Saturday, 25 July 2015

Brand New Band

Sorry I've been so quiet as of late! I always tend to do this - short bursts of activity, then lengthy silences, which must be really quite annoying for anyone paying attention...

The EP release has been severely delayed, as such things tend to be. In between break-ups, the final mix not being quite what we were after, final-year uni stress, house moving and the sad passing of Sam Culpeck, the band has had a period of non-activity, musically speaking. Otherwise we've had a lot going on. But its not all bad news at all.

I finish university completely in a few weeks or so and after that will be able to devote all my energy to what has become our newly formed, still-unnamed band, the formation of which has made me more ridiculously happy than I have been in a good number of years.

Since starting to study music, it was always my ambition to form a band, rather than play as a solo artist. Yet despite spending 4 years studying music and working with other musicians, I never quite "gelled," with other people properly, and all projects I attempted kind of fell through. To be perfectly honest I think this was mostly my fault. I got disheartened when people weren't interested or didn't show up for rehearsals, and I used to be a tad more socially awkward than I am now too, not to mention really very reserved and unwilling to push myself or my own material.

It's been a combination of finally having the confidence (and the material...) and sheer luck finding Lily and Roch. They're insanely busy people, putting aside limited time and energy just for the love of what we're doing. This has resulted in the kind of cohesiveness that I have always yearned to achieve but had given up on ever achieving. Honestly, I can't put into words how happy I am to not only to not be stressed about rehearsals, but to look forward to them and the post-rehearsal buzz.

Following our first gig at the Green Door Store, we've decided to fully join forces, rebrand as a band, and continue gigging whilst working on the EP to get it fully up to scratch. I'll still be soloing around whenever I'm not doing that, playing the acoustic and spouting poetry.

New identity, page, Soundcloud etc. coming soon. Keep an eye out for us!

Photographs by Natalie Batten

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


I shave 
Because I am afraid
I shave
Because I’m scared of what they’ll say

I agree smooth legs look nicer.
Nicer on men too.
Yet for men, not to shave, 
Be it legs or pubes or face
Is a choice, not a taboo. 

I agree smooth legs look nicer
But I just don’t care enough
I want to swim and run and feel the sun
Not sit on exhibit, smooth and buffed 

I agree smooth legs look nicer
If you would like to have them, then why not?
There should be space for both of us
On the beach or pool or yacht. 

But why should my limbs offend you?
Rough and unchanged
Just because of some idiotic mindset
That dictates the Female Way

I care so little for the final product
Yet obey the unspoken code of conduct.
Buy razors, jump into the bath
Outside the sky grows overcast,
In between laughter they call out,
Hurry now, you'll miss the sun
Come be free with everyone
This world is yours as much as ours
Once you shave your shackles off

Dutifully bend my complaining spine
Contorting, cursing, crying inside 
Knowing I am wasting time
Scrupulously, superficially, 
I remove every extra bit of me
From every single bit of me.

And then, thank God I’m done at last
Crush thoughts of "What was the point of that?"
Perfect is permitted. Step outside
As though you look that way all the time.

Smile and
Pretend that I am doing this because I want to

Not because 
I'm caving in
Broken down and broken in

Scared of the stares.
Of what they'll think.
Of what they’ll say.
I shave 
Only because 

I am afraid

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Dietary Destiny

Let me tell you now:
We were meant to eat meat.
See my canine teeth?
We had to, to live back then 
Lets see you weaklings live as cavemen.

We were meant to live out on the planes
Were were meant to hunt
Supposed to pillage, loot and rape
Stone Age paleo 4eva 

Who rules over your humanity?
Decides who you’re supposed to be
Dictates what you are meant to eat

Who do you take your orders from? 

Actually, I disagree:
We were not supposed to eat meat
Your teeth are short, your gut is long 
Your blood, clogged with cholesterol
Struggles out your sweating heart.  

We were meant to live on nuts and fruit
Should not have come down from the trees
We were meant to live like animals...
Stayed as dumb as chimpanzees?

Fuck what we were meant to do.
This is what we did.

We came down from the trees because we are
Inquisitive, clever, curious opportunists.
Needed food, learned to hunt.

That was then and this is now:

Ham is pigs in the dark machine, churned out in slices, watered down, sold as “wafer thin,” green
fields upon the packaging, milk sucked out from cows by tubes, male calves to veal, they are no use and eggs are chicks are 

ground alive

Surplus to requirements. 

They bear the brunt of all our greed
When without them we have all we need.

Yet to our old ways, still we clutch, 
Repeating “supposed to, supposed to”
Like a dying clock.
Those progressing are halted, distracted, 
Pedal backwards to address this plea.
Join the row of what we’re “meant to eat”

Clear the Amazon for beef
Raze our lungs down to the root.
People across the world are starving
Because our food eats our food.
Or not
This is what happened 

So now what?

We do not need to kill
Any more. 

What are we killing for?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Pale Emperor

Marilyn Manson's latest album is gorgeous. I was especially impressed with it as he had kind of been slipping up a little with the last two, in my opinion - there were some good songs, but I couldn't listen to either album the whole way through, not because the other songs were particularly bad I guess so much as they were just kind of random and felt lacking in direction by their standards. This last one, though... the only way to describe it is mature. It has a sophistication about it that reflects Manson's age and musical experience in a graceful, laid-back manner - even his onstage antics have changed to reflect this. Though then again this shouldn't be that surprising - his image and sound has always been fluid. Not like certain other decrepit rock stars who go rattling around onstage trying to be fifty years younger than they are and sounding bloody awful while they're at it.

What's less impressive is this recording of my cover of the first single off the album, and what's even less impressive is that I decided not to upload it when I recorded it, when the album had just come out or was just about to or whatever and it was kind of more relevant to be talking about it. But even so. If you haven't, do have a listen.

Last night I decided that half a year is enough for me to go "Oh, that's an old video, here's an old video for me to share haha, came across this old thing," etc and upload it. Might have been because I stayed up past my bedtime, which is also past my inhibition time.

Happy days.

"Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge" - Marilyn Manson Cover

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Fall of British Pride

The Fall of British Pride

A few moments to go,
The competitors are lining up  
But Common Sense will not start
She's planted herself in place
Already out of the race

They’re off and Basic Compassion, is already far behind the others, 
Some Mercy is right up the back and so too is Question Why,
Further up is Place Your Bets, neck and neck with British Pride

They prepare to take the first fence, Cruelty-Free a faller at the first

He’s badly hampered Harmless Sport, as for the others, on they run,
Now onto the second jump,
Your Entertainment in the lead, No Mercy Here is doing just fine,
At the ditch, we lose Our Senses, Empathy has fallen too, 
The next fence is, cleared by Huge Profits,
Selling Souls is close behind
Subconscious Third For Blood beside them
He’s been off the bit for quite some time

Three to go as head towards home,
We lose Morality with I’m Too Slow
With only two more jumps to go, 
Excitement! is in the lead, No Mercy Here in second! 
British Pride is with them
The whips are out, the tension’s up as they approach the final jump 

And it’s Excitement! who comes to the final fence followed by British Pride, and British Pride has fallen badly 

British Pride is dead on the track 

British Pride will not be coming back 

Excitement! is the leader, tailed closely by No Mercy Here, but now No Mercy Here has pushed ahead, and as they race on, towards the elbow, No Mercy Here is clearing away, with less than 150 yards to go No Mercy Here, is in the lead, with Excitement! in second, and Subconscious Thirst For Blood in third 

For victory, through history, has always gone this way 

At today’s Grand National 
No Mercy Here has won the race! 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Progress Update: THERE IS PROGRESS!

Things have been moving at a rapid and terrifically fun rate recently! After much deliberation as to how to record and produce this EP, I decided to go down the DIY (cheap) route. It's easy, however, for someone like me to think that DIY = DIAY (Do It All Yourself), and most likely end up stressed beyond belief due to attempting to go from knowing nothing about production to producing an entire EP in a few months with the pressures of a third-year degree breathing down my neck. Luckily this will be prevented from happening by producer Scott Christie, who is taking on that responsibility and freeing me from ever having to think about Logic. Except for my portfolio for  another bit of my degree, but that's another story for another deadline. 

As I may or may not have mentioned, "Poppet," is not going to be an album of me doing my usual thing on the acoustic, but rather a grungey, metal-inspired piece of industrial pop. I couldn't do that on my own either, cue more pleas for help. These were answered magnificently in the form of drummer Lilith Ghost Vonnet and bassist Rochelle McLean. Both of whom, in fact, are solo musicians and songwriters turned the above roles purely for this project. Much chatter about these individuals to follow.

Despite the month long delay caused by my stupid wrists, we're back on track, and in between Yoda impersonations and attempts to fill bass drums with e-cig smoke, making some pretty ace tunes too. All 4 songs going on the EP have been confirmed and guide tracked (we may even have a fifth..) and after last night's rehearsal Scott has given us to go-ahead to start recording the drums. So we'll be going into studio week after next - now that I've got a phone with an actual working camera I'll probably be spamming instagram and the whole internet with the process. Look forward to that.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Blessings in Distress

You think this is scary? Wait for it...

So, you may or may not be aware that tendinitis/ RSI is extremely common amongst musicians and can be very disabling. I'm genetically hypermobile – this isn't usually an issue in itself, but thanks to the susceptibility that comes from being a guitarist, I have a kind of chronic condition that never quite fully heals.

Most of the time, it's manageable to the point of being a non-issue, but occasionally, (usually in winter, seems to have something to do is cold weather) it flares up so badly that it becomes impossible for me to play guitar.

When this happened last year, I came out of it having made adjustments in my playing style. If a chord was too difficult to play with my left hand, I would just change the tuning until I found something that worked, which meant I ended up finding all these cool weird tunings which resulted in cool weird new songs. What's more, I bought my gorgeous Taylor GS mini, which fits my narrow – shouldered frame much better than any previous guitar ever has. Issues to do with simply being able to get my arm over the thing disappeared.

I'm currently on the mend from last month's flareup. I can play when required, but given that my style tends to be quite... abrasive, I had to severely cut down on the number of performances I was doing in order to give myself time to rest. But this was frustrating; live performance is my thing, and I was feeling pretty miserable about not being able to do as much of it.

So about three weeks ago I finally plucked up the courage to start doing spoken word.

Even though I have been writing poetry for a while, reciting it out loud always seemed too much like acting for me, and if there's one thing I've always been hated doing since school, it's acting! At the same time, some of the most powerful performances I've seen at open mic nights have been people doing spoken word.

I took the plunge at the Bee's Mouth - the crowd down there is always quiet and respectful, so I felt safer - and have been performing at other nights since then. It's been a really interesting experience - it's a lot more to learn, for a start. Songs have an inbuilt structure that comes with having the guitar to sing over the top of, not to mention the fact that generally speaking, once you know the chorus, you've learnt 50% of the song.

With poetry its consistently new material. Sometimes the original poem needs editing to make it work out loud. Then there's the issue of delivery – for me, this meant striking the right balance between making an engaging performance, whilst still "releasing" emotion, rather then pretending it.

So far the reception's been good. It's particularly interesting hearing feedback from people who have never seen me before – last night somebody told me they couldn't imagine me with a guitar and that they didn't think I needed one!

I'm not going to abandon the acoustic any time soon, but I'm glad I started this and will continue to incorporate it into my performance. Not to say that shredding one's tendons is particularly useful in itself, but good things can come out of major setbacks - if it hadn't been for being injured, I don't think I ever would have tried.

Awesome photos courtesy of Rosie Powell and Eyesandears Brighton.