It’s wet. Avoid the day and watch these instead:

On wet days like this, I mostly hide away with a pot of coffee and play piano for the day, before lighting a fire, cooking dinner, and getting lost in excellent tv and random youtube videos.

Here’s a video clip from the Off Beaten Path dance show that used one of my songs this summer:

My face crops up in the most random places sometimes. I’d forgotten I did a bit of extras work for this production, and there’s my face in the trailer for it.

Spotify finally comes to Ireland, so if you’ve not yet picked up my record and want to throw it into a playlist on Spotify to see what you make of it, then you’ll be glad to know that my record is indeed already on there: mister ebby – wires [spotify].

If you do like it and you want to have it slightly more permanently, then you can pay what you like for the digital download through my Bandcamp store, or pick up the CD there. And there’s a bunch of other shoplinks linked through the website here too if you have a preference for something else.

Last night I went to see a screening of a documentary about Philip Glass, which I’ve just discovered is on youtube too. But there’s nothing quite as nice as seeing it on a big screen with a gang of music fans and film fans all gathered in the Huston Film School.

The opening quote sticks with you even after the film ends. Words to work by for sure:

I never was a captive of other people’s ideas about me. Whatever they thought, it didn’t matter to me. I do what I wanted to, and I didn’t care. I’ve been like that my whole life and it’s saved me a lot of trouble. Even when it came to writing music, I didn’t care what people thought. You know, there’s a lot of music in the world you don’t have to listen to mine. There’s Mozart, there’s The Beatles, listen to something else – you don’t have to listen to this. You have my blessing – go listen to something else, I don’t care.

Seeing how he works, and how he makes pizza, and just random little bits of gems was really interesting to me. I’d previously read this book on him: Glass: a portrait, which was fascinating in a very different way. This documentary works as a great contrast piece to the book, which focuses more on the work and the development of his music – a bit more of a musicology piece than a biography. Whereas the film gives you more of the context of his life and how he created his own opportunities and existed outside the classical world long before his works started getting premiered in concert halls and opera houses.

This piano piece was what really captivated my interest initially – my gateway drug to his musical language I guess.

If you’re a Google+ fan, like myself, then I’m playing some Hangouts soon, kicking off with an open mic on Thursday night/Friday morning run by Musician and Band Public Database. I’ll be playing a few songs along with a bunch of other musicians who use Hangouts. Check it out. MBPD Open Mic HOA #5

Songwriting and sunny days

I’ve been quite lucky recently, as it’s been wet on the days I’ve been working, and sunny out the days I’ve had to myself at home. Earlier this week I had one of those perfect days where I had the house and garden to myself (except for the cat), and spent the day going from the piano to the garden, working on two of the newest songs I’ve been writing.

Honestly, there’s not much more enjoyable than spending a day like that. It was perfectly sunny, but not too warm, and my voice was in good shape. I’ve been noticing a progression in the sound and even the style of the songs I’ve been writing more recently, and there’s a noticeable difference between the newest songs and the other songs from the batch I wrote for Wires. There’s enough left over from that album to be nearly a full album themselves, but now I’ve written nearly as many as that again since then. I guess I need to sit with these songs a little while, and finish some of them off, and see others take shape a bit more and find the sound that they need.

I’ve tried out some of the newer songs live already this summer, and it’s always that moment when you really look at the song and start to see what you really think of it. With one of the songs I was working on this week, I had that panic moment where I worried that I was just re-writing someone else’s song with different words, that I was unconsciously ripping off a melody from somewhere else. That happens and always threatens to kill the song while you’re still writing it. Usually I just ignore it, and keep working on the song and see where it leads and how it ends up. This time I went and listened to the song that I thought I was unconsciously ripping off, and felt the relief when I saw just how different the two works are.

I’ve another song sitting waiting to be written at the moment. There’s a little glimmer of an idea about it that I like, but the rest is sitting waiting as I’m not entirely happy with what I’ve got so far. It’ll sit in the back of my mind while I work on other things, and we’ll see how it works out.

Incidentally, one of the newest songs is possibly one of the most “pop song” like songs I’ve ever written. But I really like it.

I need a drummer.

Video: I Wish You Were Here

I’ve been intending to make some videos for the songs on the record now for a while, and this is the first one to be finished, probably because it was the simplest of all the video ideas.

I’m collaborating with some wonderful local creative talent on some other videos, which will be shot in the coming weeks too, and I’m looking to work with more people too – so if you’re interested in making videos and want to work with me on a project, then get in touch.

There’s a nice sort of reciprocal approach happening where everyone is getting something out of the projects – be it a video to represent their music, as in my case, or a vehicle to showcase their art, or dance, or whatever it is they are bringing to the project.

For a solo musician, it’s a joy and an inspiration to work with other people at times.

So, subscribe to my vimeo or youtube accounts, as there’ll be some more videos uploaded in the coming months as they get finished. Some of the ideas for those videos I’m really very excited about, and can’t wait to get working on.

Happy Birthday to me.

There are now actual CDs for sale through the bandcamp store, and some people have already noticed this and have been buying! Which has really made me smile. Those initial orders have been posted, and it’s all gone swimmingly. So, yeah, Bandcamp is pretty damn handy to use. It’s also the best way to make sure most of the money you choose to spend on music goes directly to the artist in question. To top it off, there’s a plethora of audio formats to choose from if you’re getting a download – one person got in touch to say it was great to be able to get the record in FLAC format. So, for audio nerds, that’s definitely the store to go to if you want the highest quality audio version of the album.

Today is my birthday! It’s been about a year since I decided to record an album, and it’s nice to be able to say that in that time I found a studio I could work in, raised the extra cash I needed, and put out an album of my own music for the first time. Birthdays are always more about setting new goals for me than any other time of year, and I’m busy working away at ideas for how to promote the album more, finding more places to gig, and looking at all the other songs I have written that I want to record. I’ve another album of music sitting waiting for its time to get recorded.

But, for now, it’s still the time to focus on Wires, and helping the project unfold and develop more. I’m working on some videos and trying to get the music heard by more and more people. I have been toying away with ideas for re-working this website completely to give a different sort of focus to it, and realising that I’m utterly rubbish at web design (any volunteers?) but I’ve a load of content nearly ready to go up as supporting material for the record.

Honestly, the best birthday present I could imagine would be more people being introduced to my music and enjoying it. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing one of my tracks posted as someone’s jam, or getting a message on twitter or on the forums about the album from people I don’t know well at all, or that email from Bandcamp telling me someone else decided it was worth spending their money on my music. There honestly is no better feeling in the world.

Live video demos

I’m currently going through a bunch of little live video demos of some of my songs that I have on my computer, and posting a few on my youtube channel for people to see.

They give another side to some of the songs that ended up on the album – though the ones that work best in demo form are the ones that ended up pretty much with just piano and voice on the record itself.

They’re pretty low res quality, as they’re just stuff that’s recorded with the webcam and a little home recording setup I use to get songs down when I’m working on them so I have something to reference again later. I’ve been using it again lately to demo some of the very new songs I’ve been working on.

I Wish You Were Here
It’s an old song that wasn’t meant to end up on the album, but did a take of it on the last day of the piano and vocal tracking, and liked how it came out, so it ended up on the record.

Wet Feet

I think this video shows just how lazy I can be at the piano sometimes. And also how much I move when I play – it’s something piano teachers always pointed out to me but that I never really noticed until watching back little clips like this. They really tried to get me to stop moving my upper body so much when I played, but it’s a habit I’ve never broken, and something I still do whenever I play. I just move a lot at the piano when I’m playing.

The version on the album is pretty pared down too – there’s some lovely cello on it that I miss now whenever I’m playing the song solo again. Same with this next video, actually:


I do plan to have some proper videos up on my youtube channel soon, along with these wonderfully webcam home demos too.

Listen or buy the album: [itunes] [amazon mp3] [bandcamp]

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