Hello and welcome to the 'trons blog. Random thoughts, musings and tea intake information are the order of the day here.
Not sure how often we'll update this but we'll have a go at keeping it current!
2nd July 2020
So here we are, over three months into the UK COVID-19 lockdown. Like everyone else in the pop music universe (and the world in general of course) we've had to scrap, replace, re-schedule and lament the loss of gigs, festivals and everything else that goes with this rather surreal moment in time.
Our 3rd album, “Deconstruction” was due for release in May but it seemed a little bit....odd putting it out when the shops were all closed, so we and the nice people at Chapter 22 Records decided that an October release would be more suitable as everyone hoped this would all be over by then, or at least under control.
Oh yeah, that's the other thing....we signed a deal with the excellent folk at Chapter 22 Records. The C22 guys, Dean and Tony, are proper passionate music fans and we are a little different from the type of bands the label has worked with – Pop Will Eat Itself, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Suicide,The Mission et al – so it's great to be the new kids on the block (so to speak) and part of their family.
Anyway since the last time I wrote one of these we have written and recorded our new album. We started the rehearsal sessions in September last year and started recording in December with our fav recording bloke Gary Durham, who made our last record a few years ago.
The sessions were fun, we record the whole band live and keep all the bits we like and get rid of the bits we don't like. We were working pretty quickly (much easier to do if all the songs are rehearsed and you are ready to rock when the microphones are turned on) and we were 90% finished mixing when the lockdown kicked in so we finished the last bit off over Zoom (comically disastrous at first but once we got the hang of it we were flying). Fortunately everything that needed to be done with more than one person in the room had already been completed by the start of the lockdown, so we could have the album mastered and the artwork completed remotely.
So now we are ready to go. We have a finished album (and t-shirts and badges and and and), a release date, a load of tour dates booked for the end of this year (fingers and toes crossed please) and a new label to send us on our way. All we need now is for the country to heal itself from this horrific unthinkable mess as quickly and sensibly as possible so we and everyone else can return to the world feeling safe and grateful that we are in one piece and “got through it”. I know this all sounds incredibly optimistic and perhaps even a little naïve, but give me a break – I've been reorganising tours, gigs and a record release when I don't know what's going to happen in 4 weeks, let alone 4 months. Let me have my little dream.
On that note hopefully we'll see you in October/November on our travels around the country in support of our new record. So be good, be sensible, be nice and.......be.
Whole lotta lurve
16th May 2019
My my what a 10 months it's been.
This year so far has been great for our band, we returned to Scotland for more tour fun in Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Glasgow, we then went to Cardiff and played at Wales Goes Pop! and have some really cool gigs lined up for the the summer, see the gigs page for more details, but all I can say is that the younger pre-teen-TOTP-watching version of me cannot quite believe that we are opening for Doctor and the Medics and Altered Images this year! The 12 year old me and the 45 year old me are equally excited.
We have also been rehearing some new songs - we have five sort-of-completed new ones, three of which are gig-able and and two of which are nearly gig-able so we hope to integrate them into the set over the summer. There are about 8 other new ones that we haven't even touched yet, so we'll get around to them as soon as we can.
The other upcoming highlight of the summer is the BLYTH POWER ASHES festival weekend 23-25th August. We have been invited back to play the Saturday night (after the cricket) and we can't wait as last year was loadsa fun. It's almost like a little family do that turned into a festival and we are very grateful to be a part of it again.
That'll do for now as the kettle has just boiled and I smell a jammy dodger...So here are a couple of our selfies taken "on the road" as it were..
18th July 2018
My my, how time has flown. I hadn’t looked at this page for about 2 years!
At least it gives me plenty to tell you.
As of January this year we said hello to our new bass player Rico and got on with some gigs. He’s very good and makes me laugh while we’re playing ‘cos he’s always grinning when you look over at him. Also, he likes playing 80’s hair metal style bass guitars - what’s not to like?
We threw him in at the deep end and went on a little tour of Scotland and the NE of England. It was great fun, we did it on the train rather than in a van (it was the most middle class indie tour in history, staying in quaint B&Bs overlooking some fantastic scenery then getting a taxi to the station - total rock and roll animals that we are) which worked really well as we didn’t have to take much gear and no-one really wanted to drive! The gigs were good, we met a lot of very nice people and came back happy.
We put on more of our Black Cat Promotions nights in Hitchin, which went very well (I’m pleased to say - being a promoter does not agree with me, I don’t have the stomach for it) and it has been a pleasure to have The Cornshed Sisters, Mammoth Penguins, Simon Love and The Popinjays come through our little market town over the past few months.
The final BCP night of this year will be our REBEL REBEL festival in Hitchin on November 10th.
SO why are we doing a one-day festival I hear you cry?
Polly’s mum lost her 4 year battle with cancer in October last year and anyone who has been in Polly’s position can tell you how helpless you feel when that happens. We decided that a fundraiser for the Rennie Grove Hospice in St. Albans, where Polly’s mum spent a lot of time while she was ill, was a great way to say thank you to them for their excellent work and for us to feel that we “did something” - you know what I mean?
Anyway the line up in ridiculously good and we’re having a raffle as well, so you have to come. Everyone loves a raffle.
Other things that have happened or are happening:
We have a bunch of new songs. We put out the last album in 2016, which didn’t seem that long ago while we’ve been off playing all over the place but is now starting to feel like perhaps we ought to make another one.
We’ve started playing a (very short) new song called “Sound Bites” at the last few gigs and people seem to quite like it (it has a cowbell in it so its already a winner)so we might roll out a few other new ones over the next few gigs and see how they go.
We are, you may have noticed, not the most prolific band on the planet, but its all happening at the moment so watch this space.
We have lots more yummy gigs coming up in the 2nd half of the year, have a look at our GIGS page. We’re off to Brighton week after next to play the RISEUK benefit, then we’re at Lauderdale House in Highgate (well posh) for an afternoon gig with The Popinjays.
Later in August we are playing the Blyth Power Ashes in Tewkesbury which sounds like great fun from what we’ve heard. Then there are more, as yet un-announced things including a very interesting sounding road trip …. but that is much later in the year so we’ll tell you about that another time.
We’ve actually got things booked for 2019 as well - go us!
Maybe I will remember to do another one of these blog entries later this year. I ain’t promising nothin’.
Love from Simon x
17th April 2016
The time has finally come hooray!
We are releasing our new album “Patterns of Chaos” on June 17th 2016 through esprit de corps records.
We recorded and mixed the record with Gary Durham at CLARITY studio in Hitchin - it was nice being able to walk to the studio each day! Gary is a good friend and was great to work with…he has similar tastes and a similar (i.e.dodgy) sense of humour…plus (like me) he tends to start shaking when the caffeine levels get too high so we knew when to stop. It’s all anarchy innit. David Doll was our mastering engineer and did a fine job.
The album artwork (by our friend and long-admired artist Al Maceachern, see more of his stuff at www.amdrawing.co.uk) is by now plastered all over our website so please take a mo to drink it in! We think it’s brilliant and a great “calling card” for the record. Plus the album cover is seasoned with little references and images from the songs, which is a lovely touch and it’s nice to know that someone was paying attention.
We found a label who took pity on us and offered to put a record out for us - thanks to Ed at esprit de corps for being a stand-up guy and answering our stupid questions with a straight face.
We wanted to record and release the album as quickly as possible, trying to capture a snapshot of who/how/what we were at the time and believe it or not (and despite some pretty harsh scheduling) it still takes eight months from day one of recording (November 1st 2015) to being released (June 17th 2016)….but that is because of our insistence on having a 12” vinyl release, which due to the shortage of pressing plants in the UK (is there only 7 or 8?) takes months! We actually recorded, mixed and mastered in just over 3 months! So it’s not our fault, ok? Good.
So for the release we thought we’d have a party (as you do) and where better than our fav local venue Club 85 in Hitchin (www.club-85.co.uk). We’ve invited some old and new friends to come and play with us - The Tuesday Club from St Albans, The Flues from Stevenage and Automat from Borhamwood. So it should be a nice, loud and fun evening and (of course) our record will be for sale at the show on vinyl (with download codes) and cd and you could be the first person to own one….imagine the glory! Form an orderly queue please. Ahem. Oh yes, the party is on June 17th too. Coincidence? Hmmm?
Between now and then we are playing a fair few other shows and will be playing some brand new songs too…..hopefully see you at one of the gigs, do come and say hello!
14th March 2016
Hello! Happy March to you all.
Apologies for being a little quiet on here recently but we’ve been busy letting the cat in and out and in and out again and also making a proper vinyl RECORD!!!!! **Exciting**
Said record is now completed and is in the process of being pressed possibly with an iron which takes quite a long time as people seem to be liking records again (so the irons are quite busy now) which makes me very happy indeed.
We have a lovely picture for the front AND back of the record by our good friend Al http://www.amdrawing.co.uk/ where we all are made to look extremely glamorous, plus of COURSE Cato The Metatrons cat stars on the back cover.
We do have some gigs coming up in the near future so look out for us in Hitchin, St Albans and London before the summer starts up properly. Which I hope it does soon as it’s quite cold.
For the time being though, thanks for bearing with us (GRRRRRRRR (it's meant to be a bear noise - Ed) and see y’all soon lovelies!
13th November 2015
We started recording our new album on November 1st and it's sounding pretty flippin' good so far.
We are looking at a “spring” 2016 release - “spring” being a spacious enough term that could mean March, April or May so it gives us some flex haha!
I like the idea of finishing the recording and mixing / mastering and having the cd in your hand 4 weeks later. It's not as quick as they managed in the 50's and 60's but it's pretty fast!
The record (as yet untitled but hold on to your horses 'cos it's coming soon) will be released on the Esprit de Corps label.
So while we are working away here are some snaps taken on day one.
More updates coming!!
21st March 2014
We did some recording in January, which has turned into the 7 inch single we will release next month. Along with the live performance videos that we will release on the same day it's a jolly nice time to be a 'tron.
We aren't very strategic, so the whole thing came about as a kind of accident. In October we were offered the chance to film the band live with a multi-camera set up and a greenscreen background that could be filled in with images etc afterwards. So we went off to film and record four songs and the finished results came back in December.
We recorded live performances of two “oldies” from the “Between Planets” album (“My Sympathy” and “Icicle”) and two newer songs that we hadn't recorded yet (“Please Mister” and “Not Today”).
“These are nice” I said. “ We should put them out”.
“But we haven't got recordings of two of the songs, it'd be a shame if people saw the videos, liked the songs and then couldn't have a copy of them”
“Well why don't we record them then, you idiot”
That was pretty much the conversation I had with myself.
So off we trotted down the garden path (literally) to record the songs. A further conversation (this time with the rest of the band, rather than just me) decided that if we are going to record two songs, then the perfect format would be a 7 inch single.
“If we are going to record songs to go on a piece of vinyl then why don't we record them on tape and do it proper, like what them old fellas did in the 80's?” We said.
And so we did.
We stood in the same room (except for Polly, who didn't want to share a 10ft x 10ft room with three men, a drumkit, bass amp and guitar amp – she had her own room next to ours which was much nicer) and recorded the songs together, live, as a band. It was the most enjoyable session, mostly because it was very quick and pretty painless and the results were instantly good – I can't say that of a lot of recording sessions.
So we recorded the whole band in one afternoon, then Polly and I went in the next afternoon to do the other bits of vocals and add some “sparkle” (i.e. more guitars) and we were done. Bish bash bosh.
There are some pics from the sessions to the left of this page, of both the studio and video recordings.
Oh yes – the single and videos are released on the 19th April (Record Store Day!) and the 7 inch will be for sale in David's Music in Letchworth and Empire Records in St. Albans – both superb independent record shops.
The iTunes / Amazon downloads will be available the day after.
Nub Country Records have kindly offered to put the videos out for us on the interweb on the same day – bless their bold brave hearts.
So yeah, hope you like the record and the videos!
See you soon
Saturday 15th June 2013
Blimey we're not very good at this blog business are we. Sorry. I thought that when we put this page up it would be this inspirational thing that would ignite us with the creative spark and send us off in all directions, but it seems that it's usually just me and a cup of tea typing slowly.
We've had a good year so far, the gigs have all been really good and we've got loads more booked and we just can't wait for The Primitves gig next week. It is very exciting. We tried not to be too excited, but we really, really are.
There are pretty much got enough songs floating about for a new album now so I think we might start to think about doing that soon. I don't know what we'll call it or what the artwork will be like, but we have the songs which is a good start.
We might call it "wakka wakka" or something else Muppet related. Who knows? Any suggestions are welcome.
Anyway we'll see y'all very soon.
Saturday 22nd December 2012
To make up for my lack of blogging here is a brief-ish digest on our year here in 'tron land.
In February we played two very fun gigs, one with Moustache of Insanity at our fav Hitchin pub The Victoria (MOI managed to confuse, delight and terrify in equal measure) and one with Shrag at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar in Brighton – great night,great band and their new album is superb.
Also we went back down to Brighton in May for The Great Escape, where we were part of the ROTW showcase at The Latest Music Bar, playing with The October Game and CC Smugglers – both excellent bands from up these parts and we were chuffed to be part of that. It was followed by one of the most fun nights out we've had in ages with our Brighton compadres Gav (my fellow Redmaxx cohort) and Noel.
We organised a Halloween gig in Camden with our friends The New Town Centres and Colvex and that was fun – in fact one of the things we've got better at this year is playing with our friends wherever possible. We've made new friends too, which is lovely.
We also played with The New Town Centres at The Stables in Milton Keynes. It's a nice place, and Cleo Laine asked the sound guys to ask me to turn my guitar amp down. Twice. That was cool.
In April we were invited to record as session by Dandelion Radio's Andrew Morrison, for his monthly show. We recorded three songs (a new song “Please Mister” and we re-recorded “My Sympathy” and “Last to know” especially for the show) which turned out very well. It was fun being played every day for a month! We like that.
Lots of other stations picked up on us this year, from all over the country – everywhere from the northernmost part of Scotland to......the other end of the country. We haven't broken Wales yet though, although my Welsh Gran plays our cd to everyone who comes round so we're getting there slowly.
Polly breaking her foot in June was a total bummer (dude) and although she is out of the cast one of the bones is still healing so we have to be careful but more importantly she still can't wear her killer heels.
The cat now weighs 10lbs and is incredibly fluffy. Now it's raining a lot she gets so wet that it takes half an hour to towel dry her, which she does not like.
We (the band, not the cat) had a lot of nice reviews this year, all of which are on the “archive” page Thanks for spreading the word, we're very grateful!
We had lots of other really nice times too but I have to go and do the washing up now so it's time to stop.
So yes thanks to everyone who put us on, who came and saw us, said something nice to or about us and/or bought our stuff. It's very nice of you and we hope to see you in more places more frequently next year.
We almost have an albums' worth of new songs, so we might even get around to starting album number 2 next year!
Have a lovely Christmas and happy new year.
Simon (Santatron) x
Tuesday 7th August 2012
We finally had a practice yesterday, for the first time in nearly three months. There have been a couple of things stopping us from standing in the same room, just the four of us working on songs.
Firstly, Polly couldn’t stand up (and still can’t stand up really – I should have taken a picture of her sitting in a rehearsal room chair with her foot rested on Steve’s drum cases), but is now just about comfortable enough to travel to and from the rehearsal studio. She won’t be able to drive or stand comfortably for at least a month yet.
Secondly, we’ve been playing a lot of gigs, in this band or in the TTO or Redmaxx and it is really hard to play a lot of gigs and find time to practice in-between. John Lennon made a good point when he was asked about when the band (can’t remember what they were called) practised:
“we’re playing all the time, when are we going to rehearse?”
So now we’re finally able to practice together and it was a lot of fun. We have a backlog of songs that we’d sort-of-started-working-on-but-ran-out-of-time-or-something-else-happened-and-we-forgot-about-it, plus a bunch of brand new ones that we hadn’t even tried yet.
We made some good progress with a couple of new songs last night, one, a minute-and-a-half thrash through, came together really quickly and the other one, more complex and varied, was showing signs that it was deffo going to work, with a bit more time spent on it.
We’re gonna have another go in a week or so, with only a couple of gigs this month (quite helpfully at the start and end of the month) and see how much further we can get with them. There is a really really good second album in those songs and I wanna hear it!!
So yeah, in short it was fun and I thought it was worth sharing.
Saturday 30th June 2012
It's been a very interesting month for us, with both good and bad things happening pretty much at the same time. We've had two excellent gigs so far this month with one more tonight at The Stables with our buddies The New Town Centres.
The Horns on Monday 25th was such a good gig - the sound onstage and out front (so we're told) was blinding and it was so much fun to play - as the piccies that you'll see littered throughout the website show (thanks to Howard key for those)!
We were chuffed that some people who had never seen us before turned up to watch after hearing us online and even bought cds! We'll be back at The Horns in the autumn, watch this space for more info...
Polly's broken foot has been really tough for her and we've had to cancel one gig as a result of it - The organisers at The Kaya Festival in Bangor were really understanding though so we thank them once again. They've promised to have us next year so hopefully we'll be able to make it there!
It's been very frustrating for her to do gigs sitting on a stool with her foot propped up!
Two more weeks were told until the cast can possibly come off, but the doctors have said that as it was such a bad break it may take longer to heal, so we'll see what happens. Thanks to everyone for their best wishes, cards and jokes about hopping, pirate-related humour and comments about crutches. All much appreciated. By me anyway, if not by Polly.
We are gonna take July "off", meaning no gigs as it better for the foot.
The band really need to crack on with this backlog of new songs that we haven't had the time to work on so we might get round to that next month.
So when we emerge in August for the Music in the parks festival in Harpenden on the 12th we'll be raring to go and all of us have the use of all of our feet.
Time to get packed and off to Milton Keynes. See you!
Sunday 27th May 2012
It's very sunny outside, too sunny for me - after four days of it I'm done and now am trying my best to stay out of it. My arms have turned an interesting purple colour as a result of nodding off in the garden yesterday.
I've been a little lazy with this recently but promise to do a bit more once we start our June gigs, of which there are many.
May was fun and we played a lot, The Great Escape gig in Brighton was loads of fun and a highlight for the band and (I think) Rhythms of the World, who kindly asked us along as part of their showcase.
Were off to Wales next week to play at The Kaya Festival, which looks like fun and then we're pretty much solid until July, when we'll take a break, as both Dez and Polly have birthdays (which means parties!) and everyone pretty much goes on holiday, so we will too.
There are quite a few new songs floating around as well, we've started to work on some of them but need to find some more time to do a bit more soon. Maybe by Christmas!
Ok it's time to put the washing out now, see you soon.
Recording the 7 inch single, 11/1/14
Video shoot day, 27/10/13
"Patterns of Chaos"
Album recording day one.