Saturday, 21 December 2019

Merry Christmas, and a busy new year!

Quoth Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast. I blinked for a second, and suddenly everything's turned upsidedown and I'm months behind updating my to-do list, to say nothing of my "done" list! I've just moved to The Loft in Long Eaton, where I'm currently teaching piano, guitar, drums, composition, theory, production, and so on! I'm still pretty much booked out during the "rush hour" hours of 4pm-8pm, but I've got daytime slots left for any adult students who aren't constrained by the usual 9am-5pm shift pattern!

My drumming is on the way up - I finally got around to taking my Grade 8, which I passed with Distinction, so I can finally get to working on my LTCL degree-level drum qualification - which mostly means getting to grips with Gavin Harrison's incredible material with 05Ric! I've only got the one recording session booked in at the minute, as drummer for Kyros alumni Samuel Higgins, for the as-of-yet-unlaunched band The Great Manta. The material is hard as hell, so I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Once I've cleared the immediately pressing to-do list, I'll be releasing Earth Drowning From Soil To Sky, the third Radio Eroticism release, which finally features new players and vocals! I'd previously expected to finish the 2nd Aurigae album this year, but that looks to be a long way off - I may well delay that in the Autumn while life gets in the way.

As always, I'm always up for just one more project, or just one more student, so if you're interested, send me a message and I'll find a way to fit you into my schedule! I'm hoping to get a whole lot more music made in the new decade, so if you can help me toward my goal, I can't wait to get back to work!

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Success, Stress and Waiting Lists

Having survived the immediate post-graduation aftermath, I've been operating pretty successfully as a teacher and player! Thanks to a surprisingly overwhelming demand, I've now had to implement a waiting list for new students during the "after-school" hours between 4pm-8pm, since I'm totally booked up! I'm still taking new students during the daytime, but you might want to contact me to find out for sure! Since I don't update this blog very often, you should probably ask away anyway, since it'll surely be out of date by the time you read this!

I've got the occasional live and studio session coming in, and a few other projects on the boil, but have been in the grinder as far as time and energy managing the usual turmoil of life. Once that simmers down, I'll be hitting 2020 pretty hard as I gun for a bit more mixing work and video editing to fill out my daytimes, besides the usual rehearsal time!

There's not much to report at the minute - most of my band work is in stasis while we brew material, and all of the teaching work doesn't leave much to report on, although my FirstTutors reviews suggest my students are pretty happy with me! I'd better keep cracking on with that, but I'm hoping I'll have slightly more to report by the time I check in next!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

First Class Degree and Finally Full-Time

After much tribulation, I'll be graduating this month with a 1st class Music degree from the University of Nottingham! On top of that, I'm very happy to have been awarded the Music Technology prize for the year! I'm pretty proud of the whole debacle, even if I'm not that bothered by an expensive piece of paper and swanning around in a goofy dress to graduate. That being said, I'll try and update this post with a picture from the ceremony next week for posterity - whoever she is...

Right: myself, at odds with looking so resplendant. 
Left: Richard Needham, shortly before discovering he's a trombonist.

I've been juggling a LOT of teaching work at the minute, and have very few slots left at time of writing! In order to cope, I may have to instigate a waiting list of sorts - although once I'm driving by mid-August, that should give me a few extra hours in the week for stragglers. This may have all changed by the time you're reading this, so make sure to send me a message via my contact page!

I'm overhauling the site at the minute and trying to keep everything updated. I've added one or two more old transcriptions, but will be completely removing my "composition" page, and replacing it with a "portfolio" page which will have a selection of my compositions, my drum performances, and my academic writing on game music, including the dissertation which everyone seems interested in!

I played a great session for Michela Woods' alter-ego Wilted Flower for her upcoming album Grow in the Dark last month, and am really looking forward to hearing the singles as they trickle out in advance of the album release in late September. The material already sounds fantastic, so the finishing touches should really polish it off!

I'm still writing and recording with Koyot (formerly Ambugaton, formerly Huragan, formerly NDK). Once we finally take a name, surely the world will follow - but it's some very nasty, complicated instrumental prog-metal that I'm excited to perform soon! A few clips will ooze out in the next few weeks.

My peers are highly amused that I've been playing with a local Pirate-themed covers band, Pirates Rock, at the minute. A good laugh is nothing to sneeze at  - but I unfortunately have no pictures of my outfit yet. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait, arrrrrrrrrrrr!

I've also started rehearsals for two more metal projects - and will be announcing them as they come together a little more, but I'm very excited for the material! Managing all the projects, teaching, making sure I'm above the breadline and generally staying alive is proving as tricky as I expected it would be, but I'm pretty content to say that by sustaining all this, I'm living the dream. I'm a little too antisocial for working in pubs and clubs, but I'm still amazed every time someone gives me money just for rambling about music!

The next 6 months will be the real test of my mettle as a musican - but I'll let you know how it goes! If you want to help out, hire me as a drum, piano, guitar, theory, composition or production tutor - or as a session drummer! I'm always happy to carve out an extra hour in the day if it's fitting in more music work!

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Spring, Summer and sooner!

At long last, my music degree is finally drawing to a close: after a very successful winter term, I am on the cusp of submitting the last few bits of music production work and my 12,000 word dissertation on sound design in multiplayer first-person shooters - which will be available to read very shortly! I'll hopefully know my degree classification by July, but I've got a good feeling...!

Teaching has picked up dramatically, so I've only got a handful of afternoon slots left - although plenty of time for morning lessons, for any early risers! My FirstTutors streak of 5-star reviews remains unbroken at time of writing - accusations include 'friendly, approachable, knowledgeable, patient, trustworthy,' and the most damning of all, 'a natural teacher.' I must admit, I do enjoy it - particularly when it means pushing other people toward the music  and musicians I admire most!

Gigs and recording work have cleared up a little since Christmas. The upcoming Shadow of Acolyte album is morphing into something strange and new, and while I won't be hitting drums on the album, I can already confirm that the material is excellent - and that there are a few very interesting names attached to the project! The Sakura material has shifted back into the capable hands of the guitarist, and so I'm back on the shelf until the situation moves back toward live performance. It isn't all bad news, though - Ambugaton have been recording some very complex, dark and serious music - as evidenced by a particularly dark and serious photograph below. Some recordings should appear in the coming weeks - hopefully for real, this time.

I'll be taking on a lot more recording and gigging work over the next few months. Thus far, I've been hauling drum gear on the bus, which is NOT FUN AT ALL - and so I'll be very happy to be driving in the next couple of months!

I've got a few more projects up my sleeve, which I'd do better to cryptically keep secret until they're slightly closer to completion - but not all just straight music projects! Watch this space - and my project list - for more information coming soon!