Here’s a little update that’s been long overdue. Four songs for the new album are done now. For two more I still need to record and mix in some more vocals. It’s really just another day or two to finish them, but currently my live performance set takes precedence.
I’m very happy and extremely excited to say that I’ve been invited to the IndiEarth Xchange in Chennai, Madras to hold a workshop and perform live. I only got the first email about four weeks ago and I’m flying there already on Tuesday. Very unexpected and it will delay all my other plans, but who’s going to say no to such an opportunity? So I’ll be in India for a week, hopefully with some time to not only take in the Xchange, but also a glimpse of Madras. I’ve never been, but always wanted to go. So exciting!
Fingers crossed that I’ll have the live set ready and am well rehearsed till then. Panic started setting in a few days ago when it took me three hours to get the MIDI remote scripts working as expected. And that was one small part, not all the details. Charlie, my cat, helped me calm down with her purring. I can’t bring my array mbira, but will use Ableton Push to play and record. Quite a task, relearning all parts on the In key layout (from keyboard and array layouts).
After I’m back, I’ll get right onto finishing Noise Machine and Tipping Point. One night, when I was supposed to work on something, I instead looked through all my little musical sketches and jammed along with the ones I still liked. I have at least four more ideas, vocal lines and lyrics. I only need to find enough time in a row to produce them. Not just a few hours here and there.
In case it looks like I never will (because there’s somehow always more work), I’ll postpone everything else. At some point the album simply needs to be my first priority. I feel like otherwise my head might just explode one day.
Anyway, I’ll be back with another blog post after my return. I’m sure there’ll be much to write about.
A week ago I played my first ever online concert as a Google Hangout. It was a very interesting new experience and I truly enjoyed it. I’ve had to face a few technical issues as the Google Plus event didn’t let me broadcast on YouTube although I had checked the box, the Google Hangout plug-in crashed and later on my looper plug-in, but I think it went rather well despite all that. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it.
You can watch the two parts and see for yourself:
I’m sure it won’t be the last online concert. I’m already thinking about doing an unplugged-style concert sometime early next year. So watch out. 🙂
I knew for a while there was the chance I might get to support Imogen Heap at her Berlin gig, but the date drew nearer and nearer and nothing happened. Then suddenly on Monday I got an email saying she’d love me to open for her – the next day. Just as I was giving up hope and thinking about getting a ticket. So last minute and so exciting!
When I turned up at the venue (Lido) the soundcheck had just started. I waved hello to Imogen and the others, they waved back. I was surprised how normal it all felt. It was calming to watch and listen even though time was ticking away. I had woken up with a migraine and thrown up first thing in the morning. The whole day I was so worried I might not be able to perform after all. Yet I thought, if Imogen had to get steroids to do her London gig then I could do it. No matter what. And if I keeled over on stage at least I’d have given it a shot. Luckily watching her, Ryan, Vince and Emma soundcheck blew away most of my headache. So I got changed into my stage outfit, sorted the merch and then was told to already set up my gear in front of the stage to speed things up. In the end I had about 10 minutes to set up with very little space to move around and 5 minutes for soundcheck while they held the doors. Madness!
Then as it was to time to hit the stage Immi kindly introduced me to the audience, explained how spontaneous and rushed everything was and beckoned them to come closer. People were still pouring in when I played. I started with ‘A Little’ and as I recorded my ‘fake beatboxing’ loop there was feedback from the mic. So I stopped and started over. Admittedly it made me nervous, but I got through the song without any more issues. Next up was ‘Zero Tolerance’ with drums played with wiimote and nunchuk. That went well and the audience seemed to really enjoy it (I sure did) . When I tried to record the wiimote drums for ‘The Tide’ next they were all over the place. It had worked perfectly at home. Whether it was shaky hands or too little distance to the computer (it works better when further away) I just couldn’t get the beats right. Time was running so I decided to move on to ‘In Unison’ and finished with ‘Breathing Underwater’ after asking the sound guy how much time I had left. Everyone wanted to hear another song except for one guy who shouted at me to stop. I asked who said that (he didn’t respond) and that I would come and find him afterwards. This seemed to rather amuse the rest of the crowd. A lot of people came to me afterwards to tell me they enjoyed my set including Tim Exile who came straight to the stage while me and the crew were frantically getting my stuff off stage. I had expected to get stage fright as I used to, but it’s so much nicer to have a bigger audience. A little more routine with all the multitasking and I’d feel right at home on stage. Ah, to go on tour… well, working on it.
Next up was Ryan a.k.a. BackTed’n’Ted who was great. I’m so looking forward to hearing his album which unfortunately was held up at customs. Then finally it was time for Immi. She started with ‘First Train Home’ as usual and had to start over as well, because one wine glass was awefully out of tune. Her whole set was as amazing as expected. Emma and Vince on violin and viola were a great addition. Imogen and the two string players also took turns drumming on the cocktail kit Immi had bought just before the tour started. You could see they weren’t quite as comfortable yet, but it all worked out just fine. I loved ‘Just for Now’ with the crowd singing the otherwise looped parts and very well at that. Don’t ask me for details or a complete set list as a lot of the evening is slightly blurry. I was still on an adrenaline high. I was outside in between and didn’t even feel the cold.
After the show I hung around, talked to anyone who wanted to, signed a couple of autographs (getting used to it by now, but I’m still finding it weird), Ryan even bought a copy of my album. Then I went backstage where there was tasty Indian curry, silly dancing, conversation and laughter. Everyone of them is so lovely. Immi, Ryan, Emma, Vince and the stage crew. They made me feel very comfortable and right at home. Imogen thanked me lots of times for playing at such short notice.When it was time for me to share a cab home with Tim we all hugged and said goodbye. While we loaded our gear into the boot of the car the others got ready to go on the long bus ride to Oslo. I so wanted to just hop on and go with them. Apparently the bus even has luxurious wood panelling and leather seats, but I totally forgot to have a gander.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten to include lots of details you might be interested in, but a remix plus vocals are waiting to be addressed and there’s never enough time for all the things I want to do.
I’ll be playing a gig tomorrow night at the Astrobar at Simon-Dach-Straße in Friedrichshain, Berlin. Show starts at 9 p.m. It’d be nice to see you there. I’ll even bring my array mbira and play you some tunes on it. So do come!
Sorry for not updating again. Been mostly busy rehearsing. I even found a cellist who’s gonna play with me tomorrow night (July 5). It’s gonna be a great show. The first time that I can play as long as I want so it’ll be definitely over an hour. Yay!
If you live in Berlin please come to my gig and have fun. It’s at Mastul in Wedding, Liebenwalder Str. 33. We’ll start the show at 10 pm sharp. Hopefully see you there!
Last night a friend of mine came over to play me the last tracks of his now finished album and to listen to my work in progress. He makes sort of latin-style house music and it’s not what I listen to at home, but the tracks sounded good. He really loved my songs and said they were beautiful. What a nice compliment! He’s actually gonna remix one song that he chose for me . It’s called ‘A little’ and is made with handclaps, tongue clicking and loads of my voice. Even the bass is a pitched version of my voice. The fastest song I’ve recorded so far. Took me only eight hours, granted the writing and arrangement part was already done. If you wanna hear it, check my myspace page.
Listening to the songs I’ve (nearly) finished so far, I was quite surprised how different they sound from each other. The new ones are a lot more up-tempo. I’m curious how the rest will turn out. So far I’ve got six, working on two more and some others as rough sketches. It’s always good to play the songs to other people for me. I seem to be more able to actually take a step back and listen to them as if they were someone else’s. I do like them a lot, even the ones I’ve been working on for so long I was getting a bit tired of them. I completely ignored them for a while and now I can enjoy them again.
My friend has got a record deal (or was it two even?) and he wants to work together with me on a Fleetwood Mac cover and another track where I can probably add some nice sounds and noises apart from the vocals. Not sure when this will happen, but he’s still talking about it. I guess they’re supposed to end up on his next EP. Coming out in summer or autumn this year. Might get me some nice exposure. First official release! Fingers crossed!
He’s also planning to hopefully do a live gig at the end of march, still to be confirmed. And he wants me to join him. Yay! It’s gonna be a mix of his musical style and mine I reckon. Even if he doesn’t know it, yet. Some live playing and recording of keys, bass. Loads of live effect tweakings and the likes on his part. And me heaps of layered looped vocals and who knows what. Should be quite interesting. I do hope it’s gonna happen. I’d love to rock on stage again, this time not having to do everything myself. And if people enjoy it we might do this kinda thing more often. We’ll see.
Lots of exciting news for me. Hopefully not ending up as only hot air and not much else. I’ll keep you posted!