News | May 24, 2012

Dband Disbanding

The ever-present difficulties of conflicting priorities and calendars and holding together a stable line-up has meant that Dband has disbanded. There may be some ad-hoc projects involving alumni at some point in the future but for now I’ll be concentrating my attentions on Fusion Orchestra 2, Broken Parachute and my solo noodlings.

Gear | April 19, 2012

Prophet ’08 PE Review

Note: this review is not written from the usual perspective of examining an instrument and comparing knowledgeably it with its peers in the market, it is written more as a personal journey from a very specific viewpoint. If you’re after the former, the review in Sound on Sound is an excellent place to start.


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Releases | April 13, 2012

Dband: Liar In Disguise

The result of my first recording session with Dband is now available. Liar In Disguise is actually something that we wrote on the first day I met up with the band in January. When I turned up James and Luke were warming up around chorused fingerstyle guitar riff and once I’d set up we jammed over it for a bit. I wondered whether it would work to stick a minor third key change in for a chorus, so we tried that and we also added a moody instrumental break in the middle to give the Hammond — new to Dband’s sound — a little chance to breathe. By the end of the session it felt like we had pretty finished the structure of the song.

Luke tweaked the lyrics over the coming months as we hunted for a rhythm section and I added a backing vocal emphasis to the chorus. Shemeck’s arrival on bass gave the middle section a new twist to the rhythm, and when the time came to book a recording studio this was first on our hit list.


Gear | April 4, 2012

The Grand Synthesizer Research Project

I often refer to myself as a Keyboard Player. It’s a convenient shorthand, but closer to the truth would be to say that really, I’m a Hammond organ player and a pianist. I occasionally dabble in other sounds but even then I’m more drawn to electromechanical keyboards (and their emulations) such as the Clavinet, or Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos.


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Ramblings | March 19, 2012

Discovering the Mellotron

The Mellotron. The great grand relative of the modern sampler. The backbone of progressive rock keyboard playing. The bane of roadies and keyboard technicians everywhere.


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News | January 29, 2012

Joining Dband on Keyboards

Things are still reasonably busy with FO2, Broken Parachute and I’ve been doing more solo work again lately, but I’ve never been a believe in the whole Too Much On My Plate mentality. Recently Dband came looking for a keyboard to broaden their sound. One quick listen to their previous material and one jam later and it seemed that I needed to make room for band in my life 🙂

Ramblings | August 15, 2010

Solo Collaborations

Over the past couple of days I’ve finished off a couple more tracks in the studio. The first is another solo B.O.M.B. song and the second is collaborative work on the Broken Parachute project.

Doing both tracks in close proximity was quite an eye opener. For BOMB, I do everything and I control everything. For Broken Parachute I’m more of a hired hand (and set of lungs). Such a different set up, such a different role in each case, and yet actually the process for the two pieces felt very similar.

I had expected to finish up and find myself thinking either, “I much prefer having full creative control,” or “I much prefer having someone else to share the creative work with,” but really they felt very similar. I was surprised. Of course, in both cases it was still me working on my own a studio so maybe the difference comes when someone else is acting as engineer and I’m just a musician, or when I’m recording live with other musicians. Or perhaps the studio will always feel like this and there’s never really a time when studio work approaches the level of interaction you get when jamming.

Ramblings | May 23, 2010

Back in the Studio

Today was the first time I’ve been in the studio for a while. I had a request from a friend for some keyboard and vocal parts on something he’s recording. I said I’d do the keyboard parts but as I’ve been unable to sing for a while now after a nasty throat infection the vocals were out of the question.

Well… I got the keyboard parts down and found myself humming along. Well… it’s just a fairly straight funk-blues sort of thing. Surely it couldn’t hurt to give it a go? So inevitably I had a quick stab at the vocals too. The first attempt was cautious as I felt my way around, anticipating problems. Then I told myself I’d give it one shot at full tilt and see how it went.

I swear that the worst thing you can do as a singer is believe people when they tell you you’re not going to be able to sing. I’m not saying that if you’ve been warned that you shouldn’t sing for medical reasons you should ignore the advice — that would be stupid. But if you’re simply told “you’re going to find it difficult for a bit” and you believe it then you’ll hold back and you’ll sabotage yourself. As Yoda once should have said, “Sing, or sing not. There is no try.”

I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoyed this…

Ramblings | May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio

I could never really pick an all-time favourite singer. One week it might be Freddie Mercury, another it might be Ian Gillan. But no matter what, if you’d asked me for my top three singers at any time, Dio was a permanent fixture in that list, and often at the top.