Making music

Inspired by a chat with my songwriting friend Elena Dana, I decided to actually put a new demo online on Sunday.

I probably should have written this song a while ago, but it kind of came lyrically/melodically and then I had to be bothered to actually get my guitar and work out the chords (which as always, aren’t complex, so I have no excuse…) and structure it.

I’ve played two open mic slots in London so far and I have to seek out more and be proactive, but I get so scared about approaching people so only have myself to blame. I always say I want to have a band – which is totally true – but equally, I shouldn’t just lay down my guitar and refuse to play it until I do. If I do.

So, if anyone knows of nights I could play, get in touch.

Here’s the new song, 12 Feet Under.

This set of demos kind of reflects the more recent sound. So Far Away was written when I was 20… it’s a bit scary to think that that was nearly four years ago! Escapology was the only song I wrote while in Newcastle, while Hard Candy is a product of the time I lived in Willesden Green in an odd living arrangement that made me decide it was time to aspire seriously for my own place.

Now firmly settled in the Get Flat, I have no excuse not to write, and so I finally wrote the song I needed to write about some of the things that happened in 2010/11. I kind of wish I could do it semi-acapella with accompaniment from one of those rhythmic cup players you see on YouTube.

12 Feet Under
I’m on a train
I’m gonna give my body to the Tyne and hope my soul
takes flight
‘Cos I’ve got plans to be getting on with

And oh
You laundered marbles ’til you lost control
Oh
Now they’re coming back to trip you, trip you
Oh
Resting on your laurels ’til the branches snapped
And the tree on the ground
How it felled you

They’ll have to bury me 12 feet under
For your six feet on top
cos I am
Taking you with me I am
taking you with me
When my neck’s for that drop

And your mother should have warned you to be superstitious
For you’ll be crying out
For her arms
When I’m gone.

Here’s a song from Elena Dana – I used to play this on my Amazing Radio folk show back in the day…

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GoldenBoys Launch Party

After my last blog post I was invited to the GoldenBoys launch party.

(Get in!)

I don’t go to many ‘London-y’ events. The last one was a CBS party celebrating NCIS at the Dorchester Hotel. There were cupcakes, champagne, wine and an actress from the show to chat to – a nice event, but a slightly stiff atmosphere.

Luckily the GoldenBoys event was a far more laid back affair. Held in Neo Bar, Barbican, the party was oh so generous with the complimentary cocktails (all renamed with a financial theme). I helped myself to ‘Millionare’s Martinis’ and checked out the site on the laptops set out across the bar. One of the key games on the site is all about gambling on the state of the market – whether it’ll be up or down once trading has ended at the end of the working day. Another is the ‘Millionaires’, another game based on world markets – but, in theory, more predictable than the lottery numbers.

I also got to meet site founder Martin Linham and caught up with PR Adam (who works for event organisers TopLine Communications alongside my sister, Charlotte). When he’s not in the office, he can often be found drumming for Glaswegian alternative rock act There Will Be Fireworks.

Photo of me, Adam and Martin by Sheri Selby

On another note, the event marked the second ‘official’ outing for my Urban Outfitter’s playsuit – a lovely garment in theory (and some might say ‘on-trend’ due the all-over pattern and wide legged pyjama trouser) – but bloody hazardous when out and about. It’s got a zip followed by back of buttons that means that I simply can’t redress myself post toilet-break. Thankfully my friend Sarina was on hand to help with the process!

Keep the invites coming, please!

All I Want for Christmas…

… Ok so maybe not all I want, but as I’ve been shopping around for friends and family (honest!), I keep seeing things I wish I could treat myself to!

Anything by Tatty Devine

I’m a massive fan of innovative perspex jewellery designers Tatty Devine. I used to live around the corner from their Brick Lane store, which was lethal for my bank balance and I had to limit myself to window shopping most of the time. My sister loved the crazy glasses I bought for her birthday, and on special occasions I get out my massive mayor’s chain.

My favourite piece of theirs has always been their classic keyboard necklace. It’s as tinkly-looking as the real thing and, being monochrome, would go with anything. Recent designs I’m also lusting after include the ivy vines necklaces and the honesty seed pod stem necklace.

On another note, how cool are their models? Far from the ethereal editorial types, the girls on the website look like they wear the jewellery on a daily basis – I want to be them!

Original artwork

I’ve just moved to North West London and I’ve finally got a room I want to invest a bit more in – it’s large enough, for a start and it’s a lovely size (unlike my former ‘shoebox’ in Shoreditch). I’ve spent weeks buying things to make it into my own space, with a sofa, rug and coffee tables (inspired by the amazing makeover Dad’s wife, Deb, did on my old bedroom in Goudhurst, I’ve even got candles in the fireplace).  The one thing I haven’t done is successfully screwed my new mirror into the wall… there may have been, ahem, an issue with a drill…

What I’d really like to do now is get some amazing artwork to put up on the walls. Currently I’ve got a framed season three Skins poster that I got whilst I was at Channel 4, but there’s so much bare space it needs more! I’d love something by my friend Brendan Kearney (I gave this brilliant cat print to Deb when I moved back down South). I definitely need to retrieve my Get Frank artwork by Kate Hindley too – It’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received – I’ve never had the chance to hang it somewhere because I’ve moved so much in the last 18 months. Hopefully that will all change now! Anything from Girls Who Draw would make me ecstatic – ditto, Lizz Lunney.

Smelly stuff

As always, I’m craving bits and bobs from Lush – we don’t have a bath in my new flat but their hand creams, shower gels and hair products are still high in my estimation. Perfume-wise, I’m missing my lunchtime trips to House of Fraser with the Channel4.com Lifestyle girls (Abi, Annabel and Emma… oh and Tom as well, if he insists!). We used to casually stroll through the perfume section, spritzing ourselves in preparation for the afternoon – my scents of choice being Lola or Oh Lola! by Marc Jacobs. I do love good old fashioned nostalgia!

Xbox games

Now I’ve set up home with my beanbag and Xbox, I’m in dire need of new games to play on it. I’m keen to get my mits on the latest Tekken, Skyrim and LA Noire.

Drink!

Now, I don’t mean to sound like an alcoholic but… I really want a cocktail cabinet and things to go inside it! Stop judging me – it’ll be for your benefit when you pop round for a mojito or two.

Togs, clogs and face paint

I’m obsessing over Topshop and Zara. One can never go wrong with Mac.

In essence, I want something for my neck, something for my walls, something for occupying my brain and something for my face! What are you hoping for this year?

Get Frank Podcast: The One with Tom Williams

The other day I finally got my act together and hot-footed it over to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to see Slow Club play their biggest ever headline gig.

Not only was it a massive deal for the Sheffield two-piece, but it was also a dream come true for my podcast interviewee this month, Tom of Tom Williams and the Boat.

I first met Tom whilst working as a BBC Blast reporter in Kent, and have seen them perform in tiny local venues and bigger platforms such as the Avalon stage at Glastonbury. In the podcast, Tom chats to me about what the gig means to him and the band, the success of their debut album Too Slow and what to expect from the imminent follow-up.

Also featured on this month’s podcast are haunting new duo The Kindling, Bird, one of Liverpool’s most exciting songwriters, experimental acoustic artist Daughter, Get Frank favourite Oaken Lee and former Amazing Folk Roots act Urusen. There’s also a spot for vibrant ska-band By the Rivers, who are soon to embark on a UK tour in support of The Specials.

Listen to the podcast here – and check out the contact page for details of how to get involved with the next one!

Second chances, Leefest and Pengilly’s on film

I’m currently sat in my room listening to loads of bands from tomorrow’s Leefest lineup getting far more excited than is good for my little, beating heart

I’m hoping to cover the festival for my next podcast, having invited lineup curator Rich Legate to join me on my last episode, which you can listen to and download right now by clicking on the handy soundcloud module below…

It’s been a difficult week for everyone, I’m well aware. Seeing people’s tweets, messages and general social networking statuses have been heartbreaking – but I’ve also found equal emotion in the incredible images of crowds holding their brooms aloft and grouping together to clean up and erase the damage. For some this will be impossible and all we can do is try to support them. I’m lucky to have amazing friends who have all been Tweeting and texting to see if I’m fine – thank you! I hope you are all safe too, and will remain so.

As we reach the weekend, London is starting to breathe again. My sigh of relief will come this weekend at Leefest, as I try to brave working the press area of a festival again (it’s been a while!) Again, I’m lucky to have been given my own ‘second chance’ by Dave, Rich and all the Leefest crew, who’ve been immensely supportive and accommodating of me and my very new, admittedly green podcast.

I received a brilliant email from Ric of Leeds/London band Pengilly’s today, to say that the long-awaited video for the band’s single Toby’s Hill is ready for your visual and aural consumption. And my word, was it worth the wait.

PENGILLY’S “TOBY’S HILL” MUSIC VIDEO from BROWN BREAD FILMS on Vimeo.

Live, the band are a sight and sound to behold so make it a staple of your future new music agenda to check them out live sometime soon. In fact, why not this Saturday at Leefest? You can still get tickets for the two day festival (which starts tomorrow). You can either get a weekend ticket, which includes two nights of camping, or a day ticket. It’s a non-profit festival and money will be partly reinvested in next year’s event and also donated to local charity, KidsCo. So many ‘small’ festivals have fallen by the wayside this year – through the dogged determination of its young team of organisers, Leefest has resisted throwing in the towel and is on the eve of greatness. I can’t bloody wait.

Hopefully I’ll see you at Leefest tomorrow, if not, I’ll be bringing an update soon!

Get Frank’s Leefest Special

For my fourth Get Frank podcast, I decided to do a special on non-profit festival Leefest.

The two day event, which takes place on the 12th and 13th August on a farm in Bromley, South London, raises money for charity KidsCo and is a brilliant way of making new music accessible to the masses – whilst attracting big name talent that usually would give Kent amiss. Plus, at just £55 for the full event (including camping), I think you’ll agree that it’s a bit of a bargain!

Get Frank's Leefest Special

Leefest - see you down the front?

For this podcast, rather than feature one interviewee, I took on a co host in the form of the lovely Rich Legate. He’s a former LSR FM station manager and is in charge of booking artists for the festival – no mean feat considering that much of the festival has been organised on next to no money (money that included savings of some of the young organisers).

A unique element of this festival is that it mixes new and emerging artists with big name headliners and attempts to treat all as one. At the festival you’ll be able to see up and coming acts gracing the main stage as well as the smaller tents usually reserved for the newbies. It’s brilliant experience for the musicians and great for us smug, ‘musically-interested’ types who want to see the ‘Next Big Thing’ play in a potentially muddy field in Kent five years before they play in an almost certainly muddy field in Somerset…

Rich was kind enough to put in the legwork for this podcast on my behalf and bring me five of the acts he’s most looking forward to seeing across the weekend (fingers crossed he gets time!) They are; Fraser, Pengilly’s, Loose Talk Costs Lives, Stanley Blacks and Professor Penguin, who Rich performs with as a guitarist.

If you’d like to check out the podcast and possibly even subscribe to future episodes, head here.

The Get Frank Podcast #3

It’s podcast time, and this month it’s ‘The One With… The Union Choir

I was really excited to interview Jon from The Union Choir as I’ve had the privilege of rehearsing and performing with the band. It’s one of those insights that not many interviewers are lucky to have, so I hope I made the most of the opportunity in the interview!

Frankie Ward and Jon Melvin

Hanging out with Jon from The Union Choir

The podcast is quite mellow this time, and I look back after recording it and wonder where all the female artists went – something I shall rectify in the next episode I’m sure. There are, however, some fantastic bands in this episode, and they stretch from the North East through to Southampton so hopefully I’m spreading out my regions a bit!

So who have I got on the podcast this time? Well I kick things off with one of those artists you’ll never forget seeing live; solo medical student Fran O’Hanlon, aka Ajimal. He’s the songwriter that, together with Martin Longstaff (The Lake Poets), is never omitted from debates on Newcastle’s best bands. Continuing the Newcastle trend, I couldn’t resist popping a top track by the North East’s most entertaining and witty act, Brilliant Mind.

In honour of one of the gigs I attended in June, I bring you a track from Pengilly’s, having had the pleasure of seeing the band in question play a strong set at The Lexington. In support of my interview with Jon, I also play two of the acts that played on the same bill as The Union Choir at Camden’s Dublin Castle; Southampton’s Doyle and the Fourfathers and guitar-tapping maestro Daryl Kellie.

If you’d like to be on the next podcast, please drop me a line by emailing frankiepromotes@gmail.com or tweeting @getfrank.

Head over to Podomatic to have a listen to the podcast now – and be sure to leave me a comment here (if you have one)

New Blinginnings

I’ve recently moved into East London and am quite stunned to find how close in proximity I am to some of the favourite stores of my teens.

The other day, by way of – ahem – crucial experiment, I timed my walk to vintage warehouse, Beyond Retro. It was approximately several minutes. Now, I should be overjoyed at this geographical revelation but, I have to admit. I’m scared for my finances!

Another happy discovery made earlier today was that Tatty Devine, who I thought were based purely in Covent Garden, also have a store at the top of Brick Lane (5 minutes away on foot) and had just launched a sample sale. Needless to say I practically ran there after I got back to London post driving lesson in Kent.

Dress by Zara, shoes by Schuh (donated by mum) and necklace, £30 (sale ptice) by Tatty Devine

In the shop I picked up a present for someone (and it’s so cool, but unfortunately I can’t discuss as I’ll spoil the surprise) and couldn’t resist buying the necklace pictured above. I got it for £20 (hypnotised  on the spot by the shiny-ness and sheer scale of the thing) but when I looked it up online it seems that they’re selling it for £30 (reduced from £90).

I’ve been far busier than I expected to be since moving hence the reason for my lack of recent posts but I’ve recently completed the second of my Get Frank podcasts.

I’m going to write about the bands and the show in more detail very soon, but I have to say a huge thanks to Vets in Hong Kong for meeting up with me and chatting for the show – but again, more on the guys and the other contributing artists very soon!

I’m going to go and unpack another suitcase…

The Truth behind the Fiction?

I’m working on some more stripped back tunes away from the big, bold pop themes of Get Frank right now.

When I lived in Birmingham I spent a lot of time gigging with just me and my guitar. It was terrifying, I lacked confidence in my ability to play and I was desperate for a band.

Awake, Not Drifting by Get Frank

Since working with Get Frank in Newcastle I’ve decided that sometimes I’d like to be a bit more selfish and play music totally as I envisioned it – or at least certain aspects of it. Sometimes listening to a band can be overwhelming, and you forget that the music you’re listening to is rooted in themes and feelings. Get Frank songs used to be all about the emotions that I felt when writing them – and to some extent still are – but some of them are from a different, past writer and I feel the need to breakaway and do something different.

It can be quite scary to take lyrics to a band and practice them. Playing solo I get to skip this step, and move onto the even scarier stage of playing them straight to an audience. At first I didn’t think I was ready, but if I get some practice in with my guitar, who knows?

Escapology by Truth Fiction

The song above is my first rough demo from my ‘solo venture’ as Truth Fiction. There’s a loose (and musically common) concept to the name of the ‘project’ (if you like that term), as some songs will be true to my life and some inspired by fiction. Others will be a mixture. I learnt a lot about song writing from my very valuable time providing supplementary vocals and instrumentation for The Union Choir, from the image-packed lyricism of the songs, to the emotive construction of the music itself. They are one of the best bands I’ve ever known so I’m lucky to have been a part of it, if only for a little while.

For now I’ll continue to record with just me and a guitar performing live in my room. It’s tempting to build up recordings by doing everything closed microphone style, layering with various bits of precussion, but whilst I’m still playing these songs on my own I’ll keep things raw.

Please listen/download Escapology, and let me know if you’d like to hear more.

The first photos…

We have photos!

They were taken by the lovely Faye Green (guitarist Todd’s sister.) She’s currently studying art at the University of Newcastle. I don’t know if she has a blog but if you’d like to get in touch with her, leave a comment and we’ll pass it her way!

Yours truly: Frankie Ward

David Mabbott (bass)

Mark Edwards (drums)

Neil Andrew Smith (keys)

Todd Green (guitar)

Get Frank

If you’re interested in seeing us live please check out our Facebook page. You can get in touch about gigs by emailing me at frankiepromotes@gmail.com.