Beachy Head Music Club / Blog
Beachy Head Music Club What's all that about then?.....
BHMC formed in 2003 from musically inclined employees of the Big Issue offices in Brighton. Then Dug Degnin, Simon Young and Nick Flowers found a superb all-round instrumentalist working nights in a homeless hostel called Nick Cooper (or 'Mini' Cooper, in an ironic joust at his huge muscular frame).
Simon became the main songwriter and began thinking how you could merge the Bonzo's with 70's Miles Davis. An absurd and insulting idea but one that gave rise to the Beachy Head sound. An AKAI 16-track machine was purchased and they got to work. The first batch of songs were recorded as the first bombs fell during the Iraq conquest.
The first album "Nice Feel" was finished in 2004 with the help of loads of friends, including some actual professionals. Charlotte Glasson (Divine Comedy, Oasis etc etc) joined for woodwinds and strings, Tom Arnold (Brighton Beach Boys and countless sessions and tours for major artists) joined for any of the many instuments he can play, and for the structure and direction he brings.
BHMC then tried recording on a computer, to see if it worked for them or not. The results can be heard on "Custard Lighthouse", finished in 2006. The band consisted of just Dug, Mini, Simon, Charlotte and Tom at this stage and the album has a very different texture to the first.
"Nutjob" (or 'Jut-nob' as the band know it) the next LP, saw the addition of Keith Markwick on Guitar and Glen Richardson (Ornate Johnsons, Brighton Beach Boys etc etc) on Keyboards and backing vocals. It also saw the return of "the box", their beloved 16-track recorder, and a much simpler style. The funk starts to creep in. Nutjob was voted album of the year, and BHMC band of the year on Scrub Radio (NY). Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorrilaz) wrote in with his approval. Tracks also started to get played on BBC radio 6 on the Tom Robinson show.
"Oblong", or BH4, is the latest recording and has something of the exuberance of the first LP but carries with it (most of) the lessons learnt so far. Some of the tracks seem to be pointing in a new direction but who knows? The funk seems to have crept in, closed the door and taken a seat. Dan Stuart (Green on Red) has declared himself one of the album's first fans.
All of the above releases are now available from Sleepy Music.
PATCHY - Infectious Songs
These songs are real growers, the simplicity of the two guitars that complement each other sweetly and the original on the edge sometimes barking mad vocal give Patchy their uniqueness. Every tune, and they are tunes, carry a great lyric that usually tell a story, sometimes an honest ironic lament, sometimes disturbing. Excellent musicianship and infectious vocals somewhere between 1970's Kevin Coyne and Mark Linkous, they've got me.....
Beachy Latest , sometime in September 2010
Well the Nutjob album has been polished up and produced by Ooman who really made it happen for us. We gave him the songs in our usual hap hazard mixes and he produced a Swan out of a confused but potentially good album, I mean you gotta be a magician to do stuff like that....make Swans out of stuff.
Had a guitar change over the past few months after being guitar naked for a while Mark Richardson has taken over the role and managed to pin down the million chord structures of some of the songs, Sometimes known to make grown men cry. We're both Soul, Motown fanatics so the next album will have a more funky, motowny feel, Si has written some excellent groovies.
I've been a bit frustrated as feel I want to do more than sing so have been learning the Harp over the past few months, gonna give it a whirl on the stuff we're recording now. Anyway, a diamond little instrument and it's not like learning the sax or trumpet, where you know the neighbours are REALLY getting pissed off with the painful squeaks and horribly wrong notes.
Was signed to a new Label called Sleepy Records during the summer who will do the distribution, plugging and uploading the works to itunes and other such sites.
This is something we are crap at but have made some great friends over the past year and forming a friendly like minded community. Seems like our social netwoking skills are cool.
Gigged a couple of times this year, done a blinder at The Latest Music Bar, always a good atmosphere, great sound man. Played some of the Nutjob funkier ones, gave them their first outing to lots of dancin, best approval to me. Done a dim one at the Sanctuary on a Sunday afternoon, we'd been guitarless so could only rehearse with drum and bass which proved an ordeal. Glenn and Charlotte jump in for the odd rehearsal but they know the music and slot in nicely aound us live. It was the hottest Sunday afternoon in the summer most people were on the beach and the venue had not arranged someone to run the bar. It was good in the fact that I could sit down post gig with Johnno (AKA SNIPPET)for the first time have a few drinks and a bloody good natter.
Tom from Two Sheds Jackson came to visit us in Brighton and we spent a sunny afternoon with Simon chilling and chatting. Tom brought some demo's with him for Two Sheds new album, lovely catchy Two Sheds songs. Was great to meet Tom face to face, really good bloke.
Scrub Radio have been so good to us, giving us regular air plays and all thanks to Todd Dillingham for introducing us to an amazing pocket of independant artists and educating us on how much really good music is out there, Thank you Todd.
We want so much to play live as much as poss and secretly hope that Sleepy might be good at getting us a few festies. We're crap at that too and badly need a manager!
Have just had to say goodbye to the Studio as it's been sold but managed to get some crisp live drum down. Gotta relocate to somewhere cheap and new, it'll happen.
That brings you up to date and thanks for your continuing support
Release of NUTJOB Dec 9th - How we got there!
We wanted to give this album more of a live feel, a lot of the backdrop tracks were recorded live to try create the spirit of 'in the moment music'. When I used to buy my vinyl in the 70's it reflected the almost raw sound of the band, recorded in a studio yes, but restricted to the basic instruments with limited production compared with today. That's what we eventually reduced it down to, drums, percussion, Hammond, Rhodes, fag paper of Synth, bass, guitar and vocals.
We loaded the backdrops with loads of stuff and then stripped it back to it's almost bare bones but is still definitely BEACHY HEAD MUSIC CLUB. This new batch of songs are some of the very best so far and we've let the compositions speak for themselves.
That's what you'll hear in the live shows next year, makes it easier to put the album across!
Most of the album was written on the move around Brighton at many different locations on our mobile unit which has been a lot of fun. Being in one studio for a long time seems to give us all a little cabin fever and might even make us do a second or third take of something. We love first takes, the band ethos is to take on the attitude of riding a bike down a steep hill blind folded with your hands off the handlebars, it mostly works!
The album will be available by request at email@example.com and on itunes in February 2010.
Hope you all like it, it's come from the heart, try and listen to the lyrics as well as the music, it all means something and is very accessible.
Bollocks and 'Come at oncer's
Thanks for stopping by.
Work continues on the new album "NUTJOB". The only dispute at present is the cover of the album, not for the squeamish and most definitely likely to offend the nature lover and the more sensitive. I must admit I like it a lot. For those who are reading this and getting images of big hairy bollocks you're on the wrong track, this is a much more ridiculously evil idea. The choice is whether to go with a John Travolta – Saturday Night Fever or an Elvis Presley theme, whatever choice they are equally irreverent and inappropriate.
The songs on the new album are some of our best ever, at present it's getting a bit crazy with twenty seven songs to play with. They can change shape somewhat, catchy hooky pop, Jazzy, some pretty heavy funk grooves, blues, ballads and full on rock n roll.
Tom and Glen have been putting the Rhodes and Hammond over about half of them and the tunes are coming together. We gotta go some to reach the Christmas Eve deadline but I'm pretty sure we'll hit the target.
Simon has indulged me with his usual rich, witty lyrics to sing and perverse. He's surpassed himself with the new songs that dominate most of the album; some co-writes, some of mine, some of Keith's. Unusually I really like them all this time, you know if you get a record and it's got say five good tracks that make you go 'Kin ell!'. This album for me is like a best hits album, every song has got something to make me want to say 'Kin ell!
Recording this album has been the least stressful so far, seems its got some flow and a way to go, like we're taking a ride rather than recording an album. A lot of these songs were 'it came all at once' songs.
You might have had this experience when the music and the lyric arrive at the same time in your head, you know they're the golden ones. I never look at these as mine, I find myself saying thank you, oh thank you! a lot. The song 'Twat' on the Custard Lighthouse album was one of those, and one on this album for my bro, as yet un named. Simon holds the record, as most of his songs on “NUTJOB” were all 'come at oncer's, lucky bastard or genius? Answers on a postcard to:
Obviously getting towards the top of the cake is getting the album complete, the icing is then performing it.
If you're reading this Fran 'Nice Crusts'
Duggy – Beachy Head Music Club
Reverence from Charles Plymell and an NYC Tour
BEACHY HEAD MUSIC CLUB
PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE
Beachy Head Music Club are on the move after the Brighton Festival. When I interviewed Dug and Simon yesterday they looked like two Cheshire cats caught in the spotlights. "We don't know whats happening! In two days we have had two references that describe our music as sounding like Chet Baker, and an offer to perform from venues around the 'Village' NYC. At present we have two agents helping us to sell the sizzle in the States for a summer jaunt of gigs and revelry" Now, the Chet Baker references have stunned them, they believe they sounded quintessentially English pulling ideas from The Canturbury Scene through the sixties and seventies, however it feels like the American following hear the music differently, just that in itself is interesting. Mostly their British contingent hear Ian Dury, Beatles, Robert Wyatt, Kinks etc, Duggy sings in his home Thames Estuary accent which is far from Transatlantic, the music is definitely full of lucious melodies, beats, lyrical genius, diversity and dare I say it comedy albeit sometimes black humour. Charles Plymell, author of The Last of the Mocassin's and mover and shaker with Burroughs, Ginsberg, Cassady and also printed the first works of Robert Crumb wrote :
“IF YOU MISSED THE COOL SOUNDS OF A STAN GETZ OR CHET BAKER IN REAL TIME, DON'T BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA! YOU CAN STILL CHILL UNDER SOME SAME SUN SOUNDS FROM BEACHY HEAD MUSIC CLUB” - CHARLES PLYMELL. Thanks Charley
Beachy Head Music Club will be appearing at THE LATEST MUSICBAR, Manchester St. during the Brighton Festival on Sunday 17th May. Try and catch them before they leave our shores!!
BHMC Hero 1
The great Ron Aspery, saxophonist and composer, died at his home in Saltdean, Sussex on Wednesday 10th December 2003