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…

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.