I was born in March 1970, (another arty/dreamy Piscean), on a working farm in the UK.
Star Wars, Charlie''s Angels, Abba, BMX, skate-boards, air-rifles, the great outdoors, camping out, and dens in hay bales rocked my early years.
Boarding schools gave my wild nature a taste for academia and there I picked up a ''Renaissance education'', developing a flair for music and the arts. Hugged my first guitar aged 14, (after quitting 5 years of classical violin training), and have taught myself from then on in.
A year-out took me to the U.S. where I worked as an art teacher in the Catskills, New York State. Travelling afterwards with a thumb and six-strings took me to many Rainbow gatherings, a Woodstock anniversary, a bohemian/beatnik warehouse in Chicago, and a long camper-van voyage, culminating in a trip to New Mexico, whose landscape, jaw-dropping beauty and cultural heritage blew my mind.
Returned to the UK to complete a University degree in Fine Art at Newcastle upon Tyne. Spent most of my time there rehearsing and gigging with a hybrid hip-hop/jazz/funk band called A Cup of Sunshine. My job was providing sexy electric wah guitar work. We played many gigs in and around the Northeast of England to audiences of up to three thousand people.
Life since graduation, (fifteen years ago), has seen a lot of international travel, a lot of art, (am primarily a painter), a lot of wild landscapes explored, a lot of books read, and a lot of guitars played.
Am currently holed up down the bottom end of Cornwall in an old converted chapel, (very Iain Banks'' Espedair Street!), with an Apple iMac, two mics, some guitars, some paintbrushes, and a yoga mat for company. I''m big into nature, grow my own vegetables in an allotment by the sea, and enjoy my time, space and creative freedom. I have some small gigs every once in a while and sell artwork when I can.
About Something Turning:
The title is an exercise in how accurately and simply I could describe the contents.
It was recorded in the pastorally located Propagation House Studios in North Cornwall in 2001, nearby my parents'' farm, enabled by the gifted sound engineer Mark Ellis (currently doing the on-tour sound with Dartmoor folk musician Seth Lakeman), and featuring the opportunely available rhythmical genius of John Bluett on drums, an outstandingly talented and infectiously enthusiastic all-round musician and general ''good egg''.
It represents my first time in a professional studio.
I had recorded the songs previously on a digital eight-track and came to the studio to work them into something resembling a professional commercial album. They had arisen from the previous two years spent living and working as a visual artist in Cornwall and in London, (Pimlico and Hampstead), and my musical heroes of the time were Oasis, U2, Jeff Buckley and Hendrix (amongst others).
I was somewhat in awe of all the Apple computers, the Mackie desk and the extensive array of outboard equipment, approaching the whole experience a bit like a child might upon entering a helicopter cockpit for the first time, looking at all the lights and dials and going ''Wow, what does this do?'' As a result the production is creatively quirky. I had fun, playing with Leslie speakers in the nearby Airfield studios, (the home of the now disbanded Cornish funksters Rootjoose), with manipulating the sounds of crickets and thunder, with morphing the sound of frogs into an odd repetative drone, with using handfuls of leaves brushed together to form rhythm tracks, with recording some of the guitars out in the garden in the sun, and with urging Mark the engineer ever onwards to explore new sonic territory.
It represents a focus for a bunch of ideas of the time, for a lot of learning about the bare bones of recording music on my part, for a discovery that roll-ups and singing don''t mix (!), for a lot of big dreams and frustrated realities, (a definite flash of anger against my perceived claustrophobia amongst the stuffiness of prevailing old-school traditions), for a lot of clear Cornish air, big trees, fields and unpolluted sparkly night skies, for a discovery that fancy gimmicks don''t make for good songs, and for the realisation of some of my unfulfilled adolescent ambitions to become a rock star! (I was even seen in cowboy boots and leather trousers at one time)!
For a first album it''s not bad! I was very happy with it at the time of completion, enjoying the process from beginning to end hugely, and went on to press 500 copies, some of which I gave away, some of which I sold, and some of which I have recently recycled after sitting here for seven years in my garage. Despite the fact that many people now prefer my current more intimate, more acoustic approach, I am very fond of the album still and proud of the achievement. There''s some classic moments on it. (And that''s not just my own personal opinion!) There''s touches of folk, touches of rock, touches of wide-screen cinema soundtrack, touches of sci-fi, some humour, some seriousness, some angst, and some tenderness. It will remain with me like a tattoo for the rest of my days, and I''m happy that the event took place. May you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed the process of gestating, nurturing, nourishing creating and birthing it!
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