Sesh with Tony from Arktik Lake today where we discussed guitar sounds and amps comparing Ron Asheton’s use of fuzz boxes and Marshalls on Stooges albums compared with James Williamson’s cranking of a Vox AC30. Seems Asheton used a Flying V, a Les Paul and then a Strat but also a Reverend guitar. James Williamson was using a Les Paul. We have a song we’re working on and we’re thinking about how the guitars should sound and what the tempo should be. Guitar sounds, the choices and now the digital choices on top of the organic ones. It’s a debate – the thousands of digital choices versus the thousands of organic choices but somehow digital choices share something that doesn’t translate to “tape”, organic sounds do and even when they are recorded onto a digital device, there’s a difference – it’s better. But then it probably depends on the kind of music you are trying to make. Having said that with organic electronic sounds vs digital sounds in electronic music, there seems to be a vast difference. Or is it that we like what we’re used to? Sometimes I hear music out there but I can’t get past the sound of it, is that how it is for everyone or do I just notice because I’m a musician, a producer, a songwriter and singer, someone who considers sound. But then I’m not an engineer, I need to work with a great engineer, someone who I can say to, “I want it to sound like custard (not the band)” and they understand. Digital custard just doesn’t have the same taste.
Two trips to the psychedelic psupermarket today mainly because we ran out of water, I went once, came back and then went back with Olivia and got more. I find myself so busy all the time that if a window appears I have to jump through it twice. I’m still looking for that window back into reading and watching arty films. I used to do so much of that and it was wonderful to explore those worlds, mesmerised, transfixed. I can’t even imagine how they make a film, or how actors act so convincingly. I wish we didn’t have to make choices about what to prioritise. Even the psychedelic psupermarket has you wondering. I suppose everyone goes and buys the same things each week instead of trying different things. But as a veggie and picky eater (both of us), it’s not so straightforward. The other day I did try chu chu and liked it. Haha, progress but when you take out all meat, all fish, all eggs and anything like mayonnaise or vinegar, tomatoes, peppers, all Mediterranean vegetables, it gets tricky. I’d be happy to eat Asian food every night, medium spiced, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese – yum. But as there’s a lot of veggie processed fake meats these days, we eat a lot of that with a whole lot of vegetables, I feel it’s like mixing digital and organic which in essence is what we do with music too.
The rain came again but later today so all cosy, I watched Wales lose to Italy but still qualify for the next round of the European Championships. Olivia went to meet a friend from Bolivia who doesn’t speak English or German, so it’s all in Portuguese. She comes back with a fried brain, luckily we don’t eat fried brains. I had a later sesh with Mike in New Orleans and reviewed a couple of songs and discussed ideas on how to approach them. Some songs want to party and some songs want to contemplate life’s mysteries, some songs want to travel and others want to stay home. You have to figure out what the song is asking for and let it live up to its full potential.
Thanks to everyone for finding the Noctorum album (Sparks Lane) on Record Store Day and thanks for the pics that we are still getting – send more. We still have copies at the label so if you’d like to get one, go to Schoolkids Records’ website. It’s pressed on silver-grey vinyl and in a gatefold cover, it’s the first time on vinyl and limited. Also, next week we hope to have the link up for the pre-order for Space Summit’s Life This Way, blue vinyl (very limited) and CD. Will keep you posted – literally.
Music today has been in keeping with Nick Drake, on the gentler side of early seventies singer-songwriters with Bridget St John’s Songs For The Gentle Man (1971). Very much a contemporary of Drake, she was signed by John Peel’s Dandelion label and with help of Peel, John Martyn and Al Stewart went on to make three albums for the label. Her first, Ask Me No Questions, was released in 1969, Songs For The Gentle Man was her second album. Her last album on Dandelion, Thank You For… (1972), was followed by one album on Chrysalis Records, Jumblequeen (1974). She then disappeared for 20 years after moving to America. She has made sporadic appearances in the last 20 years but it’s her first four albums that you need to investigate. If you liked Nico’s Chelsea Girl (1967), you’ll love this.