2016 – So far, so mixed …

It has been a little while since I last blogged. It’s just over halfway through the year, so I guess it’s as good a time as any to reflect on 2016 so far.

On the whole, it has been a good year if rather stressful at times. January started off with a tirade of abuse from a bunch of people. It wasn’t a great time and I won’t go into their identities or nature of it. Suffice to say that it has been dealt with appropriately and they no longer have any means of contacting me. Also as a consequence of their actions, I will never speak to any of them ever again for any reason.

Dawn of Elysium has been going well for us. In January, we got to play at Carpe Noctum with seminal 80’s goth band The Danse Society and our friends Hands of Industry, which kick-started us into the year quite nicely. We resolved to improve on 2015’s live schedule and by April, we had already done that. We’ve been playing fairly regularly in West Yorkshire and are in discussions regarding gigs further afield later in the year.

Recordings are filtering through with our release of the “Trust” EP going online in February and the release of “This Rising Sun” in June, both of which are now available on iTunes and various other online outlets. Work on the album has continued piecemeal as and when we can get time with Martin. However, just about all of the mixing work is now done, with mainly editing and mastering to go. We are aiming for a late summer release. Demo work for the follow-up release has been ongoing with 3 tracks nearing completion. We’re aiming to release an EP to follow the album but this is some time off yet. Everything has been ticking over nicely and we’re very pleased with progress. It has been great to be able to be in a position to record the songs as we’ve been writing them.

In February, I put an event on at the 1in12. Called “Someone Else’s Problem”, it was in aid of PAFRAS. It was a stressful but fun evening and we managed to raise £225 for the charity. As a rule, I generally don’t run events anymore but it was for a very worthy cause. It was a great line-up and a bloody good night. I toyed with the idea of organising a follow-up event but thus far I have had neither the time or the energy.

In April, Bradford’s music scene lost a dear friend and colleague. Harry “Scouse” Roberts passed away after suffering a heart attack during a shopping trip in town. He was a much loved character and sound engineer with whom I had worked at a number of venues. Of course there was an all day event organised in remembrance, affectionately called “Scousefest” and following his funeral, we gave him a great send-off. He will be missed by many of us.

In May, I took the difficult decision of leaving Echofire. Echofire had been in existence for 15 months. It was actually a follow-on project from Suicide By Cop, which dated back a further 6 years and so three of us had been together for quite some time. A lot of water had flowed under its bridge and we had made some great music in all that time but progress had been frustratingly slow for too long. It was really affecting my state of mind and to stick around any longer would not have been fair on anybody.

Thankfully, my leaving gave rise to much positivity for everybody.

The remaining members of Echofire regrouped and are enjoying a long overdue period of renewed enthusiasm with a modified line-up. I am so happy for them as it had been difficult for all of us. They remain some of my closest friends and I wish them all the best. It took some time but I think this was the fresh start the band really needed. I am very much looking forward to hearing what they come up with. We recorded an EP in the spring of 2015, which I had spent quite some time playing around with. There’s still a bit of recording to do vocal-wise but I’d like to finish it off at some point just for posterity. It’s different from Suicide By Cop and will more than likely be different from what Echofire is to become but it’s a snapshot in time of where we were at.

Shortly following my departure from Echofire, I set about getting something new together. The as yet unnamed band started off really well, very quickly getting some songs together. We’re currently going through the initial teething stage which comes with every brand new band as we get our line-up established. I am sure we’ll get there. It has really been a breath of fresh air for me and it’s great to be starting afresh with new people and new ideas. There is much work to be done but we are cracking on. Our initial goal is to take it live by the end of the year and have something recorded.

My DJ nights at The Black Swan have continued and am happy to say are very well received. I have been playing on the last Saturday of each month as part of the Trap Door pre-party (unless I have a gig). Trap Door is a monthly rock club which takes place at Bradford University and is very popular. I have been asked if I am available to do more nights. Unfortunately as yet I have not been able to do it but no doubt I will as time goes by.

So life is generally as busy as ever. Mentally, I am up and down. The Echofire split is still processing itself in my mind. I know it was the right thing to do but as with any parting of the ways, things are still a bit weird for me especially with them now moving on and looking for other band members. It is undoubtedly what both parties respectively needed to do and the pleasure I am getting from working with my new band is testament to that. Bands are odd things and the relationships you have with your band-mates run deep. Adjusting to changes, whilst keeping friendship and band stuff separate can be tricky. I always tend to throw myself emotionally head first into musical projects and end up feeling a bit fragile when it comes to an end. I am optimistic but a bit at sixes and sevens with it all.

Still, there’s lots to look forward to. I am loving Dawn of Elysium, the gigs we are playing and the recordings we are on with. My new band has some real potential and I’m looking forward to all that it brings. There are always other recording projects I want to get involved in too.

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