Monday, 31 January 2011

So, that Lighthouses video

The Lighthouses video premiere went brilliantly - we watched Animals and Dinosaurs as a warm-up, then watched the new video, which everyone enjoyed (so much that we watched it again straight after, and then again later when different people arrived at the party), all of it on the big projector screen. The webcast on ustream.tv/user/jezkemp worked, and you can see the recorded stream, complete with me talking gubbins about the videos and everyone chatting over the top. A huge moth-beetle hybrid came in and bit me, I drank lots of red wine and we all went out and got smashed. That's not massively relevant but I just like to share.

But why, you may be asking, is the video not online yet?
Here's one reason:


That's a shot of me making notes on a supermarket receipt while video editing at 3am on Thursday night. I won't lie, I've lost a lot of sleep the last 2 weeks, and it's not healthy. The madness got so severe at one point I was drinking kahlua straight from a Spongebob Squarepants glass while watching Vietnamese cookery. Incidentally, Vietnam has loads of vegetables that I've never heard of before.

The gist is I ran out of time to get everything 100% finito by the premiere - I did what I could to make it look acceptable for people who came to see it, but it's still not quite right and I'm not happy uploading something that's only "okay" or "pretty good".

I started working on the video at the start of January when I was unemployed and had all the time in the world; fast forward to this last week, starting a new job, and I didn't even have any vocals recorded with 4 days til the premiere. (I even had to re-do them because it's been so long since I recorded Dinosaurs, I'd forgotten how close you have to sing in to the mic.) What have we learnt? There's always much more to do than you think.

Anyway, the video itself is done, but it'll be a few days while I polish off the audio and get the track sounding as MINT as it should do, or as close as my dubious mastering skills will let me. Then it'll be unleashed on Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, Last FM, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, hell even Myspace. Thanks for your patience, and fear not, I'll let you know when it's ready.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lighthouses video premiere in 2 hrs

So, the Lighthouses video is done, and with a little technical luck the premiere will be streaming on my Ustream account at 8pm NZ time this evening. That's 7am in the UK, probably around 5pm in Aus, or just in approx 2 hours wherever you are :)

http://www.ustream.tv/user/jezkemp

Sorry I can't seem to embed it here! Fingers crossed it all works out, if you get to see it hope you like it.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Wellingtonians' internal thermometers

TO BE FAIR: I like to complain about the weather. I'm English, it's what we do, plus I'm Jez Kemp, I like to externalise my feelings. Wellington is cold, and this is mostly due to the wind which never seems to stop. Naturally the tough New Zealand attitude I get is "harden the f**k up mate!" which is fair enough really.

IN MY DEFENCE: Wellingtonians' internal thermometers looks like this:


It goes up to 20, and there's no numbers after that, just the word "hot". I went out for a run recently in the glorious unbroken 23 degree (!!!) Wellington sunshine, with a wind chill that probably averaged somewhere between 2-5 degrees, and I got comments like "Only mad dogs and Englishmen eh!!"

It's like hearing my own complaints in reverse; people are astounded temperature can get so high. You'd be forgiven for thinking that the entire city shuts down with people passing out in the streets when the mercury hits the mid twenties.

English weather is known for being less than spectacular, but a good day in summer will get to 27 or even higher. It's pretty normal.

It may be hard to hear Wellington, and I do say it in jest, but until it hits 30 degrees and the wind dies down, you may wish to harden up.

P.S. I have not included Fahrenheit in this blog deliberately. If you find yourself baffled that there are no crazy numbers like "85" and "237", feel free to learn Celsius AKA "real temperature".

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

I Believe In Dinosaurs chords

While I'm working away at the Lighthouses song and video, I thought it might be nice to post up chords & tabs for my songs so you kids can play them yourselves. Just off the top of my head, here's the chords for "I Believe In Dinosaurs".

Verse
Emajor
F#minor
Emajor
F#minor - Amajor (x02220, dropping to A5 x02200)
(repeat)

Bridge
Dmajor
C#major
A5 (x02200)
F#minor
Dmajor (x57755 dropping to x57675)
C#major
Bminor (x24432 dropping to x24230)

Chorus
Emajor
F#minor
Emajor
F#minor - Amajor dropping to A5

Post-chorus
C#minor (x46650)
G#minor (x66400)
Bmajor (799800)
F#minor (x44200)
C#minor
G#minor
Bmajor
Amajor (577600 dropping to 477600)
F#minor

Middle bit ("And I don't believe...")
F#minor (x44200)
G#minor (x66400)
Amajor (577600)
Bmajor (799800)
(repeat)
G#minor
Amajor
Bmajor
F#minor
Amajor
Bmajor

And there you have it, I think that's right. I thought about tabbing the riff but it's quite difficult here on blog - try and work it out yourself by ear (clue: it's based around the Emajor scale, then F#minor scale, in time with the chords).

You may notice I'm a fan of the open strings at the top - this is probably a habit of playing acoustic guitar, where it's especially suitable, but you can play the full chords if you like.

Have fun, let me know if there's any song you'd like to see here :)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Things I want to achieve

Rather than writing an insane list of things I can't achieve in one year, I'm going to write out where I am in life at the moment and what I want to do.
  • I want to play live, with electric guitar, to raw backing tracks. Doesn't sound very rock'n'roll, but performing onstage is what you make it. And my big aim is to be able to travel and play gigs independently, by train or bus or plane or whatever, with just a guitar and a preamp and a set of tracks in my pocket. It won't ever take the place of playing live with a band, but it's an important step for me as a solo performing musician. I have been without the rock for too long.
  • I want to write more books. I'm working on one right now called HYPER. After 17 years of writing and 8 novels, it's going to be my best book yet.
  • I want to tour Europe. When F451 went to Slovakia in May 2007, two things struck me - European kids LOVE rock, and I LOVE Europe. It was tough as a band, and we barely made it through 5 gigs in 4 days, but it was one of my absolute highlights of 4 years of F451. I want to get back there and play live, then go back and play live again.
  • I want to tour New Zealand, and Japan, and other places. Lofty goals, but if I can tour Europe by myself, the only thing stopping me from playing other countries is the price of a plane ticket, which is coming down all the time. I'm definitely coming back to NZ, and I'm coming back to rock out.
  • I want to learn to drive. I don't know if I'll ever need a car, or even be able to afford one, but it's something I've put off for long enough. I owe a lot of people a lot of lifts too.
  • I want to get into web work. It's something I can do and a skill set that'll be in demand for years to come. And I need at least some kind of long-term employment plan.
  • I want to expand and develop Global Music Feed. I've made it into a functioning object, but there's a lot more to do, and I see a lot more potential in it.
  • I want to record an album. Not just any album. A bright, full, kick-arse album full of rock and great tunes and where every song is a potential single. Okay, "Without Fear" was an album, but it doesn't count. I want rock guitars and drums and synths and strings. I want shit going down. And work has already begun on Project Airfix.
  • I want to get my masters degree. I always thought I would go back to university some time, probably in my 30s, to get a masters. Doing a temp job at the Victoria University of Wellington reminded me how much I love the cosmopolitan atmosphere of university and just simply studying and learning. I also have a vague idea about getting into the graduate careers loop which I so carelessly rejected on finishing my bachelor's at Bristol. I don't know how effective that will be, and I know that doing a masters is expensive, and that changes by the new UK Con-Dem government will make it even more expensive. So I don't see it happening any time soon. But I've found a wonderful place called Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, which does evening lectures and courses but as a real academic university. Maybe I won't do it there but it gives me hope that it's a real possibility for me in the next few years.
  • I want to record and release singles. Lots of them. With my equipment and software, I'm finding it's very easy to record music quickly - and thinking back to the early days of my first band Liquid Idolator, recording 4-track EPs in 8 hours, I want to be able to start recording a song and upload it, finished by the end of the day. I don't know how many I'll get done but I definitely want to do one this year.
  • I want to move to London. This was always my goal before coming to Wellington, and now I'm just responsible for myself with a visa running out in October, it's my plan again. And despite the fact I've realised it'll take longer than I hoped - first I need a job in Essex, then a job in London, then a flat in London - that's absolutely where I'm going.
Some will be done this year, and some definitely won't. But they're all things I want to do.