Thursday 26th May, 2011
Yesterday was a bit of a slog. Here’s a quick breakdown of why:
- 0900-1030: Revision for Friday’s Arts Administration exam. Some of it was current and exciting; a lot of it was tediously academic.
- 1100-1205: Music Society committee meeting. Whilst I’m very excited about Estival, our annual four-day musical extravaganza, I’m not so excited about the ins and outs of the Personnel Policy.
- 1230-1500: More revision. And some Facebook.
- 1515-1745: Orchestra rehearsal. It felt like we spent two hours on the same dull few bars of Glazunov’s Violin Concerto…not one of my Desert Island Scores at the best of times.
I owe it all to the sheer euphoria of Sparks, our incredibly exciting new anthem. Building from a simple opening to a rousing finale, this song is the ultimate cure for tiredness!
Have a listen to the first verse – but ignore the intro, as filmed by Zeb…
Wednesday 11th May, 2011
The blog posts are going to have to be a little more sporadic at the moment, folks – that’s because we’re in the middle of May, that time of year when students’ attentions suddenly turn towards their degrees, and away from everything else. Of course, it’s not quite that simple in a music student’s world: for one, last Thursday saw my band Always Awake‘s live debut. It was very successful, very well attended, and very good fun; I can’t wait for more of the same! Oh, plus we launched a stonking new EP.
Meanwhile, we’re edging ever closer to Estival, the Music Society‘s week-long annual music festival. It’s a huge undertaking, especially given how close it is to the climax of the academic year. I’ve got a lot of concert managing to do, but with the combined forces of the outgoing and incoming concert manager teams to work with, we can’t go far wrong. More about this soon, but for now just trust me that it’s going to be great!
In other news, I was looking forward to having my good friend Caroline alongside me during my crazy summer of work experience/volunteering, but she’s gone and got herself a real job, the rotter. While it’s a shame to miss out on her company, I’m really pleased for her, plus really encouraged that it really is possible for someone in my position (which is remarkably similar to Caroline’s this time last year) to go straight into an arts job immediately after the end of uni.
Anyway, back to that degree…
Tuesday 19th April, 2011
I’m finally back in Hull after quite an intense 6-day round trip. With the Latitude concert out of the way, I headed down to Headline Studios in Stockport for a quick recording session with my band, Always Awake.
These guys are amazing: not only are they wholeheartedly committed to what they do, but each of them looks out for the rest of us, which makes for a tight group that works very hard but never too hard.
Now, a quick bio. Twins Zeb and Theo Bowyer have been writing and performing with Ben Wood for 9 years, but the band has existed in its current state – with Kelani Koyejo on drums and percussion, and me on bass and cello – since December. Our sound is a tricky one to describe, but our Facebook page calls it ‘Inventive, emotive and anthemic – a perfect blend of smooth sophistication and Mancunian grit’, so let’s go with that.
The reason for recording this EP in such a short space of time is that we need something to play to potential audience members for our first ever gig together, on Thursday 5th May. It has to be something that isn’t heavily produced but that at least beats scratch recordings on mobile phones, and is a good representation of our live sound.
So we recorded all the instruments at once, as opposed to the slower, cleaner method of recording every layer separately, from the drums up. This not only saves time, but will hopefully capture something of the raw energy of live performance. The vocals will be done over the next few days, then the guys will work their computery magic and that’ll be it – four shiny new tracks!
Having never recorded with a band before, what struck me most was how intensive it was –how nerve-wracking it was to know that the way I played in those few hours was going to be permanent, either forever to my credit or forever held against me. But despite my nerves, everything went miraculously smoothly, mostly thanks to the expertise of engineers Ryan Searle and John Wood. I’m very much looking forward to hearing the finished product – keep your eyes/ears peeled…