I’m so excited! Yesterday I received my Platinum edition of Soundtracks of my Life, the latest release from legendary metal vocalist Blaze Bayley and I have just opened the package… like the 299 other (lucky) diehard Blaze fans, my reaction is “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!” \m/
The package includes the book Blaze himself wrote with the help of his wife Eline about his journey from the beginning of his Wolfsbane days, his Iron Maiden adventures, right up to his most recent solo release in 2013, the double disc album itself, a fridge magnet, a badge and a certificate.
The book is autographed by Blaze and includes my own name in gold ink as well as the album booklet and certificate. My own name is also printed on the first page of the Special Thanks section in the album booklet!
As a longtime fan of Blaze Bayley, this is just amazingly awesome!!!
My younger sister introduced me to Blaze’s solo music which is kind of ironic- I introduced her to Iron Maiden by happy accident when I loaned her my walkman (yes, walkman) with Brave New World on tape inside one day for the school bus journey home (she came home that day a die-hard Iron Maiden fan!).
So a couple of years later she was playing Blaze’s Tenth Dimension album in her bedroom when I was having a chat with her. “Stealing Time” came on and I was hooked. I borrowed the C.D and that was it! I adored it. From start to finish, a superb album.
In 2004 a special gig was announced, we heard it through word of mouth from a metal fanatic friend in England I think. Blaze was coming to play in the Village, Dublin. I personally couldn’t believe Blaze Bayley was going to play such a small venue. Myself, Arlene (my sister) and her friend headed up for a ridiculously early time, hoping we’d get to meet Blaze himself before the gig. We waited and waited and waited… All day we sat outside the Village (we were the only ones!) and eventually we were invited inside! There he was, larger than life, Blaze Bayley himself with a huge smile. I remember my sister giving him a lollypop because she thought it would be cute and he laughed. He was so nice! He signed everything we gave him, (one of the items he signed for me was my Virtual XI Iron Maiden album booklet-my favourite Maiden album!) joked around with us and posed for photos with us. We were on an absolute high and couldn’t wait for the show…
The show itself was amazing. Blaze gave such a performance, his multi-national band was amazing, the songs were brilliant, the sound was perfect, we had so much fun!!! I came home with a setlist, a drumstick and a guitar plec. I also came home with a sore neck and without my voice!! I remembering meeting Italian guitarist Luca Princiotta after the show and talking with him, I also remember him giving me a kiss on my face, he was so very lovely! 🙂 That entire day was so special to us all and my sister and I remember it with the fondest of memories.
Fast forward to 2010… Blaze was coming back to Dublin! This time we heard through Facebook. Fibbers on Parnell St. There was a meet and greet before the show and I was so excited and nervous to meet Blaze again. He wouldn’t talk at all to anyone (I assumed it was to save his voice for the show) but I sat beside him, said “welcome back to Dublin!” and he grabbed me and gave me the biggest, squeeziest hug I ever got in my life!!! That night he signed my Tenth Dimension album booklet.
The following show was unbelievably energetic and I fondly remember it starting off with the unmistakeable sound of Blaze Bayley himself shouting from the back “Get out of my focking way!!! Let’s get this focking show started! Come on!!!” as he pushed his way through the crowd. His big Birmingham accent filled the room and we all laughed and made way for the mighty Blaze! What a show it was! Again we were up the front and this time almost too close! I remember being able to hug Blaze while he sang, drenched in sweat! Haha, so brilliant! His band line up had changed but these players were brilliant as well. We all had a brilliant night. What a gig.
Blaze has become very Internet savvy in the last few years, he’s always posting on Facebook, usually he posts brilliant photos of himself in various places in Europe, making the same heavy metal face! He’s constantly gigging and recording. It’s amazing to see his international fan base on Facebook, everyone seems to have the same love for this brilliant, larger than life performer.
I’m sure we all love him for the same reasons- his fantastic lyrics and songs, his amazing energy he delivers in his performances and the time and love he gives back to his fans.
Soundtracks of my Life is not only the perfect thank you to all his fans, it’s the perfect way to celebrate Blaze’s 30 years in the music industry. “Thank you all so much for your support over the years and making it possible to live my dream.” -Blaze Bayley.
An awesome heavy metal album. Soundtracks of my Life is out October 31st. Make it your business to own a copy of it.
Trouble with a capital “T” came to Drogheda last night! The Trouble Pilgrims played a secret gig and rocked Clarkes Bar!
Delivering high energy rock since 1974, the Trouble Pilgrims are the current members from the Radiators From Space- Steve Rapid (vocal and theremin), Pete Holidai (the Devil’s guitar and vocal), Johnny Bonnie (drums and vocal), Paddy Goodwin (bass guitar and vocal) and are joined by Tony St Ledger on rhythm guitar and vocal. The Radiators are without founder member, vocalist/guitarist Philip Chevron.
The Trouble Pilgrims live set includes material from all of the Radiators From Space albums, classic cover versions as well as songs from Pete Holidai’s solo album The Devil’s Guitar.
The band are playing small venues in preparation for their big performance in the Olympia this August.
It was a personal delight to catch up with Pete Holidai and watch him rock out with his devilishly handsome leftie Burns Hank Marvin white electric guitar and red 1976 Fender Strat. Pete is a huge inspiration to me as a guitar player, music producer, song-writer and teacher.
I’m a huge fan of the sound of Pete’s white Burns guitar in particular, clean yet crunchy with plenty of sexy Rez-o-tube tremolo, it’s the unmistakeable sound of the Devil’s guitar! I’m MAD to own a Burns Hank Marvin guitar myself now (because the nine guitars I already have aren’t enough!).
Pete’s solo album The Devil’s Guitar is a personal favourite of mine, it being the main album I listened to the second half of 2011! The Trouble Pilgrims treated us to “Jack of Hearts” which was the very first song I heard from The Devil’s Guitar before the mix was even finished in early 2011!
My favourite song from The Devil’s Guitar (that baritone guitar gets me every time!):
Wonderful live sound, wonderful performance and a wonderful atmosphere! If you get the opportunity to see the Trouble Pilgrims in an intimate venue near you, I urge you to go! They rattle cages and pull chains!!!
One of our workshops on the Erasmus Intensive Programme was pinhole photography. I found this extremely interesting!
After a talk about the history of pinhole photography and what it actually is, we were given little tins with a pinhole in them, in the darkroom we slipped our special photography paper inside carefully and covered the top with black paper and tin foil and covered the pinhole with one finger before emerging into the light. It’s important not to let the light through at any point before you decide to take your photograph because it will ruin the paper.
We were invited to step outside and take a photo of something we liked. It could be a building on the campus, a tree, the water, a person, a self portrait…
The photo below is my second attempt (I overexposed the first photo and shook the tin slightly first time around!). I found this lovely spot after crossing a little wooden bridge in the forest, I placed the tin on a rock, sat beside it and enjoyed 2 and a half minutes of stillness, peace and serenity. The only sound was the lapping of the water on the shore. I’m pleased with the photo, it looks kind of spooky which is cool because the earlier workshop that morning was the ghost/sound massage workshop!
We were allowed to dip the photograph in the 3 trays in the darkroom ourselves after been shown how to let the fluid wash over the paper in the first tray etc. This was really cool!!! The photos were hung to dry, put through a machine after that… When they were fully dried, we scanned them, popped them into Photoshop and inverted the colours.
The Full Moon Boogie Band are on the road and are on their way to a town near YOU!
We are a five piece band, made up of passionate, energetic and professional musicians, playing songs from Elvis to Rihanna, Wanda Jackson to Beyoncé, all with a full moon rock n roll flavour.
This Sunday we are playing The Spectacular Vintage Wedding Fair in lovely Corks’ The Imperial Hotel cork with Escape Salon & Spa… There’s gonna be tons of gorgeous vintage style clothing, yummy food and of course bopping’ tunes.. Do come along and if you’re looking for something a little authentic for your Big Day, tis the perfect place for ya!
We are also heading up to Dundalk next Friday the 25th of January for a good old fashioned, rock n roll show at the Spirit Store! We promise to create an awesome party atmosphere with our rockabilly sound! Check out the Facebook event here: Fri 25th January Full Moon Boogie Band Tickets €5.
It’s only 7.30pm and I’m exhausted! I can barely keep my eyes open but it’s all good, today was a lot of fun! Session 1 of the 3 part music production project was a great success!
As I mentioned in last night’s blog, I aimed to record guide vocal, guitar and cajon in today’s 3 hour recording session. It was a busy morning and not without obstacles but we successfully recorded guide vocal, guide guitar and complete cajon.
The main problem was with the lack of sound in one of the studio monitors. No matter what we tried, no sound would come through and the studio technician said the problem was certainly not a faulty connection or lead but within the desk itself and would take time to fix! So instead of abandoning the session we carried on with one monitor and trusted our DT100’s.
Another slight obstacle but definitely one worth the trouble- the patch connections for the live room were all taken out of the patch bay! Only through setting gain levels did we figure out where exactly to plug in! Trial and error! Well worth it.
So with these minor inconveniences sorted we ploughed on! My plan was to record the cajon in the live room using two AKG-C414’s and AKG-D112 and set up the guide vocal in the control room with a Shure Beta 58 and guide guitar with a Shure Beta 57.
From the above picture one can see an AKG 414 in front of the cajon to capture the snare sound, the D112 at the sound hole in the back for the bass and there is also an AKG 414 to Shane’s left capturing the room sound.
Thanks to pre-production sessions we had already settled on a tempo of 103BPM so I had a shaker track made up to serve as a click track. This actually turned out to be a hindrance and distraction so the song was played live without the click track and the second take was “the one”.
By this stage it was already 11.15am (45 minutes left already!) and we decided we would at least try to record the 12 string acoustic guitar. Initially I set up the microphones in the middle of the room (AKG 414 above the sound hole, Shure Beta 57 at the 12th fret and AKG 414 directly behind the guitar- the guitar tends to lack bass and placing the microphone here added bass).
After quick evaluation of this sound, we agreed the sound wasn’t quite warm enough. How do you get more bass from a non-bassy instrument? I suggested moving the guitar closer to a wall and mic-ing from there- my trust assistant Shauna Kearney did one better and suggested we set up in a corner! She quickly took down the makeshift bass trap of rockwool and triangular foam in a cardboard box, placed two foam panels either side of the corner and a small panel on top of these, making a cosy house for one of the 414’s. Now with the guitar facing out towards the room, the higher frequencies were allowed travel out and the bass frequencies were instantly projected into the corner, like magic, an instant warmth was apparent as well as that shimmering top end I like my Ibanez 12 string for.
Alas time was not on our side and with pressure mounting to get the right take in time before the next students came in for their slotted time, I was unsuccessful in getting a full track. I was not disappointed as we found a good microphone set up for the guitar that we could easily assemble again!
Session 2 is in 2 weeks time, another 3 hour session. Of course I will have to draw up my plans again for this session as I need to make time to record the acoustic guitars as well as double bass.
Session 3 is in 4 weeks time, another 3 hour session and in this session I will record the lead vocal and additional percussion and perhaps a Yamaha upright piano.
So very tired now! But my own music production project is not the only one in my schedule, I will be assisting Shauna Kearney in her production (and playing any instruments she needs to compliment her singer/songwriter Lauren Murphy- I recorded Lauren last Christmas for a similar project!) AND I am playing violin for my classmate, hip-hop producer Scott McLoughlin!
It’s great to be busy in music! My special thanks to the wonderful musicians who made today happen- Keith Caffrey, Shane Taaffe and Shauna Kearney. And thanks to the studio tech! 🙂
After a lovely reading week which turned out to be a brilliant balance of study, work, play AND industry experience (see recent post where I described my day recording location audio on a film set!), I’m all set and raring to start back to college (part 2 of semester 1) in the morning!
I’ve spent the last 6 weeks preparing for my music production project and tomorrow morning we go into the recording studio to start tracking! It’s an early start and I hope to record cajon, a guide vocal and acoustic guitars. I’ve chosen to realise a new Shock Sorrow song called “December”, myself and Keith Caffrey composed during the summer.
I’m very excited to have my classmate and good friend Shane Taaffe play cajon and new friend, bass master Ciarán O’Brien play double bass on this recording! I’ve never recorded both instruments before and I’m very excited! Keith Caffrey will of course be singing lead vocal, playing guitar parts (yes, a solo!) and a secret percussion instrument! 😉 I will of course be playing a small bit of guitar and maybe piano if I’m lucky, my regular studio partner Shauna Kearney will be assisting me (I can’t imagine being in studio without her actually!).
My mind is racing from the sheer excitement of this project and I’m getting ideas all over the place! “Oooh wouldn’t it sound great if I did this!” and “I’d love to slip in a little harmony there!”, it’s so easy to get carried away! The main point of this recording is to capture the sounds as accurately as possible, get the sounds right at the source! “I’ll fix it in the mix” attitude is bye-bye, out the window! There are of course plenty of other criteria to check, good production, instrumentation, record with hardware compression (mmmm Avalon baby) etc!
My primary aim is to record a polished studio version of this song that includes a full band of musicians but with a stripped back approach.
I aim to not only meet the instrumental requirements of this project brief but also extend beyond that by capturing one or two additional instruments and vocals, creating a sonically interesting and more varied recording.
I also aim to create a pleasant and relaxed working environment and enjoy a successful recording process.
I will post a blog tomorrow night about how the session went!
In other news I got to play an Irish harp tonight! I had such fun! Shane Taaffe is one seriously gifted musician, I already knew he is very talented with a guitar, cajon, voice, anything musical he puts his hands to, but I never got to hear him play Irish harp before now. Wow! I could have listened to him all night! Such beautiful music he played. I’m a big Irish trad fan from my fiddle days and lately my influences have been creeping back into my solo material. He played beautiful Turlough O’Carolan tunes, airs, reels and even treated me to “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica), I pretty much just melted into the floor by then!
So! Expect a future recording featuring Shane Taaffe on the harp! I would dearly love to compose a traditional piece myself and record it. This will happen!
Off to pack my school bag and equipment bag for tomorrow, where’s that list I penned up? 🙂
I’m back and I have returned with my off-white Fender Stratocaster playing good old fashioned rock n roll music with the ultimate party band: the Full Moon Boogie Band!
Full Moon Boogie Band, the name says it all – bringing you home to the land of rockabilly and rock and roll with a twist and lots of style!
We are a five piece band,made up of passionate, energetic and professional musicians, playing songs from Elvis to Rihanna, Wanda Jackson to Beyoncé, all with a full moon rock n roll flavour.
We are currently available for bookings. Our show is fantastic entertainment for any event, from weddings to corporate events, we shall bring fun and a bop shoo wop to your event. We come with our own swingin, jivin’ and very alluring Full Moon dancers to add that extra sparkle to the show.
We have a full PA, Sound engineer and DJ that can be included. Also softer ceremony music can be included as part of the package.
For bookings and info, please contact us by email at email@example.com or by our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fullmoon.boogieband 🙂
A WOP BAM A LU WOP A WOP BAM BOO!!!
NEXT SHOW: THE BURLESQUE AND CABARET SEPTEMBER SHOW!
I’m so excited to share this with you! This is a project that I have been working on for a couple of months and I’m delighted to introduce you to one very talented young lady- Monica Heldal.
Monica is a singer-songwriter from Bergen, Norway and at 21 years old, she has already taken the international music scene by storm and is one very busy lady! Her love for American country-blues and the music of Irish legend Rory Gallagher has brought her on a very busy musical journey so far. After playing the Rory Gallagher Festival in Ireland last year, Monica has been invited back to play again this summer during her busy Norway-Netherlands-France tour.
I have produced this song “Silly Willy”, a personal favourite from Monica’s original set. A delightful, bluesy, shuffling song which brings a smile to everyone’s face who’s heard it already! Monica exhibits raw, natural talent in her advanced acoustic guitar fingerstyle performance and in her alluring vocal on this recording and I think you’ll agree with me when I say that this lady is blessed with a gift!
Drums were performed by Daire Stanley, bass was performed by Sean Moher, electric guitar was performed by Darren Mc Eneaney and my recording assistant was Shauna Kearney. I recorded, produced and mixed the song and threw in some additional keyboard and electric guitars.
I really enjoyed this creative process and I’m pleased with the mix-down. This was my first full-band mix on Pro Tools (Logic Pro user!) and I hope you enjoy the song as much as we do 🙂
You can find lots more Monica material on her Facebook artist page: Monica Heldal.
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