Thursday, 5 May 2011

in the... (brief history of a songwriter)

Hello again,

So, as previously mentioned, I like to write songs. I have done this since I was 12, my first offerings being rip offs of other people (truly awful rip offs as well). I used to write songs with my cousin, he would draw album covers and come up with song names, and then he tasked me with writing the songs. I think I managed a couple of lame efforts and we did one or two together...that quickly fizzled out.

I formed my first proper band when I was 14, we were called 'Frenzy' and consisted of myself on vocals (reluctantly) and guitar and a friend on drums and another friend on keyboard (I have not given their names to protect their identities...and my faulty memory). We trialled several bassists and vocalists, but none stuck. We were 14 for crying out loud, what the hell did we know about music?! Well teenage drama saw to the destruction of that dream rather quickly, drummer running off with singers girlfriend (yeah that usually does it). Cue several teenage angst songs about broken hearts and shattered dreams.

Anyway, after that I started working with James Uren, and we wrote shed loads of songs both separately and together. We formed a band called 'Purple Tadpoles' and later 'Gilboa'. James and I wrote far more songs then the band could possibly play, but we did at least do quite a few gigs and recordings before we were struck by teenage drama and split up.

Then I worked with Ali Nicholls, the guitar legend. We formed an acoustic duo called 'The Little Man' and we even got signed to a local label. We wrote bucket loads of songs as well, we busked them around Europe (which was my first visit to Amsterdam, my new home). We had fun, wrote funny songs, happy songs, silly songs, scary songs, dark songs, light songs, sing along songs, song along sings, ding-a-long a songs, cheese scone songs, deep thoughtful songs blah blah blah
We managed to put out two EP's and a fully finished album!
Find a link to our old page here - The Little Man on last fm

The Little Man split up as well, not teenage issues this time, 20 something issues, like marriage and moving to London and blah blah blah. I put down my guitar for a bit and focused on lyrics.

Products of Monkey Love was born then, based mainly around the silly improv songs I used to make in my kitchen with my brother Nick and friend Macey. I approached Martin Uren (producer for The Little Man) and we recorded 10 episodes of the fake radio improv silliness that is the Products of Monkey Love podcast. You can still download for free all the episodes we put out here

Half of the songs I completely improvised the vocals on (Crocodile, Internal Organs External, Leaving (Piano) etc.) and the other half I took away the improvised music and wrote lyrics to go over the top of it (Bestest Friends Forever, Creatures:Special Features, Cake etc.). This was challenging, but I really enjoyed coming up with loads of silly lyrics. I have always peppered my music with comedy songs, but poml was all about trying to be funny (don't know how often I succeeded with it...but, there you go).

I also did Vocalizer for a bit (I may do it again in the future), where I took electronic music made by my good friends Oxynucid and Mrs Jynx and wrote vocals over the top of them. I also got my first chance to perform in front of large crowds with Oxynucid in Germany and Belgium.

Which brings us up to the present...if you are still reading then well done, the story of some bloke who wrote loads of rubbish songs isn't that exciting, I applaud your reading abilities. I now am doing Products of Monkey Love phase 2. It's just me at the centre and then other musicians will help out and who knows what in the future.

POML phase 2 began with the improv song of the week. In preparation to move to Amsterdam, Beauty and I moved out of our house and in with some good friends. I recorded the first improvised song of the week in the shed. Gus and I sorted out the shed so it would be a space that music could be made in. Gus is a percussionist (an amazing one at that) so needed space to fit his vast array of instruments.

I had only one month left of my skull numbing office job and wanted a distraction from it. I said to Gus that we should record an album in the shed before I left, so that's what we did. I sat and wrote the lyrics out for 12 songs, then wrote all the music over a couple of weekends, and then recorded the whole thing in one afternoon with Gus and my brother Nick on bass.

So now I am back on the guitar, making guitar based music once more, for all the world probably not to hear. I have already recorded the follow up to 'in the shed' which is called 'in the apartment' on the first week that I was in Amsterdam (last week). Expect several more of them to follow...

Peace and infinite love


1 comment:

  1. So a year later here is an update :

    POML phase 2 fizzled out, I stopped doing the improv song of the week after about 8 or 9 weeks i think, maybe a few more then that. No one seemed to watch them so I got bored of putting in the effort, such as a creative does sometimes.

    I continued to write singer/songwriter folky songs though, and did two further albums after 'In the Shed', one I wrote in the summer called 'In the Right Place' and one in the Autumn called 'In the Light of the Goddess'. These were both released on youtube and soundcloud (well, most of them were, I still have 4 tracks from Goddess not put out yet.

    I came back to the UK at the end of the year and hooked up with a friend of mine called Donny Stax. We wrote and released an album, and formed a record label called 'How Bout That Records'.

    That's where we are as of June 2012, expect further updates :D