Saturday, 20 March 2010

Waiting for God. D'oh!

Hey guys, Barney here.

So, I'm currently waiting at home for the rest of the band to get here for rehearsals and I've just been informed they are gonna be late so I think I may as well do something useful. I've been toying with the idea of using this blog as a semi-personal actual blog that goes more into what I think and do on a day to day. That way, it might blur the lines between the tour diary type thing it normally is and the mailing list and news thing I do but I can also ramble on about other things in here that might be a bit too broad or weird or personal or daft or controversial or political or all those things at once than any of those more 'official SB6' type things entail. I think maybe that's a little self-indulgent and stuff and maybe I should separate it from the site but then I was reading a few blogs of people like Tom Gabel and see the amount of fans that are following him on there and how interesting it was to get that perspective that I thought I might try something similar here. Let us know what you think anyway. Give me questions and thoughts and all that. But don't ask me to do a Formspring like someone did a few weeks back. That's just another password to forget... :)

Anyhoo, as far as SB6 goes, things are exciting and nerve-racking at the moment in equal measure. Since Ben left, we've been filling in for him and, live-wise at least, we've managed to pull it off one way or another but now we're lumped together in my house stood around a PA and wondering how to proceed, the fact that we have to get used to working in a different way is all too apparent. In terms of writing songs it used to be unusual but we built a formula that worked across the albums. Basically, Ben would write a couple of songs in their entirety or thereabouts, I would write a couple of songs in their entirety or thereabouts and, for the majority of the rest, Ben would bring in an idea and I would add to it and turn it into a song and Laila would add bits and bobs. So, now, that way we wrote pretty much most of the songs (just for example seven - over half - of the songs on City of Thieves follow that formula) has gone out of the window so we're all in a new place. On the one hand, of course, it's hard to know exactly how to go about everything. But on the other hand, no one is going to deny that we milked the formula for what it was worth across three albums and several EPs so a change is as good as a rest. And a change in the Boom is going to keep everyone excited.

Laila has discovered a new sense of vim and vigour about stepping up into her role as a songwriter and, for the first time in Boom history, she's stepped up to the plate with a finished full song idea that just needs bits and bobs on top of it. The good news is that it's great. The hard part of the whole thing is that it's possibly more poppy than anything we've ever attempted to do and to keep the fans of the 'old Boom' happy while bringing in something more in a dance/pop type vein is a challenge. But we're getting there and we're definitely going to be playing this song on the forthcoming tour. I hope that people get what we're doing and that it stands up as something new but also something ‘Boom’.

And in with the new, James 'Jimmy T Boom' Routh has joined the band with a whole host and collection of synth noises, bleeps and grooves to slot in alongside our previous dalliances with the electronica side of things. I don't think I'm going out on too much of a limb to speculate the more dance-crossover side of things are going to be coming out within the newer material and we've got a tune that we've been working on that we're really excited about - a kind of cross between punk and jungle in a way that leans harder towards the synths and stuff. Just to do it in a way that's coherently mashed up in a way that sounds futuristic and makes you want to dance is what we're after but I definitely want to avoid it sounding like those god awful metal/electronica crossover acts that kind of ape the worst of both genres. Props to Skindred though, they do it brilliantly. I think a listen to 'Road to Hell' is probably the best clue of the sound we're going for but we really want to blow that out of the water in terms of where we're pushing it.

So! Between all of us, we have the blueprint for a new Boom (where the mash-up side of things come from the sound of the band rather than jumping from genre to genre every single song) it just finding the right approach to get the song ideas flowing and bouncing rather than being forced through. It's hard, but we shall prevail! At the moment, we all felt that the old set was beginning to stale (James joined mid-tour and has never actually rehearsed them!) so we've gotta get a full one set ready for April. There's gonna be as much new stuff and as much clues to where the Boom 2.1 is going in there so I wish they’d all hurry up and get here and we can get to it.

Speaking of live gigs, I got the chance to go and see my pals Crazy Arm supporting Frank Turner this week at the Academy in Manchester and what a gig it was. It's funny because the Crazy Arm album got recorded so long ago and we used to listen to it in the van and everyone absolutely loved it. But the guys were finding it hard to get appropriate gigs (they came on tour with the Boom for a bit...) and it felt like they were falling at the first hurdle of getting 'out there' into the music scene. I felt really bummed out because such a brilliant record might not get the crack of the whip it deserved. There was even talk of doing the album on Rebel Alliance but we felt it was too early for us to be bouncing around different genres and that the record was simply too fucking good to be on a label that doesn't have an expertise in the field that they play in. Lo and behold, our buddies at Xtra Mile eventually picked them up and, slowly but surely the quality of the record meant that it was a release that made the majority of 'best of 2009' lists and has garnered a ton of acclaim from word of mouth and Crazy Arm are up and running hard with the ball. To see Darren and Simon up there on the Academy stage with Chuck Ragen, massive grins plain for all to see was a bit of a lump-in-the-throat sight to behold. It kind of goes to show that good music will get you noticed in the end, despite all the other bullshit that goes on.

Speaking of good music getting you noticed, I was gratified to see that Frank Turner more than justified his current wave of popularity. I remember hearing his early EPs and enjoying them greatly and then having the misfortune to catch him at Rebellion 2006 (I think) sarcastically grumbling about 'punx' onstage, looking miserable and singing a song about 'the Day that Dance Music Died' which wheeled out a string of strangely peevish 6th-form-rocker stereotypes about the followers of various types of dance music that was so insulting I was offended to the extent that I left the gig. Over the years since, I stayed in the loop with Frank's albums and have listened to all the stuff and it's just gone from good to excellent. I’ve always missed him live though, even at festivals where we’ve both played. I've also noticed a lot of the underground scene turning against him (ridiculous comments such as 'there are so many more talented artists playing in squats and front rooms everywhere' are a common example of such errant buffoonery) which is generally a good indicator that someone is talented enough to make it in the 'real world' thereby decrying the flimsy myth that everyone playing in squats and living rooms is better than those on daytime Radio 1 but just don't want to because they've got too much integrity. Anyhoo, I was ready for him to be good live and was wondering how it was gonna work with the acoustic but I was treated to a masterclass in audience/artist interaction, good, pop songwriting and extremely talented musicianship. Anyone that has ever picked up a guitar and strove to write a song that a lot of people like is gonna see the talent in a bloke that has one and a half thousand people shouting every word at him with no gimmicks, image or trend holding it all up. And, as with Crazy Arm, it's heart-warming stuff. I never want to be one of those old guys who looks at what I do and go 'we couldn't get any further because we didn't have a big deal or we didn't kiss the right arses or we didn't look right' or whatever. Walking round thinking that every band that is famous is shit and lucky. Bitterness gets you nowhere. I'm totally happy with what we've achieved but I also know that I'd love to headline the Academy 1 and if we do, we need to look at the artists that do and see what it is that they do that has got them there. Not snipe at them, look at the negatives and say 'there but for the grace of God go I'. That being said, I'm glad he didn't treat us to 'The Day that Dance Music Died'

Anyway, wee Jimmy Boom jumped in for a photo with Big Franky T which I'll leave you with cos Laila and Nick have just got here.

Maybe we just need to be taller?


Your oldest pal.

Barnold x