Monday, 27 December 2010

From the desert...

I'm in the desert. The Qatari desert to be precise. In a flat - all on my lonesome. The flat belongs to my older brother who flies buses. Airbuses to be precise. In fact he's flying one now to Moscow and has left me on my lonesome in his flat in Doha. A strange part of the world. A city that seems to constantly be in rubble. Rubble surrounded by 6km shopping malls and crawling with cars bigger than minibuses and gas stations which don't even need to list the prices of gas because gas is so dirt cheap out here. There's no culture here that particularly excites me. I'm bored. I don't have a guitar and I've been singing into the voice recorder on my phone and the poor quality on the playback is making me trash things as quickly as I record them.

I haven't blogged in a while because life has been too fast and exciting to actually sit down and write about it. I've had two bouts of flu. But more importantly, since October, I've recorded a new album. An album that I enjoy listening to. The guitar sounds real and loud (I had two cabs - 6 speaker cones in total) - my effects pedalboard was steaming after each session and my fingers are still raw. The vocals are more mature, a bit thicker and more voluminous - it's been a long hard slog these 3 years on the road and in the studio, but I feel like I've come on musically in ways that I hadn't realised. I feel like I'm in a band, and I love being in a band. A proper band. Where if one member is ill or unavailable -we cancel the show. There's no dep players. No compromising and doing the gig acoustic with just Howey and myself or solo. We have a sound. A collective sound. A sound that needs to be right every time. The album we've layed down really celebrates this sound.

Ok I've just read the last paragraph back to myself and it sounds like I'm trying massively hard to big up the new album - I'm not, I'm just in love. New love - you always talk too much about it to people who don't wanna hear about it. The last song you write is always the best one - probably because you haven't played and heard it to death yet (insert ranting about 'Taxi Man' here). I'm excited. And the previous paragraph is probably the reason why I've stayed off the blogging for so long - cuz I was scared I'd just channel my teenage excitement into every word and put off the serious readers among you. The music is new. It celebrates the rhythm section. The beats are creative but steady. I'm a geniune sucker these days for monotonous and creative 'tom-heavy' beats. I find I can play and sing over them with more freedom. I'm listening to Neu! at the moment actually - completely by coincidence. 'Can' still features heavily in my playlists as do the Banshees. My lyrics book is filling up. I'm a happy girl. Something has opened up within me and it's spilling out all over the place (metaphorically guys...).

Right. This blog has probably told you everything and nothing at the same time. I'm still everywhere and nowhere. I'm off to the homeland of India tomorrow to hang with my rents and my grand rents. Next year is gonna be a big one. I might actually learn to write as things happen...

Till then,

Nicky x

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Up, Down, and whichever other direction the music pulls you..

21 days since I last blogged. Gettin better. It used to be months...

The Weston-Super-Mare gig was rubbish. The set was pure filth (good filth - angry filth) - the audience, however - a disaster! Should have thought twice before stepping on stage after an RnB act that pranced up and down the stage beckoning an audience of pre-pubescent kids to 'Make some noooooiiiiiseeee' whilst miming over a backing track. I guess hard disks and laptops are lighter than amps or drumkits...but playing a CD would've probably been cheaper.

We were a rock band booked at a 'street dance festival'. Sick blud!

To top things off it was freezing and we were 'headlining' which meant that it was not only cold, but dark and windy and we ended up providing the most epic exit music to a dwindling crowd of kids and guardians. It does a lot for your ego to watch the audience clear off by the second tune. Nonethless, one of our new tunes, 'Chemicals', had me on my knees turning the 'repeats' and 'tempo' knob on my delay pedal on full and playing one note continously while glaring at some poor little kid in the audience who dared to hang around for the set - a trance-like state cut short only by Howey putting his foot through the bass drum skin resulting in us having to rush through the last number and clear off stage, pile into the Hyundai and head on home.

I pretty much sighed all the way home in Chris' wonderful Volkswagen Golf and subsequently drowned the experience out of my system with 4 Rockschools at the Wine Vaults.

We did a polar opposite gig at Priston Village Fete a week later to an attentive audience while we stepped out of our comfort zone and played an acoustic set...went down great. People were lovely. The day was lovely. The distance to Bath was negligible. I was a happy little Indian.

Which brings us more or less up to date methinks.

I have a new album's worth of songs. It's great. 3 years of writer's block dissolved in 3 weeks, and replaced by 11 brand spanking new tracks. Thursday and Friday saw us do a set entirely comprising new material - it was scary and weird as there was nothing old or comfortable to hide behind. Mr Wolf's in Bristol was a pretty quiet gig which suited me fairly well considering the set was still so fragile. The less ears the better when you're doing set with your eyes closed and your ears pricked for clues from the band as to where we are and what we're doing.

Moles last night was absolutely kicking on the other hand. Like giving birth for the second time around - we were more confident with the new tunes. The audience turn-out was spectacular as well - the vibe on stage was electric in every sense of the word. Stumbled into the house at 3am and woke up at 9am and watched Beverly Hills Cop 3.

I'm feeling that kind of feeling you have after running just that little bit longer than your body wanted to. I'm exhausted. These new songs fill me with hope, excitement and dread all at the same time and life has never felt more tiring and intruiging than it does now. We're teetering on the edge of something/nothing/everything/noise.

Love you dearly for reading this far.

Excuse the waffle. Brevity was never a friend of mine.

Nicky xx

Friday, 10 September 2010

Why I've chosen to meet here.

So. Myspace. The musician's online calling-card and one of the worst sites to have to navigate through. I'm not a natural writer and any excuse (such as the ugliness of a blog window or the half an hour loading time on myspace) will usually do, for me not to put my thoughts down on screen. Because more often than not - my thoughts scare me. But it is therapeutic if you can get through the first few slaps in the face courtesy of your own brain. I'm not schizophrenic. I'm a musician. So given the issues with myspace, I've chosen to seize control of the variables that stop me from writing by finally moving to 'blogger'. Which is why I've chosen to meet here. Your eyeballs and I. Together at last. Isn't it pretty? Don't you love what I've done with the place? Hopefully the muted colours and random objects of blogger's free 'travel template', which serve to tie the screen together, will help to tie my thoughts together too. Feng shui-ing the mind.

I've titled this blog 'the gap years' because I've taken to using the term 'gap year' when describing any years of limbo and toil since getting out of the cocoon of the 'system' (school, university, mind-numbing job), at various dinner tables the world over to people who attempt to coax an informal CV out of you over a starter of unpronounceable French items which usually ends up just being goats cheese and caramelised onions.

It's been an interesting few years. I did the University thing to keep the parents happy and then eventually decided to hop off the escalator of life and follow my gut instead of getting stuck in a job that makes me live for two days a week (the weekend) - which with my degree in straight Biology was definitely on the cards.

So now I'm a musician. I met my producer and mentor, Tim Oliver, in 2006 and his blind faith and incredible foresight have made me learn to play electric guitar in 3 years and find a creative voice.

I work two days a week running an open mic and serving coffees and spend the rest of the time attempting to write/rehearse/record/promote/manage my music and a fantastic band of Howard Gill (drums) and Scott Barter (bass). I have a lot of time to think and equally ample amount of time to quietly go insane and try and figure out if I have tinnitus by listening intently to any mechanical hum. But nothing prepares you for the anxiety, and self-motivation required by burgeoning artists.

This blog shall be where I vent, celebrate, lament and explore everything that is happening with the music. I won't be colouring it up with false excitement and I won't dumb down any true grounds for excitement and celebration. This is not a promotional blog.

I'm currently in the throws of writing and rehearsing up a new album for the studio. The gigs are few and far between at the moment which always leaves a lump in your throat as a musician. But hopefully once we have the new album and a more confident and defined calling card - we'll be ready to take on the strange and unpredictable world of music promoters, managers and the like. If not? Bugger.

We've got a gig this weekend in Weston-Super-Mare. Music capital of the world. We're going to play some new stuff and generally try to exorcise our demons and apathy towards certain people and aspects of our lives. It's also a great way of finding out if a new song is rubbish.

I love this job. The pay is rubbish but the job satisfaction is high. Something's gotta give.

See you after the weekend. Excuse any grammatical errors. I'm foreign and lazy.