The Denzeity Blog

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Warming Up

(Posted: 27 January 2018 10:53)

For a while I've been going along and playing acoustically at 'open mic' nights at various local pubs. Performing is the best way to hone a performance and it has also been a great way to meet other musicians and like minded people.

Maria Ahern runs a number of these nights and she offered the band a half hour 'featured artist' spot at The Oak in Kingston on Thursday.

Other than Mike and I getting up and playing together at a previous open mic gig (and Mike's local pub if you count that), this is the first time any of us have performed together in public so it was really just a 'warm up' gig. Added to this, Marcel couldn't make it so I had to fill in on bass guitar while Mike had to then cover all guitar duties - which made it the first time we had ever played together with this line up and instrumentation. However I knew the guys were good enough to handle it - and they did it just fine! Added to that I threw in one more challenge and decided we'd perform the cover 'Hey Joe' which we'd never played together and which Paige had never played at all. Again I knew the guys were good enough to handle it and yes they did.

There were some issues with sound on stage - it was difficult to hear the bass through the PA (I was missing a bass amp). Given the nature of the night, set up times are very short and there is no 'sound check' however this is part of the challenge of performing.

The highlight of the night was 'Never' which the audience loved. It was also a good opportunity to introduce the band to few other people I know who were there and meet a few new ones!

Being a musical collaborative sort of night (as these things are), Danno Sheehan was short a bass player and asked me to fill in during his set too which I was more than happy to do. It was bluesy based stuff including a Rolling Stones cover so nothing too difficult. We still couldn't quite get the bass sound sorted out on stage but the audience enjoy it and it was fun to do.

We'll be starting to look for more gigs now. When we've got all five of us there it will be sounding even better.

Finished Epic Mix

(Posted: 13 January 2018 21:17)

Epic Micky has been very busy. He's been churning out Trance and Electro House Dance floor hit material at full velocity recently. A couple of weeks ago he sent me a link to his remix of History which sounded great but he said he wanted to just clean it up a little more. Since then he sent out a bunch of other completed tracks and this evening he sent me his final mix of History and it's sounding great! Have a listen below...

Those who aware of my musical tastes would know that I'm not generally into electronic Dance music however I've found that for most musical styles there are are a few examples that I really like. Often these might be the ones that help that style 'break through' after which a lot of similar sounding stuff that isn't quite as good suddenly becomes more popular. There are a few tracks in Micky's catalogue which I really like and really deserve to be heard - one of the reasons I asked him to do a remix of History.

I have to say I didn't quite know what to expect. I sent him the multitrack files and thought I might get back a song that sounded like the original but more electronic and with a thumping dance beat. Instead Micky has come up with a whole new chord progression and song that just uses the vocals from one verse of the original. Great stuff!

Look out for it on a dance floor near you!

Epic History Dance Mix

(Posted: 24 December 2017 10:49)

One of the advantages of working with Sean is that he knows a multitude of other talented people and as he puts it, part of his job is to connect people up who could help each other out. One of the other artists he is currently promoting is a a DJ/Producer called Micky Hansford. He's just done a re-mix of Crystal Waters' Gypsy Woman which Sean has been telling people about. I really liked the original tune and having heard a couple of Micky's other remixes I thought I'd have had a listen - and really liked it.

I had been considering the idea of getting someone to do a dance re-mix of History and asked Sean if he thought Micky might be keen. Sean contacted him straight a way and I had an email back soon after from Micky saying he loved the track and would love to do a remix.

I sent him over multitrack files and await the result!

Live At Cordwallis

(Posted: 22 December 2017 09:10)

Yesterday I took the car down for a routine service at Cordwallis, Heathrow. It was a while you wait service so I took along my acoustic guitar to give me something to do while I waited. Having taken it outside to play through a few things (without annoying the staff) I wandered back in with it to see what progress was being made with the car. One of the girls on spotting the guitar asked with a smile if I was going to 'give them a song' - so I decided to give them one.

I felt a performance of 'Just Got My Life' would probably be right for the occasion and launched into it. The big open showroom made for a nice interesting acoustic environment and a couple of the guys started filming it! Later on one of the guys told me his first thought was 'here we go - another guy who can play a few chords and sing a bit', he wasn't expecting a professional sounding performance! He and everyone else were very complimentary and asked if I minded them putting the video up on their website/social media. Of course I didn't mind - it was a blast!

You can see it here on their Facebook page. Thanks everyone at Cordwallis for the chance to play and the great reception!


(Posted: 20 December 2017 20:34)

After our successful showcase 'gig' for Nick Tauber and Sean, it was time to meet up to map out the plan to take things forward. Sean has a few favourite pubs and cafes he likes to meet at which I'm rapidly starting to get to know.

The first meeting was a bit of an outline of what we need to do to reach the first goal; that goal being to get a good deal with a decent record label.

Having taken that away and digested it a bit I felt another meeting was necessary to go into a bit more detail about what would need to be done, when and what the results of each stage should be. I met up with him again on Sunday at the same cafe where we first met to go through the detail.

The basic outline is to bring certain people on board with expertise and contacts in various areas such as social media, video production, radio plugging, publicity etc. Each would come in at a particular point in the process and exercise their talents when necessary. Nick Tauber was already keen to work with us and the material in the studio and is lined up to start when he's finished his current projects.

Given that the existing recordings of History and other songs are actually quite good, it may be a mater of just adjusting a few tracks or even just remixing what is already there. I never really considered myself to be a great mixing engineer. I got lucky with my mixes of History and Slave To You and ended up producing recordings that I am still very happy with and have sounded just fine on radio when played next to other similar music. However having someone of Nick's calibre and track record remixing them is certainly going to be an exciting prospect and also an amazing learning experience!

Now satisfied with Sean's plan, I emailed him to ask him to set the wheels in motion...

Never Ending Showcase

(Posted: 08 December 2017 21:42)

Regular blog readers will be aware that on Monday we played a very important showcase to Sean (music manager to numerous household names) and Nick Tauber (record producer of numerous household name artists and records).

It was the first time the five band members had all been in the same room together since the first rehearsal with Mike but we had been rehearsing in groups of three and four since then. We set up and played through the five songs we had planned to perform for Sean and Nick. I don't know what it was about that evening but for the first time we actually sounded like a proper rock band. The songs really came together and sounded good. If nothing else we all felt we were now ready for our first gigs.

When Nick and Sean arrived we played through he same 5 songs again:

  • If You Can't Join Them Beat Them
  • History
  • Under Siege
  • Just Got My Life
  • Never

The final song we did, 'Never' was one written by an old friend of mine (Tristan) and his band "The Scapegoat" - the only one not written by me. It finished off the set nicely and being the only one of the five not already featured in some form on our website, here is the video of the actual live performance.

I think it would be fair to say the performance went rather well. They were very keen on 'History' and felt we had really good songs and were certainly very close to being ready to take to the next step. The short message from Sean the next day boiled down to the paragraph:
"Good session last night. Myself and nick keen to work out a deal quickly so we can start working before Christmas to get you ready to play in Jan and to create an audience for your shows."
We have organised to meet on Monday evening to talk through said deal...

          *          *          *          *          *

Incidentally if you want to hear The Scapegoat's version of the song 'Never' on soundcloud, here it is - this is the version I first heard and liked enough to want to do a cover of it.

Music: Nigel Cadzow, Helen Cadzow, Phil McGowan, Tristan Baker;
Lyrics: Tristan Baker

Re-working A Song

(Posted: 26 November 2017 20:20)

The second rehearsal with Mike took things to a new level. His years of experience both as a professional musician and as a music director meant he was able to make suggestions that really challenged how we had been doing things, both in terms of rehearsing and the actual songs themselves.

It started with his questioning of a G minor chord (following a G major) in the chorus of the song If You Can't (Join Them Beat Them). In his view the G should continue as a Gmaj. The Gm worked for me as it allowed a counter melody of B A# A A# and given the song had existed in it's present form for many years I was reluctant to change it for change's sake, but I was prepared to listen to his reasons - and was glad to have a pair of fresh critical ears offering me a different perspective.

He reasoned that the chorus needed to be less complex and more straight rock. I agreed that choruses in general needed to adhere to this principal however I didn't want to lose the emotional dimension that the counter melody brought to it. Mike suggested a simple riff on lead guitar that brought that emotional dimension back while allowing the Gmaj, and so, having not lost anything of great significance I was prepared to see where the idea led.

Subsequent changes that we tried included dropping the intro riff and starting with the verse chords, a halt in the middle of each verse, Paige playing the floor tom instead of hi-hats in the first half of each verse, heavier drums in the 'jazz sections' the removal of what was known as the 'quiet section' and finishing with a double chorus instead of the traditional outro.

I had to admit, the song was now sounding like a real potential hit and was glad we had indulged Mike's ideas - something I was happy to tell him over a beer afterwards.

I look forward to putting other songs to the same scrutiny - but first we need to focus on being ready to perform a bunch of songs for Nick Tauber next Monday, the legendary record producer who wants to hear us in rehearsal...

Fate Reveals An Interesting Hand

(Posted: 20 November 2017 23:05)

Two days after losing Lorne there are bunch of notifications on the Facebook page from a chap called Mike Gibbons. He appears to have liked a number of posts on the page. It was the first time someone I hadn't specifically invited to like the page had interacted with it but curiously I vaguely recognised the name.

A quick email search revealed a Mike Gibbons had viewed my BandMix ad for a new guitarist, and I realised I had viewed his page and possibly sent him a message via the BandMix website as a potential guitarist. His profile describes him as a:
"Professional session guitarist and Songwriter working in records, TV, and live performance."
He'd also sent me a quick FB message which said "Hey Simon" so I decided to make contact through messenger and pointed out that as he seemed to like what we were doing, and that we needed a guitarist, would he be interested?

What followed was a bunch of phone calls that made clear he was indeed a very good guitarist (via Youtube videos etc), an extremely experienced and knowledgeable musician who's played with numerous household names, a really nice guy and really liked my music - especially History. I went round to see him for quick jam and a beer at a local pub which turned into a great night out ending up with us playing guitar and singing at another one of the local pubs, earning us free beers! Whilst he was very busy with his professional music work and other projects he did agree to come and join us for a rehearsal.

He also took the liberty of contacting an industry friend of his, an Irish chap called Sean who had managed numerous household-name acts including Bon Jovi, David Bowie and Pink Floyd and told him he needed to listen to my work!

The next message which came through said:
"Bit of good news mate, Sean the Irish fella I was telling you about wants to meet you."
We met up the following Saturday at a restaurant in Westfield, Startford. The meeting went well and Sean introduced me to another musician he was working with, a girl called Elsa and suggested we write some songs together. He also suggested I should meet up with a record producer he works with - a chap called Nick Tauber, whose credits include Thin Lizzy, Toyah, Venom, Deep Purple, Marillion, UFO and a very long list of others. He thought Nick's rock production style would suit my music.

We met up with Nick the following Friday, the upshot being that Nick now wants to come to a rehearsal and hear us playing live.

In the meanwhile we had a rehearsal
with Mike. His experienced and professional musicianship was evident from the outset and some really good sounds and ideas came out from it.

So far so good - at least things are going in the right direction...