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.


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!"