The Big Picture
Here are some notes around the tracks on our brand new album.
The Big Picture – About our sound opening up and expanding. The first piece we introduced ebow in. It was one of those situations where the piece sort of wrote itself.. it was great getting the guys in on this one with the tablas, double bass etc..
We wanted to create a moody, lush soundscape, and that’s what happened..The Big Picture was a very satisfying piece to create, and that’s why it’s the title track of the album.
Suitcase – This is very nostalgic for us as it reminds us of our trip to Paris last year. “Suitcase” is about seeing the suitcases at the foot of the bed for weeks in anticipation of the trip. The piece was partly written over there in our apartment in the Latin Quarter overlooking all the action on the street below. Here’s a little clip of that.. It is actually played on alto flute on the album.
In A Dream – An alternate reality, where there are moonbeams, fairytales, and no war. A peaceful lullaby for all ages.
Different Turn – we felt like the direction had changed a bit in the composing here. Writing with bass and percussion in mind, a band version of Radius. Our first ever live performance with bass and percussion (with Mike and Doug) was great fun, and it all came together quite naturally. Here’s a link to the live footage:
Little Wing – Jimmi Hendrix thanks for the song – such a beautiful piece to play.
We recorded our version of Little Wing in 2013 with video footage in Wainui, Banks Peninsula, so it was the first track recorded for this album. Banks Peninsula, home for many years.
Better Days – Our horrible holiday – we went up north in July 2015 for a rest,
and both came down with the flu. We were too sick to play, or do anything so when we got home wrote this song. It’s a strangely cheerful one considering.
All You Need – This is about a minimalist approach to life… having all you need to make you happy…a lot less than you think you need….A concept that’s very much a work in progress for us …
Silver Lining – Written around a time when some personal loss turned into some good music if we don’t say so ourselves…every cloud…music is the best therapy! This one evolved over a couple of years..
Broken – was in the process of being written when Harry dropped his guitar on his foot, making a huge dent in the body, and rendering it un-playable. It had to be returned to its maker Russ Mattsen in Nelson for very delicate surgery. The piece was then written and recorded on Harry’s rough old resonator, “Old Silver” he keeps in the shed for emergencies. It took on a new direction after the accident. The Resonator’s tone is pretty gritty, so the song became quite a pumper. We thought it
was only fitting to call it “Broken”. You might want to clear away the furniture and kick up your heels for this one.
Turn The Moon Down – Inspired by the Afro-American slaves, (field hollerers) we set out to write a chant that may have been sung, simple and raw… Thinking about the conditions and hardship that must have been suffered by these people is where the song comes from.. this is also our first piece combining Dobro and Alto Sax. What sounds like a gospel choir in the background is actually Harry on Ebo. The Sax at the end is my Baker street moment.
Wahi Tapu – “Sacred Place” soundtrack for footage taken at Pu Pu Springs.
The Soprano Sax uses false fingerings to get the breathy, softer sound. It is sometimes used as a welcome, and to set the mood at our concerts. It felt like a good note to finish the album on.
Easter weekend at the 2015 Waiheke and Tauranga International Jazz Festivals
What an absolute blast at the Waiheke and Tauranga Jazz Festivals over Easter!
Above is a snap of us about to board the ferry in Auckland for Waiheke with all the gear (how many guitars does one man need??) and help of a brand new trolley system.
We spent a couple of Waiheke nights in a beautiful house in the bush, overlooking the sea. The weather was ideal and Waiheke was humming.
It was a pleasure to play to such an appreciative crowd in The Mora Hall and The Sandbar, worth all the hauling of luggage!.
Then it was on to Tauranga to play support for Darren Watson Planet Blues show at The Baycourt Theatre.A great gig, and so much fun playing together on the last Muddy Waters tune.
The Trinity Wharf Hotel was filled with muso’s, and the glorious weather continued.
The next day in the Historic village It was time to take the plunge and debut the title track of the next album “The Big Picture”.
We had two fantastic gigs in the Lafayette church and sold loads of “Seven Tales” C.D’s, so left Tauranga in high spirits, and energized enough to finish “The “Big Picture”, ready for the album release tour in January.
Watch this space ……
So we are home again back in Christchurch after an unforgettable five weeks away in Paris and New York! We set out with a soprano sax as hand luggage and a bubble wrapped flute in the hold. We were guitar-less, but looking forward to the loan of a guitar from muso friends Flip Grater in Paris, and Andy Keoghan in NYC. It was strangely liberating to leave behind the trailer load of banjos, dobros, loop pedals, and P.A gear we usually travel with and head off.
Arriving late friday night in the Latin quarter of Paris was a trip in itself. After a hair raising taxi ride we climbed the narrow staircase of the 1800’s building we were staying in, to our apartment on the third floor. For the next 10 days we kicked back, soaked up the amazing architecture, the buzz, the culture, street life, and came up with our next addition to the new album.
The bones of our new song “Out of the Box” on flute and guitar was filmed at 11 Rue de la Harpe on an iPhone one evening after a couple of wines, and a really tasty Indian meal. “Out of the box” more or less wrote itself, and I think we can attribute it to our time spent there, feeling awestruck by Paris and all it has to offer.
We survived the most adrenaline fuelled drive in a hire car out of Paris to Dinan in Bretagne, a beautiful medieval village over a thousand years old. There were some sweet busking spots on the cobble stone streets tucked in behind old ramparts, with natural acoustics for a bit of good old fashioned reverb. The Celtic culture of Bretagne seemed to have a distant connection with our music. We headed back to Paris for a final few days. It was sad saying goodbye to France after three wonderful weeks, but the next leg of the journey was great consolation…
NYC was fantastic, an average of 30 degrees, and Greenwich Village such a treat to stay in. We loved everything about it, the people, the colour, the great restaraunts, music venues and concerts… The most fun busking ever was in Washington park under an archway that became our regular spot. The vents in the ground and the shape of the arch gave a reverb to die for and the people seemed to really dig our music. We made quite a bit of money, and sold some CD’s that we’d snuck past customs. It’s surprising how much you can earn there on the street, it’s just another way of life, which is really liberating.
After a few days playing there, we felt relaxed enough to film another piece “Silver Lining” for the new album (loop free, downsized acoustic version).. on soprano and guitar. Writing for the album is taking shape nicely now..
Next mission was to get on down at an open mic night, which we did! A high energy set that the punters loved and were so enthusiastic about. We were asked to come back and do a gig later in the week… ” Radius all the way from Nuuuuuu Zeeeeeland!!” they said…( these people know how to do an introduction). The gig was a total blast, awesome response and loads of fun.
This was such a great note to finish the last week of the trip on, and left us with a feeling of connectedness and appreciation. The whole adventure has inspired a new belief in our music and the unique qualities that New Zealand music has to offer. Our culture, geographical surroundings and distance are part of what gives us our own sound. People on the other side of the world love what we do, and what is different about our music.
So, where to next?… Watch this space, the next trip is already being planned, with the likelihood of taking along more music gear. There is a whisper of a few gigs in Hawaii and on the road from San Francisco to Vancouver. Preparations are well underway for the new album, with the help of a lot of fresh inspiration. In contrast to ‘Seven Tales’, we are really excited about bringing in some guest artists and expanding the sound. Title yet to be decided, but due for release the start of 2015, ready for our next international tour…. Keep ya’ll posted……
Radius playing live in Washington Square – New York City