It's been all go this week, as myself and new Prime guitarist Chris D Bramley have just announced dates in Holland and Germany in around a month's time! Can't wait to perform some great acoustic sets to a new audience.
Also, if you wish to check it out, I've just begun a new blog, with the intention of having some 'real' music discussions with musicians of all backgrounds, ages and levels. Check out the first in the series, with Liam Doyle, a really nice guy and talented singer-songwriter from Glasgow, Scotland. You can read it here:
(For more updates, check out both the Prime and Chris Bramley facebook pages, @ukprime and @chrisdbramleymusic)
I sit thinking about things to write, and things to do. And my mind is a complete blank.
Then I remember the singer Bono saying if you have nothing to write about, write about the fact that you have nothing to say. Then I remember the great French film director Eric Rohmer saying if you can’t come up with anything new, re-write what you have already written then something will come.
The guitarist Noel Gallagher said had he lived as a young man in this day and age he might never have been on the dole and written the great Oasis songs back in the day, as daytime TV is too good. The internet is too good. Youtube is too good. Facebook is too good. Instagram is too good. Twitter is too good.
So exactly what is a boy to do?
This has been my first blog for a little while, as I’ve had a holiday and have been working hard on getting some new songs ready for shows in the Summer. So far we have booked a slot at the Tramlines Festival Fringe in Sheffield and also a show with at the Angel Microbrewery, Nottingham with our pal Connor from AC Audio. Anyway, I thought I’d talk theories on songwriting, as lately I’ve had a couple of really interesting interviews with online bloggers from far afield.
I wanted to go into a theory that not only do I think that songwriters often adopt their heroes’ vocal mannerisms and songwriting themes but they also adopt their Ways of writing too. I’m into the likes of Bowie, Mark E Smith of the Fall and David Byrne of Talking Heads, so when I started out, my ‘style’ (and I couldn’t sing back then) was adapting jams from the band, cutting and pasting their music into what fit with the - mostly improvised - vocals. I never used the cut-up technique (used by the author William Borroughs and adapted by Bowie - you can watch him using it in the film Cracked Actor on youtube), but as my words and phrases were stream of consciousness, they had that vibe anyway. I’ve still tried to keep that looseness to how I write and I think that’s what makes Prime songs different to the norm. Let’s face it, we aren’t Flaming Lips or Radiohead when it comes to musical experimentation, so there has to be something else to make the ears prick up.
At the same time I was starting out I was involved in a local magazine, Night Flight, and one of the bands I would talk to regularly were the local Mansfield indie rock madmen Lucky Bullet, and their singer Daz’s hero was Jim Morrison of The Doors. So his way was getting notebooks full of lyrics and as soon as he got a feel for what his (very good) band were playing he would adapt a particular idea to the song. And put his soaring sixties/seventies style vocal to the music, along with some very deep lyrics.
His other bandmate, Roger Portas, who is known as DaDD and remixed the Prime song Bye Bye (feel free to have a gander on youtube too), is a stereotypical studio boffin, and as he grew up with bands like Erasure, Yazoo and early Depeche Mode (in which Vince Clarke’s vision dominated the project - often at the expense of his relationship with his band-mates). Roger’s songs with his duo Video Tape Machine are constructed from scratch by him in his home studio, even down to vocal melodies which he will sing (badly in his opinion) on the demos. Then his singer Tom will take the vocals to the next level when the finished track is almost ready.
Whatever your way of writing, and how those early influences stick around, it doesn’t really matter. I think it’s important how you adapt and grow. Hopefully, you’ll always improve and get better technically. But don’t be afraid to hang onto that early experimental thing you have, as it keeps things fresh. Listen to different new (or old) music, but also remember when listening to your heroes just why you want to do this. It will stand you in good stead.
As I write this I'm getting ready for our show tomorrow night at the o2 Academy in Leicester. My last time there was Prime supporting Electric Six, which was great fun (there's pictures online of me sporting my fabulous metallic gold sports jacket ... I bought it from a sports store in the Canary Isles with my buddy #HeelJon. Anyway, this time I'll probably be looking a little bit more subtle, playing alongside Chris Bramley and his band of merry men (all of whom are lovely lads). TRAPS, the Leicester dance/indie band are responsible for the booking. Having enjoyed blasting out their music on the way back from Cardiff with Chris last month, they clearly deserve this showcase.
I had a great time performing last Saturday at the Leicester o2 Academy. It's been a while since we performed supporting Electric Six, and this time the pressure was off as local band TRAPs took the headline slot for this, and did a very good job too. Delighted for my buddy Chris Bramley and his band too, for their first gig together, and on a stage like this, I was very impressed indeed. Lovely lads and it was a pleasure to get to know them on the run up to the gig. Guitarist Cassius is a ball of energy and stood out! It's not hard to get up for a show with people like that on stage... But beer and Jack Daniel's helped too. It was a nice audience too and they can carry on stroking my ego as much as they want! (Leicester always is, nice people, they tend to be far more approachable than Notts audiences). I also enjoyed chatting to Derbyshire/Notts band the Lapels, and I shall go and hang out with them at their show at Alberts on 21st March for a beer or two. They had a very slick, professional edge, and a 60s mod sound and style to boot, for once I felt underdressed, rocking the latest Prime UK Band t shirt in mercurial black and white (available from prime4.bandcamp.com).... I've also had a f***ing shave since, and it was about time.
I am really very pleased to give you the first of the blogs on this page, along with the primeband.co.uk site itself.
It's been a long time coming but I feel that now, with our music collected on Spotify, apple music, googleplay and more, and an incoming CD and online collection which includes our first three singles, it was about time, if not long overdue. (Against any rational thinking person's advice, we actually recorded and released a mini-album about a year before we released a single. Lol. We like to do things a little differently this end... still, it's another achievement that I'm proud of, warts n' all.)
This site will, over time, as we continue to build it's content, hopefully give you an insight into a fair few years of us playing live, recording, working with different musicians, and, the nice thing for me, highlight some of the very f**king cool people we have met in the first 4 years of me and the Prime lads being in this music game.
Have fun, and feel free to leave your comments and feedback. We always appreciate it.
Yours, Lee. (Notts, February 2019)