Friday, 11 December 2009

Now that I've quit my job....

I can post these astounding clips I found on the work media server. They both feature work from the same student, who will remain nameless. The pieces of "work" were submitted to the GCSE (5th form) examiners as his final pieces of assessment.

The first piece is his solo performance piece. The music you hear at the start is him playing an R&B track from his cellphone, into a microphone. Then you can hear him playing the drum kit over the top.


The second is his composition piece. He can't claim any marks for the backing track, which was done by other member of staff, who is actually a pretty decent London dubstep producer. I believe he just found a rap track he liked, and told the guy, "make it sound like, sick, like dis one, like, innit!" or something to that effect. However he DID compose and perform the rap, which is, truly amazing. Enjoy.



Monday, 30 November 2009

The Outsiders @ The Windmill

A few months ago, Stu Young from The Outsiders asked me if I could organise them a gig in London for them. I put the feelers out around a bunch of promoters, and had a decent response. Because cash for them was a priority, I went for the venue which did the best deal: The Windmill (They’re one of the few venues in London which will let bands take the full amount on the door…).


So yeah they were joined by the Fulang, and a new band called “Spike The Punch,” which I understand features some of the members from NZ punk band Missing Teeth. The Fulang were comfortably the band that stuck out like a sore thumb, and some of the filthy old punks didn’t seem that impressed with our sound. Nevertheless a big bunch of our friends all came out to support The Outsiders, which was really awesome. They took a big risk coming over to Europe to tour, and I think it worked out pretty well for them. They played really well, and it was awesome seeing Stu and Niam again.


The Outsiders


In other (now old) fulang news, Anthony had to go home about a month ago, due to some pretty stink family reasons. Matt Brook did the decent thing and played bass for us at the show, after only two practices! He played really well, and I was well proud of him.


Matt stepping up to the plate



Sunday, 4 October 2009

This guy taught me at university.

Okay so Dr. Ian Chapman lectured me during my time at music school at the University of Otago.

Here's his new music video. Holy! What's up with Dunedin having glam scene all of a sudden?




And here's my newest favourite video courtesy of the world wide web. This guy didn't lecture thank god.


Friday, 11 September 2009

Gigs, gigs, gigs

Okay so it's been awhile since I last blogged. Apologies.

Anyway the fulang have played a bunch of gigs in that time, some brilliant (Rip This Joint All-Dayer), some shit (Up All Night Music shows), some in-between.

I can't really be bothered talking about the shit nights we've played this time around, apart from explaining that our gig at Tommy Flynn's was a soul-less, non-cohesive, rip-off of a gig. It was run by Up All Night Music, a booking/"promo" company. Basically they just get a bunch of random bands together which sound nothing alike, are usually shit, and make them play at the same night. The bands get ripped off, and in turn, so do the audience. Doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, onto a more positive note. We got the awesome opportunity to play at an all-dayer run by the Rip This Joint promoters. Rip This Joint are a collective of a few bands who put on nights at the Constitution in Camden. We played one of their nights a few months ago, and have been in touch with them ever since. They basically do the opposite of Up All Night et. all, which is put on great shows, with well thought out line-ups, with good bands, and not leave the audience or the bands feeling ripped off.

The all-dayer was at The Krankenhouse, a massive squat in Crouch End. The first half of the gig was outside, and the second half was moved inside. Mad props to Julie R. Kane (flickr.com/fstopqueen) for letting me post her photos.


The fulang opened the festival. We were hungover as fuck beforehand, and felt ace after playing. I love music.


One Man Team Dance played in-between the bands in various locations around the squat. BTW this shitty photo is from me.


Silent Front. These guys have been playing in London for years and seriously rule.



November Fleet. I hadn't heard these guys before but they were really bloody good.


Cherry But No Cake. These guys are the nicest guys in the "music industry" I've met in London. They also play in a pretty classic band.

SCUL HAZZARDs. These guys are probably my favourite grassroots band. They're from Australia, and sound like the Pixies crossed with Future Of The Left or something.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Another review

Fulangchangandi got another favorable review today. Freakin' brilliant.

Check it.

Nothingatall dot net

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Interviews and Reviews

The fulang EP has been reviewed a couple of times online recently which is pretty cool.

Tasty Fanzine

Nostalgia For Infinity

About a month ago as well this chick Gabi interviewed me. She runs a radio show called "Toast On Fire" on FSK, an independent radio station in Hamburg. She'd come across our music on MySpace, and wanted to interview us. Pretty cool huh?

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

New career oppurtunity... Session guitarist!

This is a little video of me playing in The Thorns. The band was part of an extra-curricular music project we did with neighboring primary schools in the area at my work. The kids all came together, did a bunch of workshops on songwriting and contemporary performance, culminating in writing and performing their own song. It's pretty cute.

If anyone who is related to these kids sees this video and has a problem, please get in touch with me on stu dot harwood at g mail dot com, and I'll take it down ASAP.


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

How to release an EP in 2009

When releasing an EP, you need to get quite a few things in place, namely: A recording, a music medium, packaging, artwork, a press pack, distribution, and a release party. What follows is a description of how we went about releasing fulangchangandi’s debut EP to “the masses.”

The recording: I’ve already covered this one in the below blog, but the long and short of it was we got our friends to do it for free/cheap.

Music medium: After weighing up the options in front of us (CD, Super Audio CD, vinyl, usb sticks, wax cylinders, cassette tapes, laser disc), Fulangchangandi opted for the CD-R medium. We were so cheap we didn’t even bother getting printable ones. Yep, it was a pack of dirty old CD-Rs from a supermarket. I made Stu G write on them with a marker pen.

Packaging: While drunk one night, we were talking about how shit the jewel case is (the normal CD case you find everywhere). So we came up with the fulang-sandwich, or alternatively, the fulangchangand-rye. Utilizing two pieces of supermarket loaf, a clear plastic CD slip, and some clingfilm, it is a pioneer in packaging technology.

Photos by Otman Gusbi

Artwork:

Great minds at work: Creating our branded sandwiches. Photos by Jenna Todd.

Press Pack: Well you need a photo, and a little blurb.

fulangchangandi

“A wave of emotion swept over a crowd gathered at Eisenhower Auditorium last night. At one moment, members of the crowd could be seen shouting in laughter. Minutes later, tears were pouring out of their eyes. The event that moved the crowd to such animation was a speech made by fulangchangandi, the founder and President of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of the Ridiculous. Fulang attracted an audience which filled three-fourths of the floor seating in the auditorium. His speech was titled "Is Jesus a Tory or a Socialist?" and Fulang, who is also a Professor of Ridiculousness at Some College, St. David's, Liverpool, said the answer to the question his speech and book title pose is, "Jesus is neither a Tory nor a Socialist - I'm not even sure he would vote in this election."”

fulangchangandi

50% Northern England/50% Southern Hemisphere.

The press photo. Design by Stuart Gardham

Distribution: Ah, um, ahhhh, you can download it at www.last.fm, Or download higher quality mp3s at mediafire.com, Or if you come to a show you might get lucky and get a fulangchangand-rye in the face.

Release party: Now this is one thing we kind of did right. Well, not really… We got to play at really awesome noise rock night, and we threw a few sandwiches around. But anyway we played at a “Rip This Joint” night, at this fantastic venue in Camden called The Constitution. The pub is a pretty normal local bar, with a fantastic outside area right by the canal. Downstairs is a really small little room with a bar that is sometimes used as a venue. This is probably my favourite place to play in London so far, and is definitely the best venue I’ve watched bands at. It’s just so full of energy! The crowd it often literally face to face with the bands the venue is so small! It also helps that the guys who run the “Rip This Joint” book really wicked touring bands.

I think Otman took this one

Scul Hazzards. This was actually at a different night, but shows how close the audience is to the bands.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Shapes and retarded London promoters

Okay so I'll be nice before I turn nasty.

The fulang probably played their tightest ever gig a month or so ago, at a venue in Kingston (in south west London - fucking ages away). Said venue is called Fighting Cocks, and is actually pretty cool. It's got a lovely, standard-shaped room, with a decent wee PA, nice bar staff, a great sound engineer (forgot her name, except that Stu G had a semi crush on her, har har), and good beer. It was the first gig we played where we got to perform with bands that were on the same noisy, abrasive wavelength as us, and it was just a week after we recorded our EP. Brilliant.

The two bands I got to see before having to catch the ridiculously expensive train ride home (5 quid!) were Shapes, and Gin Panic. Gin Panic were pretty cool, but Shapes were just plain ridiculous in a live context! They're exceptionally loud, energetic, inventive, and very very math-rock. They hail from Birmingham, and are really nice guys. About halfway through their set I realised I'd actually done sound for them at the Windmill in Brixton, which was a nice surprise. Anyways, check 'em out. You won't regret it.

Shapes being awesome. Again apologies for the lazy camera phone pic.

Okay so onto the nasty stuff. If your lucky enough to be my friend on Facebook, you would have got a quasi-spam email from me asking you to click "attending" on a fulangchangandi Facebook event page thing, even if there was ABSOLUTELY no chance of actually attending for reals. Let me explain....

Okay so ages ago Nick booked us a gig at a venue called The Tower Tavern. None of us had ever heard of it, but hey it was a gig, and we needed the experience. Anyway I was the designated soundcheck/backline organiser in the band for that gig, so about a week before we were meant to play, I took a deep breath, and prepared myself to talk to "industry" people. To those in the know, it's usually best either get drunk, self-harm, or worse before dealing with these types of people.

So after half an hour of intense self abusive in front of my mirror, I checked The Tower Tavern MySpace to see what time the gig was listed as starting. Noticing that no bands were listed as playing the night we were booked in, I emailed Malcolm Griff, their "booker":

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 13:53:30 +0100
Subject: gig 24th April
From: stu.harwood@gmail.com

To: mgg010@hotmail.com

Hey there,
It's Stu here from fulangchangandi. I was wondering if you had the names of the other bands playing on our gig on Friday the 24th of April, for our promo purposes. I couldn't find them on the myspace. Please let me know,

Cheers


Stu

I received a really long, cut and paste email which included this:

You are required to bring your loyal fanbase/following to the gig - EACH MEMBER OF THE BAND TO SEND OUT INVITES & FLYERS FOR THIS GIG. * You are required to email this contract to ALL other members of your band. Do not do other conflicting gigs near to date to deplete fan base following, as bands should be bringing 15 -25+ people - fan base/following to the gig. Flyers to be emailed IN ADVANCE to your fan-base. Send flyers to each member of your act. (see attached) NOTE : You are also asked to create a Facebook entry invite to this gig, and to email personal invites to this gig (pref. with the gig flyers attached) + send to your fanbase - ie; EACH member of your band to invite people to this gig. Please can you then send us a link to this, so we can check (confirmed guests) ?

I didn't really read this email properly, and emailed him back:
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 14:42:00 +0100 Subject: Re: gig 24th April From: stu.harwood@gmail.com To: mgg010@hotmail.com Yep I read that weeks ago and have actioned it. All I was asking was who else is playing at this gig, as I cannot find the information anywhere. Thanks Stu

He replied:

On 21 Apr 2009, at 15:38, Malcolm Griff wrote:

please can you send us link to your Facebook invite as we cannot find your band on the Facebook search.
regards, MGriff

A Facebook event page? Of course I didn't read a cut and paste email - it's usually a bunch of crap about not breaking gear, bringing people to the venue... I admit though, my bad.. But seriously, not communicating to me properly, and not advertising the gig on MySpace, because I didn't have a Facebook page? Anyway I quickly created a Facebook event page, and hung around on Facebook chat getting people to RSVP to the event. After I'd gotten about 10 people to click "attending," I emailed Malcolm the link.

I still haven't heard anything back from him since. However two days before the gig was meant to happen, I emailed him this:

Subject: Re: gig 24th April
From: stu.harwood@gmail.com

To: mgg010@hotmail.com


Hey there Malcolm,


Given that I haven't heard from you regarding the facebook link, and that we're not listed on your myspace as playing on the 24th of April, I can only assume we're not performing at The Tower Tavern on the 24th of April. Fulangchangandi will not be showing up to perform tomorrow.


I regret that we have to do this, and I do take some responsibility for not posting you our facebook event page until Tuesday night this week.
I hope this hasn't soured relationships between fulangchangandi, it's respective members, and yourself and the bar management. I look forward to dealing with you again, and hopefully it will be more successful next time!

Cheers Stu

The next day (the day before said gig), a get this text from another guy (I've long forgotten his name), basically saying "Hey there, when can you make soundcheck tomorrow?" I replied
"I emailed yesterday and pulled out of the gig."
Immediately I receive a call from the same number. It turns out to be the "chief" band booker, asking why we weren't playing. I explained the situation, and he was pretty understanding and apologetic about the situation, and his colleague's ineptitude. He said the gig was still on offer, but by this stage I was sick of the whole thing and declined.

Phew!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Fulangchangandi Recording, SAE Dalston, 11th-12 of April, 2009

Over Easter fulangchangandi I recorded a 4 track EP at the SAE (School of Audio Engineering) studios in Dalston. This was facilitated by Hugh Harlow, a mate of mine from back in Dunedin, who now works at SAE as a lecturer. Hugh and I go back quite a way; He’s done sound for bands that I’ve played in for years, and we actually worked together for a while at ReFuel doing live sound before he moved to Auckland. Hugh also brought along one of his top students, Matteo Manni to help out which was pretty cool.

Hugh infront of the Neve Genesys

Anyway Hugh needed more experience recording bands on the fancy new equipment at SAE, and he offered me some free recording time so he could clock up his hours on the equipment. This sounded pretty good to me and the guys at the fulang, so we made a plan, and rocked up to the studio on the Saturday. We hired a bunch of backline and other equipment from a company called FX Rentals, who delivered it to our door on.

Anthony and Stu G having "quiet time"

It was really awesome being recorded by Hugh. For a start, he’s an awesome, chilled out guy. Secondly it’s such a relief to be able to do musicy things with people who know you, have heard you play before, and understand how you like to work. We ended up recording 4 tracks completely in just one day! Brilliant!


"Yeah, can you make my drums sound like Lars Ulrich?"

So after recording we sent the tracks to Dale Cotton, a pretty famous sound engineer from Dunedin. I just realised blogger doesn't let you post up sound files so I can't upload anything to here. I don't really wanna stick them up on myspace or last.fm yet, but if anyone can think of a spot I could put them up then let me know! Either that or I can email 'em to yas.

Anthony being all moustachey

Nick likes boxing

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Two bland gigs with the fulang

Hope & Anchor, Highbury, Monday 30 March

Two weeks ago we (fulangchangandi) played at the Hope & Anchor in Highbury. It was the first in a series of gigs we booked for March/April which were designed specifically to get us used to playing with each other, in the low pressure enviroment of London's mid-week, small venue, shit gig circuit. I'd already been to the Hope & Anchor to watch ex-pat band El Schlong play, so I wasn't particularly surprised by our experiences there; H&A are booked by Bugbear Bookings, the same company that books the Dublin Castle. In my experience they're great at booking often shit, completely uncomplimentary bands. However while the stage at the Dublin Castle is actually nice to play on, H&A's is cramped, nasty sounding and generally unpleasant. The other bands were so bad myself, Anthony, and a few other derelicts spent the rest of the evening in the nearby park drinking cheap beer.

The fulang playing/faux-practicing at the Hope & Anchor

The Miller, Borough, Thursday 8 April

Basically the same scenario as above, however it wasn't booked by Bugbear. Didn't stop the other bands being terrible hard-rock bands though. However the sound was a bit better, and the staff there were much nicer than the crappy old H&A. It was also the end of the working week for me so I got absolutely slaughtered.

The next blog will be much more interesting, I promise!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Sam Huxley @ Dublin Castle on shitty Wednesday night

On Wednesday the 18th of March the Sam Huxley band played at The Dublin Castle in Camden. We’d played this venue a couple of months ago (our very first gig infact), and it was pretty good. This time it was a bit crap.

It all started about 2 weeks beforehand when the bands started emailing around about gear. While I wasn’t contributing to the email conversations, I was forwarded most of them from my bandmates. Basically it turned out that no one in the bands had any gear (ourselves included), and if they did have gear, they couldn’t get it to the venue due to temporal and/or financial restraints. Scenes of Nudity (yep that was their name) wanted to hire a bunch of gear, but we didn’t, and neither did the Jonny Cola and the A Grades. We could get enough gear for the bands for free, but it meant that there wouldn’t really be enough time for soundchecks. Naturally we didn’t give a crap about this, though Scenes of Nudity really really wanted to soundcheck, and hire gear. These details were circulated again and again over group emails, with Scenes of Nudity not really reading anyone else’s messages and getting frustrated with everyone’s lack of interest in hiring gear and soundchecking.

By the time it came to the gig, I showed up, the house drum kit was being set up, I asked one of the other bands if I could borrow their snare drum, Anthony’s bass was plugged into a DI onstage, the late-arriving but free guitar amp was borrowed. Cost for Sam Huxley to perform = £0. As we were playing last (and therefore traditionally soundchecking first) and the other bands didn’t have much of a clue what was going on, we enjoyed a nice long soundcheck.

While we were soundchecking, Scenes of Nudity’s hired equipment arrived, which we ignored, and continued working away on our stage levels. By this stage we worked out that front woman from Scenes of Nudity was pretty unfriendly – I figured she was holding some kind of grudge about the previous few weeks email scenario.

So anyway Scenes of Nudity hit the stage first up. All of a sudden the previous two weeks emails made sense. They were shit. They’d obviously never really been onstage much, or ever had any kind of constructive criticism, as they were really fuckin loose, had cringingly bad songs, and looked like plonkers onstage. After doing the polite watching-the-other-bands-on-the-same-bill as you thing for a couple of songs, I felt too uncomfortable and had to leave.

Scenes of Nudity. Apologies for the camera phone photos.

Jonny Cola and the A Grades were a definite step up from Scenes of Nudity, but it’s easy to say that when the bar was previously set so low. They were an average new wave/goth band, with a front man who really liked to get into the overdone theatrical front man feeling lots of pain/his lyrics kind of thing. It was at least vaguely entertaining and interesting, though I must confess I was still in a semi state of shock from Scenes of Nudity.

Jonny Cola and the A Grades

When we got onstage, we played a bit averagely; It was late and Sam’s borrowed guitar amp blew out in the middle of a song. It was a solid state Fender Champ or something similar – bloody useless. Thankfully the frontwoman from Scenes of Nudity lent us her hired amp, and we could carry on the set. While it was really awesome of her to lend us her hired amp, I still found the whole thing kind of funny - especially when we still didn’t offer her any money for it.
Ah what cheap fuckers we are.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Sam Huxley @ Cross Kings

Two Saturdays ago the Sam Huxley band played our second gig in the Treehouse charity/competition series. I thought it was going to be a really crap gig because: A - it was a competition, B - it was at a venue I'd never heard of in a crappy part of London (a seedy part of King's Cross), an C - the band had only rehearsed once since our last show a month (was it two months?) ago at the Dublin Castle.

As it turned out, it was a pretty fun gig. Cross Kings is actually a cool little intimate venue, with a good little sound system and an easy going sound person (can't remember the dude's name at all). Everybody Be Cool were on the bill (who we'd made friends with at our first show) and their drummer Marcus kindly lent me his snare drum (again!). They played really well, and while it's not quite the type of music I'd usually listen to, they do do it with an understated slickness that I appreciate.

Everybody Be Cool

We surprisingly played really well given our total lack of practice. It helps when everyone onstage is kind of taking the piss out of the gig and just having a good time. People in the crowd actually seemed to enjoy it as well which was good. It's funny at gigs how your mood can shift so quickly from before to after playing. Before the gig I was pessimistic, after our set I felt quite good about the whole thing.

Huxley and co.

All the other bands were shit, apart from the show-stealers Jail. According to their Myspace, "Jail are a psychedelic shouty indie-punk band who combine the insane wisdom of Syd Barrett and Mark E Smith with the pop sensibilities of Blur and Pulp and the onstage lunacy of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band." I didn't think they had anything to do with Blur or Pulp personally, instead I thought they sounded like a Joy Division/Velvet Underground tribute band on a fringe comedy circuit. They were AMAZING. Imagine a bunch of 40 yr old ex-herion addicts playing awesome music fronted by a ridiculous character who spends most of his time off-stage rubbing himself against members of the audience. Their song "Circle Line" (about a particularly shit tube line in London) was a definite highlight.

Jon Leone from Jail "working the crowd"


Sam and myself watching Jail in wonderment

Anyway after all the music the judges announced us as the winners of the competition for the night. While I appreciated the complement, I still don't know what that means, and I kinda wish Jail won. They totally had the best crowd response, and played definitely the most original, inspiring music of the evening.

As a last note, thanks heaps to Sami for letting me use her photos for this blog. They're fuckin' wicked, and a million times better than I ever manage.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

2nd London Gig: fulangchangandi @ The Good Ship, Kilburn

fulangchangandi

So on Wednesday night I had my first gig with post-rock/noise (though Matt reckons "instrumental rock") band fulangchangandi. I met Stuart Gardenham and Nick Peel through Gumtree.com, a London-based online classifieds directory. Gumtree is also a good place to look for flats, bar work, random stereo equipment, and all the rest - though there's heaps of scammers, prostitutes etc, as can be expected for a site of this nature based in a massive city like London. Anthony from The Tweeks also plays in this band as well, which makes making the band sound half-way tight easier.


Canyons rockin' it
Anyway so yeah onto the gig. Nick (the "brains" behind the operation) basically set out to book us a few low-profile, low pressure gigs to get us into the swing of playing together live. As far as these types of gigs go, The Good Ship in Kilburn isn't a bad one. It's got a reasonable PA + sound engineer, decent beer (despite they actually sell VB by the bottle. You can imagine my pleasure at putting on a faux Auzzie accent and loudly demanding "a bottle of the green death." Anyway I digress), a house drum kit, and a pretty good atmosphere. On the minus side it's way the fuck out in Kilburn, which is about an hour from anywhere worth living (haha Matt), and the stage is in a weird "orchestra pit" style setup that wigged me out and does funny things to the sound.

At the gig only one other band was any good (apart from us of course!). The other two were plain embarrassingly bad. Emphatica were a really shit punk rock band, and Only Until played a very misguided attempt at instrumental post-rock. Pony. However Canyons were a pretty interesting "textural" noise rock band. At least put it this way, I like them enough that I'd probably go watch a gig of theirs if it was in the weekend, they were playing close to my flat, and it wasn't expensive. So yeah, pretty good.

Anthony and I doing what we do best

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

First London Performance!

So on Sunday I played my first gig in London, at a The Dublin Castle, a wicked venue in Camden. Me and Anthony (from The Tweeks) were backing Sam Huxley, a songwriter originally from Birmingham.

The poster for my "big gig"

The gig (which I did not book) was advertised as a fundraiser for a charity called "Treehouse," who I believe work with autistic kids. It was also run as a "band competition." More on that later.

Whenever I told anyone at work or whatever that I was playing at the Dublin Castle, they were all quick to tell me that it was a particularly iconic London venue, plenty of massive British bands had cut their teeth there etc etc. I'll be honest - it's a great venue. It's got a small-medium sized live room, a good sound system, nice staff, and plenty of amazing posters on the wall of ubiquitous English bands who had played there in the past (Madness, Amy Winehouse, The Specials etc etc).

However I do really doubt that these guys were playing "charity band competitions" in their hayday. Now I haven't played at a band competition since I was 21, but nothing has really changed: Mismatched lineups, weird vibes between the bands, and drunk judges. This particular competition's judge was the A&R man who signed Blur. Sounds impressive - it's not really. Basically this dude got on the mic after each band played, spouted off 2-3 minutes of rubbish which got progressively less comprehensible as the night wore on. By the end of the gig he was shitfaced, and I swear taking a piss for the majority of the last band's set (who in the end won).

I personally didn't give a shit about the whole competition thing, I was just stoked to be (finally) playing in London. It definately wasn't the ideal situation, but it's a start. Hopefully The Tweeks will be over shortly!

"Missing Andy" soundchecking. This self-described Urban/Indie/Punk group ended up taking out the competiton. They all had matching mohawks.


I'm not sure if I should take this photo down, but it is of a certain songwriter I play with hooking up with his workmate. Thanks to Anthony for such great photography.