Friday, 13 September 2013

Songs We Will Dance To

When our LP 'songs We Used To Dance To' came out we had really high hopes for it; it had been delayed several times, then we moved labels, and the album - ready to go in 2008 - didn't come out until 2011. For one reason or another 'Songs We Used To Dance To' didn't get the push we'd wanted it to get. We're dead dead proud of 'Songs We Used To Dance To' and really excited to tell you all that it's going to be re-released on Rekordmeister on October 14th. We're hoping now that some more people get to know about the album and hear the record they'll really enjoy it. It'll be available on heavy vinyl (with CD) from our new Bandcamp page & our store from October 14th along with a bargain 'Songs We Used To Dance To' t-shirt bundle. It'll also be available in select record shops throughout the country. Thanks for reading mates, and it won't be as long before the next one promise... x

Friday, 31 August 2012

IN HELL, FIRE HOT (Plus 'People We Know' EP stuff)

It's been a while since I last hollered at ya, over two months in fact. We've been busier during that short period than we have been for a long time so, although I haven't had a chance to update this blog as much as I'd have liked, to be doing so much with the band has been really great. 

Most of that time I spent sat behind a really old typewriter typing the track-listing & sleeve-notes for our new EP 100 times & getting ink all over me & everything while doing so. Hopefully it was worth it though, as was the endless hunt for polaroids to go on the EP's covers. Man, the things I saw during that search... The internet is a dark, dark place let me tell ya. An few innocent words such as 'polaroid pictures job lot' will turn up all manner of horrors. But again, worth it. Hopefully. 

I ended up buying a box of 330 polaroids from someone called Sebastian in France. The pictures seem to be mainly from the '70s & are mostly American. About 200 of 'em are of a dog called Russell. I'd looked through them many times before I came across a picture that literally sent a shiver up my spine; a dark photo of a sign painted by, presumably, a maniac saying 'IN HELL, FIRE HOT'. I felt as though I'd been cursed once I'd seen it & maybe I have.

To avoid other people feeling this way I didn't include the 'IN HELL, FIRE HOT' photo amongst the EP covers & it's still amongst the pictures of Russell the dog in mine. If you want to feel disturbed & horrible let me know & I'll lash it online. 

The EP with these fancy covers is called 'People We Know' & features the song (also called 'People We Know') we went into the studio to record at the end of July. It feels amazing to be putting some new music out, especially given the amount of time it took for our second record to come out after the first. The fact our EP is part of the Used Vinyl Club series makes it extra special for us. If you're not aware of Used Vinyl Club, they've been putting out releases by boss bands since February this year starting with Puzzle's 'Everything You Ever Made' EP. These releases are gradually building into an awesome archive of free downloadable music and, alongside the amazing physical copies of the records which are also available, and the acoustic videos uploaded to mark the launch of each EP or album, to be included in the Used Vinyl Club series is, both as a band & a music fan, a fucking treat. 

If you haven't already, head over to the site & fill your boots.

So it was Used Vinyl Club #7 that we played our first gig in what feels like a long, long time & also our first with our new drummer, but old friend, Steve. It's a funny feeling to have been in a band for so long but to feel as though you're playing your first gig. Despite all the pre-show anxiety, the gig was a success, at least from our point of view. We all really, really enjoyed ourselves and hope all those watching did too.

Here's a link to the 'People We Know' EP - free to download. Hope you enjoy it.  

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Past pt.2: Drunk in Cumbria

Here is the long-awaited second installment of the Voo studio diary. So now you can FINALLY stop hitting Refresh & find the sleep that you've been desperately craving since the devastating cliffhanger that marked the end of chapter one.

Reading through both of these old blogs has made me think how ridiculous it was drinking as much as we did while we were in the studio to record half of the songs that would we thought would appear on our second album. Not that it was Guns N' Roses-style debauchery or anything like that, all swigging off J.D.& going nuts; it was more steadily drinking red wine while we were supposed to be recording good, in-tune, in-time music & then playing kinda badly.

Of the 6 songs we recorded in Ennerdale, only 2 made it onto 'Songs We Used To Dance To'. Some because they didn't fit anywhere on the record & others because the performance sucked balls.

The songs we really liked but didn't have a place for on the LP were 'Pages' (which is available on the split EP with Hammer No More The Fingers), 'New Buildings' & 'This New Distance' (a new version of an older song).

We recorded another song but you'll never ever know what it was...

These forgotten songs are now finally gonna see the light of day as part of our upcoming Used Vinyl Club EP , more details of which we'll have for you soon. But we're well excited about it & can't wait for these songs to be heard as we're proud of them.

The EP will also feature some brand new music as we're heading into WhiteWood studios with Rob Whiteley to record some new songs & will remain stone-cold sober while doing so. Promise.

Old blogs starts...


After re-recording the three songs which, to our dismay, we discovered sucked and then listening to the ones which rocked we went to bed happy with what we'd done & slept the sleep of the righteous. The next day when it came to listening to what we'd recorded the previous night, the problem was, although everything was there 'energy-wise' 'tuning-wise' it wasn't. Somehow our ears had failed us all bad-style which can happen after a dasy rockin' out all over the goddamn place and, unfortunately, the bass was out of tune on two of the four songs we had recorded so far.

We had decided, rightly or wrongly, to record the two most difficult songs on the Sunday. I think we thought maybe we'd be all kindsa 'locked-in' by then and could take on the world, y'know, musically speaking. However, the bass over-dubs threw a spanner in the works - y'know, musically speaking - and that meant all of our plans would have to be put on hold while Paul re-recorded his bass parts over again.

The second of the two difficult songs was played by just John & myself. Paul had had a pretty rough day & a combination of overdubs & lotsa booze sent him to bed around 1am. That was probably a mistake while we were in Cumbria - we did drink a lot. I think when it comes to recording part two of Voo two we won't drink as much wine.

With Rob Whiteley recording me & John as a two-piece, we stayed up 'til around 4am finishing off the second of the two most difficult songs. They'd both turned out to be a piece of piss.

As we'd recorded a song bass-less this meant Monday started with yet more bass overdubs for Paul. It didn't take too long yet as but as we'd set Monday aside for guitar overdubs (the parts on the album where I 'shred'  & double up rhythm guitars etc)...

I ended up doing this until 6.30 fucking a.m.

I'm not kidding, at one point I actually forgot how to play guitar. I was playing a guitar solo - shredding - it was 4am or later & at this point I'd played it fifteen times or so as I kept messing it up & it plain went outta my head. I was shutting down.

Don't get me wrong or anything, I fucking love being in the studio & can't wait to get back there. We were dead lucky to be able to record in a studio as lovely as the one we were in up in Cumbria, Ennerdale to be exact. But I was so. Tired. I was on the edge. Rob, god bless him, was as patient as any man could be & he was up 'til 6 fucking 30 am too.


Not a very exciting end, I'll grant you but an end nevertheless. The recording of the rest of 'Songs We Used To Dance To' was both more productive & more eventful. Coming soon: The Songs We Used To Dance To Sessions: The Dock Road Days! Probably not though.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Past pt.1

I just did my twice yearly Myspace check which becomes more & more depressing & pointless every time I do it. Remember how fun & busy that site used to be? Our profile now feels kind of like a birthday card from your parents you feel guilty about throwing away. I should just fucking bin it.

But, while I was there I took at look at some of the blogs for old times sake & came across one I'd wrote detailing the recording of 'Songs We Used To Dance To'. We made that album in two bits; the first in Cumbria, the second in Liverpool. This one is all about the Cumbrian session. 

It starts....


Anyway, Paul from 28 Costumes had kindly driven us to Birmingham in their big-ass bus to play Johnny Foreigner's single launch with Do Idea & Sunset Cinema Club. After the show Paul drove the bus, which was loaded with all of our amps & guitars, miles & miles to get us to Cumbria where we would be spending four days recording six songs. 

It was a fairly uneventful journey up until around 5.45am when we were nearly driven off the road by a dog which attacked the bus with a fury the likes of which I haven't seen in a dog since fucking 'Cujo'. It followed us for some time too. Having negotiated the dark country roads we arrived at the studio some time after six Friday morning. Maddigan, the owner, was there to greet & while doing so fell down the cattle grid outside his house. In the darkness we could just make out the shape of many sheep. 

We began playing at around nine o'clock Friday evening having spent the day setting up amps & tuning up drum kits and doing all the things that make being in the studio sometimes as boring as reading that last sentence. But, as I remember it, getting that first song recorded wasn't too bad & we even managed to get a game of poker in which I handed John, Paul & Rob's their asses to them.

We recorded three songs comparatively quickly the next day; that is compared to every other experience I've had in a studio. I reckon the view we had outside the live room, one of hills, trees, yet more sheep even a lil' ole lake where we were playing...all of this scenery contributed to a relaxed atmosphere which certainly helps when there's the pressure of having to make music which has to blow everyone's goddamn mind all over the place when they hear it.

That was the problem though see; we got too relaxed. We got lazy. We listened back to the the songs we'd recorded and realised of the four only one kicked the appropriate amount of ass. The remaining three were the work of lazy men who were too concerned with beating each other in after-hours poker games. I'm being honest with you all's hard to write & i'm sure it's hard to read but I'd become so concerned with beating Paul & John at poker that I'd forgotten what I was there to do. Which was lay down tracks so awesome that they would blow people's minds.

So that's what we did.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

We Got Out Just In Time

Hey - how about this fucking weather? Jesus Christ.

I was down in London for ATP I'll Be Your Mirror on Sunday to see Archers Of Loaf & Afghan Whigs & neglected to take any sun cream so my poor head took the full brunt of the sun's brutal rays. It doesn't feel good & it looks very, very red but it's worth it as I got to see Archers Of Loaf, a band I've loved for a very long time & I didn't think I'd ever get to see live. I totally lost it when they started playing 'Web In Front'. Amazing.

Afghan Whigs were incredible too but I'd seen them before.

Moving on...the title of this here post is also the title of a new song we will be playing when we make our triumphant, glorious Archers Of Loaf-style return to the stage later this year. This is an acoustic version of it recorded earlier this year while we were demo-ing some new songs. John Wallace (ex-Voo) recorded it & Ben (surname unknown) mixed it. Hope you like it.

Late last week I was made up to be asked to go along to do some singing & some shouting on the new House That Jack Built album. It's called 'A Study Of Reading Habits' and, from the bits & pieces I've heard, is going to be awesome. Rekordmeister Music have just lashed a new song up on their website before the album's full release this Friday at Used Vinyl Club. Have a listen here (that's me doing the high "du du du du's..." in the background along with Puzzle's Lucy Johnson).

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Hi friends (bye friend...)

Welcome to the Voo blog site & the first ever blog post too. Voo have been on a bit of a hiatus for six months or so for a number of reasons; the main one being we lost a member of the band in John Wallace – not in tragic, fatal accident kind of way, just in a he left the band kind of way – although that doesn't make it any less sad. More on that in a bit.

Another, happier reason we haven't been as busy is that Paul became a Dad (and me an uncle!) to a baby girl earlier this year. Her name is Ella & she is awesome. Expect the next Voo record to be soppier than usual.

Anyway, this last weekend we met up at our practise room for the first time since November & got started playing some new songs which felt amazing. Sunday also marked the first time we had played with our new drummer Steve Carpenter. Steve used to play drums in Tokyo Adventures & has been a good mate of ours for years now too & we're psyched he's agreed to play drums for us. So welcome Steve but farewell John... we are dead sad to see John leave the band but understand his reasons. I gave him a shout & told him about this blog & asked him if he'd like to write anything for it. He sent me the following, so I'll finish this first post with John's goodbye address. Thanks John x

"Hello Voo Blog readers, So I quit Voo right, it was an ugly affair, we had a massive punch-up in the Albert on Lark Lane, Graham body-slammed me through the bar and Paul did a leg-drop off the tele and onto my arm finishing my drumming career. Those guys will probably remember it differently but let's not let a good story get in the way of the truth.

Excuse me, a little nervous humour there in a macho attempt to cover up what's actually going on. We didn't have a bar fight, Paul didn't end my drumming career with a leg-drop but the truth is I am no longer the drummer with Voo.

A few years ago I left Liverpool and had been travelling back for band practices and gigs but with work and education commitments I've not been able to dedicate the time Voo deserve. Graham's been writing top-notch songs recently but without a drummer there week-in week-out a band struggles to move forwards.

It's been a really difficult decision to make, I've been with Voo for 8 years and when you leave a long-term band it's more like breaking-up with a girlfriend, except you're breaking up with two people simultaneously and you worry about hurting them or damaging the friendships. Luckily Graham & Paul have been really cool about it and I'm really happy that we're all still friends and happy that Voo will carry on doing music without me.

From those 8 years spent with Voo there are some beautiful memories, playing Germany and making new friends over there has been really special, thanks Marius, Alex, Katrin, Mark and Ruth. Playing Liverpool Arena supporting Crowded House was incredible and a mind blowing night. And its been great being able to hang out with two cool bros Paul & Graham on the road, in the practice room/service stations/van/car/ferry/attic... thanks for the good times guys.

There's loads more special memories from my years with Voo but I don't want to get over-sentimental, it'll ruin my tough guy image. I'd like to say good luck to Voo and to new Voo drummer Steve Carpenter, his old band Tokyo Adventures are one of my favourite bands from Liverpool. To finish I'd like to point anyone still reading this in the direction of my favourite Voo track, I have good memories of recording this. Goodbye for now everyone x"