Tag Archives: Acid Jazz

Get Ready!

In the spring of 2012, during some down time from touring “Sonik
Kicks” with Paul Weller, I began knocking together some ideas for some
new material. My parents had gone away for a fortnight so their empty
house became a base for some noisy music making.

As usual, I was joined by Pete Twyman. Between us we had a selection
of things to bang, pluck, press and scrape, and it wasn’t long before
some interesting ideas had begun to take shape.

It so happened that Pimlico’s singer, Wesley Doyle, also had a bit of
time free around then. Once the ideas Pete and I had recorded had been
hammered into some kind of shape, Wesley made the journey up from
south London to help turn them into songs.

It wasn’t long before there were almost enough tunes to think about an
album. As we were three quarters of Pimlico, the idea was mooted that
it could become a Pimlico project. I felt that a Pimlico album ought
to have the full line-up (Miles Chapman on drums), and also Pete
Twyman’s songs had traditionally formed the backbone of Pimlico’s
releases. Also, “The Best Of Days” had been released the previous year
as Andy Lewis & Wesley Doyle. This had been a song destined for “A
South Herts Symphony” but had ended up a standalone single. It had
failed to generate much interest but was already pressed up in
quantity and thus ripe for re-releasing to trail a album by Andy
Lewis, Wesley Doyle and Pete Twyman.

A tentative track listing was compiled, and a demo CD was produced to
play to interested parties. The general consensus was that with a bit
of a lick and a polish, this could be a pretty good album.

At this point, the fates conspired against the whole project in the
shape of a catastrophic computer failure. All the multi-track master
recordings were lost, and annoyingly the backup drive had become
corrupted. Hardly any of the project had survived in useable form,
apart from the versions of the songs on the demo CD.

It was deemed too expensive to pay to have the dead hard-drive mined
for it’s data. Licking and polishing were no longer an option. So for
the second time in almost as many years I had to abandon a project
that a good deal of work had been expended on.

It hadn’t been a total waste of time though. A number of songs had
been written which had the potential to be taken on to bigger and
better things. And a lot of fun had been had, blundering about with
junkshop drums and borrowed keyboards; sitting on plastic chairs in
the garden, drinking cider in the spring sunshine scribbling lyrics.
As it turned out, this would almost be the final time that I’d be able
to record in my parents’ house; on their return from their trip my
father announced that he was retiring and that he and my mum were
going to move to Nottinghamshire to be nearer my sister. Living Room
Studios in Watford would be no more.

It’s now almost two years since those sessions, since that computer
threw a seven, since my folks upped sticks and moved. A few weeks ago,
Wesley announced he’d found a copy of the demo CD we’d made and had a
listen. Some of the songs were better than he remembered. Pete too
uncovered a copy of the CD and he and I had a listen back. We had to
agree. They weren’t bad at all.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been releasing material on
Bandcamp that won’t be available anywhere else for the forseeable
future. Some of you will have had a listen; some of you may also have
bought the downloads. Here then is another selection of songs for you
to sample. I give you “Get Ready!” by Lewis, Doyle & Twyman. I hope
you enjoy it.

May News

First of all, a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s had a listen to or downloaded my releases from Bandcamp. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about these collections of tunes. There will be more of them to follow throughout the year. Check out what I’ve done so far at http://andylewisuk.bandcamp.com/.

Secondly, there’s been a lot of love shown towards the remix I did of “Carry On” by Lisa Stansfield. It’s available on a limited-edition 7″ right now from Soul Brother, Soulstacks and a variety of other places on the Web. But hurry!

Thirdly, I’ll be DJing at The Boom Boom Room in Bideford, Devon on Saturday May 3rd. Info HERE . It’ll be something of a Locomotion reunion in the sense that I’ll be sharing DJing duties with Wendy May for the first time in ages. Also guesting will be Tom Crawford from those splendid scenes in Worthing that I’ve been lucky enough to take part in recently. On Sunday May 4th, I’ll be a guest DJ at the Stockholm Soul Party at Brixton’s Jamm club. Info from HERE and also HERE.

Fourthly, I’m sure you’re all by now aware that Paul Weller’s releasing “Modern Classics Volume 2” in a couple of months. What you might not have noticed is that if you pre-order the album from his website, you get put into a draw to win tickets to some very intimate London shows. You should investigate this link for further details. Also, if you haven’t seen it already, the video to “Brand New Toy” can be viewed in all it’s glory here. I’d no idea that you could have so much fun with a giant Toblerone made out of mirrors.

Finally for now, a bit more on the whole Britpop thing. I’m pretty sure that the journalists currently enjoying themselves finding ever more creative ways to express their displeasure at the events of twenty years ago are doing this less from the point of view of historical accuracy and more from the point of view of having had twenty years to get their stories straight. I broadly agree with them that our current troubled pop culture world is a desperate and benighted place. I can’t agree that it’s all the fault of people who chose The Bluetones over Orlando. The trouble with being a futurist is that sometimes the future arrives, and it’s not what you personally hoped for. Thus it was at the end of the Eighties. Lest we forget that some publications were excitedly anticipating a Nineties brimming with New Age mysticism. While not everything about what became known as Britpop was brilliant, it was at any rate better than that.

 

The “Bassetlaw” mini-album

Sometimes a change of scenery is the best inspiration. I never get tired of living in London, but there are occasions when you feel like you’ve seen and heard it all. All it takes to lose that cynical mindset is a short train journey up what I call the “Get Carter” line out of King’s Cross. Head north, past that amazing new windfarm near Arlesey;  through Peterborough and the RTV-31 on your left just before you reach the station; past RAF Alconbury’s Cold War ghosts, over the Trent at Newark to the old Powerhouse of England. Pasts, presents and futures blend into a different reality, all soundtracked by whatever is on my ipod at the time.

Since my parents moved from Watford to North Nottinghamshire in 2012, I’ve had more occasions than ever before to travel up that railway line. In the garden of the house they’ve moved into there’s a small outbuilding. A shed by any other name. They very generously allow me to store in it some of my belongings  that are too big for my home in London. This inevitably includes various pieces of recording equipment and musical instruments. There is a theorem about music making today that states “wherever a laptop and a kettle can be plugged in, there you can make records”. As this shed has both mains electricity and a cold water tap, it has everything necessary for use as a makeshift  studio. Last year I spent a very happy week exploring the quirks and qualities of shed-based recording, and found it was a very viable option. The songs I wrote and recorded there form part of the catalogue of material that’s going to be on an album by -well, I can’t say at the moment but it’s nearly ready and it’s sounding excellent.

A couple of weeks ago I had occasion to spend a few nights at my parents’ home, and spent some of the time fooling around in the shed. I had a lot of fun playing my junkshop drum kit and tinny cymbals, a battered Squier Stratocaster through an old practice amp, an ancient Yamaha organ, an Indonesian acoustic six-string, a lovely but fantastically heavy Waterstone bass guitar and a noisy miscellany of percussion.

Sharing shed space with my bits and bobs is a selection of my father’s redundant tape recording equipment from the days when he was one of the leading lights of the Watford & District Talking Newspaper. A collection of reel-to-reel machines by makers such as Uher, Vortexion, Revox and Ferrograph and a small but useful selection of quirky old microphones from Shure, Adastra, Beyer, Radio Shack and AKG form part of this treasure trove of audio-geek joy. There is also a pile of boxes containing unmarked and un-cared for reels of old tape. I spent an evening fortified with red wine coaxing some of this machinery back to life and exploring the boxes of tape reels, discovering that I still knew how to make tape loops and create echo effects the way my dad had shown me nearly 40 years ago.

With the change of scenery and surrounded by myriad sources of inspiration, songs seemed to write themselves- an unusual situation for me. Before I knew where I was I’d recorded a dozen new ideas. When I returned to London at the end of a most enjoyable few days, I had a listen to what I’d recorded and thought I’d polish up the most promising ideas into another Bandcamp release. So here it is, the “Bassetlaw” mini-album.

It’s the eve of Record Store Day. Up and down the land, physical format enthusiasts like myself are girding themselves for the now annual scramble to acquire the latest big-ticket Exclusive Record Store Day releases by their favourite artists. While I’m broadly in favour of Record Store Day (although can we please call it Record SHOP Day in the UK), I really don’t like the way that most of the “Exclusives” end up on eBay a couple of days later for vastly inflated prices that benefit neither the shop, the artist nor the label. At least with this Bandcamp release, there’s no danger of that happening!

What would be lovely is if the major labels who now seem to call all the RSD shots staggered their “Exclusive” release schedule throughout the year. Limited edition physical releases could then be made available every week or so to the few remaining independent record retailers. That way, every Saturday could potentially be Record Store (SHOP!) Day. You know, like it used to be.

A better brain than mine discusses this very subject at length in The Quietus.

To show your support for record shops, you should order what’s left of my physical stock from your nearest independent record retailer as a matter of course. If you don’t live near one, you can always order for delivery. Norman Records for example carries quite a lot of my stock. If all else fails, order direct from Acid Jazz or through their eBay shop.

In other record news Streetsoul will apparently be selling vinyl copies of my Lisa Stansfied remix from Tuesday.

Maybe see you at Paper Dress tomorrow night or at Chocolate in Watford on Easter Sunday for some Northern Soul.

Bassetlaw Cover Art smaller

 

 

Easter DJing / “A Brand New Toy”

On Saturday April 19th I’ll be back behind the decks at Paper Dress in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London. It’s going to be another night of live music with me providing a soundtrack of all things bright and beautiful before, between and after from around 8pm until it finishes. It’s free to get in.

On Easter Sunday, April 20th, I’m paying a visit to Watford to DJ at a Northern Soul night at Chocolate, opposite the pond in the High Street. This is the building that was The Oliver pub in the 70’s, then The Artichoke in the 80’s. It’s going to be a lot of fun trying to recreate the “South Herts Symphony” Sunday Club vibe. Expect some fabulous Northern Soul sounds; some you’ll know, some you might not, all will be on vinyl.

Some of you might be aware that Paul Weller has a new single out on Record Store Day. Apparently the a-side is already available to listen to and download on iTunes, as part of the package for his new album “More Modern Classics”. Investigate “A Brand New Toy”  here; you’ll be able to hear that we had a lot of fun recording this particular tune. More details on the limited Record Store Day vinyl release can be found here.

 

 

April News

Many thanks to everyone who came to The Smugglers Return in Worthing on Friday April 5th. A splendid time was had by all, and the experiment of streaming the event live on the Web was a great success with over 400 people listening in. I’m sure I’ll be back there again soon, along with the excellent Tom Crawford who along with his partner Heather were fabulously entertaining and accommodating hosts.

I’m next DJing in London on April 19th at Paper Dress in Curtain Road, Shoreditch, and on April 20th I’ll be in Watford DJing at a Northern Soul night at Chocolate on the High Street, opposite the great big hole in the ground that might once again be a pond by the time the event happens. 

On the subject of thanking people, I’m very grateful for the amount of positive feedback shown so far for my releases on Bandcamp. The “4-14-44” EP and “Songs For A South Herts Symphony” mini-LP have regularly featured in Bandcamp’s chart of best-selling pop releases. If you haven’t investigated these recordings, you can find them here . There’ll be more material exclusively on Bandcamp throughout the year.

Physical releases of my back catalogue are slipping out of stock fast. There are no plans at the moment to re-issue any of them so once they’re gone, they’re gone! You can find them on the Acid Jazz eBay store or direct from the Acid Jazz website . 

In other news, May, June and July see me back on the road with the Paul Weller band. I’m really looking forward to being reunited with Paul, the Steves, Crofty and Ben, and the shows promise to be excellent. For news of where we’ll be playing, follow @paulwellerHQ on Twitter, or check out www.paulweller.com .

Talking of Crofty and Ben, check out the latest release from The Moons… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBZK2q8AtUg 

Songs For A South Herts Symphony

I have released another collection of tunes on Bandcamp. Called “Songs For A South Herts Symphony”, it’s eight pieces of music that were destined for my third album for Acid Jazz, which was sidelined in 2011. 

The full story of the album and why it was shelved I’ll save for another day. For now, have a listen to the music and if you like it, tell your friends. If you really like it, you can buy a download which you can put in your iTunes playlist or burn to a CD and enjoy anytime, anywhere.

http://andylewisuk.bandcamp.com/

 

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Hangover Lounge, Madame JoJos, Last Chances, Red Inspectors…

A couple of DJ sets from me to tell you about. Sunday 26th May I’m back at The Hangover Lounge, the perfect place to deal with the afternoon after the night before. Mellow and interesting music from us DJs downstairs (and some intimate acoustic performances upstairs) at The Lexington, Pentonville Road, London. Info HERE

 

And Friday 31st May I’m back at The Good Foot for what promises to be a great night! Plenty of people have already said they’re coming, and there’s room for plenty more!

 

Acid Jazz records tell me that there are literally only a couple of copies of my first album Billion Pound Project left. If you haven’t already got one, now’s the last chance to own it in any physical format. You can buy it from the Acid Jazz Ebay Store, along with other bits & pieces of my back catalogue- and the great new album Soul Potential which features a track I wrote with Jess Roberts called Turn Your Head Around

 

There will be some more new material from me later this year. In the meantime, I’ve been working with The Red Inspectors on a follow up to the highly acclaimed Are We The Red Inspectors? Are We? As we were feeling our way towards material for the new record, we did what all bands do when they need to break the ice and kick start the creative process- we mucked about! Consequently, for your listening pleasure we offer you a couple of free downloads to enjoy at your leisure- available from here