Something strange, something eloquent, refreshing, rhythmical and blissful.
To swear on air. That was a bloody good ‘straight after work’ vocals recording sesh. After leaving to breathe… The McGuigan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
Written, performed and recorded by Claudine West 2017
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.
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!
Then I went blond
Then we went to Harry Potter World
The end…..of 2016
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…