Rockumentaries, Radio Interviews and Red Fang
Thanks for tuning in to From the Devil’s Coach House again, if you are already a subscriber, and welcome to all you new visitors.
Are you in the mood for a Heart Stopping Kinda Show?
I love it when great people do awesome things, and the most awesome thing my friends have done this week is to put out a documentary, made for Dutch TV, about the recording of their new album at Kerwax Studio. I can’t recommend this documentary enough. Everyone is so warm and talented, and there are some hilarious moments. My particular favourite image is that of DeWolff running - flares flapping - through a sleepy French village trying to recapture the magnificent Helios, the Great Pyrenees studio dog… Oh, and I crop up in the film a couple of times, too.
I’ve talked about Christophe and Marie at Kerwax in previous newsletters, which you can find here and here.
We are pretty occupied with the studio build right now. The nasty old barn door is off, and the mason has almost finished rebuilding the inner walls, cleaning the stones and doing brand new lime and sand pointing (les joints en sable-chaux). It’s been several weeks’ work already, but he thinks he’s going to be finished on Friday evening.
The finished studio feels so close that we can taste it, but we still have to build a new front door, install the electrics, put in a new concrete floor and build a new wall and doorway in the stone arch.
I think we’re going to need a bigger wallet.
I’m doing a lot of driving around these days, so I’ve been using the opportunity to listen to podcasts. Much of the time, I listen to music or horror podcasts in French to help me develop my French comprehension skills, but, I have to confess, after a while, my brain starts to turn to mush working in French all day, so I’ll sometimes switch to an English language podcast. One of my current favourites is Recording Studio Rockstars.
Every episode is an in-depth interview (often over two hours long) by Lij Shaw with a recording engineer or producer, and he’s had some big names on there, like Vance Powell.
Funnily enough, the latest episode is an interview with Wessel Oltheten, who has also worked with DeWolff.
Probably my favourite song produced by Vance Powell is Prehistoric Dog by Red Fang. Fuzzy guitars, great riffs, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. What’s not to love?
Concert-wise, it’s been a bit quiet, except for one Blues gig at La Grande Ourse. However, I did pop along to my friend Sam Hutchings’ Bluegrass jam at the weekend, which was a lot of fun.
As well as organising Bluegrass festivals and jams in Brittany, Sam is also the leading banjo maker in the region (possibly France?), and he’s so popular that you have to go on a waiting list in order to get on his waiting list. Even when you get on the waiting list, be prepared to wait, as the waiting list is two years long. In other words, get your orders in sooner, rather than later!
Sam was interviewed for an English language radio programme called Spotlight on Brittany about foreigners like ourselves who have settled in Brittany. I’m interviewed on the same show, too, so if you want to hear Sam and me talking about what we do, you can go here.
In terms of my own music, I’ve been sneaking off to the part of the studio that is finished, the control room, to work on a super secret project. Normally, I would blab all about this, as it feels intuitive that to commit to something publicly would compel one to do it. However, it seems that the opposite is the case. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why this may happen, including the “fact” that announcing you will achieve something gives you the same nice brain chemical fix that actually achieving something does. Ok, I didn’t actually research this; I probably read it on Twitter, but it certainly rings true for me.
“Any road up,” as we say in the North West of England, it’s been great fun being creative in music again and focussing on my own music, rather than facilitating the creation of someone else’s.
It’s been a while since I’ve released any of my music, but here’s something I did ages ago with my buddy Val playing drums and me doing everything else.
This particular song isn’t really like the rest of my music, but I was on a big Neil Young and Grizzly Bear kick at the time. This particular Grizzly Bear song was on constant rotation.
Incidentally, the reference to the sun wasn’t connected to the Grizzly Bear track and was just a coincidence. It was actually a nod to Darren Aronofsky’s movie Pi, which is one of my favourite films of all time. The day I saw Pi for the first time, I rewatched it four more times in the same 24-hour period.
The line that inspired me comes about 1 minute into this clip.
Book, Saddle and Go
Well, that’s about it for this week. Thanks for stopping by.
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