A week is along time

It feels like so much longer than a week since we released As You Are.I’m sitting down now to take stock of all the kind words that people have written (or said over the airwaves via radio), and all the help we got from people unconnected to the single through re-tweets, comments and blogs. This is all amazing for us, and genuinely makes us happy. We’re an independent DIY, unheard of band, so it is a massive help to have people talk to their friends and followers about us, and that can’t be understated.

And, of course, we absolutely love the people who went out and parted with money for the single (and in some cases the EP with b-sides). Thank you so much.

Oh, and that reminds me, my friend Last Year’s Girl is bringing Franz Nicolay back to Glasgow on Thursday night. She is running a buddy ticket scheme (like what we did with our show in June), where you can buy a £12 ticket and bring a friend along (making your tickets cheaper than the £8 fee. Well worth considering for this gig and its line-up. Apparently, there’s an unannounced act, with a single to push, opening the show. Tickets available here: http://lastyearscabaret-rss.eventbrite.co.uk/?ebtv=C

Long winded stream of thoughts on As You Are

While I’m still in promotion mode for the single As You Are, I thought I’d write down a few thoughts I’ve had on the song as way of bringing more out of it. Although, I do understand the inherent risks of tying the song down to my own thoughts rather than letting the listener work out for themselves what it means to them (which I’m happy to hear if you want). This is going to be a bit long-winded, so think of it more as an essay than a blog post.

Some people have said that it’s a love song, I don’t really see it as that per sé. I see it more as a friendship song. But hey, I guess love plays a big part in close friendships? I wrote the song in the middle of 2010 and released it as a demo in the Seven Songs EP. It took around 10 minutes to write the first draft, with many different combinations of hearts and souls and hopes and faiths in the outro before settling on what you hear now. In roughly an hour, I had the song and basic chords down.

The essence of the song, lyrically, for me was to think about how our past mistakes are what make us who we become, especially when we repeat them over and over again. We all at some point sound like a broken record when asking advice from friends but there’s learning through repetition. Sometimes we need to talk things through with ourselves in the presence of others to take stock of that.

I was very proud of it then, but for some reason, that was all I did with it. I didn’t think of giving it to the band to oompf it up a bit, and I think I only played it live once or twice when pushing that EP. I’m at a loss to explain why, it’s fun to play, means a lot to me and, well, I think I can do it justice live. Normally these things mean it’s a keeper!

Anyways, Woody (RFPB drummer) and I started to record the tracks for the new album earlier this year. We had a list of songs we knew and wanted to put out (such as Backwards We Play, Replacement, and also some older ones we wanted to re-visit). At that first session, As You Are came in to my head and I asked Woody if he wanted to try it. A few quick practices of it and we hit record. Later, the rest of the band over dubbed their parts and you have the basic track.

Around the time that Woody and I were tracking drums for the album, I had gone to Glasgow to see Chris T-T play a show at The Admiral. We were talking about stuff and I was telling him about the plans for the album (other guests, release plans, videos etc) and he offered his services on piano if I wanted them. This meant a hell of a lot to me, and I’m not bullshitting when I say that. Anyone who has followed my music ‘career’ will know how much of an influence Chris T-T has been on most of what I’ve done. When I started doing acoustic music, I wanted to write Chris T-T songs (A Box to Hide In being my idea of the perfect personal-protest song) but perform them like, I don’t know, Joe Strummer maybe? To have Chris offering to actually play on one of my songs was mind blowing for me. It felt like validation from one of my heroes saying “hey kid, you’re doing good”.

It wasn’t for a month or so later that I had listened back to the stuff that we’d recorded in the studio and worked out which song might work best with some piano (As You Are and Backwards We Play being the strongest contenders). I was a bit reluctant at first to send As You Are to Chris since it’s music was heavily influenced by Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang album, and I know Chris’s feelings on that band! In the end,  I sent it through with the brief of “make it sound like a Springsteen track”.

Some time passed and then Chris sent through his piano part to Gareth, our producer/engineer, for mixing. We had some idea of doing a pre-album single, with another track being primed and mixed for this purpose, but as soon as Gareth sent me the mix of As You Are, our plans changed. I can still remember my smile bursting across my face when the piano first appeared on my first listen, then the drums and lead guitar. I couldn’t actually believe that it was my own song. Everything just sounded very, well, good.

So that’s it, this track means a hell of a lot to me and the band. It’s the first time we’ve released a song that has the full Renegade Folk Punk Band (being me, Woody, Dan and Rachael) performing on it, and to have Chris colouring in the pieces with his piano made it perfect. The band and I are ever grateful for that, thanks Chris.

As You Are out today

Today marks the official release of our single As You Are. Before Chris T-T was eloquently putting in to words how shite and dangerous the closing ceremony of the Olympics was, we held him down, put a gun to his head and forced him to lay down piano for one of our tracks*.

This track is now out and ready for you. I have written in previous blog posts about how you can get your hands (? – this is a digital release) on your copy, but I guess it needs repeating.

For the full EP (with 2 b-sides):

And for just the A-side:

And you can also listen to it on Spotify.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped to get the word out about our music. I always find the days immediately following releasing music to be filled with emotional highs and crushing lows. Each shared link, Bandcamp listen or sale, or iTune Ping (whatever that is), helps stave off the dark feelings and thoughts a wee bit more, so thank you very much.

*no guns or coercion was involved, merely Chris offering to do the piano for us since he had a new home studio set-up.

What did I miss?

I’m back at work now after an amazing week of playing around the North of England with Mark McCabe. He really is a wonderful performer, and it felt really silly for him to be going on before me each night, have never really felt as woefully inadequate musically as then. Thanks to everyone who came along to the gigs, and to those who ran the shows, and all the periphery people who helped us out when we got stuck and gave us places to sleep. Proper good times all around. And, an apology to people who missed me at Rebellion due to my early stage time, I’ll do my best (if I get booked next year) to get a later time slot.

Ok, back to the grind and the As You Are single release on Monday 13th August. Everything is geared up and ready to go, and so I thought I’d fill in some of the details.

  • The cheapest option is to head to iTunes or Amazon on Monday and spend 70p or so to get the A-side itself. .
  • If you want the full EP (including two B-sides), head to our Bandcamp or Corporate Records mini-page and purchase  it for £2 (including a download code to get 30% off the album when it’s available)

Using the iTunes/Amazon option also means it is ‘chart eligble’, but that’s all a bit silly at this stage (although, Despite The Blackout did reach the top 40 of Amzon Folk Albums, so who knows). That would be pretty cool if we could even place somewhere on the Amazon or itunes charts, but that’s not really a goal.

Of course you can sit back and just enjoy the video (much like 400+ people have done!).

And finally, please, if you like this track, don’t be afraid (ashamed?) to let your friends know about it. Who knows, maybe they’ll like it too. #nickelback