Rather than write about it, I'll let the interview do the talking.
Rather than write about it, I'll let the interview do the talking.
It's been a long journey from start to finish with this project, as well as an exciting embarkment into new territories - the learning curve in the studio has been near-vertical. For years I relied on friends to record alongside in the studio and eventually came to realise that the only way to get things done, quicker, and more creatively is to do it myself. The DIY approach is where my roots stem from - the days of being in a punk rock band in my teens, recording albums on a four track in our parents' houses.
It's a liberating feeling to soley produce something from start to finish. To write, perform, record everything and press it to vinyl. What took the 'Stroud' vinyl project to another level for me was creating a music video alongside my brother. He's really doing well in the filming world and I was so happy that we got time to make something together and just hang out. We visited Stroud on two occasions to shoot the music video - in parts of the Cotswolds in and around Stroud. Minchinhampton, Roborough, Nailsworth, Horsely and other areas.
Jake and I had a lot fun making this video. It was new territory for both of us. I've never sung (and jumped around!) in front if a camera lens before.
The Vinyl + Music Video launch at The Brunel Goods Shed in Stroud was incomprehensibly successful. The place is huge and it was packed.
I will never forget, standing behind the merch table with my brother, watching our music video being projected onto a giant cinema screen. It was a fierce feeling, I'm not sure I've ever felt before.
To all you crowdfunders... What would I have done without you? You made the experience of self-publishing a record and music video an even more enjoyable experience - my greatest joy was packing each vinyl, writing individual nots to each of you and bubble-wrapping toy dinosaurs with each order.
Thank you, to each and every one of the people in the image below who helped make this project happen.
Some people get kicks out of walking up mountains, feel tranquil in nature, feeling the grass beneath their feet... I, on the other hand feel all of those when on the top floor of a multi-storey carpark with a skateboard, my CD Walkman and flat, smooth concrete beneath my feet. I made a video about it a while ago which I will upload in the near future. The photograph above is a screenshot from the video.
Each to their own :)
In the meanwhile, have a listen to this tune - Sums up my feelings entirely:
For months leading up to February 2017, all my brother Jake could think about was making a film that he has written and directed for a university project. This film is called 'Bulldoze' and is about young man's battle with anxiety and depression which manifests itself through the guise of a puppet. A puppet which is part of a collection of hand crafted creations by a good friend of mine, Jonathan Leach who is a very talented illustrator, costume maker, puppeteer and all round lovely guy.
The video is in production at present and will be released in the coming months. In the meantime, you can see the trailer here - https://youtu.be/nj28bYhBLzM
You can support Jake and his team's project here - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bulldoze-a-short-film-depression
Here is everyone involved in the project:
Left to right: Sam, Jake, Bob, Jon, Bob, Connor, Angus, Vasilia and yours truly.
Now the filming is over, Jake seems to be relieved as well as very happy with how the production went. Now, it's up to me to write a score to the short film and attempt to capture the atmosphere of the piece - I'm well up for it!
Jake has recently just secured a job over the summer at Pinewood Studios, pretty much the central nucleus of Britain's film industry. I'm proud of my brother.
Here's a screenshot of the trailer with Jake's cameo appearance on the left of one of Jon's puppets (Click the image below to watch the trailer)...
Before you ask, yes... That pasta did make a mess of my snare drum! January... What can I say about January... It kicked of with a sold out Uplifter show at SVA in Stroud. I really don't know how to thank the people of Stroud for the amount they support these show - I think I'm going to write a song for them. It feels like the only way to be able to genuinely show my appreciation for how much they have backed The Uplifter and attended countless shows for nearly 10 years.
January is the month of my birthday so it tends to be strung out for as long as I can, using it as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. 'Why is there a photo in this blog of your family and friends, what does it have to do with music?' you may be wondering. Well, it's because each and every one of the people in the photo below have supported me in some way along the lines and in-turn been part of the fabric of The Uplifter. At the end of the day, when you first start out and as the years go by who is the foundation of any artist? I believe it is family and friends...
The Uplifter, to me, is not just a job, or solely a creative output, nor a just a means of making a living. It has in many ways been the gateway and source of much happiness and shared moments with friends and loved ones. It's also been a source of making friends along the way. Some of the biggest -how can I say it- most influential nights in the making of me have been when performing as The Uplifter - Moments where I really felt, 'this is what I should be doing, this feels more than right'. My calling as it were. It took a lot of soul-searching and asking some of these people for their thoughts about what they thought I should do with my time on this earth... In the end it kind of came to be organically, and then in my mid twenties I made the decision to jump two feet first into pursuing a career in music and resisting the road of a 9-5 job.
I don't in any way condone 9-5 jobs, in fact some of the happiest people I've met have had steady 9-5s. I worked in a factory run by two of the nicest guys, Rob and Alan. I worked at their brush factory making paint brushes (one of the longest running factories hand crafting brushes in Britain) for 7 months to save for a 6 month travelling trip. I worked alongside a woman called Joan. She had been sat at the same table, with the same tools, looking out the same window for 35 years... but the more time I spent in her company, the more I realised how happy she was - it was the consistency of all of these factors as well as the familiar faces that played a huge role in her happiness... Then it clicked. *Whatever makes you happy and makes you tick... DO IT! No matter what it is* I first looked at Joan in the first week of working there and was thinking, 'why has this woman been here for 35 years'?... She must be mad. Then, as the months went on, it really made me think twice about judging people by what they choose to do for as living or spend much of their time doing. If they are happy doing it then I support them 100%, so long as it doesn't harm anyone. For Joan, the routine and her feeling part of something and a community of workers made her happy. Anyway, I always took that with me...
Working at the brush factory helped me evaluate what I did and didn't want to pursue in life.
Here's me and the brush factory family (it was, and still is, a family run business, run by two brothers). I was so happy that I took the time to get a tripod together and get the 35mm camera out - the father of the two brothers died shortly after this photo. I gave a framed copy of the photo to each person who worked there.
As the years go by, January becomes more and more a month to reflect upon the year just passed and to look forward and plan the year ahead. The music and gigs rest a little and quietly coil up like a spring waiting to leap into the new year once the year starts to gather momentum. It also gives more time to potter about... One of my favourite things to do in the world! Time to just sit and think, gather my thoughts, catch up with listening to new music that I've not had time to properly immerse myself into and write/record music.
Here's to the year ahead - "Cheers" :) T x
My Grandmother, Mary Wright was born in Ireland in 1926 and had three children, each of which were fiercely creative. And so the cycle of creativity was born and slowly began to work its was through the generations... In december this year Grandma Uplifter passed away at the age of 90 and brought all of our family together to be with her in Ireland to celebrate her life. There really isn't much to say except that it was perfect.
The little town she lived in was all lit up with Christmas lights, the local church held it's annual carol service the night before the funeral in the same church she would frequent many years and children sang carols in the streets holding candlelit lanterns... It all felt right and it was an extremely significant weekend for my family - It brought us even closer together...And we're already very close x
Creating anything at home whether it be show posters, recording music, writing lyrics etc seems to almost always equate to too many distractions to make anything at all. Perhaps it's just me? The postman's just knocked at the door, the neighbours' just popped round, the cat wants food, 'Ooh, I've not listened to that vinyl yet, let's give it a listen... You know, the usual.
So I have resorted to combining creating with travelling... In order to get things done. The volume of creative output made in a two hour journey can be the equivalent to days, sometimes weeks at home in the studio. Cafe's seem to be a good place to create too... Perhaps it's the 'inspiration' brough on by coffee haha! So, once a week I go somewhere to create and at least once a month travel to my favourite part of London - the South Bank. To sit, drink coffee, create, repeat. Places like the South Bank are teeming with people creating, whether it be the skateboarders under the Royal Festival Hall or poets in the cafe, or the young dancers in the South Bank Centre concourse working out their routines.
When it comes to The Uplifter work, for example - On my way to Portugal on trains and aeroplanes, I finished a song structure and programmed it on an iPad. Whilst in Greece I wrote 4 songs in a couple of days whilst walking around with headphones on... When at home, I write 1 song per year on average, it seems!
This photo below was taken in Asvestachori, Greece during a week where I just seemed to be writing and writing and writing - both lyrics and music...
I like to get abroad as much as I can, whether it be to do a show or to explore but I also like to travel up to London to be amongst it all...
So, if you're ever travelling between London and Southampton by train, you might just see me. If I'm not there I'll be at the Royal Festival Hall, with a coffee-covered laptop staring at the thames, just enjoying the view and taking the opportunity to concentrate on nothing and everything...
Since posting this video up on The Uplifter Facebook page last week, orders of the last 40 copies of The Uplifter 12" vinyl started to pop up in my email inbox quicker that I could ever have imagined. At the rate it's going this release might just sell-out! Selling out vinyl for some artists might be a regular occurrence but for me this is a first...
A promotional video like this combined with it being light hearted and a lot of fun to make seemed to have done the trick with regards to shifting the last few copies... Which meant heading down the Post Office once again - Something I've always enjoyed for as long as I can remember. The process of sending someone something -particularly if I've been part of the creative process- has always been a joy to me. I also feel lucky to have people being so supportive with ordering copies as well as attending The Uplifter shows over the years. To have pressed 500 copies and have so few left really feels like a privilege and something I am very grateful for.
People making these orders has given me an added confidence and inspirations towards producing more music and merchandise in the future - I'm genuinely excited about it. There's been some kind of rekindled full-power injection of creativity into The Uplifter for a number of reasons in recent months and having a new website which i can add to whenever and wherever I like has made a huge impact.
X4 records are going in the post this afternoon - it feels good...
if you have been, thank you for reading this. There is so much content on the internet and so much distraction that if someone makes it to the end of this I will be amazed :D
Until next time x
The Uplifter music is now available as a digital download...
Since releasing The Uplifter 12" vinyl in 2013 I decided to finally dive into the realm of online digital downloads... It only took 3 years! The tunes are now available on iTunes, Amazon as well as The Uplifter website shop. Now that the vinyl is close to having sold out it seems like a good time to get the tune up online. I'm a huge fan of physical artefacts... I love all media from tape cassettes to CDs to vinyl and VHS - In fact I was watching Jurassic Park on VHS last night! Growing up in the late 80s and 90s it was all VHS and cassettes, CDs and Gameboys... I still feel a lot of nostalgia and fondness towards putting a tape into a machine and pressing play, blowing the dust out of the cartridge and pushing it into a Sega Mega Drive, pulling a record out of it's sleeve, finding a biro to wind up the cassette when the tape gets chewed up, waiting for the tracking to sort out the picture on the VHS player... the list goes on.
Saying that, there is certainly a time and place for MP3/WAV downloads - thumbs up to all formats! To pick up my phone and have a device that can make calls as well as play a whole heap of music through my headphones is a wonderful thing when on the run. If I'm travelling though, my Sony CD player is a must. The old Sony CD players have this 'bass boost' button which makes any tune sound amazing - I don't think I've come across a better sounding format, including vinyl. I hear a lot of people saying 'vinyl is king' and there are a lot of DJs who still only play 'strictly vinyl'... I don't really get it. There are some tunes out there that you cannot get on vinyl and if it means playing a CD version of it, I'm all for it!
My initial thoughts with music formats is go for whichever is available and in some cases, most practical. When I've done shows abroad, vinyl is very, very heavy and I've had to really cherry pick the top tunes that I really need. Some people can be quite militant about which formats to play music on... A wholly militant approach to anything is arguably unhealthy, right? Vinyl, with it's sleeve, artwork, the physicality of going through the motions of dropping the needle on the record is a beautiful thing but can we do that whilst sitting on a train?
Music is a wonderful thing and to have it available on so many different formats is truly one of best things this world has to offer... In my humble opinion.
So, here it is, The Uplifter music is now available on pretty much all formats - if anyone still listens to cassette tapes I'll happily transfer to tape and hand draw some artwork on the sleeve ;)
Fishing, Music & Food...
For as long as I can remember August has always meant one very important thing for all of my family and I... Our annual trip to visit my grandmother in Ireland.
Ireland has always been an extremely significant place for my family and I, particularly amongst those of us who are creative - which is pretty much everyone on my Mother's side. Musicians, painters, photographers... Most of my family are doomed/blessed with knowing only how to make a living through the creative arts. Ireland, specifically it's landscape, is undeniably inspiring along with much of it's stripped-down, somehow simplified way of living. Don't get me wrong, Ireland has changed a lot since I was a 7 year old running down the road to pick up a loaf of bread for 10 pence... To fill up a basket of food from the supermarket nowadays is likely to set you back the best part of €50. Euros disappear like Monopoly play money. Apart from that, Ireland (particularly in rural areas) has somehow managed to stay unspoilt, earthy and mesmerisingly beautiful...
This country's beauty, for my family and I, has been the source of many a written song, poem and one of hundreds of paintings by my hero and uncle Michael Wright. My cousin Steve (Michael's son) is also a musician and one of my favourite people on this planet - Music he has written has undoubtedly been affected by Ireland and time spent there throughout our lives. This song 'Birds on the Line' in particular written by Steve and performed by his band FeelGood Culture is, in part, inspired by the hundreds of jackdaws that sit on the electrical wires all around the town where my grandmother lives in West Cork.
The forthcoming album will undoubtedly have references to Ireland and I have been taking sound bites over the years from various places and bands that I will be working into the album.
Fishing has long been a tradition in my family, passed down by my great grandfathers, immediate grandfathers, to my great uncle Mick, immediate uncle and my father to myself and my brother, sister and cousins. One of my favourite things -ever- is to return to my Great Uncle's house with all the family sat around the table with our catch laid out after a days' fishing.
My Uncle Mick (my grandmother's brother) passed away in 2010. He was an integral part of the family and we were all extremely close to him. In his memory The Uplifter 2013 vinyl release features a pencil drawing by Victor Maristane of Uncle Mick fishing off the back of a boat on the bottom left of the cover artwork.
We did a show up in the Brecon Beacons at a Didgeridoo Festival after returning from Ireland. It was brilliant and the crowd and organisers were a really lovely group of people. They want to book us for next years' festival - we thoroughly recommend this small, intimate, family friendly festival .