Hello again, the last time I left off with this nonsense from my brain we were about to hit the music industry conference in Sheffield put on by Water Bear. Feeling a bit worse for wear after the gig the night before we set off to Sheffield with the usual Hijinks’. In true Stand Alone fashion after getting changed in a car park we arrived at the venue to be told it was under the name Gavin Harrison. A nice little combination of Gavin and Luke’s names making for one great drummer. (Yes a Porcupine Tree joke there!) Moral of the story is leave it to one person to book these things in, it’s a lot easier.
The conference itself was fantastic. So many people that we met were just as passionate about new bands and original music as we are. All of them genuinely wanting to help bands reach that next level and offering some expert advice. It’s a long game and they made us realise that just by being at the conference we were taking it up a notch by taking the time to try and build our band. We handed out our music to a lot of the people there and have picked up some nice airplay since. We also have had good advice on the social media and recording side of things too. It’s all so vitally important, you could have the best song ever but if your social media is shit or recordings suck then it could all go to waste and be for nothing. So to sum it up it was worth all of our Sundays and we left completely inspired.
So inspired in fact that me and Tom were the next week jamming out loads of new song ideas while Luke got to work on more mixing and editing. I’m so excited by the new stuff we are working on. It’s melodic yet we are going in a more progressive direction on some of it, exploring time signatures and different feels we haven’t really done on our previous work. It will be awesome when we get to recording the next round of material.
April was a great month for the band, next up we went to have a chat with Alan Raw the BBC Introducing DJ at his new 360RAW event he runs with a great promoter called Richard Watson. We were lucky enough to play the first one but this time we just wanted to preview our new single for him. He played it and it sounded so huge through their PA! We then plucked up the courage to ask him if he would debut it on his show the next week and it be the first time everyone else heard it. He said yes and said come in and do an interview too! Amazing what asking can do for you! We had the advantage that he had seen us play live now as well. It’s about getting in people’s minds and then staying there! The session was awesome. Just walking into the BBC building was surreal for us. Tom was more interested about looking at the pictures of the weather reporters than getting our track played I think! We left in high spirits, the track went over great and we will be back to do a live set in the summer.
The gigs also kept on flowing for us; some great, some fair and one absolutely fucking awful. We had a good gig at Ainsty Rocks in York, went down really well and we even started getting some online sales of merch from it which was a first for us. Hopefully the first of many. We then walked in to one of the worst gigs of our lives with an even worse set of people. I’m not going to even mention who we were supporting, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they sounded like because after their attitude I will not be listening to them. Absolute prima donna pretend rock stars with a tour manager who wanted the gig to end by 10 because ‘our singer has flu’. Well maybe get to the venue before 7 o clock then when there are 3 bands on! We turned up and they had literally no idea who was meant to be playing before them, I felt really sorry for the sound guy who was really professional throughout. We made a point of thanking him and letting him know he did a good job. The band themselves couldn’t even be arsed to watch our set so we played and got out of there. The industry is hard enough as it is without dickheads like that. Bands need to stick together and help each other out through the hard graft we all have to put in. Anyway moving on!
We headed into the first weekend in May with a trip to London to play 2 gigs. A warm up date with a band called Colt 48 and then Dementia Awareness festival. We hired a converted tour van from our friends from the band Furian and away we went on the fun bus down to London. Me, Tom and Luke have a very tight knit bond. We can say and do basically anything in front of each other and no one will judge or be offended. It makes for some of the biggest laughs and great times. The first gig with Colt 48 was a success. We played in front of a new crowd and got to see and become friends with a couple of great guys. They make quite a noise for a 2 piece, crushing riffs and melody, just the way I like it. They came back for a beer on our ‘tour bus’ after the gig and we chatted music, the industry and just general shit. That was before me and Luke had too many beers and decided it would be much better to start singing and screaming shit at them. I don’t think they were too offended as Adam the guitarist showed up early to see us take the stage at Dementia Awareness at the ripe old time of 3pm.
The drive to the second gig was an interesting one. It was sweltering 30 degree heat outside, Luke was navigating, I was driving whilst trying to see how many crisps I could get in my mouth at any one time and Tom was in his bunk throwing the entire weekly contents of his stomach up. A migraine apparently…
We arrived in one piece anyway with enough time to catch a couple of bands before we took the stage. We played great. The energy in the room was great. Sometimes you just pick up a vibe early on and this was one of those. The audience reaction was great and we fed off it. I came off stage thinking that it couldn’t have gone any better. The organisers even made us a personalised key ring with our band logo on, it looks ace! There was a great moment where Luke jumped up and hit the speaker stack with his bass to put the bottom string miles out of tune. Watching him tune it back up in a split second whilst harmonising had me creasing myself laughing. Those light moments are what it is all about. Making sure we are enjoying it as well as taking it seriously. A brilliant weekend and I can’t wait for us to go back later in the year to play again.
After our London trip we were on the road again up to the Lake District to play for the MT Heads festival. We were promised the strangest gig of our lives by one of the organisers. We played in a converted barn and were put up in a yurt for the night. By the end of the night we were drinking rum round a fire and knocking the beers back. Loads of our favourite rock tunes were on, I was barbecuing everything in sight and we just had an absolute blast. We managed to take our wives and girlfriends for once too which was great to have them with us. Maybe not the strangest of gigs but instead one of the best! We made a few new fans along the way, sold a few CD’s and merch and played a nice heavy set of rock n roll. I was still drunk until the afternoon the day after! A good time had by all.
When we got back it was time to finally officially release ‘Never Stand Alone’ to the unsuspecting ears of everyone. We had filmed a music video for it quite a few months before and were sitting on it with a lot of excitement. The song touches on a lot of delicate issues that I have dealt with personally especially over the last 18 months. It is also a war cry to everyone that has ever suffered in silence or thought they couldn’t speak out, whether that be mental health or anything else in their lives. As personal as a song it is to me I like it when other people can take another meaning from it and interpret it slightly differently but still enjoy it and get something out of it. I feel that the video highlights this issues well and the story line that it follows is really touching. I definitely think this is the reason why it has been our most successful song to date. A lot of people are relating to it though the lyrics and the video. It is also just a great anthem I think. All 3 of us get to do some lead vocals on the track as well which I think was really cool. We focussed a lot on the harmonies and it came out great.
It feels like we are in a great position and head space as a band at the moment. We seem to be constantly reading positive comments about our music at the moment. It’s very humbling and it’s nice to see all our hard work pay off even if in just a small way for now. The momentum is steadily growing. I now have a bit of a music room/studio at my house now too so I’m getting stuck right into writing as much material as I can. Then we can sift through the shit and pick out the stuff that will be great and that will set well on a record together.
So on the eve of Download Festival it’s great to be in Stand Alone and as I watch loads of my favourite bands this weekend with all my friends and dream about one day playing it, maybe it isn’t such a ridiculous dream!