Finishing writing on two EPs at the moment. So yeah, I dithered, as is my wont, for blemmin ages over what way to go about it. There are ten songs in total; some choral pieces, some beats-y tunes, and a few old songs that didn’t make it onto my first EP, for some reason. Mini-album? Collection of 7″s? DIgital release with absolutely no promotion? (Oh, I did that already. HA!) But I think two ‘sister EPs’ is the way to go about it. The plan is to release them in early 2014.
For you Irish-speakers out there, I did an interview for the radio show, ‘Cruinneog’ (meaning ‘globe’), during the week. It’ll be broadcast tomorrow morning (Saturday, the 3rd of November) at 11. Seems very interesting, it generally consists of interviews with Irish people living abroad, and as I’m only recently back from the Netherlands, I was asked to call in and have a chat. It’s always a balancing act between being open and communicative, and not coming off like a roaring eejit. Ha!
But Cearbhall (O Síocháin, the presenter) was sound out, really put me at ease, and it was nice to talk about music, and remind myself that I’m a musician, which (goldfish-style) I seem to forget after a few busy music-free weeks. For I went back to school a few months back, yes kids, back to school I went. Plants have always been a big deal to me. I can’t live without them, not even a little bit! I like oxygen and food, see. Soooo, starting a horticulture course seemed like a good idea. It’s all SO NEW at the moment, but I’m lovin’ it.
All about the choirs at the moment too. I’m working on some choral repertoire at the moment. The amazingly talented Amanda Feery recently moved over to Princeton, New Joisey, but she’ll be back next summer for a while, so we’re planning some sort of co-choral goings on. My dream is a mobile choir, flash mobs, musical public nuisances…. As well as midsummer midnight concerts and other lovely things.
The Hour Went Back last weekend, and we all know what that means. Ireland sinks into darkness for a few months (although the winter skies here are absolutely spectacular when there is some light). Leaving the house in darkness, arriving home in darkness. I kind of like it though. And night-time is very conducive to all sorts of visions and madness anyway.
Here’s a sample of Amanda’s work (She’s photographed here by Aoife Giles, singing Lying in Bed in the Joinery way back) –
I went into 2FM there a few weeks back and recorded some songs. Got to play a piano on one of them, which was great, a Steinway grand, no less. I suppose this means I’ll have to make my peace with the TV licence fee.
Dropped in to Ed on Monday and he told me that there is real-live hard cold cash money in the Bandcamp ether from sales of the EP. Will wonders never cease? Paying for a download? Whoever you are, thank you so so so so much, lovely people! Thus heartened, I betook myself to Freebird (in the Secret Book & Record Store), The R.A.G.E., and Tower here in Dublin and stuck in some copies. Even to have them on a shelf somewhere is good.
But the biiig biiiig news is that yesterday we finished mixing the album.
Big huge thanks to Joe, not only for all the help, advice, amazing mics to record on and all that… To leave with a bit of a beginner’s knowledge of Protools, and a rake of beautiful new plug-ins, well, that’s the cherry on top of the seven-tier cake.
The “Cusp” EP is available now on www.niamhdebarra.bandcamp.com. Pay what you want, or nothing at all. There are a few different formats available too; mp3, FLAC (for better quality without taking up as much room as a wav), and a loada more esoteric freeware formats like the delightfully named Ogg Vorbis, for instance.
The mastered CDs arrived yesterday.
The covers have been printed and all we have to do is stick the designs on the cases. The lyric are upside down in the booklet, but it don’t matter!
There are two more choir rehearsals before tomorrow’s gig. It’s starting to take shape; we practiced yesterday with parts 3 and 4 being sung by computer ladies, and it still went well. My own set eeehh is what it is, but it’ll do.
I know you shouldn’t wish you life away or crave a break that will never come, but I AM looking forward to being able to spend the next few months just writing music. In my room, by myself, writing music. Heaven!! With the odd gig to break it up (she hopes).
There’s some amount of work in a organising a gig. I sort of knew before, but I didn’t really. Now I do. My hat goes off to those who do it, tis they who give people a lovely/intense/mental/powerful/all of the above experience, give work to musicians and artists, and help in the dissemination of music as much as journalists and bloggers.
The internet is great, but there can be the danger of information overload too. I read so many glowing reviews of bands and artists, but when I seek out their music it can be a bit “hhmmm hohum”. Listening off the internet while checking the emails or answering a “blunk” off gmail chat. It’s rare enough for something to stand out.
You can have your 3D cinema and your new Nissan Micra, the live experience is what it’s all about. And as for festivals….
Tonight I had a practice with seven of the singers for “Lying in Bed” off the EP. We’ll be performing it a capella at the launch (all going to plan…). I’d been fairly stressed about it for the last few weeks; not constantly, but every so often a wave of it would wash over me. What if, what if not, etc etc, the usual torture we put ourselves through. Tonight’s practice reassured me though. Twelve different voices, eh, it’ll be quite something, I think.
In other news, today, I have been mostly laughing at this;
Words in music – yea or nay? Well, that’s a stupid question, especially if you take into account the spectrum between Stravinsky and wee djs to Elliott Smith and any Anticon nerdy wordy hiphop. In general (yoiks!, a gross generalisation!), I could do without it in most dance music. Another horror movie sample/filthy durrrty girl talking about cunnilingus/70s cartoon sample/posh English guy talking about drugs. SNORE.
Although a lot of the music I listen to is free of The Word, I’m big into the words myself. I cut my musical teeth singing in a kiddies’ choir, and later writing lyrics and supplying vocals for Ed. And there’s all those “My best friend is Rog, He is a black dog” poems from eeehhh last year. The songs on the EP are just that; songs. I take a lot of care with my lyrics, and thus far at least, they’re hugely important, so I decided to include them in the sleeve. Writing them out was kinda cool, laying them out Just So on the page. None of this old hat “left to right” nonsense.
I put them on MySpace, but it moved everything all over the shop. Aye aye, so many problems! They’ll look pretty nice in that sexy sleeve though.