What’s more important to you at the moment, Live gigs or studio sessions?
Right now, live appearances. I’ve written music for years without ever intending to try and recreate anything live. Now that I’m doing just that, I realise how incredibly fun it can be once you get over the whole “nervous shakes” thing. But recording music will always be my first and most abusive love.
Do you enjoy playing live gigs?
I love them when they go well. I’ve gone to a lot of concerts so I know what has connected with me when I see someone playing an acoustic show. It supposed to be personal, yet not put you above the audience even though you’re up on stage. It’s a tricky line to walk, but I’m figuring it out.
Do you find it a solitary experience playing as a solo artist?
It does get lonely up there sometimes. I’m enjoying playing the songs in a stripped down fashion but I’m starting to realize that they’re meant to be powerful. I’ve been considering getting some other musicians together to help me present the album in the way it was intended: really loud
How do you manage to ‘fill the stage’?
I usually get models to stand around me, ala Robert Palmer, and they mime playing instruments and just generally look pretty. But with an acoustic show, moving around the stage while playing is difficult because if you screw up something you look a lot less like David Lee Roth and a lot more like an asshole that can’t play. I just try to give the songs the right amount of emotion in my singing and playing so that people will hopefully be moved enough to ignore their waitresses. Sorry, waitresses.
What scale is your recording operation? (Home Studio, Production team etc)
A couple of Shure mics, a stereo mic, a mac and instruments all set up in my home office. I booked time in a real studio once, but realised quickly that if you’re going to experiment with songs while there, you better have some serious cash. It’s just so easy to set up a home studio now that it’s kind of crazy to pay to use someone else’. I MacGyver’d a studio and I’m happy with that.
Does this add/subtract to Golden BC’s overall sound?
I think that it adds infinitely. While I understand that engineers and producers have years of knowledge that can really add to a recording, I know what I want to hear coming out of those speakers and it may take longer at times, but I’ll get it. Experimenting with sounds while recording the new record would never have been possible for me if I had used a studio outside of the one I built.
Do you have any experience in the area of music production and recording?
Besides my own work, no. I started recording with Audacity, then Garageband, now Logic Express and have taught myself the whole way. I’m not exactly going to produce someone else’s record, but I’m getting better at perfecting my processes as you can tell in the difference between “The Truth in the Facts” and “Just Take It”.
Does your skill level hinder your ability to truly express yourself?
What are you trying to say? J
Sometimes, but I think that’s the case with most musicians, even the amazingly talented ones. To me, music is always the best when it’s simple in structure, lush in sound. So you could have a song like “Get Rid of It” where there is so much shit going on in the song but the whole thing comes from two chords that play the whole time. So skill is kind of irrelevant when it comes to expressing myself, I’m just going to start playing the guitar like a percussion instrument and sing to that if I can’t come up with something better.
What do you aim to achieve with your music?
I want to have a truckload of Junos dumped on my lawn. Otherwise, I think the biggest aim of my music is simply to get people to listen to it and buy it. I know that sounds kind of shitty to say, but honestly, the money all goes back into making and releasing more music. I see it as an encouragement to create more music, and an investment from a fan that I will repay tenfold.
How close are you to satisfying these goals?
No Junos yet, but if Celine Dion doesn’t put out an album this year it could be a possibility.
So you released an album last year, Just Take It. Are you happy with how it turned out?
For the most part. There will always be things that I’ll wish I had done differently but once it’s out, I’m not about to George Lucas anything. But really, its my most fully-formed record and I’m very proud of it.
How did you find the overall process of creating an album?
Tedious at times. This was the first time I had attempted to have an ongoing theme through an entire album and sometimes getting the pieces to fit took a little smashing. “The Idiots” was rewritten about 4 times before it ended up as what you hear on the record. It was a folk song, then it was very ambient sounding, then I ripped apart everything and made the final version.
How has it been received?
Pretty well so far, its kind of strange record to review because it can be all over the place from song to song. But I’m hoping people will give it a few chances to grow on them because, (and I’m not biased at all) it’s a pretty great record.
So finally, what do you have planned for 2013? Any new projects on the horizon?
After taking 2 years to make one record, 2013 is going to be hyper productive. I have a plan to write, record, and release 40 songs this year. There may be a full length album here or there, or maybe just a lot of EPs, I haven’t really decided how to divide it up yet. But yeah, there’s going to be tons of new Golden B.C. stuff this year as well as some live appearances, maybe even with a full band. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I get a lot of emails from bands and PR companies alike asking me to listen to their album and possibly write a review. Regrettably I do not always have time to get through all these requests. But I’m hoping to rectify this, a little bit anyway, by showcasing some of the very talented bands who got in touch in the past.
I’ve decided to get the ball rolling with Golden BC, the solo project of Canadian singer-songwriter Brian Offredi. His debut album, Just Take It, was released last month and can be streamed here.
On first listen, Just Take It, seems to be a highly conceptual and atmospheric record. The album was two years in the making a fact which is clearly reflected in some tracks. The attention to detail on tracks like ‘John’, with its intricate and chilling ‘musical knife strokes’, is refreshing while the rough edgyness of ‘Afraid To Wake Up’ and ‘The Idiots’ makes for a layered and well-rounded record.
Below is an excerpt from Golden BC’s official website.
“On a dark and stormy night in May 2006, Brian Offredi (a.k.a. Golden B.C.) sat down with a bottle of Jack Daniels and an acoustic guitar and decided he was going to write his first song—despite the fact he’d never taken a guitar lesson and had owned the instrument less than a day. He pledged that he would not get up until both the bottle and the song were complete. The next day he woke up with a ghastly hangover and pages of illegible scribbles that vaguely resembled lyrics. Eight months later, he released his first EP.”
You can download ‘Just Take It’ from Bandcamp for the reasonable price of $5CAD. I have no idea how that translates into Euro, Sterling or whatever currency you use, but it seems like a fair price all the same.
Aslan’s gig at the INEC proved to be a real diverse affair. The crowd varied from the die-hard apostles, who followed the band from the early stages, to the new fans embarking on their Aslan pilgrimage. The set-list did well to reflect this diversity with an interesting fusion of songs both old and new. The one thing that remained constant on the night was Aslan’s mesmerising stage presence. Their passion fuelled performance and the band’s triple encore kept the Acoustic Club rocking well into the small hours.
Dave Morrissey got the ball rolling with a collection of interesting tracks off his album ‘Bring Out The Light’. He made an honest effort engaging with the crowd and set the mood for the night ahead.
After his short set, Aslan took to the stage. The North Dublin rockers opened the show with ’Wait for our friends’, an upbeat track from their new album. The peculiar named album ‘Nudie Books And Frenchies’, released to coincide with Aslan’s 30 year anniversary, provided an abundance of tantalizing tracks which acted as the perfect filler in-between the band ‘classics’. The Acoustic Club accommodated for an intimate sit down affair which allowed the gig to develop a more personal atmosphere. Frontman, Christy Dignam, enthralled the crowd with captivating backstories of songs as he performed them.
Some of the more stand out tunes of the night included ‘Lucy Jones Part 1’, ‘Too Late For Hallelujah’, ‘We Did’ and of course the iconic ‘Crazy World’ which got the crowd off their feet and reverted the gig back to the conventional format. Aslan ended the gig on a high note with their first ever single ‘This Is’, a song once rejected by Bono and Mother Records and defiantly became one of Irelands longest played radio singles on 2FM.
After 30 years of gigging, Dignam and Co. decided to skip the formalities in regard to the ‘encore’. Rather than leave the stage for an undisclosed number of minutes, letting the crowd grow a bit restless and inevitably be called back to the chorus of ‘One More Tune!’, Aslan opted to get on with things. The encore offered up an impressive triumvirate of songs. ‘Too Late For Hallelujah’ led the charge, getting its second play of the night. What followed was an interesting solo cover of Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’ as well as a crowd pleasing rendition of ‘Hey Jude’.
Overall, it was a fantastic gig. The small Acoustic Club provided an intimate setting which allowed for more engagement with the crowd. It was a passionate, heartfelt performance from the Dublin lads and a true testament to Irish rock. Aslan have been around the music scene for a long time, recorded some amazing songs and have worked harder than necessary to get to where they are today. With a new album and a renewed vigour it may not be much longer till they reach the levels of success they undoubtedly deserve.
With Bond reaching the ripe ole age of fifty this year, something special was needed to mark the landmark occasion. And taking both the critical acclaim and the box office success into account, it seems that 007 may have thrown the party of the year with Skyfall. But in this stellar year for ‘films longest running franchise’ is this really the best they could come up with?
Skyfall opens right in the action with Bond doing his thing, which we all know at this stage involves tearing up some exotic city while shooting at ‘bad guys’. And of course we cannot forget the absurd car chase. Or car/bike/train/mechanical digger, chase. The opening scene looks and feels like a 007 video game and when James Bond, do I really need to warn you about spoilers at this stage, takes a premature tumble I almost expected a ‘Game Over’ logo to appear on screen.
Bond may have survived getting shot, falling off a bridge and being dragged under water for the entire duration of Adele’s quiet impressive theme tune. But the film does not get off as lightly and from this point on begins its slow and agonising death. The script, in parts, is unbearable and the dialogue between characters is painfully monotonous. Javier Bardem is a great actor who tries in vain to rescue his bluntly crafted character (Mr Silva) from falling into the obvious Joker-esque role. But unfortunately he is not properly utilized and remains nothing more than a potentially good Bond villain.
With Skyfall marking Judi Dench’ seventh outing as the maternal spymaster ‘M’, it was only fair that she would occupy a more central role. She is so involved, that she ends up filling the role of Bond Girl. But of course she is not credited in this role, the honour of which falls to Bérénice Marlohe. Her 30 seconds of fame sees her head used as a coaster and not much else really.
But Skyfall does have its redeeming moments. A certain scene with an unmistakable Bond Veteran is the saving grace of the entire film. Ralph Fiennes also does well in his role of ‘M’ in waiting. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is also impressive but seemed over-lavish in parts which may have been down to fact that he was constantly trying to disguise the overall lack of a substantial plot.
I really wanted to enjoy this film. But unfortunately I just couldn’t. Skyfall lacked the overall ‘Bond Edge’ and rather than playing out as an epic it was noticeably long and arduously boring. Sam Mendes showed us a glimpse of ‘OAP Bond’ and provides a stark warning that even superheroes can grow old. But as the titles promised ‘Bond Will Be Back’, and with new fresher versions of Q, M and Ms Moneypenny it seems the future of the franchise is all but guaranteed for the next 50 years to come.
For those of you who thought the synth movement of the 70/80’s was dead, check these guys out. Le Galaxie are an electro-synth group who hail from Dublin. Their music consists of an interesting blend of everything from Kraftwerk to Daft Punk. I wouldn’t normally be the biggest fan of this genre but Le Galaxie just seem to make it work. The video isn’t to shabby either.
‘Midnight Midnight’ is taken from their Laserdisc Nights 2 album. Check it out below and be sure to let me know what you think?
I wanted to call this post ‘Pop songs I can mildly tolerate without losing the will to live and wishing I had a hot poker to drive into my ears so the last thing I didn’t hear as I left this world was the sound of that ghastly song’. But It was just a bit too long for the title section and also might have been a bit extreme. So instead I opted for pop songs I don’t hate. It seems a little less psychotic. This section, well assuming that it grows into a section, will be a place where I feature popular songs or over-hyped artists who fill me with the tiniest bit of faith in modern pop music.
For the first week I have decided to go with the new one from Bruno Mars. You know that one which everyone keeps saying sounds like an old Police song. I have my issues with Mars (The singer, not the planet). I don’t rate him too highly if I’m to be honest. He’s a man who goes through phases of ripping off other artists musical style. James Brown, need I say anymore. And now it seems that he has cast his beady eyes on to The Police (once again to clarify, I am talking about the band). And this is the only reason why I am paying him any attention. His selection was entirely by default. Why you ask, well I hope you ask, seeing as I cannot hear you (excuse the pun) I will automatically assume
that you are.
The only reason I picked this song is because well if the police were to come back, deflate stings huge ego and release this song, I would love it. I have always believed that a song should be judged separately from the singer. And so this is why you may also find yourself listening to Bruno Mars on my blog.
I probably shouldn’t say anymore in case I talk myself out of posting this. So here goes nothing. I’m posting a pop song on my blog. Should anything go wrong I would just like to thank all my followers and readers. Without you this blog would be pointless.
But wait, there’s more. It wouldn’t be fair unless I offered an alternative right? I’ll let you decide which is better. If, like me, you prefer the second one then please feel free to leave a comment. However if you find yourself going with the first one then please keep your opinions to yourself (of course I am joking, all opinions are welcome, even wrong ones)