Springtime in Melbourne is here. The sun is warm, the birds are enjoying the backyard and the flowers are in bloom. I’d planned to complete a zombie reggae track called ‘Coming 2 Life’ around this time but I’ve been busy with other things.
My dubstep debut, ‘Brazilian’ has finally come out via Bandcamp and various streaming platforms which is a proud achievement for me. It’s been yonks since I had a release and I’m excited to get the ball rolling again. I’m hoping to have another track ready for the beginning of October. There is a clip of it up top for you to check out, which I played guitar and bass on.
‘Brazilian’ is getting some good responses and I’ve enjoyed sending it around to a bunch of DJs, labels and dubstep heads. Some of which have been a big inspiration for me over the years. So it feels good to finally have something to share with them.
I first got into dubstep and grime around 2007 through my good friend and collaborator, Graeme AKA DJ Affiks. Artists like Joker, Skream and Wiley were my introduction to that sound. Later we’d go on to run the ‘Heavy Innit!!’ events together (alongside A13) which was a great experience for the both of us. The club night had a loyal following and we were a big part of the local movement during the ‘first wave’ of dubstep from 2007-2013. (See Spotify playlist below.)
Like hip-hop, the dubstep genre is very broad and draws from many influences. It was a fairly natural segue to move from getting heavily into hip-hop around 1999-2009 to what is bundled together as ‘UK bass music’: dubstep, grime, UK garage, UK funky, jungle, drum & bass, etc. All of these electronic genres can be made alone using either hardware of software. This is what makes them very attractive to me as a music maker.
On the Sandpit front, the pedal collaboration with Tym Guitars became a reality last weekend after a few months in the making. It was very hard for me to keep a lid on that one because it was so exciting for me. I’m stoked that Tim was into the idea. The first batch sold out in minutes but hopefully we might see a second batch on sale before the end of 2020.
In other related news, I am working on a new t-shirt print and will post some info on that very soon. Hopefully I can have them ready by November. I’m also thinking about making the ‘Three Of Wands’ tea towel with the fantastic t-shirt artwork by Amelia.
‘The Hunting Picture’ vinyl is still available thru Cheersquad and I’m also offering three Sandpit tab books in draft form. I’ll try to finish those before the end of the year. I’m a one man army here so it takes time to get through these projects. It more enjoyable when I’m in the mood.
Next time I’ll write a story about the ‘Waratah’ tune when it drops as there’s some back-story which you might find interesting. I’ll also write something about the collab with Tym when the second batch is ready. For now you can read Tim’s blog post if you’d like to find out more about the pedals. If you’re into guitar gear, I recommend you check out his work.
I hope you are comfortable and safe where ever you are right now. I know I’d be pretty lost, depressed and frustrated without music and I am very grateful for COVID experience for giving me the opportunity to put more time into these things. I do miss my freedom to move around as I used to, yet I happily trade that for the volume of creativity and the motivation levels I am reaching at the moment.
If you’d like to support me and my work, please consider buying my music via Bandcamp, pre-ordering the forthcoming merch items when they are announced and/or downloading the tab books I have made. I may not have a job again for some time and it’s my hope to dedicate more time to music. I enjoy making these things and it seems that there’s enough people that like them too so it’s a win/win.
It’s a relief to finally be excited to work on music projects again after feeling totally defeated from late 2017 thru until the end of 2019. The upshot of those two years is that I had the opportunity to make important changes to my lifestyle: quitting weed, alcohol and partying; learning mindfulness and meditating (though I don’t really meditate much anymore, but it’s a good skill to learn – something for the utility-belt); and generally trying to lead a healthier, more responsible life. These two tough years helped me to move forward into a future that I could accept (and begin to appreciate) after mourning the vision I had to let go of.
My emotions, whilst sometimes difficult, have been my guide. Listening to the fear, anxiety, sadeness, anger and frustration, realising that I can harness the energy from these things to bring about important, positive change in my life and our behaviour. Change hurts.
I know that 2020 has been a big challenge for many and I too am confronted with a shift in how I live. If anything I can be grateful for learning that I can cope without some of the conveniences and freedoms I had before. That I am ok to spend even more time alone. That I have can force myself to do my work and achieve my goals.
I’ve been appreciating the simple things: making stove-top coffee, cooking all my meals at home and being able to chat with friends and family online. I really notice the birds in our area lately. Spotted doves, mynars, magpies, crows, black-birds, rainbow lorrikeets and some I don’t know the names of. It’s nice to be out of my thoughts a little more often now.
Take care out there and I’ll catch you again next time.
STUFF I’VE ENJOYED WATCHING SINCE LAST TIME:
• ‘Fight For Planet A’ (ABC TV series)
• ‘Back In Time For Dinner (ABC TV series)
• ‘The Drum’ (ABC TV show)
• ‘Burning’ (Korean film)
• The JHS Show (YouTube show)
• Bob Power masterclasses and interviews (YouTube)
• ‘All About My Mother’, ‘Pain & Glory’ (Pedro Almodovar films)