I think i’ve been motivated by a really interesting, inspiring and reflective blog by Broken Social Scene (check our topPages). Or maybe just cos it’s quite a nice morning. Or maybe because I’m coming down with swine flu and so am at death’s door.
Anyway, here’s a few things we’ve been up to, are up to, and are gonna be up to. cos a) i’m lazy and b)we don’t have our RSS together, i’m gonna post to our facebook, myspace and main web site as well (erm, this is just a cunning way of trying to get you to go there.. geddiit?)
The last couple of months have been hella busy for us. Everyone’s been putting loads of work in. I won’t single anyone out but suffice to say if it was just Jimmy Ray and me doing this we’d both be dead of stress by now. We’ve actually started putting releases out properly through our distributor, Believe, and let me tell you, it’s a shitload more work than putting stuff up on myspace or self-release.
I won’t bore you but basically, to make sure everyone gets the right royalties and stuff as well as the record coming out on time (when about 20 people are working on a release it’s a massive pain in the arse if we miss the release date) involves emails, spreadsheets, proofs, discussions, templates, clippings, press releases, etc….. you get the picture.
In the end though, it was all worth it once we saw the finished result on iTunes (and other digital stores)- – you can now get each release pretty much worldwide, pretty much on the same day! We’re still committed to keeping our prices as low as possible, and as usual most of the time if you’re skint come down to a gig and we’ll sort you out with a CD.
So what are / will be these great releases?
Well, three weeks ago we launched the Moulettes / Pete Lyons split single, ‘Wilderness’ / ‘Old Friends’. For our very first stab at a full release (and with 2 weeks lead-in, industry hacks!) the response was brilliant, with airplay for both cuts and press too.
Most importantly, it seems to have done exactly what we wanted in terms of introducing Moulettes fans to Pete’s peeps, and vice versa. Both are working on albums at the moment, by the way – Pete has recorded a really great live album with his band as The Fiction Theatre, which is in post at the moment and will probably head off to the stores soonish for a summer release (it’s a summery kind of sound, ya get me?)
The Moulettes’ album is virtually finished recording – the word is that wandering fiddler George has returned from somewhere-or-other to lay down some high-register touches of silken niceness to complement Hannah’s looped, octaved, ripsaw cello assault. So we’re probably looking at a September release for that, cos we’re all mega excited about the songs and the record. I know labels always say it, but it really does send a shiver down my spine when I hear the rough mixes!
I guess you could say our big release at the moment is the Moneytree EP, ‘The Great Indoors Part II.’ It really is a stonker of an EP, with guest appearances from Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), Rob Skipper, Ted Dwayne (Mumford and Sons / Laura Marling Band), Modernaire, various Moulettes and my own Lonely Joe Parker self. But fuck the cameos, it’s a sucker-punch of a record anyway, and rightly picking up loads of reviews and plays. It’s actually been mastered for a while now, but we wanted to wait until we had our shit together to put it our properly.. . I’m glad we did. Out on Monday.
Records in the works? I’m still working with Dave Miatt on our Oxjam charidee EP. The trouble about doing everything for free is that sometimes it’s hard to pull everything together. We’ve had about 8 different sessions with several people at the controls, as well as making a great live tape at Hamptons (thanks to everyone who showed up and sang!) … so by rights we should have pulled something together, a long time ago in fact. The reality is that we’re all busy with our own projects so it’s quite hard. Now we’ve got Tom, Rysia, Bea, Alfie and Audrey at Furnace Studios cracking the whip though, and I think we’ll get something tied up quite soon.. ‘down among the dead men’!! (for those in the know)
Wow – so many things in the pipeline, where next? Oh yeah – we’ve licensed an EP from rude_NHS (originally recorded for a german release) which is a bit of a bolt from the blue but definitely exciting – it’s amazing how much musical ground that guy manages to cover in just 4 tracks, and it really seems to draw you into his rude little world the more you listen to it, spooky… it’s mastered, obviously, we’re just waiting to sign off on the artwork so a summer release, hopefully in time for Glade festival (he’s playing).
For a while this spring, it looked like we were going to put out a single or EP for Caesura- you may remember they were on the first sampler, then did an LP with Lockjaw before finding themselves on a Big Scary Monsters comp. They’d started work on the follow-up to ‘Dear Light Outside’ and two of the finished tracks were looking like single material.
Then they only bloody went and played a great minitour with Jeniferever (if you weren’t at the packed-out joiners show, shame on you, you missed out! told you, didn’t we?!?) and subsequently found themselves the subject of the attentions of not one but two ‘well-known large indie labels.’ We’ll see how that turns out but needless to say, while single plans are on hold at the moment we’ll still be working closely in future (the boys are all individually active in Sotones; James Moss is playing the summer showcase today in fact)
Erm what about my own stuff in all this? Well some of you will know that i’ve been slowly demoing up new tracks for about a year now, at home, with Neil Kennedy and Geoff at The Ranch in Nursling, and with Izaak Bullen in Winchester. It’s weird, I’ve never ever had any problems writing songs themselves but arranging – fuck – it’s not my strong point by a long shot…
Things have entered a new kind of phase lately, though. People are always coming up to me and saying ‘Hey Joe, if you ever want me to play with you, just give me a call’ and, for once, I’ve started listening. Without naming names we’re talking about some Really Talented People to a man and woman… . The guys at Furnace have also been really generous with their time and I’ve found we’re on totally the same wavelength when it comes to stuff like Pavement, Cat Power, Feist, PJH etc. SO we’re starting to gather a bit of recording momentum on the demos. Also gradually putting this band together – so at some point in the next several weeks we’ll hire a barn, truck all the hardware down and track it all.
The end result probably won’t be very Lonely-Joe-Parker-y, at least not in the ramshackle, unfinished way of old, but it still be seat of the pants stuff cos most of it’ll be pretty much live. Performances are gonna change, too – about 2/3 of the time it’ll just be me rocking up on the bike as usual, but for some shows we’ll do the slick luscious sounding full band thing. I won’t lie to you, that’s only gonna be shows where we get paid enough! You get what you pay for! I’ll still break strings and forget words though, just with a sick band there as well…
Lastly, there are rumblings of new material from Edward J. Hicks, Cat In The Furnace and Viva Sleep (Neil Kennedy – Chin Music) – we’ll let you know more when it comes to pass…
Whew, so, musical things.. what else? Well, in brief: We’re very pleased to be working very closely with the Woolfire Festival people. As well as a load of acts playing, we’ll also be running a record store with Brainlove and Tape Club. Let me explain.. this year they’re gonna have a ‘Village Street; kind of bit in the middle of the festival with a pub, a tea shop, stuff like that… so along with the other labels present we’re going to set up a record store, and as well as selling records be doing things like signings, etc… also just as a general place to come down and have a chat!
We’re slowly working through the back catalogue, re-issuing everything on MP3 through Believe. The idea is to make everything available, since a lot of everyone’s stuff was only available on limited CD or whatever. More on each release as it comes, needless to say keep your ears pricked! Join the maillist or Facebook page to keep informed..
And last but not least, we’re moving into a new Southampton orifice (ha ha ha never could resist that one) right in the centre of town. Basically working out of bedrooms and backrooms across the land has become a bit too taxing now we’ve got mountains of paperwork, promos and peeps to deal with, so it seemed a natural move. We’ll have some sort of party to celebrate when it’s all done i’m sure – Ed Hicks is gonna don a Laurence Llwelyn-Bowen wig and cravate and decorate for us!
AaaaAaaAaaaaaaaaahh. All done. Just got the all dayer and Moneytree EP launch party tonight**. And a cold to fight through. Thanks for reading, listening and dancing, please tell your friends or invite them to myspace/facebook whatever if you wanna support us. Lord Knows we can’t afford a radio plugger and we’re not into that shit anyway! SO. You know what, since he said it better and they’re totally my heroes, i’ll leave BSS to sign off now:
“We’re grateful and we are thankful. Enjoy your lives, avoid the instant gratification society, watch out for vampires, easy on the all the drugs out there (legal and illegal), don’t ask guidance from your stereo, just ask for a little bit of truth. Also watch out for this twitter shit that has become the new thing these days…if instant communication keeps going like this we’ll have to all find our own personal shaman to help remind us how to live and there is not enough of them on this planet for all of us…..”
Couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Laters! xxJoe – Sotones
**A lot of people have asked ‘why is it an all-dayer if it starts at 4pm?‘ I can only say ‘have YOU ever tried cashing up at 3 in the morning after booxing since midday?. A lot of people have also asked ‘why do you have two big events (hobbit showcase and lennons Band Of Skulls + Moneytree EP launch) on the same day??’ I can only say, firstly, we’re a bit disorganized, and secondly – well, think of it like a fiesta, kind of like SXSW or In The City or CMJ or The Punt or The Great Escape – – just flit between the two like a musical dragonfly in the sun… no really, we’re gonna have to!