Sunday, 13 December 2015

Weapons of choice.

Sorry for the lack of posting and finishing tunes.

This is mostly due to us finishing off and releasing the Hair Thieves EP7 cracking on with the new Hair Thieves EP.  Which I can announce will be called EP8.  This is obviously my main priority.

I have also released an EP of instrumentals under the name Sineglider and a couple of other instrumental tunes.

I have been chipping away on Sweet Lemon Mechanism, Sour Grapes, Tabinad and Persephone, but not enough progress has been made to be able to let anyone hear any of it.

Other than that, I have been in gear acquisition mode.  Having bought a couple of new midi controllers (Ebay is great for getting things cheap) and Native Instuments Komplete collection.

So a lot of time has been spent just playing and learning new tools and soft synths and getting to grips with it all.

This now leaves me in the position of having a plethora of synths and multi versions of various types of effects.    So it is now time to make a decision on a subset of tools that I will use on the album.

I really want to limit myself to a few soft synths and effects, to stop me spending days playing with multiple things to find the perfect sound.

Luckily,  Cubase allows me to create effects subsets.  I have one which contains just the plugins E and I have in common, for use on Hair Thieves tracks.   I plan to do the same for this album.  Choose my weapons of choice, so to speak.

So yes, progress is being made but not at a speed I'm happy with.  I need to ramp it up over the coming months.

This is probably my last post on the album for 2015.  

2016 will see the release of "A Winters Memory", which was written as part of 2015's Fawm competition.   So I really should release it before Fawm starts in February 2016.  

Yes I will be taking part in Fawm again next year.

So wishing you all a very Happy Christmas / holiday season and a productive and happy 2016.

Monday, 7 December 2015

A Musical Journey - Part 5 - Now

This is the final part of my musical journey.

Bands I've got into listening in the past 5 years.  So this should be short.   I'm still listening to lots of music from the '80s (a lot of XTC as I write this).  Still listening to the bands I've got into during the '00s.

First off is Of Monsters and Men.

E (guitarist in The Hair Thieves) got me into these and dragged me along to see them last month.

Of Monsters and Men - Crystals

Agnes Obel - Someone posted a link to one of her tunes on Facebook.  I fell in love with her voice and bought both the albums that day.

Agnes Obel - The Curse.

Passenger - I saw Passenger support Ed Sheeran a few years ago (pre Let her go fame).  I really enjoyed his set and bought a couple of his albums the next day.   One of my favourite recent lyricists.

Passenger - I Hate

Paper Aeroplanes - I was searching for instructions on making Paper Aeroplanes and google linked to a torrent by this band, so I downloaded it.  I ended up going to their Bandcamp site and buying their entire back catalogue.

Paper Aeroplanes - Same Mistake.

Rue Royale - Another band I discovered from a Facebook post.   Another band I went and bought their back catlogue off bandcamp.

Rue Royale - Set out to Discover.

Erica Nockalls - I went to a little day festival in Bishops Castle a couple of years ago.  Miles Hunt and Erica from the Wonder Stuff were in the audience.   One of my friends mentioned that Erica had just released her first solo album.  When I got home I googled it and found the Mannikin video. I thought it was totally bonkers so bought the album.

I was lucky to photograph her when she supported P.I.L a couple of year ago.

Erica Nockalls - Mannikin.

Ferocious Dog - I have had the pleasure of photographing these at several Farmer Phil's festivals.  A great live band.

Ferocious Dog - Criminal Justice.

Right that will do you for now, other than that lot, Royal Blood, Hozier and collaborations like Storm Corrosion mostly I've been listening to more unsigned music from bandcamp.

So now we are up to date with my musical journey.  You can probably see why my music output is quite ecelctic.

Normal blogging of the album and lack of progress will now resume.   I may do the occasional blog on a song though.

I will leave you with some Storm Corrosion though.

Storm Corrosion - Drag Ropes

Monday, 12 October 2015

Musical Direction

As part of the musical duo The Hair Thieves, we break one of the first marketing rules for musicians.  That is to define your style, so people will have some frame of reference to the type of music you play. 

e.g.  Just saying "Hey,  buy our new CD" means most people wouldn't click the link, since they don't know what type of music you play or whether it is in a genre they would listen to.

Changing it to "Hey, if you like <insert band name or genre>, you will love our new CD".  Is a bit better, (probably not perfect.  still sounds like you are selling something).

With the Hair Thieves, we let the song evovle fairly naturally, so it could end up a rock track or an ambient instrumental, or a punk track, or a pop track.   Sometimes we decide to write a song in a specific genre. E.g. On our forthcoming EP we specifically decided up front to write a chord repeating post rock style instrumental.  Whereas the rest of the EP features a pop song, and orchestral song  and song using royalty free samples from films.

So where does that leave this solo project?   Given most of the songs are abandoned Hair Thieves songs?

As I mentioned a while ago, I have resurected two (pre E joining The Hair Thieves) very old tunes, Sour Grapes and Sweet Lemon mechanism. These are from around 2005.   Though E did at one point record a guitar part for Sour Grapes.

These are quite electronic for parts of the songs.  So at the moment, I'm thinking the album will have more electronic drums and more synths (given I have loads of synths in Cubase that I have hardly used) and possibly less guitars.

I'm also wanting to make this album sound less like The Hair Thieves, which is hard given our eclectic style.

A few weeks ago, E and I met and went through the plugins that we have in common.

Often when tracking or mixing, one of us will use a virtual instrument or effect the other doesn't have, which makes passing files around sometimes hard.

So we have now standardised the virtual instruments and effects we have in common.  To lessen the issue in future.

This means I have a big list of virtual instruments and effects that probably won't be used on future Hair Thieves recordings.

That means I have a set of tools to experiment with for this solo album.

A Winter's memory, which will be the first release, may be a bit of a departure and not representative of the whole album.    It is more a straight up piano based indie pop tune.

I am thinking it might not even be on the album?  We shall see.

Of course, if this album becomes more electronic and less guitars, the chances of me playing any of this live becomes more remote.

So I'd expect some acoustic guitar b-side versions to be recorded as well.

So with Sour Grapes almost finished, Sweet Lemon mechanism on the go, I have gone back to reworking Persephone to be more electronic and I'm very happy with its new direction.

A Winter's memory is finished and I'm in the midst of creating an animated video for it.

So as soon as that is finished and I have a b-side for it (probably Tabanid), it will be released.

So that is the state of the album.  A vision is forming for it.

In other news.

The Hair Thieves EP7 is finished other than artwork.  So should  be released sometime in late November / early December.

I have also been recording some instrumentals for release under the name of Sineglider.  This is more ambient or funky electronic instrumentals.   With a loose Elite Dangerous theme (given I was playing a lot of the game, when this was written earlier in the year).

The first four track EP of this music, will be released on Friday 16th October 2015.   It will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc, or can be ordered from my Sineglider bandcamp page.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Live at last!

copyright Tracy Breeze

Copyright Ashley John Roberts

copyright Patrick Tighe

copyright Patrick Tighe

Well, it makes a chage for me to be in front of the camera, rather than my usual prefered place behind it.

So on Thursday, as a warm up, I did a twenty minute stint at the Open Mic at the Dolphin pub in Shrewsbury (top photo).

I was a lot less nervous than I used to be, when I played live regularly.   I was worried that this was a bad sign.   But the sound was good and I didn't play too shabbily.   Which was a relief.

On Saturday (Sept 5th), I did a thirty minute set at the Castle Grounds in Bridgnorth, as part of Bridgnorth music festival.

It was a lovely day, with a decent size crowd.  I had a few technical issues, with one of the leads and was attacked during one song, by a fly that tried crawling up my nose, but other than that it seemed to go ok.

I played a few Hair Thieves tunes (Shorewards, 21st CSM, Bad Consumer) and some covers (by Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Stiff Little Fingers, Porcupine Tree).

Some people said some nice things about the performance.

So hopefully, it won't be too long before I play live again and hopefully incorporate some new material.



Monday, 20 July 2015


I have my first solo set booked for September 5th at The Castle Grounds in Bridgnorth.

It is a free gig. 

I am playing a 30 minute set from 2:40 to 3:10.

Not sure how much solo material I will play, hopefully something.   So there will be some new cover versions (which I'm working on) and possibly one or two Hair Thieves tunes.

So that is a bit scary, given I haven't played live in two years, and very exciting.  So in August, I will try and play a couple open mic nights to get some practice in.

A winter's memory has now been recorded and is ready for mixing.  Given this is a piano led song, I don't think I can pull it off on guitar with any real justice.  Though I will at least try and work out an arrangement for guitar and try it.

Still not decided on the b-side yet.

The plan is to release it to coincide with the gig, so I suppose, the b-side should be something I play at the gig.  I'll decide in the next day or two.

Exciting times!



Saturday, 4 July 2015

A Winter's Memory - A Mid Summers Problem

It has been a couple of months since the last update.

A lot of the time I have had for music has been taken up with finishing the writing for the new Hair Thieves EP.   This has now been done.  Though I have one song to mix for the EP, we are currently having a couple months off, due to festival season and house moves.

So I am hoping to finish A Winter's Memory this month.  Musically and lyrically it is complete.  I need to add one more part to the arrangement.  Re-record the vocals and it is ready for mixing. 

It isn't a million miles away from the demo. 

I have tweaked the piano, to add some variation.  Changed the tempo a bit.  Added a middle 16 (which is where I need the new part).  Just noticed the demo doesn't have the drop d guitar part in the choruses.  It was recorded before the bass part, so it should have been on the demo.

I was also hoping to re-record Tabanid, as the b-side, but I trawled all my songwriting notes and cannot find any notes on how to play it, nor the lyrics, so that does mean me revisiting the song from scratch. 

Essentially, I can see me ditching the music and starting again musically with this. 

So I am in two minds whether to ditch Tabanid for the moment and use Sour Grapes and Sweet Lemon Mechanism for the extra tracks on this release.

My thinking for that is also that Sweet lemon mechanism is quite electronic which at the moment might be out of place on an album.  But without finishing more of the album, it is too early to say.

So that is a problem for another day.

In the meantime, (whist looking for the Tabanid tab) I came across a set of chords. So I have started writing a new song.   So seventeen tunes on the go.  I may be sometime.

Friday, 3 July 2015

A Musical Journey - Part 4 The 2000s - Grown up

This post and the subsequent post will be shorter than the last, purely since I have an idea to do a weekly discuss a song a like. But I need to finish this post and an up to date one first.

In 2000. I turned 30.   Now if the press is to believed, in your thirties, your taste in music stagnates.

In my case, it was in my thirties, listening to both music from my youth and listening to non mainstream music.

Two bands helped me achieve this.  The first was a support band who blew me away. I can remember the gig, but can't remember who they supported.  It is a rare support band, that makes me go and buy their merchandise, let along a copy of all their releases they were selling that day.

The band in question was Oceansize.

 Music for a nurse

Women who love me who love drugs.

They quickly became and are still my favourite band, (though they are sadly no more).

The second band, came about due to a change in  job in 2002, where I went from coding embedded systems in Gas meters, to a rock no roll job, writing software to control live music mixing desks and PA systems.

It was during this time I was introduced to Porcupine Tree.

Arriving somewhere but not here.

Blackest Eyes

I was lucky enough to spend a day with their sound engineer on the Fear of the Blank Planet tour (when Amplifier supported).  

So this decidedly put me musically on a more prog orientated mode.   Saying that there are not many more prog bands I actually like other than Marillion (whom I'm liked since '84). 

The Mars Volta

Since you've been wrong

and The Pineapple Thief - 

All the wars.

The other thing I started when I was thirty was releasing my own music.

Shorewards (from EP2).

So I was spending more time messing with my own music than actually listening to music.  Plus I stopped watching MTV as it declined from music television to dull reality TV channel.

So yes my musical tastes veered away from mainstream and more towards.

The final piece of the puzzle, I suppose, we regard to my thirties, was my interest in photography.  I was going to lots of local gigs in pubs and clubs (as opposed to big acts).  So I was listening to a lot of unsigned music.

Recording my own music, meant I was hanging out a lot on websites like and soundclick. Bands like Red Delicious (whom I was listening to just the other day) were quite big in the unsigned world back in the day.

Red Delicious -Untouched

Obviously, there were more mainstream bands I got into like Biffy Clyro and Elliot Smith.


Elliot Smith - Between the bars

Biffy Clyro - Living is a problem because everything dies.

Goldfrapp - Strict Machine.

Goldfrapp supported Duran Duran.  Another band I went out the next day and bought their back catalog.

So that is the Naughties.  I was still listening to the things I loved in the the '80s and actually, still going to see some of them live.  

I will leave you with this tune from 2000, which is one of my favourite tunes of all time.

A Perfect Circle - Judith.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Musical Journey - Part 3 The 1990s - The University Years.

1990 was the year I (co) wrote my first song (think it was called "to your heart", with my friend Tats Mcgee, who has no recollection of the song.  I believe we wrote it on keyboards) and discovered I could record myself playing on cassette recorder (badly).  It was then I started compiling ideas for songs, some bits of which might be on the new album.

I have some jams on tape from this period with Tats on drums. Including a ropey version of the above Faith no more track!

In 1990, I finally left home and  moved to Bristol to go to university.  I spent two years there before going on to complete my degree at Coventry.  So I ended up doing three courses over 5+ years.

University for me was possibly the best time of my life.  Living away from home, I met some people who would be friends for life.  I was in several bands.  I was president of the Rock Society for a while. 

I studied hard and played hard and had the best time.

Bristol was ideally suited for me being at the M5 / M4 junction.  Within easy reach of London, Cardiff and Birmingham.  I blew all the money I'd saved in the first term going to gigs in said places.

Including Queensryche twice in a week. (Cardiff and London).

Living Colour

Blur (in the student Union).

Kings X (still one of the best gigs I have ever seen)

Plus bands like Extreme, Billy Idol, Guns and Roses and loads more.

I had a couple of attempts at forming bands in Bristol.  None never made it to gigging.  Which was a shame.

Musically, my tastes was still on the rock side.   One of the guys I shared a house with got me more into Hendrix.  But other than that, the only real band I really got into, after seeing them support Guns n Roses was Nine Inch Nails.

In 1992 I moved to Coventry to finish my degree and do a Masters.  Soon I was in a band called "Reheasal For Murder", with  four wonderful friends.   We often rehearsed without cymbals.  Which made it hard!!!

Grunge was in at the time.  I was already a fan of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden

Pearl Jam


Alice in Chains

plus we did some Rage against the machine and possibly some nirvana.  Fun times.

I did get to see Soundgarden and Alice in Chains live (both at Rock City). Never got to see Pearl Jam.

Coventry was good was getting to gigs, in Nottingham, Birmingham and London.

The highlight of the week was the rock disco.  Where (when I still had hair) we would dance along to tunes like this

X-CNN was one of the bands who played the student union.   (We didn't bothering going to see Oasis after seeing them earlier in the day on the telly).

Plus one of my favourite tunes / bands of the 1990s.  Therapy.

and The Wildhearts.

though I was also a massive Honeycrack fan.

Die Cheerleader

I saw Die Cheerleader live supporting Terrorvision in a pub in Coventry.  The singer accused me of trying to chat her up.  I don't think I was.  Honest!

So in late 1995 I finally finished at university and took two months off back in Cornwall, before moving back to Coventry to look for a job.

Ending up in Telford, writing software for Gas and Electricity meters.  Not very rock n roll.  Though there was a bunch of rockers working there, who even almost twenty years later, I still see at (or go to with) gigs.

The late '90s for me musically, was more about industrial rock.

Nine Inch  Nails

Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson

A lot of the rock I was listening to was due to having cable TV and being able to see the videos on the telly.

Obviously the mid 1990's was the time of  Britpop.   To be honest, a lot of it passed me by.   I kept out of the Blur v Oasis debate, listening to neither.  Though recently I have gone back and listened to Blur a bit.  I still don't get Oasis.

The only two / three bands I really got into at the time was


Mansun are in my top three favourite bands of all time. I was lucky to be able to do  a Mansun cover version for last years tribute album for the Mansun Convention.




But to be honest I was starting to get bored a bit with rock.  Finding solace in the old music I listened to in the '80s.  The Howard Jones, Tears for Fears, Suzanne Vega, Hazel O' Connor, Stiff Little Fingers, All about Eve etc.

Anyway that is for the naughties to the present day.  Which will be the subject of another blog.

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Musical Journey - Part 2 The 1980s - Part 3

This blog will be my musical highlights of 1986-1990.  Basically, my time entering the 6th form until I left school.

1986 was the year for me when everything changed in my musical landscape.

1985 has seen me buy Iron Maiden's "Live after death" album on a whim.

In 1986 I finished school and after deciding not to try for art school, I decided to go back to the 6th form and do some A levels.

This song instantly send me back to my time in the 6th form.  Funny how music can do that!

Eurthymics - Thorn in my side.

In 1986 Maiden released the Somewhere in Time tour.   When I started in the 6th form I was reunited with Ian, a friend from infant school.   He was into metal and when he found out I had "Live After Death", said about Iron Maiden playing locally in a few weeks. So a ticket was purchased.

Iron Maiden - Wasted Years

 It was during the guitar solo on this tour and them playing "Walking in the air" that I decided I wanted to play the guitar.   I went home and asked for a guitar for Christmas.

Ian then spent the next few months plying me with metal vinyl to see what I liked.

Metallica - Master of Puppets

Anthrax - Madhouse

and Queensryche - I will remember

Def Leppard - Photograph

1986 was the start of hair rock with Europe and Bon Jovi!

Bon Jovi - You give Love a bad name

Christmas 1986 my parents bought me my first guitar and amp.  Having never played the guitar, I promptly picked it up, played with the whammy bar and snapped a string.  I then had to wait three days for the local music shop to open so I could buy new strings.  Not a good start to my musical career.

I did work out how to play the bassline to Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" from ear

So that was it, I learnt to play the guitar by ear and by other guitarists at school showing me things on the acoustic that was in the 6th form common room.

In 1987, I saved up my babysitting and paperround money and bought the first of many guitars.   A Marlin Sidewinder in Candy Apple Red.  For a while I had a Marshall amp too.  (which I didn't like)

It was a thing of beauty at £150 in the local music shop.  I still have this guitar!  It sounds quite bad, the electrics need some working on, but the neck is nice to play on it.

So the rest of the '80 was my rise in love of metal, as well as still following all the bands (still going) that I always liked before, Howard Jones, Duran Duran, Hazel O' Connor, Teard for Fears.

As well as getting into other pop things.

Suzanne Vega - Small Blue Thing

But rock was where I was heading.  Thrash metal was what I was learning to play the guitar with.

1987 saw me travel for the weekend from my native Cornwall up to Donnington for my first ever festival.

Bon Jovi headlined, with Dio, Metallica, Anthrax, W.A.S.P and Cinderella

That was it for me, live music was a big love.  I used to get Kerrang on a Wednesday, see who was playing live in London at the weekend, then occasionally jump on a train on a Saturday morning and come back on a Sunday.

Managed to see Queensryche more times than probably any other band. 

Queensryche - I don't believe in love.

Exodus - Toxic Waltz

Testament - Practice What you Preach

Megadeth - Holy Wars

There was a definte change in music from 1986 - 1990.  Stock, Aitkin and Waterman, seemed to be filling the charts up with their brand of pop.  (Some of it good, some dreadful).  And the rise of electronic dance music / house music which really wasn't my cup of tea.

Mel and Kim - Respectable

Black Box - Ride on Time

There was some great pop songs in  the late '80s though.

Sam Brown - Stop

The Bangles - Eternal Flame

The Pogues- A fairytale in New york

I could give loads of great music in the '80s. But this blog has gone on far too long.

The '90s / 00's and todays music should be shorter in length.   The '80s were the formative years, since then the styles haven't changed much just the bands.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Sweet Lemons

Ok it has been a month since my last blog update.  I was hoping to get out the next blog in the ongoing musical history, but they are time consuming and I haven't had big blocks of time to do one.

So I will start the next one and save it as draft and chip away at it.

The last month, we reconvened on recording the new Hair Thieves EP.  So a lot of the time I have been doing music has been recording and writing for that.

As far as this project is going, I have gone through my archives and songs from this years FAWM and realised I have sixteen potential songs to work on for this album.   Most of it is music only, only a couple have completed lyrics.

So I have been playing with a pair of old Hair Thieves tunes, called "Sour Grapes" and "Sweet Lemon Mechanism".  These were going to be the start of the previously planned Hair Thieves album, but when we decided not to do an album, but only do EPs, they were dropped.

So I am trying to ressurect them.

The main problem with them, is in some cases, I don't have the VST instruments (like Groove Agent 2 plus some others) nor the effects pedals (Digitech Whammy) to rerecord sections of it again.

So I am struggling with getting new grooves I like to work with the tracks.   Stupidly, in the case of Groove Agent 2, I recorded the audio output of it and not the midi.   I have Groove Agent 4, but that doesn't have the kits from previous versions.

I think I have decided on the first tune to release.  "Persephone" was planned to be the first track released, but I have decided that "A Winters Memory" will be the first tune, since I think I have an idea brewing for the video.

This will be backed by a track called "Tabanid" which is another rejected Hair Thieves tune, with no chours.  This was almost finished, but I aim to re-record it in a slightly different style for this release.

So I am chipping away at this project, though not as fast as i would like.

More soon.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Fawm - Week 4 and Round up

Fawm ( is an annual event to write an album in a month.  The idea is to write 14 songs in 28 days and release an album.

Week 4's plan was to wrap up the songs I had been working on and not necessarily write any new ones.  I'd always said I would be happy with nine songs.  So in order to not stress too much,

I ended up with ten songs / lyrics at the end of the month.  So I am more than happy.

On the Sunday of week four, I did my last skirmish.  Another title I really wasn't interested in writing lyrics for.

The title was "Because of You".

Many words are spoken in jest
Because of you, I've feelings repressed
Can't state no fact
Without a third world war
Can't critique, just silence
Like I never was born

And banging my head
Against the bedroom wall
Feels less painful than
talking to you some more
Because of you, our happiness left
Because of you our lives in a mess

Many a lip bite, blood tastes raw
Because of you, my battles not won
Can't air a grivence
Without a denial of facr
Can't shout, just silence
like I'm caught in a trap.

And Banging my head
Against the bedroom wall
Feels less painful than
talking to you some more
Because of you, our happiness left
Because of you our lives in a mess

And my conscious is clear
This is not about sides
I'm always wrong and
You're always right
Oblivious to my feelings
Oblivious to my plight
And you won't heed this warning
as I sing this tonight

Bonus bridge.
Obnoxious and rude
Trumps the meek and hallow
A bully's no better than
the sh*t that you prattle
It's not a sign of strength
But a sign of the fear
Pity for you
and the things that you do

Now I like some of the lines, but this is probably not a keeper.  So I didn't bother writing music for it.

However, in week three, we (The Hair Thieves) started writing a new track.    This week, I have put some guitar to it and some lyrics.

The song is called "Love is Overdrive" and it is probably the most pop song we have ever recorded.

The vocals, need a lot of work and the lyrics need tweaking, but it is getting there.  (and nope it don't rhyme).

Been torched by love
Burnt and scarred
Drawn to a flame
My hearts desire
Never learnt
Always back for more

Heart on my sleeve
Love lies scorned
Cos when I fall
I fall so fast
Never learnt
Runing back for more

Love's infectious
Love is overdrive
Love is infectious
Love is over drive

Played the long game
Battles fought
Lost more than won
My soul devoured
Never learnt
Heading back for more

Love's infectious
Love is overdrive
Love is infectious
Love is over drive

Bridge / breakdown

Love's infectious
Love is overdrive
Love is infectious
Love is over drive
Love's infectious
Love is overdrive
Love is infectious
Love is over drive

The final song I worked on, was the one I started in week one.

It has ended up with a working title of "Beside Me".

Rivers of blind emotions
Tearing strips to the core
Lead me down, don't fear the dark might see
wilt and whither, the damage taught.

When all things pass
and dies are cast
Will you still walk beside me
When dreams are sold
and battles fought
Will you still walk beside me

Drown me in dark seductions
Smother me in warmer shores
Lead me down, don't fear that god might find
Things of value are seldom bought.

When all things pass
and dies are cast
Will you still walk beside me
When dreams are sold
and battles fought
Will you still walk beside me

I think it needs another verse and bridge to be written.  A better chorus (musically sped up) .  The vocals are terrible on this.  It was essentially a couple of takes and I haven't worked out the melody totally yet, (nor practiced it).  So it is all over the place. 

As someone else pointed out, the rhyming scheme for this is across verses, so the line ones rhyme etc and the rhymes are not within the verse.

Like most things done in great haste, I can't remember if this is intentional or not.  (it probably isn't).

But it is a promising start.

Finally, if you have been following this blog, you may recall, that I wrote a one minute instrumental for an Exquisite Corpse challenge.

Since the month is over, I will present the demo of it here.   I'm still waiting for the final piece to go live.  I will blog that when it turns up.

So that is it for Fawm 2015.  Ten songs in varying states of completion.

I might post a blog next week, with all eight demos that have music. 

I have really enjoyed this month.  It has been very productive.  I can see me  finishing up the three Sineglider tunes.  Both the Hair Thieves songs and probably two of the others for my solo project, (unless E wants them as Hair Thieves songs).

I am looking forward to Fawm in 2016.  I am going to go for the 14 songs.  You heard it here first!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Fawm - Week 3 Summary

Fawm ( is an annual event to write an album in a month.  The idea is to write 14 songs in 28 days and release an album.

Musically a mixed bag this week.

I decided I didn't want to put any effort into writing music for Sunday's skirmish, entitled "I found my happy place".  

I decided I would try and finish the song I started in week one.  The one in 5/4 time.  So I have spent some time re-working it, so now the verse music is the chorus and the chorus the verse.

As a demo I am happy with it.  I just need to write some lyrics for it.  I tried yesterday, but my muse wasn't having none of it.

During the week, I met up with Ian, the other half of The Hair Thieves.  He had started working on a synthy instrumental for Ep7.  Even though we already have a instrumental for the EP.

I had a listen.  There was a part of it, which was screaming out CHORUS to me.  So we re-arranged and recorded a few bits, until we had a proper song structure.

I have worked out a vocal melody.  Added some guitars since.  I just need to write some lyrics. Again, I tried yesterday, but my muse wasn't having none of it.

I have however started a new Sineglider instrumental.  Called Onionhead.

It still needs a bit of work, possibly a lead guitar, more synths, in the intro / breakdown.

But I'm quite pleased with it so far.  A bit more upbeat than my normal songs.   Plus I got to use the new bass guitar I bought during the week.

So current state of play.
6 songs Demo'd
1 set of lyrics I probably won't use.
2 songs with music needing some lyrics.
1 week to go, until FAWM finishes.

There is a skirmish, I believe tonight.  So I will have a go at that.

At the start of the month, I was never really planning to have fourteen songs at the end of it.  I believed I would get at least six and really would be happy if I could get nine songs done.

So with a week to go, I am very close to achieving that.

Then I can concentrate back on which of these new songs will make it on the solo album and crack on and get the first single out sometime before the summer.

I want to get the album released before March 2016.  So much more work to be done (as well as Hair Thieves EP7 / EP8 to complete and a Sineglider EP in 2015).

I'm excited.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Fawm - Week 2 Summary. (and a bit of week 3)

Fawm ( is an annual event to write an album in a month.  The idea is to write 14 songs in 28 days and release an album.

Mixed week this week.  I was happy to have done three songs in the first week (after only managing six during Fawm 2014).

So week 2 should have started with an instrumental on Sunday morning as part of an exquisite corpse game (each participant writes a one minute tune.  The first person writes there and sends the last 10 seconds to the next person, who carries on the tune. etc.  When the last person finishes, it is all stitched back together into one long song).

However, the person in the list before me, didn't manage to do theres.

So on sunday, I finished the demo for "A Winter's Memory".

Starting to really like this.  There is more guitar parts recorded than ended up here. I will re-work this after February.

On the sunday there was another skirmish.  This time the title was "The Devil's Highway".

So I wrote a quick song about my love affair with the M6 motorway.  So glad I don't have to drive down that each day (like I did for 5 years).

Originally, I wasn't going to put this to music, buy some people on the forum said they wanted to hear it.  So here it is.  The demo was made using EZKeys to come up with something really quick.

I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  Not sure if I will re-record this for use later.  Maybe it will be a b-side or bonus track.

During the rest of the week, I struggled with starting a song from the drums upwards.  Spent far too many hours trying to import some .rex files into Cubase.  Cubase seems intent on importing files that are in 5/4 or 7/4 in 4/4 time, regardless as to what the song's time signature is.

After several nights of trying, I gave up and went back to using Ezdrummer.  

On Friday, I was told to start the Exquisite corpse song.  So in three hours, I wrote a one minute instrumental called "Lorana".   I have sent the last ten seconds off to a chap called Tim in Australia to carry it on.

Obviously, I can't yet spoil it for everyone, by posting the song.  I will post the song once the Exquisite corpse is finished.
So Saturday I was home alone.  I re-recorded the devil's highway vocals, since the original second verse didn't work for the melody I wrote for verse one.  Added the music to the bridge (which I thinks needs an instrumental adding before the final chorus.

I then had a go at the failed song.  So far I have some chorus music in 5/4 time, with a guitar riff.  I then proceeded to write a verse chord progression in 4/4 time, that seems far too happy.

So this needs re-working further and lyrics writing.

So the scores at the end of the week are five songs demoed.   One song on the go.

So this is the start of week 3,  I wrote some cliched lyrics for a skirmish entitled "I found my happy place".

Really insistant that I won't write music for this and will use the rest of the time to finish the other song in progress.

"I found my happy place".

In a world of fears and regrets
Wars and famine
Children distressed
All of the illness
and all the duress
I've found my happy place

In a world where we ain't equal
race and creed
hatred begats evil
All of the pain
And all of the suffering
I've found my happy place

In you, I see a shining sun
In you, I see love for everyone
In you I see hope and a reason to be
In you I see courage and the will to be free

I've found my happy place

In a world of rich verses poor
Terror, disorder
Banks rotton core
In all of the sadness
And all this disease
I've found my happy place.

In you, I see a shining sun
In you, I see love for everyone
In you I see hope and a reason to be
In you I see courage and the will to be free

I've found my happy place

So at the end of Sunday at the start of the third week.  I have five songs, one set of lyrics (not) needing music and a partial song musically.

So with two weeks left, I think I will improve on last years total of six songs written.  

So happy with how February is progressing so far.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Fawm - Week 1 Summary

Fawm ( is an annual event to write an album in a month.  The idea is to write 14 songs in 28 days and release an album.

It is now the start of day eight, so I thought I would update my progress so far (given in 2013 I managed 3 songs and 2014 I manged 6).

Well, the scores on the door is currently sitting as 2.5.

I started off on February 1st, whilst everyone else in the house was asleep.   So it was headphones on, leave the noisy guitars alone and work on a new tune for my Sineglider instrumental project.

This is based around the Alchemy plugin by the recently defunct Camel Audio.  Shame, given I like their plugins.

As with all songs I am going to demo this month, it will be very rough and will be re-worked over the coming months.

In the afternoon, I went to visit E from my band The Hair Thieves. I challenged him to come up with a song in the three hours we had.  

To speed things up, we used Toontrack's EZKeys piano plugin.   So over the course of three hours, we chose some piano patches, re-worked the chords.   Sorted out a rough beat and started the lyrics.

At the end of the day we had a rough tune and some partial lyrics.

On the Monday I recorded the lyrics, before reconvening back at E's on the Tuesday to finish the demo.

So after deleting the vocals for lines that didn't work (either melodically or scan).  We reworked the lyrics, added bridge lyrics and recorded some more vocals.

We then called it quits in the demo and released it onto the world.

This song will probably be on The Hair Thieves EP8, so we will rework this sometime later in the year. We will possibly throw away the piano and using the chord structure re-write for guitar.

Overall we are pretty pleased with the song.

The third song that was started is called "A winter's memory" the title was given as a skirmish (where you have one hour to write and record a song, with a given title or subject).

I managed to write the lyrics in under an hour, but never finished the music.

Idea came from a conversation I had with a friend at Uni.
We was talking about his girlfriend and he said something along the lines of,

"I love her, but sometimes, I wake up and look at her and just want to punch her in the face."

A Winter's Memory

Waking from a long sleep
A vision of you
Head under a pillow
I was never so cruel
It was so easy
though I'm not thinking straight
Why is it love, comes with such hate

And the winter remembers
The ghost of you
The coldness, the darkness
The screams and untruths
And the memory sparkles
as the nights draw near
Into my silence
you're worshiped and revered.

Snow falls on the landscape
On coats of blue
Ice breaks and dredgers
Still looking for truths
It was so easy
To make them understand
The love of a woman, can melt a man.

And the winter remembers
The ghost of you
The coldness, the darkness
The screams and untruths
And the memory sparkles
as the nights draw near
Into my silence
you're worshiped and revered.

I have started the music for this.  Initially, using EZKeys again.  I am currently in the process of replacing the piano with guitar and bass.  A the moment, this is in the tuning of DGDGBD since that was the guitar to hand.   So this will be a song for the Rollasoc project.

I will try and finish the demo in the coming days.

So on to week two.   I have signed up for an exquisite corpse game.   This involves several people, with the first person writing a minute of music and then sending the last ten seconds to the next person.  This process repeats until the end of the line is reached.   The first person then stitches all the snippets together into one long song.

I did this last year and got the Sineglider tune Foxtrot 4 out of it.

So another one minute Sineglider tune will be on the way this week, given I am second in line in my corpse.

Until next week's update, I'd best crack on and write a couple of new songs.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fawm - Day 1

Fawm ( is an annual.  Write an album in a month.  The idea is to write 14 songs in 28 days and release an album.

It is a great way of kick starting a project, collaborating with people and generally being challanged to come up with songs under tight deadlines.

Now given, my primary concern is writing for The Hair Thieves, then for my solo "Rollasoc" album as well as my instrumental persona "Sineglider".  I'd be happy for one or two songs for each of my musical personalities.

I attempted this in 2013 and managed three parts of songs. I have just listened to two of the songs and think they might need resurecting, since I really like them.  (One will be a Sineglider tune in retrospect)

In 2014, I attempted it again.  This time I managed six songs. A few of which have been released into the world.

One made it on to the last Hair Thieves EP.

Original Demo
The final released version.

The others are in various states of completion / abandonment.

So I thought I would attempt Fawm again in 2015.  The aim this year, is for possibly nine new songs at the end of February.  One every three days.

So at the end of day.   How am I getting on.

Well,I started the day at 9am.  With everyone else in my house asleep, I felt it best to put the headphones on and write an instrumental.   This will be a Sineglider tune.   I wanted to use my Alchemy synth, since the company has recently stopped trading.  So it is synthy.  It started as an ambient tune, but got a bit noisy towards the end.

I'd arranged to meet with E from the Hair Thieves in the afternoon, with the intention of thrashing out an entire song.   We pretty much managed to write a song in four hours.  It will need a little work to finish the demo, later in the week.

Finally, I did the first skirmish tonight.  A Fawm skirmish, is,  given a topic, write and record a song in an hour.  The pigs (demo) above was from a Fawm skirmish.

Tonight's topic was "A winter's memory".  Which is a title I liked.   I managed to write two verses and a chorus in 31 minutes.  Which is pretty fast for me.   But I failed to finish the demo in time to post it at the end of the hour.

So at the end of day one.  I have three songs on the go.    So I need to get them demoed by Friday, if I am going for 14 songs this month, or just over a week, if I'm not.

So expect some demo links over the coming week.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

A Musical Journey - Part 2 The 1980s - Part 2

This blog will be my musical highlights of 1983 - 1986.  Basically, my time from moving to the upper campas of my school until the 6th form.

By 1982 I was buying singles and albums, whenever I had the money. Sometimes compilation albums. Compilations albums were great for finding new stuff like...
 Aztec Camera - Oblivious

and not so good for finding other music,  (from the same compilation record)
Forrest - Rock The Boat

1983 - 1986 was a great time musically for me.  Punk was pretty much dead.  Synths were taking over music, it was an exciting time.   For me,  I couldn't get enough music (which was weird, given I dropped music at school for wood work....).  

                                                            Heaven 17 - Temptation

Thompson Twins - Love on you side.

(still one of my favourite songs).

"Records and Tapes", my local music shop, was my Saturday pilgrimage into town, to check out what was coming out.  John, the owner would let us play and check out new tracks, and occasionally track down some imports.

Late 1983, was the year I started and quite quickly stopped trying to be a break dancer...

Afrika Bambaataa - Renegades of Funk

Chaka Khan - I feel for you.

Malcolm Mclaren - Double Dutch

1983 also saw the start of the, still going, compilation series.  "Now that's what I call music".  A relatively cheap way of getting the latest hits.   Of course, I was still taping the charts each Sunday and doing my own compilations.  I did sometimes, compile the cd into the same order as the record.  We did own a copy of Now 1.

Now 1 had, one of my all time favourite artists on ot.  Namely Howard Jones.   Human's lib is another of my all time favourite albums.  
Howard Jones - Hide And Seek

Hide and Seek, is my favourite song ever.   I don't know why!

Now 1 also had such classics on it as

Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance

Will Powers - Kissing with Confidence

All manner of dodgy '80 tunes went through our house.

Though it did have my favourite Madness song on it and the Cure.

Madness - The Sun and the Rain.

The Cure - Love Cats

1983 was also the start of my 12" collection and possibly the start of me starting to collect everything by a band.

Christmas 1983 and I got for Christmas something that would define me for the rest of my life.  Namely my first computer.   The Zx Spectrum.   From that moment on, I wanted to be a computer programmer.    Thirty plus years later I am still computer programming.   (Plus I got Seven and the ragged tiger on cassette!).

1984 for me is THE music year.

The year when I started a paper round, and starting really having my own money.    My mum once complained I was buying too much vinyl.  My reply was that my friends were all drinking and smoking.  I bought records. Which would she prefer.

My favourite memories of 1984 were playing games on my ZX Spectrum listening to Seven and the Ragged Tiger (Duran Duran), Human's Lib (Howard Jones), Thriller (Michael Jackson), No Parlez (Paul Young) and Into The Gap (Thompson Twins).

1984 was also the year of Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  Yep, I have some rare 12" versions and picture discs of Relax and Two Tribes

Other 1984 highlights include
Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't it be good.
Bronski Beat - Small town boy

Plus 1984, I was introduced to two of my soon to be favourite all time bands -


and the Cocteau Twins.

1985 and my 12" and album collection continued to grow.

Two big musical highlights of 1985.

Live Aid

and me picking up this album, on a whim, well I quite like Run to the hills.

As a synthy punk, I'd seen Iron Maiden on Top of the Pops a few times, and liked a few of the tunes.  Bought this album with some Christmas money.  Never looked back.

Seems a bit weird to go out and buy an Iron Maiden album and also at the same time buy this album.

 Whitney Houston - Saving all my love for you!

and this album. Sade - Your love is King

But that is the way I roll.  I'll listen to anything me and decide myself, regardless of the genre.  If I like it, well, I like it.

Highlights of 1985

Aha- Take On me

Kate Bush - Hounds of Love

Madonna - Like a Virgin

King - Love And Pride

Tears for Fears - Shout

Stephen Tin Tin Duffy - Kiss Me

Marillion in the meantime had released Misplaced Childhood and had a hit single with Kayleigh.

Not my favourite album of the band.  Lavendar spoils the album for me.   But I did get to see them live in 1985.

So that is it for part two.  still into pop music, and synth pop, still got my motown influences, but slowly adding a rock touch.