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Steve Stroud / Blog

New Material

As I wrote in my fb/twitter status yesterday, I've been writing some new material. I was actually anticipating a bit of a break from songwriting and recording, as Hot Pink Flamingos took a lot out of me as I did it all on my own. It seems like the pressure (I put on myself) to get the record finished and out there, made the process slightly less enjoyable than it should have been in the end. Working alone in a vacuum can be tiring. Now that pressure has been lifted and the album is out and I'm 'pretty' happy with it, I think I've found a new lease of life musically speaking. With no pressure or expectation to produce anything, I'm feeling pretty energised. Yesterday I got a few hours to myself and ended up sat in my studio strumming my orange strat and songs just kept pouring out of me. I found the whole process really enjoyable. After all the trial and errors of the last two albums, I feel like I finally know my way around my studio. I can now get good, clean results pretty quickly. On the 'What If We Had No Moon?' home demos, it would sometimes take me days to get a decent sounding bass guitar track down. (And I sometimes never actually managed it). On 'Hot Pink Flamingos' the process was a bit quicker, but it was still too slow and the bass guitar sound is possiblky the weak point on that record. (No Chico Sanchez you see?) Now, it seems I'm getting better results, quicker. I wrote and recorded 4 new tracks yesterday. drums/bass/guitars/guide vocals. Instead of the writing and recording over the course of a year, I like the idea of writing some songs quickly, so they all have the same energy. I want more of a live sound this time, less strings maybe. Harder guitars, but more energy, more fun to listen to. I'll let you know how I get on.

Guitars (Gear Bore Alert)

This might be a little dull unless you're a weird techy, guitar nut muso (Like me). So I won't be offended in the slightest if you click that little X in the top right corner in the next 2 seconds...Still here? Wow. you're a loose cannon maverick.

I use a few different kinds of guitar in both live and studio work. On my 2009 solo album 'What If We Had No Moon?' my main guitar was a homemade white Strat with SCN pickups. On my latest album (Hot Pink Flamingos) it was a mix of another homemade strat, this time a big, heavy orange sparkle beast with seymour duncan 'everything axe' pickups. If you hear anything with tremelo or a whammy bar dip (Ant people, Dragonflies), that's the orange sparkle. I also used a Gibson Goldtop Les Paul Standard for the more Rock and Roll bits, anything that sounds a bit Mick Ronson-y (Be Remembered, Try, Drunks & Whores), then that's the goldtop. Just before I finished the album I bought a Gibson ES335 in iced tea sunburst, it's beautiful and my main gigging guitar with The Deltatones. I think it's only on a couple of the tracks on the album. I know it's on 'Attack of The Merman' possibly more. Any Acoustic guitar on the record is a Yamaha APX700, not the best, but it get's the job done. One day I'd like to get myself a nice old Gibson Acoustic, a hummingbird or songbird or dove etc, Live, with the Deltatones it's the 335 mainly or the Les Paul, depending on my mood. With The Skin Imps, it's usually the Les Paul, because with the Imps I use my Fender Valve amp (Hot Rod Deluxe) and it's very loud so the 335 would possibly feedback a bit because of the F Holes.

Jesus, that bored even me. A thousand apologies.

Reverbnation

I'm stumbling around Reverbnation like a punchdrunk semi professional boxer. I like it, it's cool, but it's confusing, hard to navigate and I have no idea what it's ultimately for, other than making money for the clever dicks who started the Reverbnation site.. I suspect it's a honey trap for vain, unsuccessful independent artists (like me!) And we're all trying to get to number 1 in the RN charts. What happens when you get to number one in the RN charts? Probably not much, but by then you'll have spent plenty of money on promotions and whatnots that probably don't earn you much back. My music is here, but then it's all over the place also, making people buy it is another matter. But, having said all that, if you can mobilise the troops and crucially, if you have something worth selling, this could be a useful tool. Bandcamp is nicer though.

App

I have to write a blog for my app. So, here it is. Today I'm trying not to eat chocolate and listening to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. Judge Judy is muted on the telly in the background. A Gibson ES- 335 sits to my right, a cup of black coffee to my left and life is, for the moment..panic free. I hope you've been able to listen to at least some of the tracks from my new Album 'Hot Pink Flamingos'. I think it's pretty good. Not 'Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground' good, but definitely 'Judge Judy' good. (Maybe even 'Horrible Histories' good if I'm allowed to be optimistic for a second). Have a good and lucky day x