Well, let's call it a "mini tour". I'm off with the Paquin boys tomorrow playing Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. We've just released the first single "GUNN" off our new EP, which I guess we'll put out in the autumn next year.
Check out the amazing poster Lucinda did for us!
Here's the new tune. Hope to catch up with y'all soon!
A couple of weeks ago Proton Beast recorded a new single, Tetris. For me this tune showcases a shift in interest tonally for the band: Digital drum sounds (my new (ancient) Simmons MTX 9), guitar arpeggiators, and vocoders.
It was recorded, mixed and produced by Edward Castelow in his space at The Lab in Mount Eden. I thought he did a pretty awesome job. Have a listen.
In other news, we're going on tour this week. Here's the tour poster for the South Island. Come down for a brew!
No, I haven't done a Tom Healy and started sleeping with my instrument. I had a snare bed cut into my new drum shell by old-school drum kit guru Bruce King out in Waterview, Auckland.
Bruce King in his amazing workshop.
The snare bed is a groove on the "snare side" drum rim, which allows the wires to be pressed up against the drum. The concept is explained best at this post on drummagazine.com. I don't really have any experience with this kind of thing, so I decided to have it cut out by a professional.
Bruce King is this really awesome, friendly, knowledgeable dude who's been a drum maker for years. Everyone I ask in Auckland about this project says "ask Bruce". He was genuinely interested in my ideas, and had some great advice. He asked about my playing style and how I wanted the drum to sound, and had the bed cut accordlingly. Awesome!
So I've been wanting a clear acrylic drum kit for ages. Problem being, the old ones are prone to cracks and splits, the new ones are ridiculously expensive (approx. $5K US new) and hard to find in NZ. Now I've had a saved Trademe search going for ages for one of these, and a couple of weeks ago some un-drilled, clear, RCA Starlite shells popped up. $650, and a trip to Onehunga later, those babies were mine!
So now I thought I'd document the process of putting this thing together for the hell of it.
The shells. I find myself tripping over them due their glassiness.
It's going to be a mission getting this thing made up. Since this is going to be my "dream kit" to last me years, I 'm going to totally go to town on buying decent quality, blingin' looking hardware. This means importing from the US, at this stage I'm thinking from The Precision Drum Company. Then comes drilling, assembly, skinning, etc.
So you dudes will know I'm on extended leave from Facebook. I found myself getting more and more bored by the whole thing, but paradoxically more and more addicted. So I pulled the pin. It's awesome.
In other news a couple of weeks ago Ryan and I headed down to Wellington for Beervana. We were joined by a few other likely characters and spent the better part of four hours sipping beer and slurping oysters. Good times. If you haven't Beervana'd before - I'd totally recommend going next year. You don't have to be a beer geek to enjoy yourself either, just an open mind will suffice.
In celebration of NZ Music Month, seminal Auckland doom band Proton Beast have released their cover of Huey Lewis and the News' "Hip To Be Square".
Originally destined to be on their debut EP cassette 2000 And Blood, the band decided it was best to reserve the cover for a special release. It was felt by the band that "Hip To Be Square" would confuse and water down the apocalyptic themes forged in the EP.
"But also for every "Doing It All for My Baby" (a delightful ode about monogamy and satisfaction) there's a barn-banning blues scorcher number like "Whole Lotta Lovin'," and side one (or, on the CD, song number five) ends with the masterpiece "Hip to Be Square" (which, ironically, is accompanied by the band's only bad video), the key song on Fore!; which is a rollicking ode to conformity that's so catchy most people probably don't even listen to the lines, but with Chris Hayes blasting guitar and the terrific keyboard playing who cares? And it's not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends - it's also a personal statement about the band itself, though of what I'm not quite sure." - Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of going on tour as Simon Comber's drummer, supporting The Verlaines, and Crow. We played one night in Auckland, two nights in Sydney, and two in Melbourne.
The tour was mostly organised by Peter Fenton from Crow. I thought he did a pretty solid job, given the pretty difficult task of promoting and running around after The Verlaines, along with organising his own band.
The Verlaines were a bit shaky on the first couple of shows, but I was startled at how good they sounded by the end of the tour. Graeme Downes still has to be one of the greatest live musicians I've ever seen live.
I relished the opportunity to hang out in the boho suburbs of Newtown and Enmore in Sydney, I'd not given Sydney much of a chance in the past, but it really does have some pretty nice spots.
Thanks to Peter, Simon, and The Verlaines for having me along!
Peter doing his solo thing at the Red Rattler, Sydney. The turnout for this show was pretty slim.
Our amazing accommodation in Sydney, courtesy of Peter's sister. Wow! LOOK AT IT.
Time out: Graeme and Stephen talking shit in Sydney.
Simon Comber's band performing at Spectrum, Sydney.
The Verlaines, Spectrum.
Yah Yah's, Melbourne. This was by far my favourite show of the tour. All the bands played excellently, and there was a really great crowd.
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne. Another great show.
A couple of weeks ago me and Westley put down the majority of the Proton Beast EP, 2000 & Blood. As of Thursday, we're off on tour to promote its release. Hopefully the cassette tapes we got made up will have arrived in time for our tour. In the meantime, the EP is right now as a "pay as you like" download on bandcamp.
Our mate Mookie made up these sweet posters.
Our genius friend Alex Bennett recorded it all live (no overdubs) on 8-track reel to reel. It had to be one of the most satisfying recording experiences I've had, and I'm pretty damn stoked with the results.
Alex helping build the guitar stack.
The 8 track.
Anywho it'd be awesome to see everyone over the next week or two, so pop down and say hi.
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of opening for Beirut with Tono and the Finance Company. It was amazing getting to perform at the beautiful Wellington Opera House, and the legendary Auckland Powerstation.
Initially I wasn't into Beirut's music, but they're absolute monsters live, and really delivered the songs beautifully.
Many thanks to Matt Crawley, who organised the whole thing.
A crappy photo I took on my camera. There's some decent photos of us on facebook.
Also in other news, Tono's released the first single, "Skinny Jeans" off the new album. Check it out here. I hope y'all like it.