Archive | Music RSS feed for this section

“The sound of dustbins full of marbles tumbling down a metal staircase…”

9 Feb

I’d always liked making a noise, we had a weird old electric organ when I was a kid that I enjoyed playing on, I used to borrow my sister’s Casio keyboard for ages, I bought a rubbish guitar from Argos with my first proper pay packet in 2001 (working for Subway in Truro, Cornwall) and never learnt to play it, but none of that stopped me.

I bought a piece of software for the PC called ‘Dance eJay’ and would use that to make decidedly non-dance music tracks, using their sample libraries for drum beats but adding my own out-of-tune cacophony on top of that using whatever instruments was to hand.

I borrowed a friend’s keyboard around 2002 to make my first solo album (it was called ‘Clambake Surprise’), and many more terrible efforts followed.

However, despite all this, despite loving music, despite pretending to be in a band with a friend during Maths class, despite becoming the gigs and events officer in the University Indie music society, I never played music in front of anybody and – apart from uploading a few tracks to MySpace and its ilk – never encouraged anyone to listen to anything I made.

I also wrote music reviews, I was the sub-editor for unsigned bands on a website, and got to listen to loads of fantastic demos and DIY releases from all sorts of great bands, including one called Muarena Helena.

Through my solo project’s MySpace I added Muarena Helena to my friends and started an email correspondence with Joel from the band, I sent him a CD of my music and he sent me back a cover version of one of my own songs, which was such a confidence boost.

We then set about collaborating via email making peculiar tracks throughout the Spring and Summer of 2009 for an online project called Neuschwanstein. I had a pretty shoddy keyboard, though I also contributed such random stuff as playing coat hangers.

Eventually in August – because of some plot – I had to move from Brighton to London, and Joel suggested that now we lived in the same city we should meet in person. We did, and we got on, so Joel suggested I come and play some music with him and Andy, who had been in Muarena Helena as well.

Joel let me borrow a nicer keyboard, we played as a three-piece (guitar, bass, keys) and decided we needed a drummer. Joel had just moved into a house-share with Rosie who played drums.

In February 2010 we all met up at Kafri Studio on Kingsland Road and played together.

In February 2019 I had my last practice session.

Between those two dates we were three different bands; BAANEEX, Giant Burger and Magic Mist. Joel and Rosie and me were in each iteration, Andy played bass in BAANEEX, then when Andy left and we became Giant Burger with Oli on baritone guitar, and we turned into Magic Mist in 2018 and Oli started playing a keyboard as well.

As BAANEEX we released two CDs through Odd Box Records, a tape and a bunch of tracks online.

As Giant Burger we released two 7 inches, a tape and a 12 inch vinyl album, again through Odd Box Records.

We played hundreds of shows as BAANEEX and Giant Burger, and one show as Magic Mist.

We practiced almost every Tuesday at Sound Savers studios in Homerton, East London, recording most of our music there as well – both independently and with the engineering services of Mark Jasper and Alex Clegg.

We also recorded at Dean Street Studios in Soho thanks to the generosity of Ketih TOTP.

Most of our artwork was created by CM Carter, who I’ve known since primary school.

We made a bunch of videos for our songs too, directing them all ourselves.

We did a lot.

My time in London has sort of been defined by being in these bands, playing music with these people, and now I’m moving to Manchester so the band must come to an end.

We’ve got our final release coming up, it’s the most DIY thing we’ve done, Joel recorded and mixed it all himself, and it’ll be out on Odd Box Records later this year.

Advertisements

Oxygen Thief – Lost In The Post

25 Oct

Hello,

On Sunday 7th October I was in Bristol to film a music video for my friend Barry and his band Oxygen Thief. I’ll write a more detailed post about this soon, but, for the time being, here’s the finished video hosted over on Louder’s Facebook page:

Hope you like it!

Owain

Magic Mist: Flare Path

8 Jul

Hello,

Since moving to London in 2009 I’ve been in a few bands, first there was BAANEEX (2010 – 2012), then there was Giant Burger (2012 – 2017), and now there’s Magic Mist.

Here’s the music video (that I directed) for our debut single ‘Flare Path’…

You can download the single (it’s pay what you like) through Odd Box Records here:https://oddboxrecords.bandcamp.com/album/flare-path-tentacle-finger

Hope you enjoy it!

Owain

The Diary Of Joe Meek…

25 Jun

Hello you!

I meant to blog about this quite a while ago, but this year got consumed with some rather exciting projects which I’ll be able to tell you all about very soon.

But first…

When I was a youngster I drew comics all the time, but as I’ve got older my love for drawing has sort of been side-lined into an “add-on-pack” to my love of writing and film-making. I’ve never really believed in myself, or my abilities, as an illustrator / cartoonist / artist / whatever.

However I’ve still occasionally entertained ideas of working on a comic book – based on some of my unseen writing – and have made tentative steps here and there at putting something together, usually falling apart after the first page or two.

At the beginning of this year a friend of mine told me that the independent publisher Good Comics were looking for submissions to an anthology called ‘Dead Singers Society’, the third volume of which they were due to publish in February.

So, I decided to give it a go and put together a one-page strip based on a deceased music artist that I was interested in.

I knew that recently departed musicians such as David Bowie and Prince would be prime pickings, and I felt somewhat intimidated tackling someone like Ian Dury – already depicted brilliantly in the film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – so I chose to dive back into my creative writing past.

Andy Serkis as Ian Dury in Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll

I studied English Literature & Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University (2003 to 2006), and one assignment involved writing a diary for a someone either living, dead, fiction or non-fiction. I chose the innovative record producer – and occasional singer – Joe Meek.

Joe Meek

As someone who loves making music myself – at the time this was a very private process, and the results were usually horrible – I felt a certain kinship towards Joe, especially in his desire to create bigger, stranger, more experimental sounds and often doing so in the most imaginative and low-tech ways.

His story grows even more fascinating, and tragic, as you begin to delve into his troubled personal life, his paranoia, his sexuality and the circumstances surrounding him that ultimately ended in murder and suicide.

I’d written a number of diary entries imagining his innermost thoughts, skipping across time, that tracked Joe from his early creative explosions, across his frustrations with the mainstream music industry, towards unexpected success with the smash hit single Telstar, and finally into his descent into darkness.

Adapting this into a one page comic was going to be quite a challenge, as I still wanted to give a sense to the reader of that journey.

So, I grabbed a piece of paper, sketched out four panels repeated over four lines, and went through my fictitious diary to find four incidents to fill each line.

I still felt like a bit of a pretender submitting my work to the folks at Good Comics, looking at the other issues the quality of the storytelling and artwork was so strong and individual that I couldn’t see my own work fitting in alongside it.

Surprisingly, a few weeks after sending my comic off I had a reply – my email had accidentally wound up in their Junk folder! – and, even more surprisingly, it was to say that my comic was going to be a part of their anthology.

It was really flattering and very exciting to see my comic in amongst so many brilliant artists in the ‘zine. It was doubly exciting to pop into Gosh! comics in Soho and see the ‘zine containing my work on their shelves.

Collage of images from Dead Singers Society Volume 3

Ultimately though, I’ll be honest with you, I still felt like a pretender, someone who had managed to sneak their way in despite not having the proper credentials. As with many things, it did make me resolve to try and work that bit harder on my drawings – hence the Valentine’s Day cards – and to try and be a bit more proactive with creative projects – hence the busy-ness.

You can pick up a copy of ‘Dead Singers Society Vol. 3’ here, as well as loads of other great work from Good Comics.

All the best,

Owain

Giant Burger Wave Goodbye

4 Feb

Hello you!
So, you may or may not know that I play the keyboard and “sing” in a band called Giant Burger.

Giant Burger against a blue wall
We started playing together in February 2012, had our first gig in July that same year, have released a cassette, two 7-inch records, a number of online tracks, and last Christmas released an album.

Giant Burger playing the London Palladium - 5th October 2012
We decided, for reasons more eloquently explained over on our Facebook page, to wind the band down; though the four of us are going to keep playing together under a new name, with completely new songs, and a different ethos driving us to make music.

Giant Burger against a brick wall
There will be one last recording session for us – in March – and one last gig – in April, so we’ll have a little bit more music to share, and one last opportunity to play our tunes for you all as this band!

Giant Burger outside Sound Savers practice room 2017
It has been great fun being in Giant Burger, and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.
If you fancy it you can buy some of our music here, and some more of it here.
Hope all is good with you!

Owain. x

Giant Burger Forever

11 Oct

Hello,

The band I play keyboards and “sing” in has an LP coming out on Odd Box Records. It’s called Giant Burger Forever and features 9 tracks of peculiar noise-making, you can listen to the opening track Sports Bottle here, as well as pre-order the limited edition, screen-printed vinyl (with download) release.

gb_forever

Ta muchly!

O

In The Articles

11 Mar

Years ago I picked up a copy of The Fly, a free music magazine often found in HMV (specifically HMV Truro in Cornwall), and read a review about a chap called Aidan Smith, the review made his music sound good so I took a punt and bought one of his At Home With… EPs. It was fantastic, so I got the other one and then eagerly awaited further releases.

This year I finally bought his most recent LP ‘Phone Me If You’re Bored’ and – out of the blue – Aidan offered me a chance to make a video for one of the songs. I said yes. Here’s the resulting video:

 

You can buy Aidan Smith (and his indulgent friends)’s stuff here: https://aidansmithandhisindulgentfriends.bandcamp.com/

Spooky Shenanigans

28 Oct

Hellooooooooooo!

 

It’s Halloween this Friday and Giant Burger are playing a ghoulish gig at Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch, alongside The Indelicates and Night Flowers.

Here’s the Facebook event page for those who like that sort of thing: https://www.facebook.com/events/777046239025318/?sid_reminder=4185645174132572160

 

Performing at Jester Jesters' Puppetry Night

Performing at Jester Jesters’ Puppetry Night

I’ve been doing a fair ol’ bit of stand-up lately, including a rather delightful puppetry themed night yesterday at Jester Jesters (hence Sooty) and I’ve got a lot of spots coming up before the year is through. Look at the Stand Up page for full listings.

 

Hopefully see you at something soon!

 

Owain. x

Giant Burger Blue Vinyl Record

16 Oct

Hello all,

I’m very excited to let you know that my band Giant Burger have put out a new record, it’s a jam-packed 7-inch blue vinyl with gloriously lurid artwork by CM Carter.

You can hear it below and order it from Bandcamp – either on it’s own or bundled with our previous record for a discounted price.

Many thanks,

Owain

Giant Burger: A raw, shocking, incendiary documentary

1 Oct

Hello,

My band – Giant Burger – did some recording on Sunday 28th September. I decided to film our day and these are the stunning results…

All the best,

Owain. x