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In my last post I mentioned that NewQuay Times would be recording in the next few weeks. Well ‘the next few weeks’ has more than happened, and over three days in the middle of February we managed to record, mix and master an EP with five songs on it called A Short Walk On A Long Pier. I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved as a band, with everyone stepping up to the plate to contribute to the production as a whole. For the initial two days we locked ourselves away in the studio and laid down the recordings. I’d prepared a drum track a for several songs but it transpired that we really needed to record the band as a whole (sans click track!) to get the feel we needed for most of the songs. Only Baby Blue is recorded to a click track, as the song’s more upbeat nature throughout lends itself to a well timed beat! I still dislike click tracks if I’m honest!

We recorded drums and bass together with Vince (guitar) and Sarah (vocals) providing a guide track from the control room. We initially had problems with nasty vibrations from Stu’s Peavy bass amplifier causing various un-musical noises to be picked up on the microphone. This led me to DI the bass in the end, and to be honest the superb tone available from the Fender is such that it really needs little modification on mix-down, apart from a little compression and EQ, along with some chorus on Moonlight Watcher to add to the ethereality of the song. Vince then added some guitar parts for all the songs. He used his trusty Hofner electric with P90 pickups through an Orange amp for most of the songs, for both clean and dirty parts.

Rainy Sunday is possibly the simplest production on the EP, consisting of drums, bass, guitar and a vocal and the aim was to produce a raw song here that was right there in the speakers with each instrument making itself heard on a similar level with little reverb. Baby Blue again is very simple with some additional guitars provided by Sarah on her Eastwood/Orange combination. Moonlight Watcher again had additional acoustic guitars parts to fill plus an undercurrent synth part throughout. To Want also has two acoustic guitar parts plus this time the Eastwood was paired with a Vox AC30 to double up on the Hofner. The vocals appear at the start of this song so we decided to add an intro in the form of a FM radio tuning effect and a guitar sounding like it’s coming out of the speaker of a transistor radio. Tomorrow is more straight ahead with distorted guitars provided by a double helping of Hofner/Orange and a serving of Eastwood/Vox once again. Sarah’s vocals are effected on this song with some multi echo and lots of feedback at the end, with the aim of recreating an almost chant like repeat of the end vocalisations.

For the final mix my aim was to achieve a good solid sound with lots of presence and detail from each instrument, especially Sarah’s vocals, whilst not falling into a ‘louder-the-better’ trap that plagues so many current chart releases. Hence the overall levels are more akin to something like the Pixies Doolittle album.

Artwork photography was supplied by Vince’s son, who took the cover photo whilst on a visit to the coast. I arranged it with text in a nice rounded typeface called Blippo.

CD case inlay artwork

A Short Walk On A Long Pier is now available to download from iTunes, Amazon, etc.

We’re currently in rehearsals and song writing but do have some gigs coming up and are looking for some radio airplay in the meantime.

NewQuay Times is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newquaytimes

That’s all for now folks.

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NewQuay adventures in music

February 7, 2012

Last year I was asked if I’d like to form a new band, contributing my drumming, song-writing and music production skills. I jumped at the chance having already seen and heard vocalist and guitarist, Sarah performing at the local theatre group. I’d been looking to get some female vocal performances for a few of my songs so this was a perfect chance to execute an ambition. With Sarah’s powerful and wide ranging voice I felt we already had a head start.

We are called NewQuay Times. Why? Because Sarah and her Dad, Vince (guitar) enjoyed visits to Newquay in Cornwall and I enjoy visits to New Quay in Ceredigion, Wales.

We already have one gig under our belt which went particularly smoothly considering our relative infancy. We’ve been rehearsing regularly now in preparation for recording a demo tape (for tape, read: CD or MP3!). NewQuay Times consists of drums, guitar, bass (Stu), and vocals and our influences range from Tom Petty and The Cranberries, through to Belly and Band of Horses. We have been combining covers with a lot of brand new material which, as mentioned, we shall be recording in the next few weeks.

So far the new music has been developing really well with plenty of creative input from all members. This balance of input is important for the band, in order that we all have a chance to make our mark on the team effort.

For me it’s been great to rework some of old songs that I wrote over ten years ago and adapt them to a new band situation. And yes, this does involve actually writing out the lyrics and chords properly for others to follow!

Our next gig is at the 12 Bar in Swindon on Saturday 25th February. We are one of 4 bands as part of the new 12 Bar Introducing Live event for unsigned artists. Watch this space for more NewQuay Times developments and/or follow us on Facebook or MySpace.

Cheers for now.

We actually had a proper practice on the 19th June (day after the Rolly gig). This gave us a long needed chance to try out some new tunes for the next set we play. We played together for 3-4 hours and then suddenly flagged due to the gig the night before, and the fact we didn’t see our beds until well into the early hours. However we recorded the bare bones of three new songs, one of which had the riff and lyrics (and bass line, I think!) contributed by yours truly. These mark a new direction for the band which sees us being slightly less ‘rock’ and more ‘delicate’, dare I say it. We might even have room for some keys at this rate! We are all taking a break from Sleepyhouse Corner activities until the end of September, which will see us working on individual music projects with the hope of bringing some of the resultant fruit harvest to the Sleepyhouse Corner cauldron. Photo to follow…along with some new tunes, we hope…

Once again we (dis)graced the stage at Swindon’s Rolleston Arms on 18th June for a two part set. for those of you into your footie you might recall this was the night England played Algeria. We setup the kit just in time for kick-off and I’d promised to bash my cymbals every time England scored: needless the say the cymbals remained silent… We went on at 9:30pmish to an understandably subdued crowd, their hopes dashed by the England teams woeful performance. We we tried to forget what had gone before and played our hearts out. Eventually the crowd loosened up somewhat and we thoroughly enjoyed both 45min sets. Half way through I ripped off the England flags I’d so lovingly applied to my drums in disgust at our national team. Pic below shows the kit beforehand. Quite possibly the world’s worst quality photo…

Another Thursday gig at Riffs Bar for us on the 20th May. We had a great time and sounded superb. Unfortunately the guy who was going to take photos of us didn’t turn up, so again no pro photos. However my biz partner Mark was there by way of his bike and he had camera. Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Sleepyhouse Corner played at The Victoria, Swindon on April 16th was part of a promoter showcase featuring two other bands from the locale. My own publicity was bad on this one (I admit) but paled against the promoters own complete lack of publicity drive. And to cap it all, a charge of £3 on the door. Not many are going to pay this to see ‘new’ bands. Still we had a great time playing, even though the sound reflections on the stage made it sound terrible! Next up Riffs Bar…

No pic with this one I’m afraid.