Saturday, 31 January 2009

I Don't Want To Be That Man Anymore (live at Fringe Sunday)

This week's free download is I Don't Want To Be That Man Anymore performed live Fringe Sunday which took place at The Meadows, Edinburgh. This show was part of the launch of the Octagon album at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2008.

Video of this performance is available at

I've been meaning to upload some of the photos from Edinburgh so it seems like a good time to do some... Below is the program from the Fringe Sunday event. A wet day (wasn't it always?!) but great fun and at least it made some mud, adding to the phone festival experience :-)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Tell You (demo)

This week's new song of the week is now available from or (once it updates) through iTunes.

It's the demo of Tell You, the full studio version of which appears on the Octagon album.

Most of the songs on Octagon, as well as several that didn't make it, were recorded in a pretty rough demo format for the producer, Nigel Stonier, to have a listen to. From there we decided which songs were going to make it into the studio and any changes we would make. They were recorded straight into GarageBand on a MacBook and often just as a rough single take.

Tell You is quite a haunting song, implying a bad secret but "without ever revealing". The demo version is essentially plucked chords (Am and Dm) with vocals and an improvised lead guitar part. Although the album version is also quite stripped down, it is mainly lead by a bass guitar riff, vocals and percussion. The lead guitar part has stayed pretty much unchanged.

While a few of the songs from Octagon had been written for some time before recording, Tell You was written pretty well into the planning stages of the album, around September 2007, and as such was not as well known by me both in the demo and final recording stages which I think is actually an advantage for this song.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Wouldn't It Be Good

This week's song of the week is a cover of the Nik Kershaw song 'Wouldn't It Be Good' which I recorded sometime around 1995 with the group Substance. It's not massively representative of my current style and I was around 17 when it was recorded so vocally I sound quite different now. We recorded four songs together, the other three being original songs. Maybe they'll see the light of day at some point!

Apologies for two dance songs in a row - not that there's anything particularly wrong with either, but I'm really trying to aim for variety! I was intending to upload an alternative version of a song from the Still Life sessions but it seems I've mislaid both the masters and my minidisc backups of all those songs... I'm sure they're about somewhere but it looks as though they'll now have to make an appearance later on in the year.

My plan for the free download podcast is to have several songs ready to go, ideally around 5 to 10. We're on week three and without the Still Life disks I'm starting to run a bit short so I can see I'm going to be doing a lot of searching and recording for the next couple of weeks! I've been working on a few demo style recordings of songs which didn't make it into the studio sessions for one reason or another, as well as some new songs. If there's anything you'd like to hear, leave a comment on the blog or email and I'll see what I can do :-)

We had another band rehearsal last night with everybody there. It's the first time this year we've all played together (although to be fair, it's still only the first fortnight...) so we went over all the (non Christmas) songs we've been working on as well as doing some more work on Dan's song, Just Let Go. Hopefully we'll be able to post up some live dates very soon.

We also had Simon Newbury with us to take some photos and video of the rehearsal and the band all together. I'll be putting these online as soon as they're edited.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Greenpeace Airplot

You may have seen this in the media already but in brief: Greenpeace, along with Alastair McGowan, Emma Thompson and Zac Goldsmith, have bought a plot of land on the proposed site of the Heathrow Airport expansion. They're calling it Airplot and ou can find out more information on their site at as well as signing up for updates.

I think the money would be much better spent on improving the rail network in the UK, particularly opening high speed rail lines which would prove a real alternative to flying. I try to avoid flying if possible, and certainly to destinations in Europe it is easy enough to do, if not yet as cheap or fast as by air. I performed a show in Hamburg last year and travelled by rail. It wasn't particularly cheap, particularly when compared with the low cost airlines, and took pretty much a whole day to get there but it meant I was able to see more of the countries along the way, including having a good look around Brussels, and also experience a sleeper train (a great way to travel) and meet some interesting people on the journey.

I struggled to find a website showing the actual savings in carbon emissions (any suggestions of sites welcomed!) but my very rough calculations show that the emissions are likely to be less by rail and are also much closer to the ground so less likely to be emitting gases into the thinner atmosphere. If more people choose to go by rail than air, all the benefits will be increased as there would be less flights happening.

I'm not sure if I've blogged it before, but the way I got to Hamburg was:

Virgin Pendolino from Crewe-Euston
Walk from Euston - St Pancras
Eurostar from St Pancras - Brussels
City Night Line sleeper train from Brussels - Hamburg (originating in Paris)

and the return was similar in reverse, although I ended up coming back through the UK via an alternative route (via Reading or Wales I think) as it was a bank holiday and there was engineering work on the West Coast Main Line.

I got the information about the journey from, a great website for information about travelling by rail. I've just checked their site to confirm the route I took and it seems that from 14 December last year (ironically the date that rail timetables in the UK seemed to get easier) the Brussels - Hamburg sleeper service was discontinued. There's more information about this (and places to complain to!) at

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Monday, 12 January 2009

Band rehearsal 7/1/09

The first band rehearsal of the year happened last Wednesday. Carl couldn't make it so Steve, Dan and myself went over the post-Christmas set list (which was surprisingly lengthy considering how many Christmas songs we seemed to have been rehearsing!) and also started working on one of Dan's songs called 'Just Let Go'. We've come up with two versions of it, one quite chilled out and the other more full on. We'll be working on it again at the next rehearsal on 14th January with the whole band and we'll maybe record a bit of it then to upload.

Check out the photos from the rehearsal, available on Flickr at

Download of the week podcast

Dayve Dean download of the week

I've started a new weekly(ish) podcast, making available a free song to download each week during 2009. I'll be updating the blog as new songs become available. The songs will include things such as alternative mixes, live and studio recordings, demos and similar. The download will generally be audio with occasional videos.

The first two songs are available now and they are:

Starting Line (edit) - an edited version of the song taken from the Octagon album.

Innocent (remix) - a dance version of Innocent, the original of which is on the Still Life album.

Updates will be displayed on the download page at and announced in the blog and on Twitter and Brightkite. You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


The band!

Since I got back from performing at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe I've been putting together a band and although I've made mention of them in the blog and they've been appearing on photos and videos, I don't think I've properly introduced them:

Dan Logan

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I met Dan while recording at Orchard Studios and he engineered the tracks recorded there - Another Christmas, Christmas Ghost, River and Waters. As well as working at Orchard, he has a show on Focal Radio and you can find him on MySpace at

Dan mainly focuses on drums and percussion but also does a bit of guitar, mandolin and banjo.

Steve Welch

Steve plays lead and rhythm guitar, bass (reluctantly!) and glockenspiel - sometimes more than one at once! Find him on MySpace at

Carl 'Chill' Hill

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Carl's on lead and rhythm guitar, bass, occasional percussion, but not on MySpace... yet!

They're all able to contribute to the blog so you might be hearing from them here soon.