Monday, 22 August 2016

July/August Updates

I hope everyone has been having a beautiful summer so far? This time of the year always seems the busiest for me, from teaching to gigging to recording, I've barely had time to catch my breath.

Rockschool Results
Another great set of results for my students from Rockschool. All of those who took an exam worked extremely hard and it paid off as they all received Merits and Distinctions, so a huge congratulations to everyone. The next examination period is fast approaching, so anyone wanting to take their exam must make sure they have entered by October 1st!
Lucas with his Grade 3 with Merit certificate.

One of the songs from the ClownSmashEverything album has been released here. I recorded the 12 tracks of 'The Bombs Are Getting Closer' last year but due to time constraints am unable to continue, so if anyone in the Norwich area is keen then give me a shout and I'll pass your details on.

Frozen Light Theatre Company
On Sunday 31st July I went into the studio to record some backing tracks for the Norwich based theatre company Frozen Light. They specialise in multi-sensory shows for audiences with PMLD, so to be just a small part of their new show 'Home' was a privilege. Their musician Al Watts had sent me a rough guide of the tracks, so once we were set up and happy with the sound it only took a couple of run throughs till we were done. My North Custom kit and Amedia cymbals were sounding paticularly lovely. 'Home' starts it's Autumn tour in Canterbury on 27th August. You can find out much more about Frozen Lights work here

Recording backing tracks for Frozen Light.
Ducking Punches
I can now confirm that we are heading back over to America in October to play FEST and Pre-FEST in Florida. Last year was my first time playing America and we ended the tour off by playing FEST, which is one of the worlds biggest punk festivals in Gainseville. The show turned out to be one of my favourite shows I've played and to be asked to come back is just amazing. Some of my favourite bands are playing this year, the full schedule can be found here. I have also planned an extra week out there with my wife and son to visit New Orleans, fingers crossed I can get a lesson with the legendary Stanton Moore whilst I'm there!
In the meantime we recorded a video for the song Greedy Bones which is a song off our latest album Fizzy Brain. We wanted something raw, organic and unscripted, so we decided to build a box-car racer. Long story short, it came out great, unfortunately the day did end up with our singer breaking his leg (when you see me, ask) so we have had to postpone a couple of shows. However I'm hoping (and he is definitely hoping) that it's all worth it. I'll post it up as soon as the editing is completed.

Hearing Protection
The amazing lot at Help Musicians UK have just launched their Hearing Health Scheme, which gives pro-musicians access to bespoke hearing protection for only £40 (£30 for MU members). For this you get a music-specialist hearing check up, advice and custom moulded plugs. Not many things are more important to a musician than hearing so getting decent protection is vital and for this money you can't really pass it up. More information on the scheme can be found on their website.

PMT Norwich Drum Clinic. 26th September
I'm absolutely thrilled to announce my first ever drum clinic. I will be opening up for Dave Major who is currently one of the shining lights amongst UK educators, session players and clinicians. His clinic hits PMT in Norwich on Monday 26th September.  I have followed Daves work closely so to be part of the same bill as him in a true honour and I'd like to say a huge thank you for PMT for approaching me. Doors are 7pm and tickets are £5 which can be purchased from the store or online.  Make sure you book in advance as it's sure to sell out quickly. It's also worth checking out and subscribing to Daves Youtube channel as there's a wealth of information available from him.

New Amedia Cymbals!
Today I took delivery of something rather special; my custom made 8" Hi-Hats from Amedia Cymbals. A couple of months back I chatted to Alex from Amedia about having these made up and around 7 short weeks later they arrived - all the way from Turkey. They are truly beautiful and once more the craftsmanship shown here is stunning. I'd like to thank Alex and everyone else at Amedia for making this happen, it really is a pleasure to work alongside some of the best people in the business.

Friday, 19 August 2016

May/June Updates

At the beginning of May I managed to book in a lesson with the legendary Craig Blundell (Frost/Steven Wilson) at his home studio in Bedford. Craig is regarded as one of the leading educators and clinicians in the UK and is somebody that I have admired for a long time now. The fact that he still takes time out of his crazy busy touring schedule to teach one-to-one lessons is a testiment to his enthusiasm to help fellow drummers progress.
After the short trip to Bedford, Craig welcomed me in with a cup of tea (always a good sign) sat me down and asked what I was there for. In short, we all need inspiration and sometimes a little nudge to get us motivated and back up running again. No matter what our age, abillity or length of time playing is, the key is never to stagnate and become complacent with where you are. Always push yourself, always try to get outside of your comfort zone.
Within that two hours, I was thrusted material after material that made me uncomfortable (in a good way) He picked up on my weakness' (and very sweetly gave me some compliments!) and made me think about playing in ways I had never thought of before. I love finding weakness' it means you know what to practice on, and oh boy have I been practicing a lot more since that lesson.
I would like to thank Craig for his patience, enthusiasm and knowledge, those two hours really were a game changer for me and I'm looking forward to heading back down to you to show your my progress soon.
Me and Craig Blundell.
Southport EP released
Very excited to say that the Southport EP I recorded a couple of months back has been released. I do believe this is the first thing I've played on that has had a Japanese release. It's out on the amazing Fixing A Hole records and can be ordered here. They were also kind enough to send me a few copies wrapped up in Japanese newspaper! Thanks again to everyone involved and especially Simon Wells for inviting me to play on this, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you.

Teaching in June just seemed to explode with plenty of new faces being somehow wedged around my already full timetable of students. I feel so humbled everytime someone phones or emails me about lessons and I hope I can repay with the knowledge and experience that I've gained over the last 20 years (yikes) of playing. So thank you to everyone who has had or continues to have lessons with me, it means the world. And also good luck to everyone who is about to take their Grade exams!