Artist Page

As the album is nearing completion and everything is starting to take shape, I have created an artist page on Facebook so people have a direct link to my music rather than going to my personal Facebook page and trying to find it amongst everything else.  I have created it now so I have time to get some people interested.  Over the next couple of weeks I will share updates such as artwork, track listing and conceptual themes.  Hopefully by doing this, when the album is released more people will take notice and after uni finishes this page will still be the main point of contact for my music.

https://www.facebook.com/benhughesuk?fref=nf

Perpetual Valley – Track List

I can now reveal that the title of my album will be Perpetual Valley.  The songs are in the final mixing stage now and it looks like after one more session it will be done and ready for mastering.  The name for the album came from the theme that runs through the album.  This theme involves travel, experience, continuation and journey.  Below is the track list (the order of which MAY change, but is unlikely now).  At a later date I will explain the concept in more detail.

1. Samsara

2. Candlewax

3. Dragons of Eden

4. Introvert Dream

5. 33

6. Sungazer

7. Silver Meadows

8. The Flowing River

9. Tool Equipped Savanna Dweller

Live update – promotion team, synths and finally, a band name!

Firstly, I will talk about my new role as part of the promotion team.  Everyone joined a team that would contribute to the show including sound crew, stage crew, light crew, visuals crew and promotion team.  Being part of the promotion team means I will take part in deciding a name for the show, organising an after party, promoting the show via social media and designing posters.  I am sure there will be more to do on top of this but these are the main things to focus on for my team and it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Secondly, after months of wondering, we have finally settled on a band name – ‘Dog in Space‘. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been writing new songs and experimenting with new techniques.  We had somebody else come in to add some subtle synth layers to our music, which filled out the empty areas in the songs.  The idea to include synth really came from Billy (guitarist) who is largely interested in electronic music and it’s production.  His vision of the band was a mix of guitar music and electronica.  As I mentioned before in a previous post, examples of his influences include Bonobo and Tame Impala, who both utilise this mix of guitar music and electronic music.  This extra layer gave us more room to improvise and experiment as musicians individually whilst still contributing to the band dynamics so we all agreed that it was a good idea.

We have also been working on three new songs, all of which are stylistically different but still fit into our sound world.  These songs should be finished in the next couple of weeks.  So, for now, the aim is to finish these songs and then think about gigging to prepare ourselves for the live show in May.

Mixing

Mixing for the album is well under way!  The mixes I had before were sounding a bit muddy and unclear so they have been tidied up whilst still maintaining the sound I was going for.  Waves plugins have helped with that ‘cleaning everything up’ process.

I have been debating removing the acoustic track I recorded because I am unsure if it fits in with the sound of the album.  However, I have been toying with idea of recording an acoustic album so it wont go to waste in the long run.  This means there is now 8 songs on this album.  6 of those have been mixed other than the vocals.  The other 2 will be completed soon.

Album update and teaser

All of the songs for the album are now recorded.  At this point I need to listen to the songs on as many different speaker systems as possible to get a real idea of how it sounds and I may find after doing this that a few additional things need to be recorded eg. using the voice as an instrument to create contextual layers.

However, I am at a good point now because I have plenty of time to mix and master the album before devoting my time to the other half of the project which is releasing the album with artwork and videos.  Click play below to hear a taster of the album…

Update!

I have been busy with all of the projects over Christmas, particularly the dissertation which is now almost complete.  That will be uploaded soon so keep an eye out if you want to read about the impacts the digital revolution have left us with today, including discussions about the value of physical music and live music as well as the separation of control.

In Production, the album is coming along nicely now.  Drums, bass and guitar are all done and partially mixed.  All that is left to do is vocals and final mixing before I enter the mastering and release stage.  That will be available as soon as possible.

New material and influence crossovers

This is a short video of a new idea we are currently working on. There hasn’t been much development with this piece yet but we have spoke about possible directions to take it in.

This video shows two new songs we put together.  The first one remains untitled and the second one is called ‘Hideaway’.  With the first piece of material coming from this project being an 8 minute progressive jam, we wanted to write a couple of shorter, more accessible songs.

I think what is interesting now is that each of us are becoming interested in each others separate influences and styles.  Where as at the beginning we all brought these styles that were somewhat unfamiliar territory to the other two, we are now becoming more fascinated in the possibilities of putting all of these styles together.  For example, the echoed vocals and delayed guitars certainly cross over with my style of music and the somewhat unusual and precise drum patterns that Rhys brings cross over with Billy’s electronic influences.  To further our individual understandings of each others music taste even more, we all have to listen to each others music and understand how and why it is put together.

This project is developing nicely now and the current aim is to tighten up these songs we have and continue writing.  After that, we plan to record some of our material properly and think about gigging.

Second practice, first performance and influences

Here are the pieces of music we have been developing in practice before our first performance.

Here is the current state of this project. We developed three separate pieces and later realised all three of them could sit together quite nicely.  So, we gave it a go. The result is this (roughly) 8 minute piece which although not perfect, captures everything this project will be about. The only other thing that may be added is vocals although the style and content of these is still undecided.

We are beginning to bring all of our separate influences together to create our own sound now.  Billy (guitarist/vocalist) brings in his influences from electronic music and post-rock/indie.  Artists that influence him include Tame Impala, Bonobo and the Stone Roses.  Rhys (drums) brings a tight, precise drumming style that has come from years of learning jazz techniques as well as playing heavy metal music in bands.  Artists that influence him include InMe, Killswitch Engage and SikTh.  I am influenced by desert rock and heavy psychedelic rock.  I hope to bring a certain groove through my bass lines that compliments the other two styles that are brought by Billy and Rhys.  Artists that influence me include Yawning Man, Kyuss and Earthless.  When we first started jamming, I got strong Yawning Man vibes through the atmospheric, instrumental jamming which is why I knew all of our opposing influences could work together if we crafted them right.

This is still in a very early development stage so the direction it will expand in is unknown at the moment but we aim to keep this sort of sound.  One idea was to have short up tempo songs separated by longer spacey songs.  The short songs would be the more defined vocal based songs whereas the spacey songs would be more improvised and jam styled.

New Project

It seems as though the dual drumming project may have run it’s course but it was a good experiment to be part of.  It taught me a lot about how to feed off another person’s energy whilst playing music and that listening is just as important as playing when performing.  A dual drumming project was something I always wanted to try so I am happy that I got to try it out even though it wouldn’t continue throughout the year.

Whilst doing this project, I have also been developing another one with two other guys from the course.  This grew from the first task of the module where we realised the sound we created could be taken further.  It is currently a nameless band with nameless songs, but it is beginning to develop nicely now in terms of content. Although a lot of our music taste differs, we have tapped into a certain sound here and it seems to be working.

So, here are two very rough ideas that came from the first proper jam together.  The videos cut out, we are sloppy and the songs are incomplete but this footage is simply to give an idea of the sort of sounds we are making.

New footage will be coming soon so keep an eye out!