Last year was a very eventful, chaotic and musically unproductive year in the main. This year is seeing some things come to some semblance of fruition.
Dawn of Elysium have spent the first half of the year playing some live dates after a lengthy period out of circulation and in need of a break from recording activities. It has been just the tonic for all of us and we have played what I would consider some of our finest performances to date. I really feel as if we are evolving as a band and have started turning heads who have hitherto been uninterested.
This gig season has held some especially memorable moments. Special mention goes to our March date in Keighley with Black Horse Fairy and Echofire. This was a personally very poignant night as not only did we share the bill with Echofire but Paul Gooding joined us on stage for Pictures of Matchstick Men. This was the first song his dad Steve taught him to play on the guitar when he was a small boy and we played it as a surprise for him. It was great to be sharing a stage with my old sparring partner and I for one would like to repeat this or do something else together at some point. What shape that might take is anybody’s guess.
We played the last one on 22nd June at The Primrose in Leeds. I am not sure what was going on that night but I have not enjoyed playing a gig that much for many years. It was one of those nights where everything just felt right.
We have a couple more dates in the calender but have tentatively returned to recording/writing mode. Since plans for the second album seemed to be taking longer than anticipated, our intention is to release an EP in the interim.
Regarding studio activities, the first few months of the year saw me make a final concerted push to finish the Echofire EP. It was an intense period as I was determined to put it to bed and get it sounding the best I could. I am very pleased indeed with the results. I released it on my own Bandcamp page as a free download. Echofire have their own page and release with a very different lineup and I wouldn’t presume to interfere with that.
The EP is my first full work under the new Idle Hands Studio moniker and after its completion, I needed to give my ears and head a break. In addition to this, the last few weeks has seen some particularly hot weather hit the UK and so the studio room has not been the most hospitable of places to spend a great deal of time.
Last September, I came to the decision that I’d like to set up a brand new rock band. Starting from scratch certainly doesn’t get any easier as you get older and even securing adequate rehearsal time can be problematic at times. However, on I ploughed and managed to get the first line-up together at the start of October. It was a promising start but as one might expect at these initial stages, not for everybody. After a couple of months, our line-up issues were resolved as we were joined by ex-Reeved bassist Chris Brooks. We named the band Crash Scene Flowers and have since been working on our initial songs and sound. The style I am playing is sort of a natural continuation of what I was doing with Echofire and Man Down but maybe a little more grungey.
This has been a very exciting breath of fresh air for me as I am working with people I have never worked with previously, namely singer Jamie (Jimmy Pop) Sullivan and a really talented drummer called Kyle Grundy. I always had a great relationship with Chris back in the Reeved days too. We are gelling nicely and getting used to each other’s way of working. There is also the possibility of us introducing a second guitar into the mix, taking us to a 5-piece but at the time of writing has yet to be tried. My goal for the band is to have something recorded and to have played some form of gig before the year is out, with a view to getting out more next year. I have played just two non-DOE gigs in the last three years, one each with Echofire and Man Down respectively, therefore I am probably more determined than ever that this progresses beyond the rehearsal room walls.