of soundcheck.

While this was happening, someone from the bar (let's call him plonker #1) was fiddling around in the DJ booth, training some weird moving lights on us, and asking us what colour lights we wanted. I said “pink.” Needless to say the gig looked terrible, as the performers were shrowded in pink-tinted darkness.

Sunset Cinema chose the "yellow" lighting option.

At any rate, come 10:30, we watched our friends from Sunset Cinema play, we played, during which we were heckled by this English chick who kept on yelling “can you play some Libertines?” I replied something in the realm of,
“Sure, this one is called 'Up The Bracket,'” and then we proceeded to play yet another original. This continued for the majority of the set, and even a little bit afterwards while we packed down our gear. Fuckin' weird. Anywho, we loaded out, got paid our full amount, and drove straight back to Dunedin, as I had a 10am start recording the next Verlaines album.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Tweeks 160 Characters Gig.

On Friday we (The Tweeks) played our first show of our “160 Characters video release” tour at The Backstage in Dunedin. We were joined by a solo Tono, and the DFenders. It was a solid night of music, and it was really great to somewhat formally acknowledge and thank Lucinda McConnon for all the work she put into the video.
It was really awesome to see Tono perform without the Finance Company (who are great by the way) for a change. The solo “format” showcased his amazing ability as a vocalist, and lyricist. He also treated the audience to a couple of his poems, which were absolutely hilarious.

The DFenders played a solid set, they just seem to be getting tighter and tighter. More importantly, they're starting to sound much more like a BAND, rather than a bunch of sausages (guys) who happen to play music together (which is one of my main criticisms of most bands).



Tom Bell did sound for the gig. He did an awesome job – like usual. That guy is one of the better live sound engineers in the country.

Anyway I'm not going to write any more, I'm totally exhasted from the weekend, which I'll tell ya'll about when I've had a bit more sleep.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Tweeks re-press self-titled album

Okay so when us at The Tweeks Ltd released our 2nd album, we decided to get 100 CDs printed, and about 40 USBs. We've run out of CDs, and our USB supplies are running low too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bragging about selling out of units. Quite the opposite. I'd say of the 100 printed, probably half were given away. Shithouse aye? Radio stations, music reviewers, feature writers, etc all demand at least one (and sometimes up the 20) copies for individual DJs, give-aways, and whatever. They'res no shame in it either, they tell you how many to send. They'res no asking. I got asked by one person (Renee Jones from IMNZ) to send a second copy to her home address so she could listen to it before her show at bFM, when one had already been sent to her pidgeon hole at bFM. Of course almost all of these people haven't done anything with these CDs. We've had 3 printed reviews... All of which were shit. To date Real Groovy and Rip It Up still haven't reviewed a Tweeks CD EVER. EVER. God knows where all the CDs, press kits, merch that we send them ends up.

The shit thing is is that all these people don't really realise how much it costs to send these things away for an indie band. Sure the per unit cost of a CD is about $5 plus postage... But the thing is we sell these at gigs for $20, which means that it ends up feeling like we're giving hundreds of dollars worth of potential income... Which we need! I find the media's selfish expectance of freebees sickening, and wasteful.

I am actually seriously thinking about ringing these people up and demanding they send me the CDs back...

Anyway so we need some more. I emailed Amstore, the company who printed our first run of CDs, and they kept everything on file from last time, so I don't have to re-send them anything. They're such a fucking awesome company. Seriously we sent them our masters a week before our first album release gig, and they got the CDs to us right on time (including a proof!), no stress, no fucking around. It was amazing. They truely are a great company, and I'd recommend them.

I've gone the cheaper route before as well, getting CDs printed overseas (Dualplover and Corduroy Records)and whatnot. It's a fine option if you prepared to deal with 1-2month turnarounds, import duty, Malaysian public holidays, timezone differences, printing proof problems, etc etc. These days I'd rather spend the extra couple of hundred and not worry about all that shit.

How was that for a rant? Aye? Aye?

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Future Sound Of Edin @ The Backstage

On Wednesday night I had the pleasure of playing with The Alan Ibell Band at Chris Keogh's "Future Sound of Edin" night. Chris has been organising these nights for a year or so now, with the intention of showcasing up and coming young bands. This time it was with Molly Van Dijk, and The Tobacconists.

It was the first time I'd seen Molly play, and while being quite shy in between songs, she had a good voice and her songwriting showed promise. She played 6 folky, pop songs with an acoustic guitar. Her songs were perhaps too long for my liking, but what the hey, I couldn't write or perform that well when I was 17 - what the hell do I know?

Molly Van Dijk

The Tobacconists were sweet. They play a mixture of folk, bluegrass, and psychedelia. Tom plays an awesome resonator guitar, and the other guy (sorry I don't know his name) swaps between mandolin and violin. I personally enjoyed the music, but I wonder if others would appreciate what they're trying to do if they engaged more with the audience. They're quite shy people, but I think that they're songs perhaps could do with some more introduction and explanation... Tom's diction can be quite slurred (which I find cool), so I find the audience kind of need a few clues to get the songs for first-time enjoyment.

The Tobacconists. Seriously that has to be one of the best band names ever.

The Alan Ibell band played a shorter set than usual (featuring myself and Jeremy Clark), but it seemed relatively well recieved. I'm the rope-in drummer for Al's band, and we only had one practice before we played. Fortunately I know the songs well enough, and the drum parts are simple enough that I didn't make a complete fool of myself. Logan Valentine usually plays with the band but because of other commitments was absent. As a result the songs sounded perhaps a little barer than usual.

I should mention that I really like the Alan Ibell Band. I love the simplicity of the music, and the dark imagery in the lyrics. It's really fuckin awesome. He's putting out an album later this year, which is pretty cool.

Jeremy and Al


The band "rocking out" on "Zoo Song"


Anyway it was quiet, yet pleasant enough evening of music. Props.

Friday, 8 August 2008

A busy week for The Tweeks

So this week has been a busy one. We gave four performances, one of which was acoustic, one at a high school, and one at benefit. Also our video surprisingly was played on C4's “Watch This Space” show. I seriously didn't believe that was going to happen. Of course we didn't an NZONAIR grant this week however, though you can see who did here. It's appalling.

Open Mic Live Recording

This Tuesday The Tweeks were invited to perform at Alastair Burns' open mic night at the Backstage. Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't a random jam night, as the title “open mic” might suggest. It was a collection of musicians performing 2 songs each, which was being recorded live by Tex Houston (credits including The Clean, The Hasslehoff Experiment, The Verlaines).

It was a pretty cool evening – other notable performances came from The Biff Merchants, and King Leo and the Growling Dogs. I have to give credit to Alastair for organising the Tuesday night open mic night. It's one of Backstage's most popular evenings, bringing in an eclectic crowd. For The Tweeks performing at open mic night was a really relaxed affair, and a great way to bring our music to people who would otherwise not get the chance to hear us. Thanks heaps to Alastair and Niamh for having us again, and I hope the CD comes out well.

The Tweeks at open mic

Pint Night Refuel

On Wednesday we played our first Refuel pint night in ages. We played alongside Oh My Golly! and Sunset Cinema. The gig was pretty decently attended, though you never really know who shows up to see the band, or just drink at a pint night. Chris Bull made a real effort doing our sound that evening, it sounded a whole lot better than last time we played there – though I really do not envy him doing sound in there. I used to work as a sound guy at Refuel, and that room is just not conducive to good sound.

Students for Free Tibet Fundraiser

Last night we played at the SFT fundraiser at the Backstage. Holy crap what a massive night that was! The lineup was monstrous: The Biffs, The Bones, Paper Planes, Knives at Noon, Mama Yeva, Monica Yoeman, Best Boys Electric, and Sunset Cinema. Backstage must have at least 200 people in the bar when we played. Unfortunately I had just come down with a fever and was barely able to hold it together. I don't really know how I managed to play, but I did – wavering tempo and all. Fuck I hate being sick. Thanks to The Biff for swapping time slots with us. That was a really kind thing to do.

Rockquest Mentoring Programme.

Today (Friday) we met up at our practice room at 7:45am, packed the van, and drove to Wanaka to play a gig with and mentor the current Central Otago Rockquest winners, The Slur-Tones. The Rockquest mentoring programme is one of the few government music funding schemes that I actually endorse. Bands get invited by the Glenn Common, the Rockquest manager to go to the school of a rockquest finalist, play a gig at the school in lunchtime, and hang out with the kids for an hour imparting advice (and industry gossip). We get a grand for our troubles, and the kids get real interaction with real, touring musicians.

The Slur-Tones were a really tight unit, and it was obvious that they had outclassed everyone at the Rockquest regional finals. They had good stage presence, tightness, melodies, and arrangements. They were also really nice guys, and were genuinely interested in whatever smack we were talking. Anyway straight afterwords we jumping into the van and drove back to Dunedin. What a day.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

So last week I sent away DVDs of The Tweeks new video to Alt TV, and C4. Between me and Logan we came up with this. I think it's pretty funny.


_______________________
Tweeks Leave You; Tube awaits.

The Tweeks newest music video, ‘160 Characters’, has been accepted for uploaded on YouTube. “It’s been tagged as a music-video, which is quite an accomplishment” enthuses drummer Stu Harwood. “With so much traffic on the Information Superhighway, it’s really hard to break through, and we’re really glad to be given the chance.” Directed by Lucinda McConnon in May 2008 ‘160 Characters’, features several beautifully crafted cellphone suits, a broken acoustic guitar, and a girl with a TV for a head.

In other news, The Tweeks have confirmed relocation rumors. “We were so keen on Bulgaria, but couldn’t raise the money for a house; so we’ve settled on London,” remarked guitarist Chris Keogh. The video-release tour will be their last, before departure in October this year.

See The Tweeks one last time, unless you’re from Auckland, ha!

August:

22 Dndn. Backstage w/ The Defenders and Tono & The Finance Company

28 Chch. Dux de Lux w/ The Steffan van Soest Hit Machine

29 Methven. Blue Pub w/ The Exchange

30 Wgtn. Mighty Mighty w/ The Dissentors and Spoongoose


For further information contact Stuart Harwood
Phone: +64 21 467 590
Email: stu.harwood gmail.com
www.thetweeks.co.nz
www.myspace.com/thetweeks

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Vibrasics pay Lewis' Mum

This weekend Vibrasics played it's last ever shows in Wanaka and Queenstown. Matt Brook (bass) is leaving for London at the end of this month, so we decided the do these last shows, pay off our debt, and throw in the towel.

Vibrasics owed about 800 bucks to our major sponsor, Lewis Waite's (keys) mum. She bought us our plane tickets for our last summer tour, and due poor returns at the ticket booth, we never paid her back. Fortunately we got offered 1.5K to play at Shooters, and 500 to play at Revolver that weekend, so we basically paid off our debts, got drunk on the band money, and came home. Brilliant.

So first off we on Friday we grabbed an essential touring item: The Hirequip shuttle trailor. This is a great trailer, which fits a full backline with plenty of room to spare. However when hiring these one has to remember to get a padlock to secure the catch for the trailer door. Naturally we left the band “padlock” “somewhere,” so using our kiwi ingenuity we used a by product from another industry standard item (Nippy's Iced Coffee) to secure the door. Brilliant – just don't tell my insurance company (AON insurance – the only musicians insurance provider).

The Nippy's iced beverages range

The Ingenious "Straw Lock" system



Anyway we made it to Shooters in one piece, met up with Grenville from Entertainment Solutions (a good PA hire company in Wanaka), and set up for the evening. The venue was kind enough to feed us, and give us a shit load of beer (another essential touring item). Brilliant.

The bar manager that evening (I forget his name now), was a really nice dude, and asked if we could start playing early, because punters leave in droves after their “Happy Hour” finishes every evening. We obliged, and played live hip hop to a bunch of very uninterested, and mildly bemused tourists and locals. The highlight of the gig was the really drunk girl from the U.S. asking us to “play some American music.” Lewis replied,
“You came all the way over here to hear American music?”

So yeah, a pretty flat average gig. I thought we played pretty tight, and were in good spirits generally given the averageness of the situation. Fortunately we got a massive fee, and got really drunk on the band money in other bars later.

Vibrasics give Shooters the jazz hands

The next day we arose and made our way over to Revolver in Queenstown. Revolvers a pretty cool live music venue. It's got a whoppingly awesome PA system (A $100K turbosound rig), a nice interior, an enthusiastic (maybe too enthusiastic) sound man (Mark), and great bar staff. We set up, soundchecked, got an awesome burger from Fergburger, passed out for a bit in the backpackers, then went down to the venue.


Revolver at soundcheck

So basically the gig was completely dead. We didn't really care – it was our last show in Queenstown, we had a good fee, and we were going to party afterwards anyways. It must be really difficult to run a bar in Queenstown however, as there is so much competition in that town, and with such a transient crowd very little chance to try establish a meaningful culture around an establishment. The owner Jono seems to take it in good stride however, has bought the local radiostation Inferno, and is actively involved with the Queenstown skate and snowboarding community.

Revolver from Shotover street

All in all it was a pretty fun weekend away, everyone was in decent humour, and it was good to wrap up the band's business without too much trouble.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

RFM Leaving Party @ Sammy's

So on Friday night RFM (Retrophonic Funk Machine) had their official breaking up party. It was ambitious affair, held at Sammy's nightclub, with 9 bands and 2 DJ's: Tono and the Finance Company, 'Koile, The 'Bones, Biff Merchants, RFM, Vibrasics, The Tweeks, Julian Temple Band, Left or Right, DJ Getafix, and DJ Boof.

Tim Walsh whips up a trombone solo.

I got roped into doing sound with Andy Straight, which was cool; I get kind of anxious at these sorts of big gigs (which I'm playing at), and doing sound is a good way for me to participate in the event, and a good excuse not to make annoying small talk when I can't be fucked. It also pays, and I enjoy the nerdyness of doing live sound.

Thank fuck I didn't have to put a mic infront of that

Anyway onto the venue. Sammy's is a bangin' venue. It's huge, you can see the stage from anywhere, the acoustics are good, and most importantly, it's purpose built for entertainment. Well, it was purpose built for entertainment about 80 years ago (I actually have no idea how old Sammy's is), as a caberet, theatre type venue.

Lewis Waite crankin' with Vibrasics

There are certainly problems with the venue - don't get me wrong... It's been run-down for years, and the new owners have bought into a massive - and I mean massive task of cleaning, re-fitting, and upgrading. It's going to take years to get to it's former glory, if the owners can stay afloat! Hopefully they can.

The gig. I'm not going to go on about every act, but I will say RFM played their tightest, most energitic performance in years. I was really proud of them. They've obviously progressed as a band and as individuals by performing together. I mean hell, they've toured NZ, successfully released an album, and improved dramatically as musicians.


500+ people came to the gig to show their support, and plenty stayed right till the end (4am-ish) partying and enjoying the music. I was stoked. I haven't seen that many people out at Sammy's before (even at gasp - Holly Smith).

Iain Dangerfield

It was awesome. Bye bye RFM.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

"160 Characters" video up on Youtube!

Hey all,

So I finally uploaded The Tweeks' new music video, for the song "160 Characters." Mucho credits to Lucinda McConnon (aka The Sneaky Spoon) for having the vision, skills, and bodaciousness to put this business together. Fuckin' tight.

The video was made as part (or full?) of a design paper Lucinda was doing, and was shot over several random mornings (including a 7am start at Rialto - shudder), afternoons, and evenings at a multitude of Dunedin locations. Anyway it's fuckin' awesome. It's on Youtube - sweet. With a bit of hicklety-picklety I'm sure Anthony will be able to link it to our Myspace, and Facebook pages.

Now the question is, can we get it on NZ TV? HAH! Stay posted for the ensuing drama.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Alan Ibell Band, with Tono & The Finance Company and The Biff Merchants

On Saturday I had the honor of performing in the Alan Ibell band. It was a pretty cool evening, featuring Tono & The Finance Company, and The Biff Merchants in support.

The Alan Ibell Band

Both the support bands really played well. The Biff Merchants played in their “quieter” setup, in which Ben (the drummer) plays with a makeshift box thing which has incredible aggressive kick drum sound, just “turned down.” So basically the whole band could just turn down to his level, and they sounded clear, crisp,and tight. The New Main Street Singers from A Mighty Wind would be proud.

Some Biffs earlier in the day

Tono et al played well also, though by this stage I was starting to get distracted by some elements of the cafe's furniture arrangement for live gigs (sorry guys, nothing good for the press kit in here hehe):

Something really needs to be done about the position of the couches, coffee tables, and lunch tables around the bar. The bar is the place I want to hang around (for it's easy access to beer – which is delicious and cheap at Circadian Rhythm), yet it suffers bottlenecking. As everyone standing are squashed to the bar side of the room it's difficult to see the band if your a few people back from the front “row.” However I don't really know if there's anywhere to really put any of the furniture in that building, and I'm sure that the owners make much better money off running the place as a restaurant rather than a venue.

If I was smart I would have taken photos of this. Sorry.

Anyway that was really a minor annoyance given the quality of the music and the great people at the gig. I really enjoyed the company of the people involved with the evening, with extra-curricular highlights including a late night business meeting in the nearby alleyway, and Tono getting Logan to by him a “bottle of red” at 3am. I saw him 10 hours later, and it wasn't a happy sight.

The Finance Company

In other news I sent off my Working Holiday Visa application to the British High Commission today (530 something dollars later). Hopefully they don't think I'm a security threat, and grant me 2 years access to their country.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The Tweeks in Queenstown

Last night it was The Tweeks' turn to play at The Dux De Lux in Queenstown. It was a reasonably low-key affair, with a relatively chilled out crowd. We have realised that this is pretty much the best result for gigs in Queenstown. We got to go through our set without heckling from country yokels or drunken tourists, while quietly powering through our bar rider.

As The Tweeks Ltd is in a reasonable amount of financial bother at the moment (or “in the shit"), we opted to save on costs and did the gig without a support band. This meant that in order to fill out the evening we had to whip out some older songs, and a few covers. While it was quite funny to subject the audience to an unrehearsed version of “I Don't Care” by The Ramones, performing songs from our back catalogue can cause some unwanted self-reflection on the bands progress, especially while onstage. Some of the songs we played last night were 6 years old (written whilst in 2nd year in the contemporary rock paper), and performing them alongside some of our newest stuff highlighted how much the band had changed since then. I could bore you with details but I won't. Needless to say playing some of the older ones was also quite depressing and added enthusiasm to the band's onstage alcohol abuse.


Anyhow it's 2:40pm, I'm in the Mosgiel Shell station, and I'm playing tonight with the Alan Ibell band. All I can think about are hangover remedies. Do I go for the coffee and nurofen? The jazz cigarette and Wayne's World combo? Maybe the Lucozade and sleeping mask?

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Wicks and Sunset Cinema Tour July

So this weekend I did sound in Dunedin, Queenstown, and Christchurch for The Wicks, Sunset Cinema, Bang! Bang! Eche! and Oh My Golly! It was rather timely as I needed to get to Christchuch anyway to give the British Consulate my “biometric” information (fingerprints and photo) for my working holiday visa for the UK. More on that another time, but yes I'm moving away on the 16th of October to London.

I originally was just going to mix my mates band Sunset Cinema (Matt Brook, DJ Champion, Samdrub Dawa, Lee Nicholson, and Will Jensen) in return for free travel, but it turned out that the Wicks hadn't organised anyone to do sound for them so I ended up getting paid to do the whole lot. Brilliant.

But yea the first show was at The Backstage, which featured a reasonable turnout for a Wednesday night (competing with The Taliband at pint night at Refuel). It was advertised as having half-priced drinks but it appeared no-one in the staff working that night knew about it so naturally people (on both sides of the bar) were disgruntled (I hear however that from now on it will always be half-priced drinks on Wednesdays there). Anyway it was On My Golly!'s first ever show, and they received encouraging support from the audience. Good on 'em. However from a soundperson's point of view I really don't like the whole laptop/midi keyboard thing unless it's done properly (Oh My Golly! and Sunset Cinema were both guilty of this). The factory sound output of a laptop is terrible – buzzing, instability, etc etc. Oh yea and it takes Adam from Oh My Golly!'s laptop about 10 minutes to boot up.

The next day we boosted to Queenstown and setup at The Dux. The Dux is a pretty sweet place to play. They provide you with a reasonable guarantee, a good small vocal PA, and a meal and a few beers. Often crowds can be pretty disinterested and sparse, but hey that's what rural gigs are like. One thing to look out for is while Caleb Finn is enthusiastic and genuine, he can be prone to double booking bands, so when booking there you have to make sure stuff is all confirmed through emails to be safe.

Anyways the gig went well, the PA worked fine, and afterwards Matt and I stayed at DJ's parents place, which features an awesome outdoor spa. Needless so say we enjoyed a (NOT GAY) naked spa at 1:00am. Perfect.


Sunset Cinema performing at the Dux

The next day me and Matt got up really early (7:30am) and started the drive to Christchurch. It's a pretty freakin' long drive (6-7 hours), and we had to be in the square at 3:20pm to make our appointments at the British Consolute. The drive was reasonably pleasant – I spent most of the time on my computer doing my freakin' tax return. Anyways we arrived safely, did the visa stuff, and then met up with The Wicks at The Dux in Christchurch for soundcheck.

The Dux in Christchurch is a sweet venue for small bands. You get a good guarantee (which is a rarity in main centres), and a small rider. Anyways we hurriedly soundchecked (the Dux is in a residential zone, and therefore has very strict times when bands can soundcheck and play). The system sounded fine on first listen, a few channels weren't working, though this is normal for NZ club systems so I wasn't too worried.

When it came to the gig I realised why engineers that do sound for my bands when we play through here complain about the system... Once there are a few people in the room, and the band is charging, it starts sounding pretty boxy, and is underpowered. The venue has the main PA settings locked so you can't fiddle with it (which is probably good for the overall safety of the system in the hands of inexperienced operators).

Otherwise the gig went reasonably smoothly, with all the bands putting on energetic shows, and the mid-sized crowd being enthusiastic. After the Sunset Cinema guys and myself said our goodbyes to The Wicks, then did the usual supermarket beer mission and faffed around at Will's girlfriend's (Helen) parent's place. Awesome.

So all in all a relaxed, reasonably well organised tour. Cheers to all the guys from The Wicks and Sunset Cinema for having me along. I'll post some pics up once I get my (parents) camera out of DJ's car.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Coughing and gagging on vomit

Yesterday I sent one of these in. You must by now know that I hate doing this shit.



It is a funding application for the NZONAIR "New Recording Artist" scheme. New artists are meant to send in a demo, and then they might pick you and give you $5K to record it, and another $5K to make a video. So I did what most other bands do, take an already professionally mixed song (in this case "Happened Before" by The Tweeks), muted the echo effect, spring reverb, close drum mics, etc, to "downgrade" the song to "demo" quality.

Maybe we'll get a return on our investment.

By the way, speaking of investment, did you know that Liam Finn recieved both a video grant, and a radio hits rebate last year? So I paid tax so that one of the most priviledged under-30's in the music industry in New Zealand could get more money!!

Yes that's right, the same Liam Finn who recorded his record in his father's million-dollar studio Roundhead

For free.

I don't think that Liam Finn really needs a 5K video grant, or a rebate on recording costs for his music. Does he? Surely his father could dip into the cash that stuff his pillows that he sleeps on every night for that money? (I love the idea of Neil Finn dozing off to sleep on a pillowcase of money humming "don't dream it's over," don't you?)

Doesn't it seem a little bit silly?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Betchadupa, and Liam Finn's solo stuff. I really dig his shiz. Really dig it. But seriously whoever from his management/label/whatever made the desicion to go for that funding must be really fuckin greedy. That's bollocks.

And to the Finn's: Please don't get angry with this post and try to destroy my fragile music career! I really like your fam's music! Please don't hurt me!

Friday, 4 July 2008

I feel sick in my mouth

So the other day I filled out some of these forms:



Yep, to some in the "industry," they'll be familiar. They're video funding application forms for NZONAIR. Every couple of months most bands in the country go through with this ritual of picking their most "tv-friendly" track, burning it to a CD, and sending it in to NZONAIR, and after a couple of months find out (via the kiwihits website) that they didn't get any funding for their music video.

Well, at least, that's my experience. I've been doing it since 2002. Why do I still do it? I don't usually actually.. I stopped throwing CDs, printer paper, and envelopes out (well effectively anyway) a year ago. I found the exercise to be pretty much pointless. That was until this band got funding for their wicked song "Love and Economics." Awesome huh?

Now I'm usually one to be against shit like NZONAIR music video, album, and new release funding. They've got a bad track record of giving money to (major) signed bands with poor songs, staying power, interest, x-factor. What really fucks me off is that many of these bands actually don't need any extra cash to help them make a music video... They're signed to majors who think their 3-day-old manties are the business. Let's look at some questionable desicions.

Goodnight Nurse Hard To Watch You Go

Mushroom Records
Shihad Rule The World Warner Music
Elemeno P Loaded Gun Universal Music

I mean seriously - c'mon! These are bands who have sold shitloads of CDs in NZ. They don't need 5K to help them make a video!! What is up with that? And then there's the argument that none of these bands (and there are many more) have actually managed to make any serious dints outside of their home territorys, propably because the music they make is just a shit copy of overseas mainstream stuff.

Another thing I have against all this carryon as well is the amount of money been thrown around. I think it's too much.
"What?" you cry, "5k is a bare bones recording budget - I'd have to get volunteers, skimp out of lighting, minimise rehearsal, get moonlight editing rates, and I won't be able to get the good Auckland coke that I know the director likes." Well for the bands I hang around with down here in filthy old Dunedin, we do videos for less than 1K most of the time, record albums (including mastering) for around 2-3K, and tour NZ on 1K (if it's a real blowout).

Now that I think about it - 5K would be the perfect package for a Dunedin band. With that you could record an album, do a video, and have enough money afterwards to do a radio campaign.

Am I crazy? Or is the world crazy? Ahhh anyway congratulations to Tono! I think they're thinking of touring Oz or something with that cash or something. Awesome. Never fear I'll let you know what they think of my applications (did you like the printed out CD-R? It's the first time I've ever done that for NZONAIR.... Maybe I've got a shot after all... Probably not).

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Recording drums for Al Ibell, take 1

Al Ibell asked me to play drums on his "almost finished" recording. So basically it means recording over an almost finished song, which is different to the way I'm used to recording (i.e. either alone, or with a band at the same time). It's a pretty different skill, and kinda cool to experiment with adding rhythmic textures to an already basically completed recording.

So today I recorded the first song "Sad Orchestra." Al wanted a vintage-type drum sound, so we recorded my old rogers drum kit with 2 ribbon microphones. Here's some photos.

Pretty cool aye?

Fuck I'm a nerd.

Thanks to Logan for the photography. Truely magic stuff.