Saturday, 13 June 2009


Things have been quite busy of late.

Went to a seminar on placing your music in TV, film and computer games. A couple of music producers came up from LA to talk about their work. So I am taking advantage of being on the West coast.

I’ve always had an interest in the business side of the music business. I think I’ll probably even set up a label one day, when there's a good reason to do so (like I've got to sign this band!!!) and I've got the time. But the whole publishing/placement thing has been pretty much a mystery to me. Esoteric knowledge, like tantric ritual. I have in fact read about it a whole bunch of times, but it’s like physics, I just can’t remember it. So to sit and listen to these guys and to be able to ask a question or two was excellent.

I’ve also been outside of Vancouver for the first time. Out into the wilds. Saw a bear! Amazingly there were a couple of tourists who had stopped the car and were standing extremely close to it taking photographs. Bear attacks usually happen to tourists, apparently. In one famous incident, a German tourist put jam on her kid’s face so that the bear would lick it off while they took a photo. You can probably guess the outcome.

The reason I was out of the city was that I was visiting an eco village. It was great to see people who had actually got something going. They were due to move into their places within a few weeks. They grow their own food on one-acre patches, the houses are ultra efficient, using thermal mass and solar gain (rather than heating and air conditioning) to keep a constant temperature, and they plan soon to buy a wind turbine to generate the electricity. I love meeting people who are out there and doing it. It takes creativity, skill, patience and above all commitment to get something like this to the moving-in stage, so you can guarantee that you are going to meet inspirational people. I may well be playing a gig there on the solstice.

While I was there a humming bird flew up to me and hovered about a foot away from my chest for a moment, before realising that my brightly coloured cardigan was not going to produce nectar, and shooting off. It was amazing, hovering there right at my heart chakra, like a fairy from a Disney cartoon.

When I was living in the yurt I decided that I’d like to write a book to go with the next album. Most of the songs that will be on the album were written during that time so hopefully it will provide an extra bit of context. I met up with the record company when I was in London and they were cool with the idea, so this week I started to write it. I’m going to attempt to chug it out quite quickly., Kerouac-style brain dump. I think it was Ernest Hemingway who said ‘All first drafts are shit’ so my plan is to just get the first draft out and then lovingly sculpt and tidy it once it’s on the page.

Got invited to play the Bodhi Garden festival (an excellent little Buddhist festival in Brighton) but alas I shan’t be in the country. I might try to do something there as part of my UK tour though, later in the year. They are a good bunch.

The week has also seen me in a bit of internal strife about how to approach the sound of the album. I love this period before things have really started, but it’s a painful time. It’s like being a teenager – a time filled with potential but also insecurity. Which way to jump? Who to be?

I think making art must inevitably be this way, assuming you really care about it and aren’t just trying to create something that will get played on the radio. This is especially true when you are producing as well as writing and playing the music. I miss Holy McGrail!

At the moment, the whole thing is sitting there in my heart, beautiful and melancholy, before it has been polluted and compromised by bringing it out into the world. It feels like a great responsibility to be the one whose job it is to turn it into an album.

I read something beautiful and melancholy today which expressed perfectly what I hope to achieve. I was listening to Nina Violet’s album, which I love. I supported her in Brighton when she was doing her UK tour and was knocked out. Anyway, I was listening to the album, and decided to have a nose on the internet. After a quick search on google, I found an article about her. And she was talking about how Woody Guthrie’s music spoke out the suffering of the people, and somehow made it alright:

"Think back to what Woody Guthrie did in the Depression," she says. "He alleviated the suffering of people by singing their suffering aloud. When everybody was thinking these down thoughts and then a charismatic man showed up and sung the thoughts back to them, it made their suffering real and it made it okay. Music has always been an expression from people to God, or to each other or to themselves about the things that they suffer and the joys that they feel."


Wednesday, 3 June 2009


This is a tekky post for people (like me) in the exciting position of just having bought a new midi controller keyboard.

If you want to assign the transport keys (play, stop, record, etc) in Logic to the ones on your new toy, you may have a bit of trouble.

I have just been scouting the internet for help. There's not much out there so I thought I would post this. It seems that you:

Go to LogicPro/Preferences/Key Commands/Global Commands

Then click on a parameter (e.g. 'Play'), click on 'Learn new assignment' and then press the button on your new toy.

Hope that helps!