Free gig at The Finsbury – Sunday 13th October

I’m playing a free gig at The Finsbury pub on Sunday 13th October.

It’s completely free and the doors are at 4pm – I’m on at 4:30pm, so hopefully that’ll give everyone time to recover from the night before!

It’s possibly my last gig for a while – I’m hoping to start playing my telecaster at future gigs (I’ll be getting out my trusty acoustic for this one) and I’m desperately seeking a band to play with.

I’ve been jamming with my friend Reece (formerly of the July Days), but we definitely need a rhythm section before we start gigging. Playing with a band is one of my favourite things and it definitely makes me more confident on stage.

You can hear rough demos on my two Soundcloud pages (stupid, boring story to how I have two accounts):

Truth Fiction

Get Frank

I’m not a dictator band leader – I like to work songs through to create something we all have a hand in and feel ownership of. Mostly though, I want to create songs to get people dancing. Simple.

If you want to get involved, give me an email at frankiepromotes@gmail.com – and please spread the word…

See you at the gig on Sunday?

Advertisements

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…

Turning 23

On December 27 I’ll be 23…

… It’s not considered a landmark year, but the last 12 months have been so erratic, it seems to feel a bit more significant. I’m in my third office in a year (Sky this time, after a great six months at Channel 4) and things are finally settling down a bit. I’m also enjoying being away from my Shoreditch shoebox of a bedroom – Willesden Green has been good to me so far!

However, the settling down bit is scary. Nothing, as ever, is set in stone. I’ve got ten months left of my fixed term contract at Sky so time will tell if I find anything more permanent. I do like experiencing different workplaces – the corporate operator Sky has about 17,500 employees compared to Channel 4’s Public Service Broadcasting 800 (again, approximate). It’s also a very different role to my previous ones.

I’ve not had the chance to podcast recently so I’m hoping to get back to the music in 2012, if there’s a demand for it. I need to get over the North West thing – in Shoreditch I’d go off to gigs and events most evenings but I’m more of a hermit in my new home, perhaps it’s the cold or maybe I’m risking getting too comfortable.

I had one of those epiphanies the other day, the kind that will seem irrelevant to everyone else, where I realised that podcasting and blogging are activites I can pursue independently. I don’t have to rely on anyone else to put my plans into action – but neither to I have to ask anyone. And that’s sometimes dispiriting.

The two things that I’ve loved doing in the past, presenting and music, have required me to find others to help me go further. I can write songs, but I’m scared to play guitar solo, plus I’m not a very advanced player. It’s great to be able to play with others as it makes the whole process more fun, but it’s also nerve wracking to reveal what you’ve written.

The last track I wrote was the first in several months. It’s short and it’s ‘demotastic’; long pauses, Garage band reverb and general poor quality. But it’s the idea that counts, I suppose!

I also would like to move from radio into onscreen presenting. I guess I could do this at home with vlogs but I’d love to film future music interviews and get out and about. Unfortunately this requires assistance so I guess I’ll need to pluck up the courage to start asking people to help out. I’ve always been quite embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy presenting for fear of it changing people’s opinions of me. I enjoy meeting new people, and I like the excuse to find out the hows and whys of music and more – interviewing is the tried and tested method of getting those answers.

Soon, I’ll be revealing my top musicians of the year, so if you’ve got a band you think I should listen to, leave me a comment below.

Two and a half weeks

Any of you that follow my You Tube channel will be aware that I’ve made a video account of my time without employment.

I wanted to do this as a record for other people who, like me, have been made unexpectedly unemployed and have no idea how the system works. In some ways it was a difficult process and there were phone calls and meltdowns that I caught on camera but decided to keep out of the final edits. In the end the result was a simple vlog.

I probably come across and stubborn and ignorant in some videos, but I honestly did not know how the system worked for jobseekers. At the entrance to the job centre there’s a big banner that tells you that the idea of the place is to ‘find you the work you want’ but in actual fact they just want you in work. This is an understandable desire, but possibly one of the reasons people stick to signing on. If they are forced into a job that they don’t want and therefore have no time, help or resources to find their ideal vocation, they’re going to be even more adverse to steady employment.

Earlier this month I made the final of a competition held by Primula Cheese and Capital FM North East. The idea was to create a recipe for four on a budget using a variety of Primula cheese. I went for the simple, yummy bean enchiladas recipe I once made for my former Amazing Radio show. I knew I wouldn’t win the £1,000 prize but it was a fantastic day out that really made me feel ‘normal’ again. They even made a film of the event which is hilarious as I couldn’t stop laughing before they announced the winner. Priceless.

Ready Steady Squeeze Final from Adam Troup on Vimeo.

Another thing that kept me occupied over the last two weeks was the wonderful UMT: Play course, run by North East music agency Generator. I met two fantastic girls, Mary and Harriet, and together we formed ‘Mary Sends Out Warning’ and wrote three songs for a performance to friends and family in a mere four days. We also recorded our mini masterpieces and hopefully I’ll be able to share those with you soon!

Here are some pictures from the ‘Big Day’ as taken by the wonderful Jazzy Lemon (who I shall miss very much when I head South).

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.