2018 Interview Claudine West Notts Music Network Magazine

“I was once described as ‘something close to traditional folk, to a more dreamy sound, all the way to an electro Tori Amos, an artist not to be pigeon holed.’

Read the Notts Music Network Magazine interview

“I create alternative and new age music. I’m a multi-instrumentalist currently drumming in Nottingham indie rock band ‘Strange Currencies.’ I release solo work under Claudine West and ‘Earth Tree Healing.’ I used to call myself Bog Woppit.

“My sound can be as simple as a finger picked acoustic guitar with a haunting vocal. To alternative rock with electric guitars and melodic keyboards. I’m big on harmony, melody and haunting beauty that evokes emotion. I sing a little. But musically it’s the instruments that really do the talking with my work. I am the protagonist of my lyrics. My journey as a musician though jazz, blues, folk, grunge, rock has shaped what I create. You will hear elements of all.

“I also release new age, instrumental and meditation music under the pseudonym ‘Earth Tree Healing.’ From performing on sitars to accordions, keyboards, singing bowls, bongos, mandolins and more. I’m venturing more into binaural beats and good vibrations at 432hz (the God frequency).”

History

“From my first little ‘Bontempi’ Keyboard and second hand classical guitar. I knew my fingers were a bit special. Puberty unleashed a massive rush of creativity and opened me up as a conduit. It flows through me like a stream from the mountains. But I cannot contemplate the true source. Why would I?

“On one level It’s the buzz after exercise, the wellbeing after meditation and the warmth after red wine all rolled into one. On another it is the rock and roll adrenalin fuelled orgasm and vibrational ecstasy that come with live performance. I am grateful of the bliss this life is giving me. Fame is elusive. But in the dark rooms I learned to play the guitar in, so I didn’t need to look at my fingers on the fretboard, to collecting instruments. (You can never have too many!)

“This journey is so much more satisfying in ways that money or fame cannot bring. I never got into cover bands. I’m a creator not a copier. I’ve spent a lot of time locked away from daylight in home studios. As a teenager I got into Hip-Hop, Tori Amos, Suzanne Vega and grunge music. I appreciated funky beats and rhyme. Along with learning the drums at School. I equally concentrated on piano/keyboards and guitar. Self-taught. I don’t read music much. I improvise. Playing jazz and blues music and spending my formative years jamming at live mic nights.

Claudine West

“I spent many a good and not so good time with talented and sometimes temperamental musicians. I also suffer from a sometimes creative temperament. The beast is calmer with maturity. All great learning on this road!

“Experiencing the sudden death of my music mentor and close friend in my late 20’s was sobering. It created a world of emptiness and revaluation. The writer’s block that followed took me to new shores to heal. My evolution as a songwriter, composer, musician and conduit of thoughts, damage that became lyrics.

“I also have always loved creating instrumental music. A few years ago, I trained as a Reiki Practitioner. I wanted to accompany my practice and meditations. Being part of the pagan community and a spiritual being. The long road of excess led me here. I wrote a book about my life so far. It’s not an ego massager. It is an honest and true account of how I came to be ‘Claudsville Blogs and Biog of a Bog Woppit.’ is available via Amazon Kindle.

“I’ve been in a few bands along the way to here. Namely the cofounder and a decade stint in Nottingham’s The Idolins. I moved from folk pop to rock with the short lived Subway Circus. With myself and the vocalist PP Johnson departing to form Strange Currencies.

“I crawled out of the hole a few years back and really got back into gigging. This helped me get over the stage nerves that plagued me so much. The digital age has been a fantastic enabler to share it all worldwide. I’m having a great old time! I’ve been doing all of this this for over 20 years. Balancing it with my bill paying full time day job in the NHS is hard, but if it was easy. I would not appreciate it as much.

“After I’ve departed this mortal coil, my music will live on. There is something special and humbling about that. Practice, feel it, perform it, channel it, love it.”

What I’m working on

“I’ve just got back from a trip travelling around California. I was in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the tragic wildfires of October 2017. I wrote a new song upon my return called ‘Diablo Winds.’ Which is currently on Bandcamp. This will be on my new instrumental album under ‘Earth Tree Healing’ called ‘Candle Gardeners’ which will be released on digital stores on my birthday, May 30th 2018.

“I’m also busy creating some instrumental meditation work for a few clients. New music and recording an EP with our band Strange Currencies. About to release a guided meditation album I’ve just completed with our spiritual ‘Yoda’ Sally Wathen at Rainbow Bridge. Then I’ll write and record a ‘Goddess’ themed instrumental album later in the year.”

Music Links

https://claudinewestmusic.com/

 

Weebles, Wine and Words

To swear on air. That was a bloody good ‘straight after work’ vocals recording sesh. After leaving to breathe… The McGuigan

via Weebles, Wine & Words — Strange Currencies

To swear on air. That was a bloody good ‘straight after work’ vocals recording sesh. After leaving to breathe… The McGuigan coated throats just enough for a velvet vintage performance. Now for Rugby (and a big well done to England Yesterday winning the Six Nations) & Pizza with Wifey. Well done Mr Paul Phillip Johnson.

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With a pretty great music ‘information gathering’ week in the bag.  Networking a go go. We all feel a refreshed reiteration on how to move the music of Strange Currencies into the universe a little better. With a Nusic Academy Q&A hosted by Mark Del at Nottingham Trent Student Union. Featuring on the panel John Kennedy from Radio X, Kate Holder, Producer for Huw Stephens for the BBC, Eleanor Goodman, currently features Editor at Metal Hammer from and Jamz Supernova from BBC Radio 1Xtra. Being a musician and not a savvy Radio Plugger, promoter. Well not yet… In this day and age. Listening to some valuable tips via iTunes podcasts on the bus to work has been enlightening. Some things are obvious. Some are ‘Aha’ moments. Some are well ‘why do that as I would not..?’ But play guitar with the suggested chord formations. You might just have a tune. With stalls, advice and networking with local promoters I’m Not From London. It was a productive meet and greet.

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One of the funniest moments from the Nusic sesh involved as question about visual media eg band photos. Eleanor Goodmans sound advice.. Don’t do photos of bands in front of walls or forests. As its ‘soooooo very unoriginal’ had us laughing out loud. You had to be there!  ‘Wanky Cocks’ against depressing backdrops in a nutshell. Its quite possibly 50 shades of grey with arrogance and unoriginality.

A few pre mastered CD promos featuring a few songs were handed out.  Some more seed planted from out underground greenhouse.

After finding Bridget Jones’s Baby funnier than expected. Pissing at the one liner “It’s a big wanking bomb Viv” in No Offence,  a heart stopping episode of The Walking Dead, season 7 this week. When we thought Rick Grimes was zombie pate. Some really weird dreams followed by milking squids.  The question begs… Is it better to gain musical success from your own talent and creating what you love. Thank pulling in favours in Whoreland?

Then at the weekend… a band injury.. I’m recovering with a sore upper bingo wing, being burned by an oven tray full of bacon, I’m still not sure how i managed it at that angle. Maybe….(for album pre release publicity) A unicorn self combusted its horn. Then decided to compete in the winter Olympics while applying lippy. Bought a Moped and then travelled Thelma and Louise style to Balmoral. Later recording an album likened to ‘Rumours.’ Shagged a pony. Had an affair with and antelope. Found an ice pop. Snorted Kryptonite. Went on a cruise with Jane McDonald, burst into song, with a distinct blurred lens. Then trained as a butcher, opened a shop. Decided to become vegan. Discovered that vegetables have feelings too. Went batshit crazy apeshit. Read up on mind control and possession. Did a bit of hocus pocus. Found out the Reptilians wanted to recruit. Found me and did this in the night. Ok ED and James. Your beautiful oh little scar scar.

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Recording the album ‘Making Monsters’

It was PP Johnson lead vocals and Claudine West backing vocals of something very beautiful for the album tonight. Take this one to your church. This Girl is understanding.

Album is coming together pretty good. It eclectic! Grunge, country, ballad, Blues, Dance, Pop and more.

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So as we depart into the weekend between the day jobs. We are happy. Excited and content and a little tipsy. Rehearsals with the full band commence next week. Good times for Strange Currencies. Great year ahead.

Be the best you can be 😉

~ Claudine

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Mantaray

Surrounded by storm sea surges, snow sprinklings and a panic winter press sensationalism. I’ve sat in my little music cave Claudsville Studios. With some instrumental ‘rumpy pumpy’ the first of my new born kids being dropped off at the pool is Mantaray. This embryonic adventure into haunting piano and loops, Fender guitar expelling mellow cries into the night air for alternative progression on this track. With recording equipment situated on my old Reiki treatment couch (for the vibes) I sat in the glow of a salt lamp with a Crassula Ovata (money plant) for company, while the love of my life slept in the next room. As she stirred in slumber, she believed she was sweet dreaming, listening to my early morning vocal take yawns, harmonies and lyric editing as I progressed. With an oceanic theme around rescue. The song explores the burden of love. A song that arouses from the deep blue ocean then grabs souls with its undertow. This track is number 1 of a new solo album in progress. I’ll add each song as they unfold. Under the Stephen Fry inspired working title of ‘Babbling Merchant of Drivel’ progress is inspired in a Rue Morgue kind of way.

I’m currently in the middle of recording Strange Currencies album ‘Making Monsters’ So it a very musically indulgent time. Pretty darn cool actually.  I’ve spent the last 2 evening sessions suffering low mood and  red light fever recording the acoustic guitar parts for ‘Stay Down Kid.’ My one take wonders rule left me for dust! With cats jumping all over the studio during takes, and sore fingers. I’m hoping next weeks session will tell a different story. Luckily the swearing flowed like warm pee then the boiling hormonal blood ran free and with a little assistance from some garnet gemstone in my shorts pocket. I kind of nailed it last night. We had recorded a live version to work to. PP Johnson liked his live vocals. So as I’ve just D.I.’d the acoustic. I’ve had to overdub it and mic my trusty ‘Taylor’ up.  A song that has been played loads live with my eyes closed… Well.. maybe I should have swapped mugs of tea and vitamin water for Rum. But I think its kind of there ready for mix and master. As this album evolves.. getting the right balance of ballad, funky, poptarty, dirty, distorted and hints of country. Even though I know it will work out great in the end. I learn Logic Pro X as I go. The January blues will depart and be looked upon kindly as a productive time in the darkness.

 So here it is by Claudine West

Lyrics

Whispers on the waves of silence
I sensed the love in buoyance
In the eye of a hurricane
Our ship sails for America
A vortex where the renegade goes
This riptide rides the ebb and flow Chorus Jettison flames
This cargo is killing me
Mantaray
Set me free Verse 2
Those that inspire me, desire me
I’m certain of the dance
Lethal switchblades and urban food chains  Bridge
The world lights up and jettisons
The embers burned you, 
The embers burned you, 
The embers burned you, 

Chorus

Verse 3 
I buried myself in the Earth
To seek what it was worth
I carried strength and faith around
Buried scars and saviours
I quit the bad behaviours
I stopped this drowning before it took you down

Released January 9, 2017
Written, performed and recorded by Claudine West 2017

 

Making Monsters

Oh yes we made it! The mid-season break for us is the opposite of a writers strike. With a 2 week break over the holidays and New Year. 2016 had killed my Banjo. (A new Hercules triple whammy guitar stand purchased for out of its case protection) catching up with sleep, countless games of drunken ‘New market’ and ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and indulging the sick horror of human nature when prompted.  Arse sitting whisky a go go was a luxury. When the over indulgence ended and the toilet rolls depleted, the detoxes began. Armed with a Garnet stone for creativity. 2 New Age albums ready to go in 2017. I began more work on the backing tracks for the new album. Plans as of this blog are: Making Monsters by Strange Currencies. It’s useful to lock ‘oneself’ away during the darkened months. I don’t get ‘SAD’ I get ‘Gutted’ =’ Godforsaken Unadulterated Traumatic Tedious Exhausting Darkness’

Pumped up with extra vitamin D complexities. Strange algae and red berry concoctions downed inspired by some doctor on my face book feed turned. Ones PP into rainbow bright droplets of strange waz. After a fleeting though of knowing now what I didn’t then ‘should I have not done ‘normal’ day jobs and dedicated myself to music full time when younger with gigging. Not drank, smoked, got stoned and let my shyness and rage rule too much.’ But then again I wrote and recorded loads. https://bogwoppit.bandcamp.com/   So not time wasted. But you see now. As my only left addictions to crisps and chocolate fade after getting some dietitian help. I looked at my  video reflection on facetime last night and thought no no NO!

I’d hoped for a quiet return to the day job into 2017. https://strangecu.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/into-2017-strange-currencies/ This was marred by it not being quiet. Organised chaos where everybody pulls out the stops to help out. I like my NHS job. It is rewarding when you can help make a difference….. and never boring. I might ache from running about miles of corridors after ‘slothing’ on my hols. Regret purchasing the ‘on sale’  £21 walking shoes that basically shit. I’ll stick to my Nikes and shoes for office/ meeting days. Luckily my trouser still button up and I can bend over without splitting my britches!

I regress… So plans in motion for a video for American Saviour. Really.. Really soon. The album is taking shape over evenings and weekends. Got some late January gigs with Strange Currencies. The 30 min set has been chopped and honed. Last year we tested various songs; have buried the ones that got less reaction from the people ignoring us on stage.  We’ve got a set that we like playing more now.

Big thank you to Andrew Neil for some inspiring advice and opportunities via his Facebook feeds.

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We’ve had a lot of fun on Acacia Radio http://acaciaradioaw.weebly.com/ Big thanks to Ian Hales, Shaun and Lucas Jackson. Interviews and live songs without swearing of to many FCUK ups. I even shocked myself doing Xmas songs with enthusiasm.  I was even in a good mood and excited! Little Donkey and Jingle Bells all the way baby!  https://www.facebook.com/strangecu/videos/1136161273172057/

The last time I dressed as Santa ended up being my last gig. I quit the band  that I’d  cofounded and put so much creative effort into a decade earlier. So the curse of Xmas jumpers… Only time will tell 😉 Jesus seriously doesn’t want me for a sunbeam.

Doing the amount of gigs we did from July 2016 https://strangecu.wordpress.com/gigs/  (as well as a full time day job and recording an EP.) At times the enthusiasm to play live after a long day was hard, tempers were tested, moods low. Well there were times when I just wanted to walk away and quit. As did PP Johnson. But. Then we’d have a good gig. The bad gigs when we played to the bar staff or crowds with their back to us were atypical of the growing expectation for musicians in the wrong venues to be background noise or karaoke with a guitar. There were nights after a long day I was tired and questioning, full of PMT and just want to cozy up with the Walking Dead. Resilience gets one through. The drive to achieve and surprise myself is strong like the force. My strumming fingernail has still not recovered and I’ve had to resort to more plectrum usage when used to my usual finger picking style.  Evolving….

I love technology. Xmas also produced make over  app fun! (My zombify pictures of Ange over xmas didn’t go down too well!)  But putting her Dad who had fallen asleep and provided an opportunity… Alan in make up and wigs did!

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Then I went blond

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Then we went to Harry Potter World

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The end…..of 2016

Into 2017…

Onto the album Making Monsters

I’ve just bought a £23 self-assembly blues cigar guitar. I’ll be indulging along with the sitar to use on recordings this year. It’s very easy to get caught up with loops when in studio. American Saviour began as a mess about around the punch line. ‘Ride The Pony’ That Ange (My Wifey) and I were going to do for a piss take. We have some tracks nearly ready such as ‘Stay Down Kid.’ Originally a riff from one of my own ‘Sonic World’ reworked. I’m quite excited about Gypsy Disco. In Your World is a loopy starter for ten. The first batch is nearly there for final vocal takes. ‘This Girl’ is a haunting piano ballad. ‘Automatic’ is currently a bone of contention. The song ‘Making Monsters’ is near.    There is a new song ‘Mantaray’ that I’ve done some vocals on. This may end up on my next solo ‘Claudine West’ album though. There is a duet under the working title ‘Twosome’ about to be written. I’ve initially recorded a backing track and submitted some lyrics and concept ideas that may well be scrapped. I imagined a dark ‘Islands in the Stream’ around obsession and blame, about a lover and bit of a motherFCUKer that loses the plot and murders the man she is having an affair with. We will see what the next few months produce. PP Johnson has been producing lyrics and ideas.  I do love the writing and recording process. Big Thanks again to Angela Barker. Who organises, manages, drives, rodies, networks, gets the sh1t, gets the drinks at the bar and much more.  We are not easy Divas 😉

We spend the end of 2016 watching the winter sun setting in Portsmouth. Its rather lovely sat on a beach with a cup of tea readying for new musical adventures…

  • Claudine

Wildkin & Unusual Haunts

Considering it was a late and indulgent one last night. Drumming then the  adrenaline rush, sweating gush has cleansed and energised my torso and beyond. After a soak in the tub the morning after and softer fingers. I cracked on with an acoustic workout. See videos below. Good things. Good work.

Read Lastest band blog : Subway Circus

Unusual Haunts 

Wildkin 

Moon guitar

~ Claudine

 

 

Molasses In The Spring With Olaf

Molasses In The Spring with Olaf 

Channelling, words, sentences, thoughts, reads of the week, experiences from the realms of parallels. Olaf is the friend. The friends that gives sweet memories of times in the sunshine. As the pink blossom falls. We travel; I found this music on an old Fostex digital recorder, while sorting deletions and fresh starts in composition. Remembering the lyrics and melodies weren’t there at the time. Today the wanted to come through.

Tokyo at Mohive

Chrono las over

Highway a night drive

Imploding supernova

 

Molasses in the spring with Olaf

Birds of paradise in the garden

 

Nephilim in darkness

Corroded movers

They shake new world orders

Roll it under

Make it thunder

Break the man in two

 

Machina took it out on toucan

The words and menopause

The losers in the blue room

Empty wards have active soul wanderers 

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Citadel – 2015

If you look towards that horizon. Beyond it lies the Citadel: The centre that is fortified, the core. Protection.

I’ve yet to decide whether this as yet unwritten but bubbling away at the gates, will be Bog Woppit alternative or New Age meditation music project.  Maybe a hybrid? The title was born yesterday and belongs within my walls. The inspiration for this new work?

Maybe its the smell of the new incense I’m burning today. Maybe its the arrival of this?

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Yes its a ART Multiverb Effects unit. I’m a big fan of Flange and Chorus! Even though my Boss Multi Effects is a bad boy in itself. I love an old piece of vintage kit. Plugging straight into a laptop and adding technology somehow doesn’t feel as realistic as plugging in a chunky piece that crackles. I am old school that is slowly embracing home studio advances. I used one of these in the 90’s with my music mentor Grimm. Its arrival has brought back many memories and his Ghost. Memories of the dark, good times, indulgent times. My musical output was massive as my day to day commitments were small then. The portal is once again sending stuff through. Be it sober this time.

So I’ve freed up more time and am focussing more. Without pissing my pants, 2015 is going to be a very exciting and active year. Subway Circus will be out there live  on the shits and gigging circuit very shortly. It took a while! But getting the right band members who play their parts and give inspired input to a very high standard is imperative in my book.

I’m going to do more solo live mic nights this year. As I just fancy a bit of it.

Its nice to have my drive and focus acknowledged by the least likely people. Thank YOU. So while a splash new paint and create more colourful canvases. Listen to all.

PS I’m not going to mention my eye lid crabs! Whatever next? !