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/

 

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.

22nd-jan-2017-gig-poster-the-maze

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