Not just a drummer!

Written by Paul.

Oscar PikeAlongside being a drummer, I am also a playwright and this year I am back at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to see my own work performed for a sixth year. This time it's slightly different because I aim to take two shows up there with my trusty cast (because clearly taking just the one production isn't stressful enough) and this weekend the whole fundraising shenanigans begin. I often get asked why I keep going back to the fringe; my reasons are long-winded and not suitable for a blog such as this. But in short – it is the most inspiring and exciting environment any artist can be a part of, just one stroll down The Royal Mile during August and it is impossible not to feel excited.

It is often talked about as being the place where performers/writers/directors get 'spotted' and whisked off to be mega-famous but it really isn't about or like that at all – it's about the opportunity to perform at the greatest arts festival on the planet in front of an audience who will appreciate it, whilst being surrounded by hundreds of other performers/writers/directors who are completely on the same page as you are. I also often get asked why I am a drummer and a playwright, because these two passions aren't commonly associated. But to me it's completely logical why it works; putting a cast together, working on material as a team and then performing this work on stage is remarkably similar to being in a band, rehearsing songs and then playing them at a gig. They are both wonderful things, but I do wonder what the Edinburgh Fringe equivalent is for live rock bands.

Maybe it's Glastonbury? Maybe it's South By Southwest? Either way, I'm sure we'll find out soon. In the meantime those fringe fundraising shenanigans I mentioned...one of the events is a very unique gig on Saturday 3rd March at The Cornerhouse in Cambridge titled '100 Songs In 5 Hours' – the clue is very much in the title. Aidy, Dave and I will be contributing at least 6 or 7 of those 100 live songs if you're about, it starts at 7pm and entry is £5, would be good to see you there.

The Great Ticket Scandal

Written by Aidy.

The Great Ticket Scandal

I hate ticket touts with an absolute passion and nothing winds me up more than trying to get tickets to premium event, where the tickets sell out in minutes only to re-appear moments later on Ebay at two or three times the price. Just writing about it winds me up and I’m actually fighting the urge to use profanity due to the fact that I’d like to try and keep the British IBM page looking vaguely professional. I do however think that the use of the “the C word” is completely justified when talking about ticket touting scum.

It was with a combination of interest and frustration that I watched Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal on channel Four the other night. I knew that there were people out there using multiple credit cards and mobile phones to buy large quantities of tickets to re-sell at a premium but I had absolutely no idea how far it went. I think that the founders of Viagogo and Seatwave should be strung up and shot along with the promoters who are pre allocating tickets to them.

I remember about ten years ago sitting in an office, with me a few mates all hitting refresh on a ticket site, whilst hitting re-dial on our phones trying to secure tickets for an upcoming Oasis tour. After five minutes of them going on sale they’d sold out. Then almost instantly Ebay was flooded with the same tickets. The whole thing leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and actually puts me off even trying to get tickets to certain events anymore just due how much the entire thing winds me up. It should be illegal to sell on any ticket at a profit; the market in which touts are beginning to thrive on a mass scale shouldn’t even exist. If for some reason you have a ticket to an event that you can no longer go to then it should be sent back to the venue for re-allocation.

If you missed it, you can watch it here:
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od

The Tired Drummer

Written by Paul.

AmpsThis post is being written by a very tired drummer – which in itself probably sounds ridiculous because we recorded the drums last month and all I've done this weekend is watch Aidy work on guitar parts. But sometimes it is exhausting just watching a musician and producer create appropriate sounds because they are working so hard and it takes it out of you even being a studio spectator.

The album is sounding great, Dave nailed all of his funky bass lines a couple weeks back and I think rhythmically it gels really nicely, so the last couple of days have been focussed on finding 'that' perfect guitar sound that compliments the songwriting perfectly. I think it's very clear that this certainly isn't a slapdash project, it's no longer a case of just playing the songs and recording them with a decent enough sound, this is a produced effort and attention to detail is pivotal if we are to create an album we are all proud of – and not just on release, but something we can listen back to in five, ten, twenty years time and still feel a sense of achievement. As you can imagine, this can take bloody ages, but it's really taking shape nicely and a majority of it sounds really brilliant already.

Typically in these situations my role is to simply support, banter where necessarily, and eat lots of snacks. During the recording the same song is obviously played over and over and over again, but perhaps the most satisfying thing of all is that I'm still very excited by all of them.

Who You Gonna Call?

Written by Aidy.

JagStang

I’ve just got my favourite guitar (A Fender Jagstang with a Ghostbusters transfer on it) back from those wonderful people at Sound Plus in Bury St Edmunds. They’ve done a great job setting it up and I’m now fully prepared for our next studio session. We’re making great progress with the album, the drums are all there, Dave’s just finished recording his bass parts and the thing is really starting to take shape.

Don’t forget if you fancy coming to visit us at work in the studio you can purchase our Studio Package from the Buy Stuff section for a mere £50, which also gets you a CD a T-Shirt and your name in the liner notes!

How I Discovered My Favourite Band

Written by Aidy.

R.E.M. are, in my humble opinion, the greatest band ever to grace planet Earth and in light of their recent split and my emotional purchase of their last ever full studio album ‘Collapse into Now’ I’ve decided to dedicate a cheeky blog post to them. Let’s kick off with a Worther’s Original style flash back to how I first discovered that R.E.M. are indeed the best band in the world.