Hey folks, as I’m in a super-generous mood today, I’ve decided to release my instrumental mix of my original song “Breathe” for free download on SoundCloud for a limited time! (See link above! grab, grab, grab!!!)
I composed and performed this music last year using my favourite DAW Logic Pro 9 and with the help of Keith Caffrey (the other half of my acoustic-rock duet Shock Sorrow- no relation!), lyrics and vocal melodies were added soon after. The full version was received really well amongst my friends and colleagues and even got played over-seas on a TKS Radio podcast in Canada, Manic Mondays hosted by Fallon Bowman (my vocal idol!) and Andrew “Draco” UnaSchulman. Draco reacted to the song extremely well and his comments were actually hallarious! He made me cry with laughter and Fallon herself made some really lovely, positive comments.
The original podcast can be found on YouTube: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKkqq0VtnUM]
I have uploaded an edited version that skips directly to the comments: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGjRldtOFno]
So enjoy the free download, this mix focuses on the instrumentation and I’ve included some backing vocals for good measure!
I do wish to release the rest of my chilled-electronic solo material in the very near future! Watch this space!
The Spirit Store opened it’s doors last night to rock out with two of Ireland’s busiest metal/rock bands; the powerful force of original metal that is Black Svan and headliners Thin Lizzy tribute “Bad Reputation”.
I attended the gig to catch up with Black Svan (I’ve been following them since August 2009 but haven’t been able to keep up with them in recent times since their blast of non-stop gigs all over the country, following their incredible European tour with monsters of rock, Fozzy and Stuck Mojo last year). Last night was my first time seeing/hearing their new line-up, Mo Clifford on second guitar, Kenneth Bell on bass and Joe Toal on drums accompanying founding members, vocalist Keith Caffrey and guitarist Jagger Murray. The powerful wall of sound instantly struck me as the most solid, tight, heavy (and may I add, the loudest!) line-up yet!
Opening with the killer riffage of “STD”, Black Svan instantly owned the stage and captured everyones full attention straight away. Keith’s vocal was not drowned out by the rhythmical hammering of Joe’s kit and wall of guitars that screamed Jagger’s signature fat, full-bodied, properly distorted (no fizzy fuzz guitars here) sound, Keith’s vocal soared, strong, confident, clearly. The anthemic bridge “Talk to me, yeah, yeah, yeah….” filled the room.
Personal favourite “Sickness” came early in the set, a surprise to hear it played on guitars down-tuned to a bad-ass C, a full tone lower than the album teaser on the band’s MySpace page (BLACK SVAN | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos.), I personally would have preferred to hear it in its original key as I felt the song lost something, some vocal power, or maybe it’s a just a case of demo-itis on my behalf! Perhaps if it was played in the original key, it would have sounded weak in comparison to the rest of the set, all the new songs are written in C and sound awesomely heavy!
Without a shadow of a doubt “Dream Forever” was the song of the night, a finely crafted song, crushing riffs and seriously powerful lyrics and melodies from Keith, a hint of Iron Maiden influence peeps though with Jagger and Mo’s close guitar harmonies in the short link to verse 2. “Dream Forever” will be the track to listen out on the debut album when it’s released next year. The band completed their recording very recently, the highly anticipated album is sure to be a hit both here and abroad, thanks to their army of loyal fans in Europe. We were also treated to a very new song “Immortal”, ultra-tight, very heavy, very big- an album definite, even title track, according to the band’s Facebook profile!
Wrapping up with the awesomely heavy, monster of a track “Killing Time”, Black Svan left us begging for more. Black Svan will rock McHughs of Drogheda tomorrow night, 9.30 sharp, wrapping up a musically fulfilling 2011 which saw the band’s biggest Irish dates so far, Vantastival, Jam for Japan, Killybeggs Tattoo Convention to name but a few. 2012 is sure to be the year of the Svan, the Black Svan.
After spending 7 years in the dark depths of the music industry, Ballyfermot College of Further Education has taught me valuable lessons and renewed my passion for music by shining a big, bright, warm light on the joys of audio and sound. I’m sure any graduate or current student of BCFE will tell you that their experience at the college was the most rewarding, fun, creative and interesting time of their academic lives. Last night I graduated from Music Production, earning a Higher National Diploma, in the Concert Hall of the R.D.S, with mixed emotions; the joy of receiving my qualification and some sorrow, to say goodbye to the best 2 years of my life and the people I’ve met during that time.
My time in Ballyfermot CFE was certainly the most challenging, creative, interesting and inspiring time of my life so far, words cannot express how honored I am to have studied under the amazingly gifted teachers, Larry O Toole, Franziska Prendergast, Pete Holidai, Liam Caffrey, Patrick Daly and Oliver Sweeney. They really are an excellent team of teachers who inspire their students to better themselves and open their minds to new ideas and paths.
Ballyfermot CFE is an excellent college and I would highly recommend anyone to study there, speaking from the creative arts side of life, their courses, facilities, lecturers and staff are second to none! I am very proud to be a graduate of this wonderful college. BCFE opens doors one never ever seen was there!
My academic path continues to Dundalk Institute of Technology where I am studying Music and Audio Production (can’t get enough of it, can I?!), it is a brand new course and the first B.A in Ireland that’s 100% music production based. I am very excited to be studying and I hope to grow even further musically there and enhance the skills Ballyfermot CFE has given to me.
Thanks to all the excellent staff at BCFE, thanks to my partner and family for your support, thanks to my friends I’ve made there. Stay in touch. x
The Minutes released their debut album “Marcata” on leading Irish independent label Model Citizen Records in May earlier this year, and last night the juggernaut rolled into the seaside village of Blackrock, Dundalk, Co. Louth to headline promoters and defenders of Irish music talent New Day Risings second birthday bash in proper rock’n’ roll fashion. The band have been touring extensively in Ireland playing top music festivals and shows in Europe and the U.S all summer.
The Dublin trio freshly anointed as “the greatest rock n roll band in Dublin” by influential UK magazine Artrocker, delivered an energetic, raw, in-your-face set to a full house of rock ‘ n’ rollers, music fans and an eclectic mix of Halloween spooks following fantastic performances from special guests Tin Pot Operation (Belfast new wave/punk/reggae), The Holy Ghost Explosion (Dundalk alternative rock) and 2Minutes2Midnight (Dundalk rock).
Opening with “Black and Blue”, drummer Shane Kinsella (the one with sideburns the size of Tasmania!) immediately engaged the crowd with the unmistakable drum intro that commands the listener to throw various shapes, voluntary or not! Loud, raw and powerful, the Minutes sweat their way through an urgent 13 song set of which included fantastic crowd interaction (singer/guitarist Mark Austin calling the audiences vocal participation as “sexually superb” on “Black Keys” and “Fleetwood” especially), brilliantly structured songs, thumping drums, screaming guitars, and hollering vocals (bass player Tom Cosgrave- the tall, cool one, added perfect harmony).
It was a personal delight of mine to hear a proper rock band play proper rock on properly looked after instruments! The kick drum was a thing of musical beauty which stood out to me, properly tuned drums despite the brutal attack they received at the end (see photos below!). The truly professional band employ an eager stage-hand who sweat every bit as much as Austin during the show, picking up falling microphones, swapping guitars, tending to every detail to ensure the Minutes delivered an unforgettable show safely and smoothly. Cheers to the anonymous stage tech, the unsung hero!!! Front of house sound despite the awkward position of the stage (and the mixing desk) was top quality, another smooth job thanks to the Minutes long time sound engineer Matt Burgess, he employed wonderful slap-back delay effects on Austin’s vocal and balanced the bands sound despite the mixer desk being positioned in a bass trap. Another unsung hero of the night!
“Marcata” (named after the famous upstate New York studio where the band nailed their red-hot 12 track record in 5 days) is available in all good record stores in Ireland and Europe. An essential in any rock music collection. I highly urge you to see the band live when they play in your local town!
Last night was Aztaria’s 2nd rehearsal in Dublin after our summer break. To ease ourselves back into the swing of things, we decided we would rehearse our entire set acoustically. And sure while we were at it (seeing as I never leave home without my iMac, microphone and magic recording box!!!), why not record the whole session as well?! 🙂
As you can see above, many a giggle was had and it felt as if we never had a break, in a good way of course! Were any of the naughty jokes captured on video-camera? Perhaps! 😉 Aztaria Rockumentary coming soon!!!
I set up my trusty Rode NTK microphone in the far corner of the rehearsal room, as far away as I could get from David’s kit (no offense to David in any way, it’s only natural he’s the loudest member of the band! :)) and Sandra positioned herself in front of the mic. I sat to her left with my Tanglewood acoustic guitar and Paweł sat next to me again. He wished to use his (hot and sexy) Cort electric guitar with his new guitar rig which includes his Boss GT-10 effects processor, Boss V-Wah pedal (love the sounds he’s making with this new toy!!) and a host of Marshall and other racks to compliment his sound! Arianna sat nearby on her bass amp (playing her electric bass as as she’s saving for a new acoustic baby!) and far, far, away all by his lonesome was David using his full kit with brushes 😉 We set up a 58 over his kit to make use of the second input available on my Roland Cakewalk UA25EX audio interface (aka my magic recording box!) and recorded straight into my iMac. Not the most acoustically soundproof room but I was surprised after a brief soundcheck of the clarity of our realtime mix (leaning closer and further away from the Rode mic as appropriate and playing/singing louder and softer when necessary), we recorded 4 tracks, 3 of which we may use!
It was great fun to do something different together and make something productive! Aztaria are back and ready to rock and roll!!!