Diary

19/8/10 : LeeFest 2010

At the weekend, Dave, Nick and I went to LeeFest down in Kent, a one-day festival headlined by Futureheads. We were there in the role of 'Wandering Minstrels' and so, despite the rain, we wandered the festival arena and played our songs to the people, even if they didn't want us to, or didn't know what on earth was going on. In fact, most people loved it and everyone seemed to want to have a go on my concertina.


5/8/10 : Floating on the Thames

Oliver afloat Well, our EP launch gig on a boat went well! Thanks to everyone who came along and said nice things to us afterwards. It turns out that the boat we were on (moored to the side of the Albert Embankment) only floats for a few hours each day, as the tide changes. We were afloat while we were playing, which was interesting - fortunately there were no sudden lurches causing Toby to miss a glock note! It was a little scary seeing the water get closer and closer to the bottom of the window until it started to lap over the glass though!

David Cronenberg's Wife and Thomas Truax were both great too, love Thomas' crazy gadgets. Yep, it was a top night, and I hope we can play on the Tamesis Dock again some time, it was a very charming boat - I'd love to own one and turn it into a floating house and recording studio... Next stop for us - The Lexington!


29/7/10 : Some nice reviews

We spent so long creating and recording our EP that we'd kind of forgotten that people would write reviews of it... fortunately so far they've all been pretty positive! Here's a few links to some of them!...

'A superbly confident and stirring debut... singer mark west, possess an extraordinary voice which blends brilliantly with the electric-folk instrumentation' - Rough Trade

'These finely crafted, literate and wistful songs are well worth giving your time and attention to' - Folly Of Youth

'Oh Sally is a beautiful fanfare of melodic, gentle instruments, brilliant, strong vocals and lyrics which tease the inner child from your memory. Experimental and truly unique...' - Stereoboard

'You get a real sense of accomplished majesty from this music. Sad yet uplifting, full blooded yet sensitive... This ex-Fanfarlo guitarist & his cohorts have a rather special appeal. 4/5' - Norman Records

Obviously, we're pretty chuffed! x


15/7/10 : Giving birth to our EP

So, the release date for our first EP is now only a couple of weeks away - it's been a lot of work to get everything done on time but I think we've done pretty well. We decided a while back to take the plunge and release it on our own label (Two Six Heave) which was quite a commitment, but worth it overall. Oliver had some experience of course having co-run the label Felt Tip before, releasing Fanfarlo's Harold T Wilkins single, so that gave us a head start.

To add to the stress of working out manufacturing deadlines, distribution arrangements and press we were also recording the songs ourselves and creating the artwork. Toby worked on the cover art of the steam-powered lighthouse boat and that's turned out wonderfully. He then passed it on to Dave who dealt with the layout and design of the CD packaging. Somehow we managed to get this finished at the same time as I finished working on the final mixes of the four tracks - we had recorded the drums and guitars with other producers (Paul at Stolen and John at No Studios) but we recorded the rest ourselves. I mixed the tracks in my home studio (a good excuse to buy some new Rokit 8 monitors!) and Mike from Offline Club was incredibly helpful, giving useful feedback on the mixes as I went. We took the tracks to be mastered the same day that the artwork was finished and when that was done we had everything ready to send off to the CD manufacturers and the digital distributors.

While we waited for the physical CDs to come back and for the mp3s to arrive online (it takes about 6 weeks to get anything onto iTunes or Amazon mp3) we moved on to worrying about press - something we knew nothing about. Fortunately, Cath at Sainted PR came to our rescue - she's done a great job so far, despite us giving her the CDs to send out for review two weeks late... it turned out we vastly underestimated how long the manufacturing would take - it took a full month rather than the two weeks we were expecting. I think we got away with it though.

So - the CDs looks great, we're really happy with them and also with the four tracks on the EP - new mixes of 'Oh Sally' and 'Secret Steps' and totally new recordings of 'The Elephant Of Castlebar Hill' and 'Only Forward'. They're all songs we love playing live, and I think we've managed to capture a bit of the energy of that in the recordings. I hope you buy a copy and I hope you like what you hear! If you can make it along to our EP launch (4th Aug) or Lexington gig (6th Aug) you'll get a free copy - otherwise you'll be able to mail order from a new shop section of our web site or buy the mp3 version from our shop or from Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and so on.

Mark.x



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