Jan 12, 2015

Life beyond Pigeons


Whilst ATP is now ended, I am still making music along with other creative outputs.

If you enjoyed ATP and like the music I have made I'd suggest heading over to www.notifwhen.co.uk where I will be keeping a blog about my next adventure.

Jan 5, 2015

It's time to spread my wings ... ATP:RIP

You are the music, while the music lasts - T.S.Eliot

I originally started Amongst the Pigeons as a joke back in 2004.  It was a name I created to chat on a music forum and soon after that I started making songs.  They were not very serious and looking back on it, most of them were rather awful (hence why you will never be able to download the first ever ATP EP) but in 2005 one of them was played on Radio One by Rob Da Bank.  After that I started thinking maybe I am actually onto something here.

I went away and spent a few years working on a load of different tracks which ended up becoming my first full length album; 'Music to brush your teeth to'.  The album was released in 2009 and got really good reviews. I was actually reading some of them the other day and had forgotten how well received it was.

Making that album was fun, 90% of it was made on trains, planes, in hotel rooms and in pub bedrooms.  I was lucky enough to record a track with Frank Turner just before he released his second album 'Love, Ire and Song'.  We recorded the vocals in a pub bedroom before one of his gigs.

I also managed to rope in some of my friends to add vocals, spoken word and instruments onto the album.

The following year I released a follow up EP called 'Repeat to fade' which had 6 new tracks on it and shortly after that I had a major back operation.  During the recovery from that I  made another new EP imaginatively titled 'Flat on me back'.

It was also around this time that I started to create the ATP:LIVE show and in the autumn of that year I started taking my sounds out on the road.

Throughout 2011 I split my time between doing live shows and working on the second album.  I finished mixing it just before Christmas that year and it was released in Spring 2012.

For this album I got to record with Chris T-T.  One Sunday morning he popped over to 'BeatShedStudio' and wrote and recorded the lyrics and vocals on a track called 'Empties' - It was brilliant to see him magic up words and melody and get everything recorded in a couple of hours.

'Get Amongst It' gained a lot of great reviews and really got ATP noticed, the singles from the album all picked up national airplay and I spent that summer doing a load of festivals and taking the live show to as many places as I could.

2013 was a bit more of a quiet year. I started the year with a new EP called 'Ornithophobia' which means 'fear of birds'. I kind of rushed the release of that EP which I now regret as it was largely overlooked by a lot of people.

I then spent the rest of the year working on a lot of new tracks with a view of them becoming the third album. I released a single in the summer and in the autumn of that year released a new track which had Ben Marwood on vocals.

I continued to do a few gigs here and there but by this time I was starting to get fed up of people thinking that all I did was press a button and nothing else.

The ATP:LIVE show was something I worked hard on, I spent a long time breaking down the tracks and working out how I could play them live.  I always wanted to expand the live show so there was more than just me on stage, but that never happened.  Instead the beats were triggered from a sampler, but I played all the other parts live.  I found that as an electronic act, people did not really know where to place me, I saw myself as being no different to a solo singer-songwriter with a guitar on stage, but no one else seemed to get that.

So - that brings me to last year; 2014.  At the start of the year I released a new record called 'Cocktail Party Syndrome', I really love the songs on this.  I think it's probably the best set of songs which define the sound of ATP.  Over the years I never really knew how to describe my music, it was electro, but different to a lot of other artists and I really believe it is quite unique.

This is something that I am really proud of, but a lot of people tended to (mind the pun) pigeon-hole my music and not give it a chance.  If you listen back to my records, they are all quite eclectic and varied, I would even go so far as to say some of them are just pure pop songs, albeit with some rather frantic and bizarre beats under the bonnet.

At the end of 2014 I released what will be my final ATP record.  An EP called 'Close my eyes'; a collection of songs I was working on alongside the 'CPS' record and I guess the two of them together would have been the makings of the third ATP album.

So in a nutshell that is the brief history of Amongst the Pigeons, it's been fun, I got to work with some great people, and I feel I have learnt a lot.

I released two full length albums and seven EPs, with a grand total of 65 tracks.  I managed to play at some incredible events like The Great Escape, Blissfields, The Secret Garden Party and Glastonbury.

The last 5 years in particular have been really busy and it now feels like the right time to move on from ATP to pastures new.  I may revisit ATP again in the future, it's impossible to say.  Bands are always 'splitting up' and reforming. I see this as an indefinite hiatus.

I have already started working on new music, I am going to take my time with it, I want to spend a little while 'finding myself' again, enjoying trying out new sounds and recording techniques, not having any boundaries and when it's ready - releasing it for everyone to hear.

I think it's safe to say there will be a slight ATP essence to what comes next, those who know me from years back will remember I used to be a singer-songwriter, doing gigs with an acoustic guitar.  In my head (at the moment) I see the next project as a combination of the two.

I have a name for my next musical venture but I am keeping that to myself for now and I doubt there will be any new music released until Summer 2016 at the earliest.

All that's left is for me to say a MASSIVE THANKS to anyone who came to a show, listened to my music, purchased a release or helped me along the way.

For one last time : Peace and Feathers xxx

Dec 10, 2014

Silent Pigeon & other festive tracks

I was asked to do a Christmas cover version for a compilation being put together by Addistock Records. I decided to rework the classic 'Slient Night'.

I'm pleased to say you can now hear it on the Addistock Bandcamp page.  I am really pleased with the result.  There are also 19 other amazing tracks on there from loads of great artists.

The album is free to download, so please do.

Nov 26, 2014

My ears are open...

I'm quite enjoying writing blog posts at the moment so here's another.

This year I have listened to more new music than the last 4-5 years put together and I have really enjoyed it.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • I now spend 4 hrs a day on a train and music is a good way to pass the time.
  • I decided to get a spotify premium account, as much as I would like to buy new music, I simply cannot afford it so a subscription service suits me well.
  • I have spent less time working on my own music.

The last point is probably the most important and I wanted to explain that in a bit more detail.

Over the last 5 years I have not had a break from working on Amongst the Pigeons tracks.  I'd be working on new ideas for a release, from initial creation to mixing and then promoting it, this is pretty much all I did.

This meant that a lot of the time I was listening to my tracks during the process.  I would spend hours, days, weeks and even months listening to nothing but ATP music.  I did not have time to hear new music and a lot of great acts passed me by.

This year I knew I would be spending a little less time on my own stuff and it's radically opened by ears to the wealth of music out there.  In turn this has made me want to experiment with my own music more and see where things end up.

For the first time in ages I will be able to join in the usual 'end of year / albums of .. ' lists that everyone else seems to make.  And you know what, I am really looking forward to it.

I'm sure at somepoint in the future I will become lost in listening to my own music again, but for now it will only happen when I am in the studio and outside of that, the world is my musical oyster.

Nov 24, 2014

Close my eyes EP - Now out

Hi Folks

The full 6 track 'Close my eyes EP' is now available to listen to and download.
Enjoy ....
  1. If I close my eyes I am worried I will fall asleep and not wake up again
  2. Today, we all grew a little bit wiser
  3. To Victoria - With Love
  4. Dig Digger
  5. The Camden Shuffle
  6. Tangled Headphones

Nov 14, 2014

If I close my eyes - Video

So here is the video for 'If I close my eyes ... '

Just wanted to say a massive thanks to my friend Sean who played the part of Pigeon for the third time and also allowed his house as the set.

Nov 12, 2014

Vital Titles

I've had quite a few people this week say that they like the title of my new single; 'If I close my eyes I am worried I will fall asleep and not wake up again'.

It was even awarded the 'song title of the week' on the Fresh on the Net review page. Now, I know that is not a real accolade but I have always been rather proud of the titles for my songs.

The nice thing about being an electronic artist is I generally have free reign for making up bizarre titles as most of the songs don't really have lyrics or tell a story.  There are a few exceptions to this but on the whole, I could call a song anything I like and often have.

And because of that I thought I would share a few of my favourite titles and where possible explain some of the thoughts behind them.  I've also included some embeds to listen to the tracks too.

Music to brush your teeth to

This was the title of my first album and the opening track on it.  I've explained this one before, but if you missed it, the idea came about because all of my early demos came in around the two minute mark, which is the recommended time to brush your teeth for.

One of the original ideas was to release a 7 track record with 2 minute songs on so you had a different one for each day of the week and you could play them whilst brushing - that didn't happen sadly.

If you unwrap the wrapper you leave me exposed

Vulnerability.  That is what this title is all about.  The idea that everyone has a wrapper; a wall around them to protect them and when it is taken away it leaves them open to getting hurt.  The title came about whilst I was eating some Christmas chocolates and was feeling rather low myself.  One the outside the chocolate had a lovely shiny red wrapper - but once that was gone, it was left exposed for my eating pleasure.

The Latin word for amusement

This title has a hidden agenda in that there is no word for amusement in Latin. The song has some Latin speaking running through in in which someone is telling a joke.  Well, I thought it was funny.

The Man Who Smiles When Things Go Wrong

All of the titles on my second album 'Get Amongst It' are taken from things other people said.  This title came about when I was working at a software company. One of my colleagues was talking about a project he was managing and on the client team there was a guy who seemed to take pleasure in things going wrong.

He was explaining that this chap would tell everyone some bad news and then smile at the end of it.  I loved that idea and that is how the title came about.

If I close my eyes I am worried I will fall asleep and not wake up again

I have been known to suffer with depression and many years ago had a really bad case of it, mixed with anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about dying.  It got to the stage where one night, I was so scared of sleeping because I truly believed I would die in my sleep.

Thankfully now I don't mind going to sleep and would happily have more of it if I could.  I liked songs with either really short one word titles or really long ones like this.  I actually think it makes a song stand out when you have unique and clever titles and makes people more inclined to listen to them.

The Camden Shuffle

This is not the most exciting title out there, but it does always take me back to when I was recording it.  I was going to a gig in Camden and had my laptop with me, so was working on the song whilst looking out of a bar window onto the High Street.

The melody of the song seemed to fit perfectly with everyone walking along and maybe it was just me but the people of Camden High Street really did seem to have their own unique 'shuffle' so I named the song after them.

No Link yet as the track is released on 24th November as part of the 'Close My Eyes EP'

Nov 11, 2014

The evolution of a song

Some songs come about very quickly and can be finished in a couple of hours, others take weeks, months and even years to get right.  My current single 'If I close my eyes I am worried I will fall asleep and not wake up again' is one of those that took a very long time.

It is also a song that changed a lot from its first incarnation, to what you hear now and I thought it would be interesting to share that process with you.

I first started working on 'If I close my eyes...' in the summer of 2012, whilst demoing songs for the follow up to 'Get Amongst It'.  The original demo version was a mellow, bright, floaty, instrumental tune.  I knew I wanted vocals on it so I sent the track over to my friend Piers to add to it.

A few months later Piers returned the track with some amazing lyrics/vocals and an awesome driving guitar line.  These were all recorded over the original instrumental track I had provided.  I then had to do a lot of work to do in order to make this new song sound right.

I spent ages reworking the track and could not for the life of me get it right. So, in the end I completly stripped it back to just the vocals and guitar before building it up again.  I created totally new beats to lay under the guitar and vocals and started to add back some of the original demo elements into it.  I also added a lot of new noises and played around with all kinds of effects and filters.

I have somewhat simplified what I actually did, but believe me it took months and months to make it work.

As a finished song, I totally love it and really feel it has the right balance between the vocals, guitar, beats and colourful noises.

I actually ended up releasing the original version last year as the B-Side to 'Boing' - I renamed it to 'Version One'.  I did this because I really liked how the original demo version sounded in its own right and how different it was from the latest single.

You can here the original here :

And now the new version :

I hope you can hear elements of the original in the new version, but also enjoy them both as individual tracks.
I'd be interested to hear what you think

Nov 3, 2014

New Music : If I close my eyes, I am worried I will fall asleep and not wake up again

Close My Eyes
On Monday 24th November 2014 I will be releasing a new single.

The track is called 'If I close my eyes I am worried I will fall asleep and not wake up again'.

The lyrics and vocals have been provided by the most excellent Piers Blewett who previously sang on 'The Inherent Racism of Doves'.

Some people have told me that this is a bit of a depressing title, but I can assure you the song itself is very bright and lovely.

The single will form the lead track of a new 6 track EP called 'Close My Eyes' and is backed by a further five new tracks.

All of these are tracks I have been working on over the last year and are all very different, so it's quite an eclectic release.

The track listing is:
  1. If I close my eyes ...
  2. Today, we all grew a little bit wiser
  3. To Victoria - With Love
  4. Dig Digger
  5. The Camden Shuffle
  6. Tangled Headphones
There will be a video for 'If I close my eyes' released in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out.

You can pre-order the EP now which will give you an instant download of 'If I close my eyes'.

Listen to the track below....

Oct 23, 2014