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/

 

The Apocalypse of Dark Secrets

How did this turn into such horror….???? After playing a gig at The DH Lawrence Festival with dry ice. We ended up back our ours talking people’s dark secrets, conspiracies, truths over a few bottles of “d d d d d d d d d..Prosecco” and kebabs. With our imminant debut Strange Currencies album about to be released. We discussed why we are the monsters… ‘Making Monsters


… I was descending down a hill on a bus with fog surrounding the trees. It was so vivid and white. Quite beautiful, I took a photo.

A rabid monkey thing suddenly jumped on the bus and started attacking us all. I was grabbing and flinging them off.

Then this world around us changed. So began the decimation.

This was the beginning of the apocalypse. We were holed up in a house. I was summoned outside. Just me…. A tribe/gang were waiting.

 

I discovered they were after Ange. Will Robinson (music promoter from I’m Not From London) held them off by delaying then.

We initially escaped. Travelled north and ate tapas. Finding the label of something lovely in a jar stating Sainsbury’s. I made a mental note to get some.

For some idiotic reason we ended up back at that house. They came back. With fishing rods this time. Surrounding us, trying to blend in. I ran to the room where she sat. Defeated. I said “Fill your pockets with crystals”

Even thought they wanted to kill Ange. (As she owed them and hadn’t paid up) They didn’t know what she looked like though. We escaped via a lilo and got dragged through the sea grasping onto another boat.

Driven by some form of terminator robot thing. We ended up beached on a sand bank with washed up ships full of live fish..

I woke gasping, then counting my blessings. This is all in an average nights dream session. I could live these lives and if I never woke. That would be my eternal reality. A mind sponge that the subconscious goes rabid with! #howmydreamsgetmade dry ice = fog. The monkeys things must have mutated from watching ‘Men In Black’ last night had lunch yesterday at The Full Moon Pub in Morton. Eating a really tasty starter of olives, bread, balsamic vinegar and (the red jar in dream I suspect) sundried tomatoes mixed up with olive oil. Commenting how lush it was and we should make at home. With me also watching a lot of hurricane footage (stranded ships) my constant need to escape. (lots of career changing/concentration of music making discussions and action taken lately a big need for change and day job motivation) The clarity is rewl. Even though my eyes now are adjusting in my 40 from short vision to long vision. I’m not ready for bifocals or seperate reading glasses yet. So suffer a sligh blurr.  Ange calls me ‘Old Bitch!’ We chorle as my hair greys a little more. As the need for adventure and escape to the country grows. Action is taken towards this… With a little help from the universe and law of attraction ofcourse…I find it incredibly draining and at times soul destroying doing day job and my passion and calling. But the bills have to be paid and I’m lucky to work in a decent job where I get looked after.

With all other dream fuel drip fed, blended and spat out… I now need to record more meditation music to calm my arse!

The dark secrets.. well you know your truth.. don’t you. 
Enjoy

My Meditation Music Links

Litha Summer Solstice

When the Sun reaches highest in the sky. We celebrate Midsummer. Litha. The Summer Solstice is a beautiful time. Gatherings, celebrations, rituals.

Yesterday (13th May 2017) I began writing and recording my new Earth Tree Healing album. Called ‘8 Sabbats.’

The music journeys through the sunrise to a crescendo of celebration. This album will feature a lot more acoustic instruments such as the sitar, mandolin, autoharp and my guitars. Getting back to my roots. Which began with folk, evolving to Grunge and beyond with the influence of the 80’s.  I’ve found my Zen with Paganism, Mother Earth, Spirituality, Meditation and Reiki.

I’m releasing this as a single on digital stores June 3rd. Enjoy. Claudine.

Track : Litha – Summer Solstice (Promo Clip – Full Track 9 minutes)

Artist : Earth Tree Healing
More tracks on Soundcloud @user-856862566
Release Date: 3rd June 2017 Digital Stores
Single from the Forthcoming album 8 Sabbats by Earth Tree Healing
claudinewestmusic.com/
Spotify : open.spotify.com/artist/6mPpC4hlyq6kpVHhpPehOx
iTunes itunes.apple.com/album/id12026659…?ls=1&app=itunes
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/newageinstrumental/

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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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Soundcloud

iTunes

Amazon Music

Spotify

YouTube 

Reverbnation 

Facebook

Twitter @strangecu 

Instagram @strangecumusic

 

Meeting at The Left Lion

This one goes out to the little people..The door mats, The trodden upon. We’re meeting at the Left Lion….Track 3 in the month of March from Claudine West’s album ‘Becoming Moons’

Good Omens (We Are Termites)

Good Omens

We are termites

Good Omens

We are termites

You’re a fun-loving woman and an Eskimo

Robin Hood weathered merriness

Ages of the Major Oak 

Good Heavens

I’m a Tourist

Good Omens

We are termites

Good Omens

We are termites  

There’s Doppelgängers on Western Boulevard

Randy Hopper’s wearing my blue bra

We’re meeting at The Left Lion…

 

~ Claudine ( I made this)

Bandcamp

 

 

 

Stranger Things…

“If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.”  John Barrow

Stranger things have happened. things nearly didn’t happen… but…I’m an improv inspired kind of bird. Go with the flow. This ideal is not shared by all. Which is why…..

12th Feb 2017 was the day Strange Currencies shot a the music video for ‘American Saviour.’  Paralleled with a pseudo documentary of ‘the making of’ to rival others .. should be released in the summer. With a story line and undertones of Cuprinol. This dip into politics may cause ripples with nipples. A few conti pad giggles.

With a self financed tiny budget, (500 x 50p and a mars bar mini) the kindness of The Acacia Centre  volunteers fancy dressed to impress, sausage and chip cobs(naps, buns, rolls to non locals), orange face paint, raspberry sauce and more wigs that Donald’s closet. Began a day of filming. After ditching his initial script in comparison to The Cure For Insomnia running length of 87– 10 mins in ‘cat years’ ;-0. A barrage of hissy fits ensued the day before. (A lesson about better communication, planning, prepping and making sure minutes are written in future with things!)  PP Johnson (band vocalist) overcame what can only be described as…. a fucking flid and directed. #evidence below.  Yet again I’ll quote this sunshine… “If you never try, you’ll never know what you are capable of.” John Barrow

A word from Director PP Johnson:

“I feel at this stage that I might have to go into more of an explanation as to why I didn’t want to make this video initially. In light of a pretty damning blog, it’s now become important to me that people understand my side of this particular issue. I guess I’d have to say that I was the architect of my own downfall on this one. Basically, I pitched the idea for the video a couple of months back and we all agreed that we should do it. We’d been looking for a concept to hang a music video on for a while and so this seemed as good an idea as any. So we greenlit the project and everyone was happy. Fast forward a few weeks and new jobs for both myself and the band manager plus an album recording that was well under way meant that I started doubting our ability to produce a quality piece of work in such a short space of time. So… I went to my bandmate and the manager with my concerns and suggested that we either postpone the project or shelve it altogether. This suggestion was met with a fair amount of resistance and I was told that we were definitely going ahead and “I shouldn’t pitch projects if I had no intention of going ahead with them”. Suddenly one person was less happy. 😉 Anyway, life and work began to take priority, as they tend to do. Production meetings didn’t happen and communication on all sides became almost non-existent (due to individuals not replying to messages and various important sporting events). During that time a script was written and some pre production work had been carried out (admittedly not as much as I’d had liked but that’s on me). Come the eve of the shoot and I was a very frustrated bunny indeed. We were on a ship which seemed rudderless and heading for stormy waters, and I seemed to be the only one that saw it. After numerous tense phonecalls and a (now very public) meltdown from your’s truly, it was decided that we would change the project in order to try and turn the project’s weaknesses into a strength. Ultimately a new concept was born and the shoot went ahead. Upon reflection, I still feel that I was right to feel the way I did but I am grateful that we were able to turn potential tragedy into (fingers crossed) triumph. My actions in the build up to the shoot were those of a man who was being forced to do something against his will and it garnered the appropriate response. So there it is, the story from my side. Hopefully to be concluded in the summer with the release of American Saviour: A Cautionary Tale.”

So….after a winter of ‘Toblerones’ and turkey. With pre menstrual bloat, some virus illness shite that the flu jab possibly caused. You can imagine my surprise and horror at being directed with speaking parts! Bear in mind.. an E in ‘A Level’ Drama happened for a reason with me! I mumble and can’t remember lines or prompts, or act.I can barely function as a non musician at times. So genuine uncomfortable madness.. Fanks!

With the sort of pre match bitch diva fits that potentially split bands up and ruin friendships and prompt the band manager to consider leading a meditation with monks tour with backing band ‘Satans Minions.’  By the power of Greyskull.. no one died. A punch up did occur. Filming completed.

What won this Shoot was :  Wait for it…Team work, yes where no ‘i’ belongs.  Resilience, imagination, ripping off others ideas and persevering seeking the bigger picture. What one watches in hindsight though the looking glass in years to come. Becoming a coffin dodger is a daily Pac man challenge.
Big thanks for last minute leads, Angela Barker, who is also the manager who fortunately for some only used the boxing gloves ‘acting.’ Stepping in to the Trumpalumpa ‘Ronald Gump’ character. Notts Drag Queen, Madam Tesstickles (Steven Newbury) for the ‘Vanessa Theresamay’ hilarity. Talented true divas and excellent hilarious performances. The DJ’s, friends and families at Acacia Radio for giving us their time, featuring and letting us use their building and props. Kendal Louise Turley, who I first met in 2009 while recording an Idolins album at Confetti Studios, Nottingham. Joe our cameraman. Both very cool and talented folks.

Watch behind the scenes footage

Trump May punch up

Here are some pics. To follow…. hopefully a music video and making of documentary 😉

I became rather fixated Baywatch wise too…..

~ Claudine