Crosswords On The Radio & Songs In The Engine Room
It's been a busy time lately at Tsarzi HQ so I thought I'd do a round up of some of the stuff I've been up to, partly for my own sanity.
A gig next to the country's oldest working steam engine
A song about Freddy Kreuger (twice)
First radio play for my album Last Decade of Love
Music for a new web series
Sofar Sounds in the Engine Room
On Thursday 25th I played a secret gig at the Kelham Island Museum, which boasts the River Don Engine, the country's oldest working steam engine. In the shadow of the enormous green machine, originally built to roll armour plate for WW1 warships, an attentive crowd sat cross-legged on the floor to listen to a completely unplugged set, served only by the soaring acoustic of the room.
The gig was put on by Sofar Sounds, who run secret gigs in unusual locations across the world, and BOXIE, a new events company promoting female musicians & trying to even out the male-centric line ups we often see as standard.
As such, it was an all-female line up, which was a treat (very often I will be the only woman on a bill, and this is seen as normal). There was a whole host of different instruments, with me on piano, Lydia Evangeline on guitar, and Kate Griffin & Manon McCoy closing the night on banjo and harp.
It's always a treat to play a Sofar gig, as no two locations are ever the same - but I think this might be my favourite one yet.
A Song For Freddy
At the beginning of October I had the pleasure (and gut-wrenching performance terror) of playing FLIM NITE, an innovative night where classic films are 'reimagined' by entrepreneurial comedians, storytellers and musicians.
Our FLIM was Nightmare on Elm Street & I penned a little ditty by Freddy himself, explaining that killing children is just a hobby and get over it.
Well, good news, the nice FLIM folk have asked me back to do it all again at the Newcastle version of the night (same as Sheffield, but further North) on Tuesday 30th October, which may or may not be in the past, or today, depending on when you're reading this.
I have a long-standing love of comedy and absurdity - indeed, doing weird funny stuff on stage was originally what I thought I'd do, before I picked up a guitar and started singing about ornaments (arguably nothing's changed). It was fun (/terrifying) to be ridiculous, step out of my comfort zone, and do a costume change onstage - I'm looking forwards to reprising my role as Freddy advocate for the good people of Newcastle.
And you never know, we might have a surprise Halloween hit on our hands...
Radio Play on Manchester Live
I was thrilled this week to have a track played on Manchester Live by The Vanity Project, who host a very entertaining eclectic show on Saturday mornings.
Boldly, they chose Cryptic Crossword as their poison - a song which, might be considered the difficult child of the album, a paean to crossword clues and abstruse conversation, featuring Bach-like fugue sections and heavy metal guitar. I was very flattered by a comparison to the magnificent Benjamin Clementine in the harpsichord lines.
You can listen back to the show on Mixcloud - tune in around 1:19:55 to hear CC.
I've been asked to score the music for a web series called Love Lives by filmmaker Brett in the City. Brett and I have been talking about working together for a while, but busy schedules have conspired against us UNTIL NOW.
Exploring new ways of writing is something I'm always interested in, and I'm very excited to have the chance to do this.
Brett's style is strongly focused on individual stories - something that's pertinent to me as a songwriter too. The stories he brings to screen are often as poignant as they are funny, relatable, intimate, and sometimes surprising.
Love Lives will be out next year, and I'll be sharing updates along the way.
That's all for now, thank you for sticking with it if you've made it all the way down here! Stay tuned for more news very soon, including an apocalyptic book launch and an electronic mixtape...