CHEMIKALS

The actual process of recording album 2 ended up taking far longer than we thought….around 18 months in total. It all gets a bit blurry as to what actually happened when and where but I’ll try and sum it up swiftly in the following format. Read it as quick as you can:

“…TBOTB start recording 2nd album….function band forms with some members to try and make some money….Wit sings ‘Love Shack’ and feels he’s let himself down so quits function band before a gig is even played…other original bands form with various Bang members – Zegema Beach (Ox & Rox), Analogue Manilow (Wit & Dave) and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players (Ox & Elliott)…TBOTB continue recording 2nd album…..the inbred Southsea misery-folk Jelly Maid/TBOTB/Dawn Chorus non-scene gets stretched to breaking point….Ox leaves…..The Dawn Chorus split up…Sexy Keef (from DC) joins….Rox leaves…..Emily joins….Ox rejoins on guitar…..Rox rejoins….Jack still exists in limbo (Sherfield on Loddon)….some of the newly formed bands split….TBOTB continue recording 2nd album…Emily leaves…Wit has existential crisis/breakdown….TBOTB finish recording 2nd album…”

And we all drank lemonade. The End.

Except it wasn’t. As we were finishing the final notes two things occurred.

One was that my good friend from Uni, Mr Jake Gordon offered to mix the album and he had worked with some ace folks that year like Wild Beasts and Everything Everything. He also has golden ears and access to some incredible studios (and equipment) in London at his place of work so we knew it would sound far better than if it had just been left to me. We’d tracked a couple of early bits with Neil of 1st album infamy but he was so busy with the last DC album and The RSP we ended up doing a lot of it ourselves. The only issue was that Jake had to do it in his downtime which meant it was on a ‘as and when’ basis. Fair play to him though as it was a massive favour to us…just took a little longer than expected. All this drama also meant we binned off a lot of the songs that I had earmarked for the 3 act thing and honed it down what we thought were the best tunes. Thank God.

Two was that Jelly Maid Music, our label run from Old Blacksmiths by Rich Tamblyn, imploded as he sold the studio (to another good pal Whyntie – I told you Southsea was incestuos…) – we were now essentially homeless. Our fresh and spangly album finally ready in our hands and no way to release it. Balls. We hawked it around a few places to no avail and I was getting more and more down – so much hard work on something I was really proud of that no-one seemed to want. Sometimes you just need a helping hand and that came from a new and wondrous shop that had recently opened nearby. Pie & Vinyl. Exactly. What a place. They were lovely guys and we quickly became firm friends and occasional lovers. Steve from P&V told me that he wanted to start a label and so a plan was hatched for us to be the first release. It was an honour and exciting to be part of something up and coming, new and inspiring.

In the end, Record Store Day 2013 was chosen as the day of release and we pulled out all the stops to get it cut on actual vinyl, fulfilling one of my life goals. It’s another long story but we were still hand pressing the A & B side labels the night before release after a cock-up at the pressing plant. DIY til we die. Nothing is ever easy in this band. It never has been.

So…anyway…Chemikals….with a k. Why not? Jauntier than anything we’d previously done and benefiting greatly from the inclusion of Pauly B our favourite trumpeter as well as another friend Ken on Sax. The lyrics tell of how the main protagonist of the story (again, more on which later…) is a man controlled by his urges. After all, we’re all just chemical signals at the end of the day. Love, lust, fear etc….all just electrical flashes in the synapses of our silly brains. This being a human stuff is complex.

(Un)fortunately we filmed some of our recording process which I’ll put up in segments so you can see in to the dark corners of the minds of genius’s (genii?). It’s not just a bunch of twats playing Sweet Child o’ Mine constantly.

And below are 3 live cuts of the song from the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea (w/ Pauly B), The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town and The Wheelbarrow in Camden…

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Where are we now?

 

…as a certain David Jones might say…

 

Soooooo….let’s briefly recap dear reader….

 

Had a couple of messages recently that go along the lines of ‘ahhhh I remember seeing some stuff about you lot a few years back and then you disappeared…bit of a shame’

 

Well – I cannot comment on whether our perceived disappearance would be a ‘shame’ or not but thought I’d just give you a bit of a lowdown on what goes on/has gone on behind the scenes. You may or may not be interested…but if you’re not…WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING LOOKING AT THIS BLOG??? GETOUTTAHERE!!!

 

Anyhoo. As far as it goes for us, we’ve never been away. In fact, everywhere I turn, I’m there. It’s ruddy irritating to be honest. Our first album came out in 2009 and we toured it around the country to various dingy back rooms. Some amazing, some not so much. Many of those early gigs were a bit more acoustic in nature as there wasn’t so many of us in the band and they were often easier for us to play. In fact, amusingly, we were nominated for a Folk Award even though we’re not particularly any more folky than…oooh, I don’t know, Slayer or someone…that may be a slight stretch but…you catch my drift. Just because we wield the occasional banjo or accordion, the arran sweaters are firmly stashed away (for now). I even wrote my Uni dissertation on notions of genre and how we perceive them don’cha know??? So check me out.

 

So, folk or not, in 2010 we recorded and released 2 EP’s….’Art Deco’ and ‘Art Nouveau’. One was electric-y, full bandy, sample-y stuff and one was more solo-y, traditional-y, acoustic-y stuff. As is often the case with EP’s however, these sort of slipped beneath the radar and no-one really noticed. We liked them though. 

 

Since then a variety of things have occurred…first off, I swanned around travelling a bit…growing various beards and wrote most of what was to become our new soon-to-be-released-honest-guv album. The people who made up TBOTB swapped around a fair bit too so myriad rehearsals and low-key gigs testing out new material and members was pretty much the de rigeur order of the day in 2011.

 

It was also the year of a few side-projects that developed into other things which naturally took up plenty of tim. Myself and Mr Rhodes dallied with our inner noise-rockers in Analogue Manilow, Elliott stepped in to alt-country-pop-rock mode with the Retrospective Soundtrack Players. Again, a few members went off on their own journeys and more new members came into our warm bosom (titter titter). Southsea’s musical fraternity is like that. I for one relish it and it means I’ve had the honour of playing with some amazing musicians of whom all are now firm friends. And that’s the important part really isn’t it? Yes. Yes it is.

 

So – anyway – fast forward to 2012 – album 2 was finished and ready to go. Self recorded and produced we were as happy as pie with it…but the opportunity arose for another good pal of ours, the esteemed Mr Jake Gordon, to give it a bit of an extra mix and polish. My word we’re glad he did. Here’s a bit of info about him and his recent work (including stuff he’s done with a couple of our fave bands…) 

 

http://miloco.co.uk/engineers/jakegordon.php

 

Jake made everything sound a hundred times greater than we could have ever achieved on our own so it was well worth that extra wait. So, prepped, ready-to-go, gorged with fresh blood and mixed perfectly…..our dear little indie label Jelly Maid Music fell off the cliff into the abyss! T’was a sad day for all and meant, like The Littlest Hobo, we were now homeless…

 

After touting it around to a few of the labels that we love and trust and being greeted with stares that I’m sure Joseph and Mary received in Jerusalem before they bedded down in someones shed or something, we realised that we were probably looking at a self-release. Now these aren’t necessarily a bad thing as it means you have total control (always good) and can create your own world around you…..BUT….you also have no money (or we certainly don’t) nor any inbuilt ‘network’ of friendly faces and industry peeps to help you out or fight your corner.

 

If you can now, at this point dear reader, imagine a hero – swarthy and muscular – swooping in and grasping us in their bulging arms while we look up doey eyed and, well theres no other word than aroused, then please feel free to do so as that is basically the truth of it. I’m not going to reveal all yet (where’s the fun in that?) but, rest assured, April is certainly going to be a splendid milestone in The B of the Bang’s strange, exciting, terrifying adventure…

 

Keep your ears to the ground BangFans

xxx

 

ps just in case you wondered David Jones is David Bowie’s real name. Told you I went to university.

Totally Wired….

Howdy Bangers and Bangettes

How are you? I feel we don’t talk enough. Tell me what you’re up to? How’s the dog? Did you see that thing the other day? Isn’t the weather changeable?

How am I? Oh very well thankyou. That rash has gone and the geraniums finally sprouted.

Here are the headlines in BangLand…..

BANG! In keeping with tradition and attempting to match the mighty mighty Fall (hence the blog title…) in amount of band members, TBOTB has once again had a slight cabinet re-shuffle. Fingers crossed this is now the line-up for ever and ever amen. It certainly has a good feel about it and contains a diverse and talented spread of sexy folks within….in fact, I’m very excited as to what we can achieve.

Sooooooo…..

WELCOME EMILY. WE’RE SORRY FOR WHAT YOU WILL UNDOUBTABLY HAVE TO PUT UP WITH IN THE FUTURE.

The flipside of that bright and shiny coin is the dull and rusty news that our lovely friend and colleague Roxanne Johns has stepped down as a Banger to pursue all the other endeavours she’s involved in. We wish her all the best as she’s ridiculously talented and a great person too. We’ll miss you Rox.

BANG! Our favourite event of the year occurred at the weekend. The top class multi-headed behemoth that is Southsea Fest happened across loads of venues in our hometown. 100+ bands including Clock Opera, Bo Ningen, Pale Seas, Tom Williams & The Boat plus loads more fantastic stuff. We played at The Kings Theatre which is always a pleasure – such a beautiful venue and a super-enthusiastic packed crowd for Em’s first gig. Here’s a coupla pics – cheers to Cal from Pinter Moments.

Southsea Fest was also the last ever Dawn Chorus show and they were absolutely on fire…maybe the best i’ve ever seen them. Collectively these guys are probably our favourite ever band and to call them friends is a privilege. All the best with your future endeavours boys and thanks for the inspiration, the games of bum and the shots in Bumper…..XXX

BANG! On a happier note, the ever excellent Tom Robinson included our track ‘The Forest’ in his BBC6 Music download podcast this week which went out on air early hours of Sunday/Monday morn. Here’s a bit of info:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tomrobinson/2012/09/in-the-small-hours-of.shtml

and here’s the actual download link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/trintro

Some great music on there and many many thanks to Tom for his ongoing support.

BANG! And finally…..(to be said like Trevor Mcdonald)…it looks like the second album we’ve been slaving over for 18 months will finally come out! YAY! If you’re a longtime follower of the band you’ll know our up n down rollercoaster-like existence and the fact that our lovely little label closed it’s doors a couple of months ago. Well we’ve been scurrying around and, with the help of our new management (Barney at Outright – cracking the whip and getting us into shape…) it looks like there is a light on the horizon. More news on this very soon but, rest assured, it’s a very exciting time for us and we’re not going to rest until every one of the 62 million plus people in Britain have heard it. Then next stop is THE WORLD. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Now I must go and tend to those geraniums.

Love

Wit

xxx

Albums of 2011 (and gigs…)

Ahhhhh a list. Love em or hate em. I personally love em…whether they be shopping, bucket or Schindler’s. People get so irate over end-of-year lists don’t they? They say ‘HOW DARE YOU RATE THE WANTED OVER NICKI MINAJ!!!  (check me out…i’m down with the hep cats…) YOU MUST BE MENTALLY UNBALANCED!!!’ Well, don’t take this list too seriously as my mind changes as often as a member of the Sugababes…this is just what I think in this particular moment at this exact point in time (10.48AM GMT, Monday 28th November 2011).

Also…for your records, this is Wit writing…hello. I don’t want you to exact revenge on one of the other GangBangers just because i’ve placed X higher than Y. That just wouldn’t be on. Unless it’s Jack. Cos his list would be awful.

So…mince pie in hand, Bailey’s poured, fire crackling….let’s begin.

…oh by the way – i’m doing a top 15…just because I want to…

15) Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Shock! Horror! A Radiohead record has been released and it’s not my number one! These truly are end times! Well the truth is that, although there’s some good stuff on there…it’s just not top 10 material. Codex is lovely though. Like Thom’s dance moves.

14) DELS – Gob

My hip-hop knowledge is not as sharp as it might be but I know what’s good and this is ruddy good. (ps my first ever band when I was 13 was a comedy rap band with my brother and I used to listen to his Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Lords of the Underground CD’s quite a lot….does this make me more street? No? Oh.)

13) Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen

I haven’t had very long with this record so, over time, I’d imagine this would place much higher…on the first few listens though it is indeed splendid and has introduced me to the wonderous Lift to Experience so that’s nice…

12) Roddy Woomble – The Impossible Song

Long time BangFans will know of my worrying man-love for young Roddy…ever since his early Idlewild days he can do nowt wrong in my eyes and this album is a joy. So that’s nice too…

11) Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!

Another cracking record from everyones favourite angel-voiced plumbers…in other years this would probably be higher on the list but personally I think 2011 has been an exceptional year for musical releases. So there. I’m sure Elbow aren’t too fussed. I would like to try their ale though.

10) The Antlers – Burst Apart

Critics darlings but for once completely justified. A beautiful record though not quite as wondrous as ‘Hospice’ so just edging into my top 10…I would like to see these live please. As Jim can no longer Fix It for me i’m asking Santa.

9) The Duke Spirit – Bruiser

I love Leila Moss and her band. That is all.

8) Beirut – The Rip Tide

More marvellous merriment from Monsieur Condon and co. Managed to get a gorgeous see-through vinyl of it too. Does that matter? OF COURSE IT DOES.

7) Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia

He’s got some lungs on him this lad. ‘House’ is one of my pop songs of the year too. Not just because it shares a name with a certain medical series about a miserable genius that i’m semi-obsessed with.

6) St Vincent – Strange Mercy

Probably the freshest thing to grace my ears for some time. Amazing guitarist she is n’all. Well done Annie.

5) PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Not really getting why people have said this album is love or hate – it’s Polly Jean at her finest in my ears. I also love ‘White Chalk’ though and lots of folk don’t care for that. Those people are called idiots.

4) Wild Beasts – Smother

To be honest, my top 5 are completely interchangeable. This would deffo sit easily and proudly as my fave album of the year but, perhaps because I’ve listened to it so very very much, today it’s at 5. Sorry lads. I STILL LOVE YOU!!!!

3) Bon Iver – s/t

See above. Amazing stuff. Even the 80’s power ballad. ESPECIALLY the 80’s power ballad.

2) Metronomy – The English Riviera

Caught me by surprise this’n. Having seen em a few times and heard their earlier stuff I was always left a bit underwhelmed but this album is nigh on perfection. It also contains one of the best pop songs ever in ‘The Look’. That keyboard solo at the end…yes….

…and DRUM ROLL PLEASE…..

1) Bjork – Biophillia

Just astounding. May mean more to me because of seeing her perform it live in Iceland this year (on my 30th birthday too..) but it’s an absolutely amazing piece of work. Not just in the innovative way it was released, the app’s, the bizarre instruments and her top notch wig. The songs themselves are also 1st class. And after all boys n girls…that’s what it’s all about innit?

So…there you go. My Albums of 2011. As I say I can’t speak for the others (though I dare say Rhodesy would have Stephen Malkmus and The Fall high up there…I haven’t got those albums yet so will have to ask for a lend…) and Keef and Ell Greggo might have gone for a bit of Tyler, the Creator (I love ‘Yonkers’ but can’t bring myself to love the rest of the album…). Rox will no doubt be rocking out to the Deftones (actually that might’ve been last year…soz) and Jack is probs relaxing in the bath to Sade but WHO KNOWS. You’ll have to ask them…

I’m not gonna list the various TBOTB offshoot albums/side projects as it’s a bit unfair but both Rox’s album and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players LP were excellent. Go buy them both. Special mentions also go to The Horrors, Tom Waits, I Break Horses, Zun Zun Egui, Washed Out, Mogwai, Blood Orange and, of course, there’s loads more that escape my mind or that I haven’t really given enough time to. As always, being a skint musician (who DOESN’T ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD) means I can’t afford a lot of the stuff that I want. Add to this the fact that i’m always catching up on the last 1000 odd years of music means that really, when it comes down to it…THIS LIST MEANS NOTHING. Still, it’s kept us both out of trouble for 10 mins and I feel like we’ve bonded. Do you?

While i’m here – i’m gonna do a gig list too. I’m feeling frivolous, footloose and fancy free!

15) Bob Dylan/Fionn Regan/Shane McGowan – Feis Festival, London

Bob’d be higher but I’ve seen him before, I was surrounded by 20,000 drunk Irish folk (both a plus and a minus…) and I left before the encore when he played ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘Blowin in the Wind’. Oops. Fionn played on a quiet acoustic stage about 10 metres from where The Waterboys were bellowing out ‘Whole of the Moon’ so I could only hear about 40% and Shane McGowan…well he’s Shane McGowan (again, both a positive and a negative…)

14) Beach House – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

I think just the fact that when I saw them support Grizzly Bear in Brighton last year they blew me away might’ve lessened the impact this time round. Still proper good though.

13) Andy Foster/Stealing Sheep – The Wedge, Southsea & Kinky Boot Beasts – The Cellars, Eastney

A tie here. Lovely stuff from both Mr Foster and the Sheep Stealers. Saw them supporting Emmy the Great. Who really wasn’t great. Kinky Boot Beasts played with Dave and myself’s other band Analogue Manilow. And really were great.

12) Howling Bells – The Wedge, Southsea

They didn’t play ‘Low Happening’. THE HEARTLESS BASTARDS.

11) Other Lives – KEX, Iceland Airwaves

Watched them soundcheck in a tiny little bar. Lovely.

10) The Walkmen – The Wedge, Southsea

We supported them. They were aloof and didn’t talk to us. I kind of liked it though. And they played ‘The Rat’. YOU HEAR THAT HOWLING BELLS??

9) Deerhunter – Shepherd Bush Empire. London

Lots of scenester tossers there. This would probably have placed higher were it not for them talking balls incessantly everywhere you turned.

8) Borko – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

‘Ding Dong Kingdom’. Nuff said.

7) Wild Beasts – Concorde 2, Brighton

‘WATCH ME! WATCH ME!’ This would’ve been top 3 but for some bizarre reason (a club night or something…) the curfew was 10pm on a Saturday night meaning they started at 8.30. Myself, Mrs W, Ell Greggo and Rhodesy arrived after much mulled wine at about 9 hoping to catch the end of support band Dutch Uncles only to be met with the Beast’s a quarter of the way through their set! D’oh! Still, we did then end up in, not one, but two gay night clubs so every cloud n’ that…

6) Clock Opera – The Wedge, Southsea Fest

Really want to see this band again as I had drunk a lot of brandy prior to this gig. I think it was very good…in fact i’m pretty sure it was…DAMN YOU BRANDY!

5) Retro Stefson – Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland Airwaves

‘KIMBA! KIMBA!’ The liveliest folks I’ve seen since….I saw them a couple of years ago. Chirpy, funky and danceable are not words often associated with me but they’re infectious. Some of the other Bangers saw them play in a launderette or something too. I’ve been telling every Ron, Mick and Larry in Blighty about them ever since…

4) Roddy Woomble – The Point, Eastliegh

See my Album List. Worrying.

3) Donovan – Albert Hall, London

Played the whole ‘Sunshine Superman’ album with an orchestra. Then sat cross-legged and pretended it was still 1966. We got a free upgrade to one o’ them posh boxes. Noel Gallagher was next to us. It was a fun evening all round.

2) John Grant – Harpa, Iceland Airwaves

Bloody hell. I had a tear in my eye all the way through. As did Mrs W. Not just because of the Birthday shots of Cointreau either. Absolutely beautiful.

1) Bjork – Harpa, Iceland Airwaves

She’s only gone and done the double! Just 750 people there and in a stunning venue. I’ve been to a handful of gigs in my life that have been that outstanding. Made me want to give up. In a good way.

And that’s that. Again there’s probs loads of others that i’ve forgotten about so don’t shout at me too much. All in all though –  in a year where dosh has been tight, tight, tight and thus festivals and gigs have been few and far between for me, I’m happy to have seen and heard some absolutely awe-inspiring stuff. Now…back to TBOTB recording. FINALLY.

MERRY EASTER.

xxxx

Incestuous Southsea…

Autumns spindly fingers are slowly creeping around us here in the South of England and this chill morn seems like a good time to post. Things are rosy in Camp Bang at the mo – writing more than ever and it looks like we finally might all find the time to get together and record all this new stuff soon. It always seems to be winter for us when we record – I guess we’re a winter band….here are some early demo’s for the forthcoming album:

For the uninitiated I should probs introduce you to a few of our other projects – the reason that organising our gigs and recording is similar in scale to organising the Olympics…

Ready? Deep breath…

I myself (Wit) try and devote most of my time to The B of the Bang but I also have a lovely side project on the go with Dave Of-The-Bang (who I’ve been in bands with half my life) and former Bang-man Mighty Matt E (The Myth). It’s called Analogue Manilow and is much rawer and grungier than TBOTB. This is us:

On top of that, i’m currently recording solo stuff for a film and I also play live with The Dawn Chorus who are recording at the mo:

http://www.thedawnchorus.com/blog/

A few of The Dawn Chorus have their own side project signed to Xtra Mile called The Retrospective Soundtrack Players: Who’s their drummer? Well if it’s not our very own Elliott Gregg! This be them:

http://retrospectivesoundtrackplayers.blogspot.com/

Greggles also does his own DJ/electronic thang that goes by the name of St Robe:

http://soundcloud.com/saintrobe

Keefy Beefy, our bassman, plays with the aforementioned DC and has his own ace solo guise called Tom Fossum:

http://www.myspace.com/tomfossum

He took over from The Ox who plays in a reggae/dub/rock band called Zegema Beach with…..yes you guessed it! Our heroine Roxanne Johns – who also plays and records top-notch solo stuff:

http://www.facebook.com/Zegemabeach

http://www.roxannejohns.co.uk/

Confused yet? You will be. Jack and me used to play in his band Hats are for Heads and he also does remixes under the name of Billy and The Bears. When he’s not organising hostile take-overs.

http://www.myspace.com/hatsareforheads

http://www.myspace.com/billyandthebearsmusic

I think that’s most of it covered…might have missed out one or two bands but it’s so incestuous here in Southsea that it’s hard to keep track. Most of us have something to do with this wee DIY label here so have a peek and, if you’re feeling all communal, like – p’raps buy an album or 2 and keep us all in electricity for another week.

http://jellymaidmusic.com/

To play you out – a cover of one of my favourite artists – the lovely John Grant:

and a new song:

DONE!!!

TTFN
xxxxx

ps tomorrow (Tues 8th November) we’re playing one of our last gigs of the year at The Edge of the Wedge with the excellent Chapman Family. Do come say hi yes?