Category Archives: Uncategorized

Accidental New Video

This was a bit of an escalation of an idea. Wooden peg changer extraordinaire Claire Cressey made me some mini False Alarms with whom I immediately fell in love. Before taking a photo of us all, I felt Robin needed an ‘actual’ drum kit so I built one using some Fablon, toilet rolls, cocktail sticks and silver foil. I added some cymbals and a hi-hat, made of course from Ferrero Rocher wrappers.

Then I started to feel sorry for everyone else, so I made a bass rig for Tom and a guitar rig for Brad, and John was given a keyboard (I tried making a cornet but after several failed attempts I gave up). Brad, Tom and Ben were given pedal boards, Robin’s carpet was slipped under his kit, and guitar stand, towel and setlists were slung into position. All ready for the photo.

Then I thought it would be fun if they were actually on a stage of some sort so I made one out of a cardboard box and some old shelving. I then made a backdrop using a glittery shirt I had bought from a charity shop for our dear friend Liz Dando’s glitter party, shortly before she sadly passed away. I thought she’d be well up for being remembered in what I thought was going to be a fun band photo.

I then thought you can’t have a stage without mic stands, stage box, monitors and speakers so I made some using quadrant moulding, cocktail sticks, balsa wood, beads and various threads. The speaker fronts are sandpaper (60 grade FYI). So, all ready for the photo.

Then I thought I’d need some kind of lighting rig if I want it to look more realistic. So I set about building one using dowelling, more silver foil and TV aerial connectors. This was by far the most difficult and fiddly bit, and it took a couple of days, but I was happy that I was finally ready for the photo.

But then I thought, seeing as it had taken me so long to build the set, that it would be fun to actually try to make some kind of music video. So, with no real idea of how I was going to do it, I decided on Es Tut Mir Leid and asked Claire to make me a few more characters. She got to work and sent me the security guards, the card bearers, and the front row cast of mainly regular gig-goers.

I then ordered another 60 wooden pegs and spent the next few days painting audience members with a little help from my son Silas. Crowd barrier had to go in of course and I added a few beer bottles made from electrical connectors. They’re supposed to be Heineken but to be honest we can only usually afford Perlenbacher.

In the meantime, John Leonard, when he wasn’t busy with his main band Ferocious Dog, started to join us for gigs. I’d already built the mic stands and monitors and there’s no way I was making another, so, again with Claire’s help, he joined us on stage but without a mic. At a recent gig I’d noticed he’d always find his way onto someone else’s mic, so I was sure he wouldn’t mind. Even though the banjo is incredibly low in the mix on this track – some would argue ‘non-existent’ – I thought I’d let him join in.

Still with no idea of what I was going to do I bought some LED strip lights and in the style of an 80’s school disco made the stage flash just a little bit too much.

The only thing I could think of was to try my hand at stop motion animation, so I watched a few tutorials – practised with a little tale about my earplugs wandering off to see Benny while in bed with him at Roystonbury – and then blacked out the dining room and set to work for two weeks.

Moving each figure and each ‘cymbal’ a millimetre at a time I started the quite tremendous task of making us all move around. When I was roughly happy with the ‘movie’ I started the equally tremendous task of adding mouths to everyone and getting them chirping along, roughly in time.

Over 10,000 images later with aching arms and tired eyes, and England out of the World Cup, I felt I was pretty much there. A few finishing touches involved adding a smoke machine (obvs), some more lighting, a bit of feedback from Brad for the beginning, and an actual audience for the end. The latter was recorded at Middlezoy Arts Festival last night (14/07/18), thanks for clapping longer than you normally might.

As I type, the finished video is uploading and I’m feeling a little empty inside because I have just demolished the set (lighting rig being most painful), thrown most of it away and put the dining room back to normal. It’s been a big part of my life for the last couple of months and it not existing any more feels very strange.

So there you have it. An idea to take a simple band photo ended up being a mammoth work-it-out-as-you-go-along task making a music video.

I lost my mum, also a ‘Liz’ two months ago and she knew I was planning to one day do a music video for this song, which was one of her favourites. So, although I am quietly pleased with the final outcome, there’s more than a tinge of sadness that neither Liz ever got to see it.

Thanks for watching

 

Claire’s peg painting can be found HERE

Guess I’ll Never Know

Hi All, I hope you are all well, and that you had beautiful summers filled with beautiful festivals and beautiful people. I know I did.

I am very pleased with my new video for most people’s favourite song from the new album Besta Venya. It was created by the exquisite human that is Rich Kingston at Young Rascal  and is sung so beautifully by the delightful Saoirse Casey.

Impromptu Duoing – yep, definitely a word.

One of the best things about touring is stumbling across other musicians/singers and having the occasional jam together. On my recent tour with Chris Webb however, it was a little different.

A few weeks ago Emily Larkin put her history books down and came to a gig in Cafe Filou (one of my favourite places to play) in Steinhude, near Hannover.  She had never been confident enough to sing on a stage before – apart from the odd school concert. We talked a bit about music we liked and she agreed to sing a song or two with me. She hadn’t even finished her first line when I realised I had to have her singing on my next album. Not willing to wait until I had a new album ready, I invited her to a video session in Duisburg with the lovely Alex Schroer a couple of days later.

Here are the fruits of that session. It’s a cover of The Weakerthans’ My Favourite Chords.

Oh don’t worry, she’ll still be on the album.

Emily, Chris and I will be playing at Salt Cafe in Bristol together on Friday 8th September.

Besta Venya – Out Now

Hey. Hi. Missed you!

Seriously. Anyway. So I finally made a record. Wrote the songs, recorded the songs, got them mastered and sorted the artwork – with help from me dad.

It’s out. It’s scary. I’m pleased with it.

It’s late and I’m tired because I’ve been editing a video for like EVER. You can watch it over there to the right. It’s a video for my second ever single release (the first was in 1992) and is for the song Down With The Yoof.

If you would like to buy the album it is currently only available on CD (again on the right there) and will be available from your favourite digital outlet from Monday 1st May.

Course, all this ‘right’ gubbins won’t be the case if you’re reading this on your phone but I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere.

Right. Definitely bedtime. Cheers for all your support x

New Album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi All, So I finally got round to finishing my album. Twelve more songs – or at least pieces of music – for your pretty ears. It will be available here from Monday 3rd April and you can pre-order (and pay) by clicking HERE. It will be available digitally on all platforms from Monday 1st May.  I’ll also have a few copies at gigs from 10th (ish) March onwards, so feel free to get one from me then.

Track listing is as follows…

Make Yourself At Home
Down With The Yoof
Guess I’ll Never Know
Es Tut Mir Leid
An Open Letter To My Human
Half A Song For Suzy
Ode To Marburg
A Simple Song
Departures
More Like This
Not Fooling Me
The Other Half

New Record

Hi All, (If anyone ever reads this)

Hope all is wonderful. I have had a very busy summer of festivals and it’s all been rather lovely. I realised however that it’s been a couple years since I made a record so I thought I’d conjure something new up. I’m currently in Spacewolf Studio in Wells, Somerset and hope to have finished something by Christmas.

I’ll probably start annoying you all about it soon.

Cheers Nick x

Trees. Loads of ’em.

Just back from my first visit to 2000Trees. What a glorious festival. So well run and such a friendly vibe throughout, even in the cuddly-fighty-pits. I had the great pleasure of joining Ben Marwood, with my mandolin, for a couple of songs at the end of his Axiom set.

For ‘Singalong’ Barry Dolan AKA Oxygen Thief/Non-Canon joined in on vocals and impeccable kazoo solo, and for ‘District Sleeps’ Frank Turner got up to sing much to the crowd’s delight. Ben had been unable to play for the last couple of years due to ill health so it was so good to see him back and at his very best. Not that he had to sing much of course, as every beautiful human in the tent knew every single word which they shouted out in his general direction.

So up for it next year!

Here’s a clip of District

x

Apologies… (again)

Hi, Firstly apologies for being really rubbish at posting on here. I have been rather busy if it helps.

Since my last post I’ve toured Germany and Holland three times and made many new lovely friends at festivals and gigs around the UK. I’ve also been busy writing and I reckon I’m only one or two songs off a new album. Most of the summer will be spent doing festivals with the band but I have a few solo shows too. Really looking forward to my first 2000Trees appearances this week. They’re only fringe gigs but I’ve heard so many good things about the festival so I’m grateful to be involved.

My next trip to Germany is in September when I’ll be doing a few gigs with Lonely Tourist. He’s really very good.

Hope to see you on the road soon

Gigs of course can be found on the ‘Gigs’ page.

Cheers Nick x

Home again…

Hi. Just home from a glorious tour with Gaz Brookfield and Ben Wain. It was so much fun and I had the pleasure of making so many new friends. We have about 7 weeks off and then we hit the road together again, this time overseas. During the last tour I sold many of the new T-shirts which have this design on them

TREE_NPFA_image

I have some left so I’ve added them to the online shop over there —->

In other news I’m delighted to say that I’ve started work on a new album which will hopefully be available by the end of the year.

See you soon

Cheers Nick x

 

Happy New Year

Hi all, Sorry for the delay in updating. Hope you had wonderful Christmasses and delightful New Years. I have been busy touring and discovering new countries (they had already been discovered but I’d not been before). One was Sweden where a drummer Marcus Carter, from one of my teenage influences ‘Newcranes’ organised a few gigs for me. Sweden was very ace and I can’t wait to return there someday soon.

The other place I finally got to play was Dublin. Been there twice since my last post and it was all I hoped it would be. Got to meet so many lovely and inspirational people. Again looking forward to going back there again soon.

The first part of this year I’ll be mainly touring with Gaz Brookfield and Ben Wain. We will be doing the UK in Feb and Germany in April as we did last year. It would be lovely to see some of you at one or two of the shows (which are on the ‘Gigs’ page).

There are also a few more songs currently being created so there may well be another record coming out by the end of the year.

Cheers Nick x