Tag Archives: sound savers

“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.

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