Fresh from my EP show at the end of August, I'm back on the road this week, courtesy of The Icarus Club. On Wednesday 9th September I'll be down at The Red Lion in Godalming, a gorgeous pub with a wonderful atmosphere. The following night on Thursday 10th, I'm back at The Pelton Arms in Greenwich. This place is a firm favourite of mine, always a great night. Both shows are free entry, start at 8pm, and I've attached The Icarus Club's posters so you can see who else is playing. Come on down and pick up a copy of my new EP.
My new EP is out now, follow any of the following links to buy/listen. I'm very proud of it, and I hope you like it too. Buy from Bandcamp and you'll get a digital booklet and some assorted photos from the EP shoot. Thanks so so much to Charlie at https://www.facebook.com/MagpieStudiosKent?fref=ts, and Matt Cahill Photography. Look them up!
Before I let my new EP loose on the world, I'm hosting a launch show at Sun Pier House Chatham. I'll be playing (weird if I wasn't), and I've roped in One Day Elliott to open with a special acoustic set. It's a lovely big room with a lovely big bar and a lovely big stage too. Entry is free, and I'll be selling copies of Live At Magpie for £3 on the night. The physical copy has a download code too, so you can grab the digital copy without the fuss.
Click attending, share the event, invite your friends, the more the merrier, there's plenty of room. Lastly, thanks to everyone that's helped me out, chucked me freebies, and supported my music. You're all wonderful, and I'm not just saying that so you'll come along. Sun Pier is in a little complex next to Staples in Chatham. It's the back right part of the complex, up the outside stairs. There's free parking right outside, you can even leave your car overnight if you fancy a few pints.
For more details, follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1484177221880853/
It's been a long year. I've had my ups and downs. The approach I've taken when booking shows has changed, as have my rituals for practicing, and for writing. Through the years, my number one priority has always been my live performances, and this has reflected strongly in my recorded music. My last EP, I Lost Every One Of You, was supposed to sound live, natural, and without bells, whistles and gimmicks. Despite that, I still felt the need to record things separately, to record to a click and to make
use of tuning.
Maybe I'm wiser now (I'm definitely bloody older), but it's time to leave those things behind. I'm hugely proud to introduce Live At Magpie. Recorded in one day with Charlie at Magpie Studios Kent, we spent a considerable amount of time flooding the room with microphones, and then recorded the whole thing live, like a gig. It was a wonderful experience; recording in the studio without a click, without separating the guitar from the vocal, I didn't even wear headphones. I've never felt so relaxed in that situation, and I think that bred confidence, leading to some of my strongest ever performances.
Releasing an unedited EP is as terrifying as it is exciting, and there's no way I'd have even considered it a year or two ago. I also wouldn't have plastered my face across the front cover, but this record feels intimate and personal, and a portrait shot just felt right.
Live At Magpie will release digitally on 31/8/15, but keep an eye out for details of my launch show, featuring special guests and considerable merriment. Can't wait to see you.
Time for an update on me and my music songs. Firstly I'd like to say thank you to the folks who've been out to see me so far this year. I'm playing less shows in 2015, trying to be more cautious and pick the right gigs. So far, this has meant lots of Icarus Club gigs in Greenwich and Bromley, a cool show at The Forum in Tunbridge Wells, and the early booking of some festivals.
Yep yep, festival season is on the way. I've played quite a few in the past, stand out shows including Create Festival in Ashford last year, and a wonderful festival in Tenterden the year before that. This time round I'm playing at N.A.G. Fest in New Ash Green on 23rd May and Homespun Festival in Rochester on 25th July. I've also somehow snuck onto the above list, the final 100 list of unsigned acts for Truck Festival 2015. This would find me on a bill with bands like Basement Jaxx and The Charlatans. It's a very exciting prospect, but I'm also very proud to have made the final list, and it's lovely to see my name surrounded by lots of unsigned acts I know and respect. There are 19 available slots, and I'll keep you posted on any developments.
That's all for now, I'm off to a private party tonight. I'm still writing new stuff, and you'll find some demos going up on SoundCloud over the next couple of months. Also, plugging my other work here, if you're into video games like me, you might fancy a look at http://www.JusticeForGamers.com, a gaming website I've recently launched with my good friend Ash. Articles, podcasts and videos, it's all good fun if you're into that sort of thing. If you're not, avoid like t'plague!
After a couple of successful shows in Godalming and London in January, I've turned my attention to writing for my next EP. It feels much longer than a year (and a bit) ago that I was in the studio, but looking back at my calendar I appear to have played almost fifty shows since then. Those of you who regularly come to my gigs will be familiar with the horde of songs I've written and performed over the last 12 months.
With that in mind, I've naturally disregarded all but one of them, and accidentally written new songs, this year songs, 2015 songs.
I've also decided to do things a little differently this time round. Having poured over some of my favourite musicians' recording practices, I've come to the conclusion that the best way to make my music sound like it was recorded in a church, is to record in a church. This brings with it a whole host of issues, the primary one being that echoey things are very difficult to edit. There'll be no meddling (or Melodyning), no dropping in, no where to hide. This EP will sound very live, as I think it should.
This year already feels particularly fresh, I'm excited for what it could bring. I'll keep you posted on the songwriting and my plans for the record. I also have half a dozen gigs booked in March and April, announcements on the way. Catch you soon. Alex
So the tour is over, and I'm back home, bored and wondering why I'm not playing a show tonight. This was the first time I'd travelled the country playing shows, but I imagine every tour has it's ups and downs. Some of our gigs were wonderful, some of them not quite so wonderful, but the vast experience I've gained will stick with me forever. I felt privileged to be playing my songs to new folks every night, and I'd very much like to do it all over again.
I'd like to say thanks to all the people who helped Kate and I. Thanks to Andy in Bath for putting us up, and Reuben and Max for booking us a fantastic show at The Royal Oak, my favourite show of the tour. Thanks to Kate's lovely friend Fiona and chums in Bristol, and Mr Wolfs for putting us on. The Hobgoblin in Staines, lovely pub and venue, thank you. Huge thanks to Chris and co at Chambers, I will never get tired of playing your venue (starting to think my biggest fanbase is actually in Folkestone), and the lovely people at Platform 5 Ashford, cracking night not far from home.
Thanks to Rockbitch and the lovely people at The Sanctuary in Basingstoke, you have a wonderful venue and it was a pleasure to play. A massive thank you to Kate's dad for putting us up on his narrowboat for a couple of nights, a fantastic experience and he couldn't have been a kinder host. Thanks to Chris in Derby for putting us on, and to Kate's mum and step-dad for having us to stay in Brigg (not Scunthorpe), and making me feel hugely welcome in their gorgeous home.
Cheers to all the legends at Verve Bar in Leeds, for putting us on, and plying us with booze so we didn't have to remember too much about the horrible hotel we were staying in, and to the mighty Shlaybear and Gemma, Rose and Milo for giving us a cosy home for the night in Nottingham, thanks Nirvana for putting us on. To the folks at Sound Food and Drink, and all the amazing people at St Hilda Hotel in Liverpool... in fact, all of Liverpool. We were only in your town for 24 hours, but everyone we met was so ridiculously friendly it can't have been a fluke.
Thanks to Stretch and Ellie, for not only having us to stay for the night, but also coming to see us at our Staines show the week before. Thanks to the Fiddler's Elbow Camden for giving us a show on a Sunday night in what turned out to be a great venue with amazing sound, to Paul and Bell for having us to stay for 2 nights, despite it being Bell's birthday, and to Chuck at The Hope Brighton for providing a fitting venue for our final night. Massive massive thank you to Mark for letting me drive all over the north of England with his guitar when my one broke, genuinely don't know what I'd have done without you.
To everybody who came out to see us, came and spoke to us at shows, bought CDs and so on, thank you so much for your support. Most dedicated fan goes to LadyFace, who made it out to see us at the Bath, Staines, Camden AND Brighton dates. My folks for supporting me far longer than they probably should, and anybody I've forgotten.
Most importantly I'd like to say what a privilege and a pleasure it was to be touring with Kate Wintie. I will never get sick of listening to her, she has a rich, powerful emotive voice, I've never heard anything like it. Her songs are spellbinding, nothing phases her and she leaves it all on the stage. She absolutely nailed it, night after night, despite coming down with a chesty cold at one point. I learnt a great deal from her, I've made a friend for life, and I can't wait to play loads more shows with her in the future. Her Kate Bush cover is THE best version of that song.
What's next for me? I really couldn't tell you. I have 3 shows in December and 2 in January, info on all that in the coming weeks. I really do mean it though, thank you from the bottom of my heart, to everybody who helped make this thing happen, and a special mention to anybody who came out to a show and really, really listened.
It feels like there's a real shortage of polite respectful folk at gigs these days. When I stand up in front of you with my guitar and my little vocal pedal, I am totally exposed and at your mercy. Please understand how that feels. All over the country, people are stepping up to play unique and original songs, and getting shouted over or ignored. I don't care whether you came out to see live music, I don't care if you don't like what someone is singing or what they're playing, if you're shouting over them, you are rude. It isn't their job to win you over, it's yours to be a good person. On this tour I was greeted with far more good folk than bad, and that was so comforting. I met artists that listened, chatted with me, bought me drinks and offered me gigs with them in the future, and artists who talked over my entire performance, before taking to the stage themselves. I like to think that your odds of becoming a successful musician are greatly diminished if you don't even respect the artists on the same bill as you. Considering how many people are trying to 'make it', you probably don't want to make enemies at this level.
This tour has taught me that I deserve respect for what I do, like all the other musicians who work their socks off, writing music, practicing daily and travelling all over the place, just to get themselves heard. I love playing my music, there's nothing quite like it, and in terms of connecting with people it is absolutely unrivalled.
Thanks one more time,