Back from Turin, where I was the percussionist for an evening celebrating the vast musical offerings of Giorgio Moroder, who was there to offer vocals, vocoder, chat and strong vibes! The Heritage Orchestra band and singers flew over and we worked with a local session orchestra, playing songs of Giorgio’s spanning his entire career, from Donna Summer to David Bowie, Daft Punk to Human League. Themes from Scarface and Flashdance, on top of “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun provided a great “songs from the movies section”!!! Singers Shingai Shoniwa, from The Noisettes and Hayden Thorpe, of Wild Beasts joined us. It really was an honour and I hope we can do it again someday soon…
Been really lapse over the summer about posting any kind of update on here, so here is a mega summer update. Been a varied musical summer with festivals, mini-tours, recordings and one off gigs, all sorts!
Gigs have been with a variety of heroes : Goldfrapp, Jane Birkin, Clare Teal, Goldie and Paolo Nutini amongst others… A weeks tour of Ireland with Donal Lunny’s fantastic Atlantic Arc Orchestra was extremely rewarding also.
Pete Tong is keeping the Heritage Orchestra busy with the “Ibiza Classics” project and over the summer we did many festivals as well as launch the new Jaguar car at the Excel centre and play in Ibiza for Pachas 50th birthday. Recording sessions also took place for album 2 which will be released towards the end of this year. Exciting – tomorrow I set off for Australia and LA with this too!!
Sessions taken place at studios all over London for many things and trying to keep my own studio busy when I can too. Highlights being recording at Abbey Road all to tape and only using equipment pre 1966. As ever with that place, the sound was ridiculous. Also, just recorded a soundtrack for composer Max De Wardener for a Channel 4 documentary at my studio. The brief was “Birdman”, so I enjoyed having freedom to explore drum sounds and ideas, out soon!
My school art teacher, Miss Summers, and best friend Chris MacKenzie introduced me to Scott Walker’s music when I was a teenager and I have been a fan of this mysterious collection of songs for some time now. In August, the Heritage Orchestra played a BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, performing these songs for the first time in public ever. Was an honour for me to play woodblocks and a variety of other percussion, including the infamous chimes and bells, featured heavily on these recordings. What a night! Scott Walker was in the audience and guest singers were Jarvis Cocker, John Grant, Susanne Sundfor and Richard Hawley. One to remember….
Had the great fortune to be asked to play alongside Soundspecies and Eastern-Cuban folkloric masters, Obbatuké. Other acts on the bill included Plaid and DJ Tennis. The event, organised by the wonderful Mañana//Cuba, was a true collaboration between pioneering electronic artists with traditional Afro-Cuban musicians. It was so satisfying to be blending musical and cultural ideas together in one big pot, one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever been a part of.
Happy to say I am playing a few shows with the excellent Goldfrapp this summer, including Latitude Festival, Somerset House and Blue Dot Festival. First one was on Friday in Madrid at Tomavistas Fest – great fun and a lovely bunch! Heres to more…
Most of this month was taking up playing with Paolo and the lads. A show in Switzerland (Zermatt Unplugged festival) followed by a South American tour, taking in Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Not shit!
Zermatt Unplugged is a truly wonderful festival and to be up in the fresh mountain air was sublime. A great show and to be joined by a top string quartet was magical, as was hanging with friends in the Ronnie Scotts Quintet who were also playing.
The tour was incredible – we ate our bodyweight in steak and tacos and enjoyed all the local beverages – Pisco sours, Caipirinhas and all the others 😉 Also saw some tango, Mexican wrestling, spectacular views, Samba and plenty more… Gigs were all knockout as the fans have been waiting 10 years to hear the man in person. Electric atmosphere!
A great month has been had with lots of music being made. Recording for Matt Calvert’s (Three Trapped Tigers, Strobes) solo project “Typewritten” has been completed and I’m very excited about hearing the end result. Speaking of recording, I did a couple of sessions at Abbey Road Studio 2 this month for producer Nick Tauber (Thin Lizzy, Marillion) – what a sound in that room, unbelievable. I also recorded the soundtrack for The Treatment – a play running at the Almeida Theatre. The session took place at Air Studios and the reference was “Birdman”, the great film from last year featuring Antonio Sanchez’s fantastic drum score, so I was happy! I also played a show at the Gateshead Jazz festival with Trish Clowes, Ross Stanley and Chris Montague.
Ecstatic to say that the long awaited second album by Brass Mask, Live, is OUT NOW! It has had some great reviews and I’m extremely proud of it. Go get it and take a listen :