Sunday, 20 July 2014

The touring test.

Where have you been?

We've been to Nottingham and Leeds, on the first, very tiny leg of our tour. Sorry to those in Glasgow who waited, with flowers and chocolates and other gifts and warm hearts, no doubt, for our scheduled arrival. We had to postpone. We'll be there soon enough, I hope.

Vanny van van, up to Nottingham. Looong vanny van van. Straight in, straight to the Rescue Rooms venue. Park up, load out, then follow one of the members of the other band around a million and one corners and roundabouts around and around again to our designated parking zone. Up and about, wrong turn after wrong turn, bundling around in our oversized van. 

Tired, then...soundcheck and...where's the dressing room? Oh, it's upstairs, up through another myriad maze of corridors and carpetless staircases and fire exits. Tired...

Tired...

Corners and unseen protractions of space and locked doors and unlockable doors so you have to press the button that resides on your right ankle if you hop on your left. Press it and then apply no more than 5lbs of pressure but no less than the gravitational force of the world's most recently birthed sheep. That's it. Now, the next door is a bit more tricky...

...but

WHAT'S THIS? A comfortable room filled with FOOD and a fridge filled with COLD BEER and WATER and HAM and LETTUCE and CRISPS and CARAMELLY BISCUITS. TELEVISION and an XBOX and a LARGE, CLEAN TOILET and all sorts of wonders. Nottingham makes you work for your destination, but boy were we happy to come across food for five and a kettle and a well stocked white box full of cold stuff. Nothing more settling for the 'first date of the tour'.

Really nice gig, really nice people coming up to us afterwards – thank you all for your kind words and support. If you're coming to one of our future gigs and aren't sure if you should come up and slobber over us once we've finished our mind-blowing set, then don't hesitate – just do it. We're nice, sometimes, and we will tell stories about you to each other in the van, afterwards.

We had time to spare, then, following the Glasgow cancellation, so we got to hang out in the city and spend some time with our totally random and very generous host who put us up for NOTHING but love and a cheap meal. We saw her giant print of a piece of broccoli that she'd hitch-hiked back from Barcelona, and made a pretty much consistent racket in her dining room with our new found table football obsession.

We went shopping, like professionals do, and it turned out that later in the day, on a stroll, after visiting one of the many characterful pubs that Nottingham has to offer, that Jeb, Ed, and Seryn, wondering about in the street, had been recognised by someone working in one of the shops. I don't think we've been recognised in the street before. The worker, however, was too shy to come out and say 'Hello' and so, apparently, her friend/co-worker had come out to tell these three fools that there was someone inside who wanted to say 'Hello' but was too shy.

Shy, too, however, were these fame-stricken fellows, unaware of how to take this as anything but news.

'Cool!', then, was apparently the comment of the day. Their resultant shame and embarrassment at not having gone in to say 'Hello', when I met up with them again later, was a joy to watch. They too, it seems, turn shy when presented with these situations they are not used to. I would, obviously, have promptly marched into the store raspberrying my own triumphant fanfare, scaring any would-be conversationalist into submission before their gag reflex could get them fired from their work.

These three superstars, however, struck by indecision and too much Curb your enthusiasm, carried on about their day in anxious awkwardness and indecision, leaving, no doubt, a curled up heap of Phoria fanhood fastened to the floor, the dents made by knees on carpet healing only as quickly as the hope-shaped hole punctuated into this poor person's psyche.

Anyway. A non-story, but a little insight into the curious oddities that can, on occasion, beset us.

Onwards, then, after much wine and whisky, to Leeds, where it was hot.

We hit the 'waiting' wall, a little. Trapped in the van between the back of the venue and a commercial car park, humming, 'hacking the sack' as those boys do, and just...waiting.

A nice gig, not without its slight technical difficulties, but still those who came were again kind and enthusiastic.

'I want to get home, tonight.' - Trewin.

Leeds to Brighton, then, leaving at about 23:30.

Mission.

Coffee and Subway.

Another service station. Another grand palace of worship to the consumption of convenient foodstuffs and cold, white floors. More toilets, designed like a labyrinth where every door leads to a new hell. The doors to someone else's floating poo are adjacent and unmarked.

Some of them kipped, from time to time. I was front-row-centre, jeering the two swapping drivers into wakefulness with cigarettes and mint humbugs and the standard 2am conversational patter. Grotesque scenes of a sexual nature, twisted into necessary decisions. Would you rather? What would you do if? Which pop singer/musician leaves traces of his fingers behind? Eh? Can you guess?

Prints.

Prince.

Long.

Drive.

Home at 6am. No sleep since Nottingham. We even hit a traffic jam at 3am on a diversion from the M1. In a fit of joy, we took the nearest capillary lane that lead South. One wrong turn turned it into a horseshoe. Back in the queue. Where does this lane take us?

Someone else's farm.

Back in the queue.

So now we have a couple of days off in Brighton before Leicester on Tuesday.

Here are the dates:

22nd July - The Cookie Jar, LEICESTER
23rd July - Oakford Social Club, READING
24th July - 60 Million Postcards, BOURNEMOUTH
25th July - Birdcage, BRISTOL
26th July - The Sunflower Lounge, BIRMINGHAM
29th July - The Castle, MANCHESTER
2nd August - Farm Festival, BRUTON

Come and see us, do.

We're much more interesting than these posts make us appear, and much more likely to sell you merchandise and give you aural pleasure.

Sit correctly.

Tim


P.S. If you live in any of those cities and want to have some fun and give us somewhere to sleep, get in touch through any channel you can think of. Facebook, email, twitter...

We'll try our best to make it worth your while and something else about sleeping at yours for free, please.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A perverse crossover of earnestness and crippling 21st Century anxiety.

Five-thirty.

Five-thirty in the morning.

I didn't even want to go to Abbey Road. Who's ever recorded anything there, eh? Eh? Come on. For goodness' sake.

Five-thirty in the god damn morning.

Still, Ed knocked on the door of the Phoria house looking chipper. Sez rolled out in the way that he does, all silky hair and a distinct focus on 'breakfast time'. Trewin, as usual, was full of beans – throwing van keys in the air and what-not as he talks to you.

I slept through the A27, needing a tea.

London traffic. A sea of cars sitting dead in the shitty morning sun. Everyone beeping and sitting perfectly motionless, except for the people adjusting their hair or their make-up. Seryn.

So, traffic – which is what happens when you flood an inlet – and then bundling across the pavement like a wagon in the wild west. In through the out gate. Honestly. And who says rock and roll is dead?

We slither out, excitable but...focussed.

Sign in at reception. Sign in for your session at Abbey Road.

'Yes , Hi. We're here for the session with x at Studio three.'

Mmmm.

And then we're in! Skipping down the halls, as you do, into the first open door. All dark and wood. All deep red rug and dead headspace. The peace of the treated walls hits you in the chest. A meet and greet, suddenly. The students we'd be working with. This was all set up by Berkeley, Boston. It's their session, but they pretend it's ours.

Handshakes. 'Hello.'

They're all clean. I slept in Jeb's bed (his presence in all but scent is regrettably ommitted from this story), and am who I am, so you can imagine how I felt. I'd just been in the back of a stinking van after a four-thirty start, so how do you think I was? Why did I suddenly have to face fifteen or so grinning Americans?

No, no. I kid, of course. 

Really.
 
So setting up guitars, then. Setting up guitars in Studio 3 of Abbey Road studios. No big deal, really. It's not like I've wanted this exact moment for the entirety of my colourful career so far, noodling around after school playing Guns n' Roses covers, all the while dreaming of doing exactly this, here, right now, strumming my freshly-strung telecaster in the same place any teenage hero I dare mention had strummed their own, so to speak.

So I played a little Pink Floyd. And the whole band, having set up, segued into a kind of chilled out funk jam for a couple of minutes. Ed was on a real Rhodes.

Man.

Time to work.

CRICKETS!

The fire alarms in the building, it turns out, we're being picked up by our guitars, and were forcing the sound of chirruping crickets down the microphones.

Numerous solutions were saught.

Trewin ended up sitting like a Yogi, trying to angle his guitar away from anything,to stop the buzz.

Still, we've just started recording, so sshhhhh. Quiet in the studio.

Cameras. Cameras everywhere. Everyone's documenting everything.

I found out later that there had been two ambient mikes placed in the studio, so as to record the goings on during the session. I'm a nice man (don't look at me like that) and don't often say things that I mean out of turn, but...now the paranoia strikes. What if I made a bad joke? What if I was having some fun just being a little bitch? I'm sure I didn't say anything. Oooh. I know I screamed. A lot. But then, that's just what I do.

40 odd takes of two halves of a song, in the end. Jesus, lads. Get your acts together. They don't call me Three-minute Douglas for nothing, you know.

Everyone's in and out – not knowing where to go or where they should be, but focussed. Always moving with purpose, despite not knowing how best to fulfil it.

Lay down the bass, Tim.

Synth was easy enough. Bass guitar was not. My hand had become a lump of lead. I played my balls off and, on holding the last note of the last take, screamed over a sustained note as I held back my left pinky, which was cramping its way towards the fretboard, ready to ruin my good time.

I showed it, though. I told it who was boss.

An original Hammond through a Leslie speaker. Our balls were literally exploding into dust at the sounds and the toys and the atmosphere and the people. Ed could have been skipping through a field of marigolds. Trewin had his eyes on everything.

It's a fucking magical place, I tell you.

FREE LUNCH AND DINNER.

Say. No. Mawah.

Back to Connie's. She's a violin player, playing in the quartet (made a quintet by the appearance of her fabulous bass player friend), for a quick beer and, good lord, sleep.

Do we sleep?

Do we?

God, we peeled ourselves off the floor that next morning.

I had to look at the financial district of London through caffeine-free and sleepless eyes. I had to watch the wankers in the back of their cars, skimming a little bit off everything, causing all the problems that we are told they are the answer to. It was one hell of an energising hour.

And I had the day off, on day two! I'd played my three god-damn instruments. It was the turn of the string-quairntet, and a bit of piano, and Trewin's vocals. One of the most magical moments was when Trewin, attempting the vocal track, very quietly asked for the lights to be turned off, and in the control room we were left in complete darkness but for the panoramic glow of the mixing desk. I just stared and listened, one of which things is something that I have never done before, ever.

And...I mean...it just happened. I spent the rest of the time at the back, getting drawn unnecessarily into an offensive joke swap. I swear, mum – I don't know any. We just...hung out and chatted with these fascinating and wonderfully friendly American students and, clearly, very kind, humble, and inspiring staff.

Their professionalism out-marked mine by a-thousand-to-one.

But I played Pink Floyd in Studio 3 at Abbey Road, which they didn't.

Then, Connie's. Or maybe not?

'I could go home.' (Not my words.)

Ah, a car park debate.

'If we ever come against an option where we choose whether to be men, or mice,' said Trewin, 'can we choose to be men?'

Agreed.

Back to Connie's. Again. More beer, this time.

More getting a knock from a frustrated neighbour because we were waking little children across the complex.

More dancing to tunes we didn't know., in our alcohol soaked pyjamas.

After all, we'd just been to Abbey Road, and we didn't have to wake up at three-thirty the next day.

I'm still getting over it.

We're on tour, next. Let's see how it goes.

Have fun, whatever you choose to play in Studio 3 of Abbey Road Studios.

I know I played fucking Pink Floyd.

Did you?

No.

Tim

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

No such thing as a free launch?

OK, OK. I know the Brighton Display launch was on Saturday and it's now the following Tuesday and I've only just rolled into work, my sleeves covered in blood and vomit, but you can guess why, no?

That's right. I was glueing fragmented socks to the specific inner sections of middle-aged men's sandals so that the members of that group might finally have the weekend comfort of a hot sock with the aeration of the modern sandal.

I don't waste my time.

So thanks, then, to those who came down. There was a little stress in the days running up to the show. We'd had the London launch, as you perhaps know, and it went really well, but this, lest we get complacent, is another gig, and you never know what each gig will bring. Will anyone turn up? Will we stride out in a blaze of woohoo and slink off stage fifty minutes later in a fug of underboot downtreadery? Will we play to the beer pumps? Will my shoes feel too close, not enough...circulation? But then what of the leather-upper comfort?

You never know what the next gig will bring.

Luckily, you're all bloody lovely people, and you turned up and cheered your little lungy-bums off. That was real nice. It makes me feel nauseous with happiness that you all came and made it a big hot and sweaty one to remember. TVM.

So that was it, then. We had the months of lead up to the release where we fretted and non-stop-internetted and wondered how regretted we'd get if the whole thing failed and we were asked to fuck off into a horrid late-twenties obscurity. Then we had the London launch where it all came to a head and the post-gig shenanigans were no more than falling asleep against a van window as the honey-like lights glooped across our faces, and then after the Brighton show...

...that all went away. We had a little-wittle bit of 'freedom' to play with.

So today I'm still rubbing my legs after a four-hour 'walk' home on Sunday morning along Brighton seafront. Nothing pleases me more than watching Seryn struggle to handle the mixed pleasures of bodily poison, sunrise, and a rooftop jacuzzi.

Little more cliché, nothing more fun.

Thanks, all. We'll be busy this week, performing a few experiments in some London recording shed or other. Then we're gonna look forward to the tour. More on that as and when.

Tuesday can be pleasurable, but the sun is out, so if you're anything like me you'll be wisely staying inside, smearing peanut butter on your skin to form a full paste of opacity.

Don't choose chunky – it makes you look weird.

Be fun.

Tim

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

We all do what we must, don't we?

It's a chore, isn't it?

Releasing an EP, playing the launch at St. Pancras Old Church to a top-notch bunch of you lovely, lovely people, cruising around London afterwards dreaming of the future with so much tiredness in your eyes that you look like you've been soaking your entire head in bleach... (I wrote that 'so much tiredness' bit first and then tried to fill in the end. The idea of us soaking our head in bleach is accurate in terms of our appearance, but it doesn't really work, does it? Still, you'll get what you're given.)

It's a chore.

So, today's a day off.

No. 6 in the iTunes electronic chart, highly recommended by those nice folks at Radio 1, word going all over the globe about us, apparently. Display. Display Display Display. American Display. Vinyl Display.

So yesterday was the London launch. Saturday is the Brighton launch. Do come, if you're about, and/or tell your friends. Come come come.

That's it, then. Display is OUT! OUT and ABOUT! (Except for our friends in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. We had to push it back a bit over there, for reasons.)

Today, then, is kicking back (which is really taking its toll on my legs) and watching Seinfeld and wasting my time on video games and drinking tea and picking out the wallpaper for my future swimming pool.

It's going to be a good day.

Tempted to head into Brighton later. You know when you're like 'I could go out. ...maybe I fancy going out. Staying in sounds nice, though. I don't know... Maybe I'll go out. Will people be out? Of course. Is that good? Sometimes. If I go out, will everyone go inside? Will that be bad? I wouldn't mind having the whole town to myself. I could lick all the gutters without being judged and smear 'myself' over all the shop windows. But can I be bothered?'

You know when you're like that? Well that's how I am.

Nah, screw it.

If you need me, I'll be bringing the ruckus. Just follow the slug trail through town.

Have fun on this Tuesday; it might be your last.

I only mean that it might get rebranded to 'Pleasure-day', or something, to convince everyone that life is good now that we're finally seeing the benefits of a precarious and limited economic recovery. They can finally afford to run the air conditioning at full tilt in the back of their limousines. Oh, praise be to those on the supply side, for when tempered by an active and caring government they truly are the arbiters of all that is good and pure in this world.

Yes, let's just sit here at the bottom of the hill...

That's enough of that.

Stay safe, and thanks for the love! Keep it coming!

Tim

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Death and bad PR.

But why are the kids crying?

Haven't you heard? Rik is dead! The people's poet is dead!

But how can Rik be dead when we still have his poems?

Dammit, death. Why did you have to have to...

Ah, never mind. We're as bummed as all of you, OK? Just see Richard Richard off with a two-fingered salute and we'll have done with it.

We've been weeping into our keyboards, then. Blue sparks flying everywhere. We'll be sporting new hairstyles at the launch this coming Monday. Think Dr Emmet Brown mixed with 80s Tina Turner.

We've been going at it really rather hard. OK? We've pretty much spent the last seventy-two hours getting stuff down: putting new samples on new gear, getting stuff wrong, trying to make a couple of lights look like Guy Fawkes farting on a candle at the wrong time.

It's good to be so concentrated.

Let's see what happens. I can't emphasise enough how excited and/or shit-panteningly scared we are about the launch on Monday. Not so much the launch gig at St. Pancras (which I'll mention here again), but just...getting Display out of the door on its heels. Nothing but a sleeping bag (vinyl sleeve) and a couple of quid (no metaphorical analogue, here); out on its arse (music). I know the fine people at X Novo have been doing one of those bang up jobs I so often hear about.

Loads of radio stuff, which we're really grateful for. I even had an old friend get hold of me the other day saying he'd come across our stuff accidentally on Radio 1, and is now, at last, a fan. I've been telling him to listen to us for years.

Basically this whole 'growth' thing (not that one – I've had that lanced) is just an opportunity for us to weed out the wheat from the chaff as far as our extended social networks are concerned.

It's a very hurtful experience.

Keep listening, then.

Tim.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

'Do you farm corn?' 'Wheat.' 'OK, I've got time.'

What is it? Wednesday?

There are a myriad of reasons why one would not know what day it is. In the interest of 'selling the dream' I'll let you make up your own. Is it the result of a five day rock and roll drink and drugs bender? Is it the result of my staying up until 7am every day trying to get rid of all this candy floss? Have I reverted to the ancient Shankhandian calendar where every day is 'Cruelty day'?

As I say, in the interest of our lives acting as a conduit for you to fulfil your own fantasies, I'll let you make your own mind up.

The weekend that's just gone was the temporal site of the first festival of the summer! Woohoo!

At an unspecifiable part of the trip up to Cheltenham I thought we'd entered a trans-dimensional state of suspended animation, as while I could clearly see the world and its myriad of green horrors whirling by outside of the van, inside of the van, the speedometer suddenly read '0mph'. 0mph?

'Uh-oh.' said Trewin.

On viewing that, then, we just had to pull off.

What a great mood I'm in today.

Not only were there electronics problems, but we knew that the starter motor was having issues, too. This meant that we had to drive around a little off-motorway village at 0mph (which is difficult at the best of times) looking not only for a good pace to stop, but somewhere hilly enough that we could bump-start the van should it fail.

'Hi? Yes, we're running a little late...'

Luckily we found a lovely little roady inlet, all lined with trees with big thick trunks and nice grass; all peaceful like, to stop and wait and hope for the AA man.

We played guitar, laughed at our own bodily functions (an underused technique for any motivational speakers out there) and Jeb and Seryn went for a two-hour walk to the nearest place they could get food. The AA man (I forget his name, but it may have been 'Heltaaaaaaaaaaaaarn') was a very nice man indeed. He even took the piss out of Trewin, which not many of us get to do. It was like when a guest speaker comes into class and makes a slightly snarky comment to the teacher to get you kids onside. Except it was over a van. We weren't in school. We were outside. I've been over this.

Fixed.

Late.

'Can we still make it?'

Of course.

Turn up late, but the awesome people still put us on, straight away. We rushed them, but they all pulled together and put us on really well. The staff at Wychwood Festival, I have to say, were awesome. Thanks, everyone.

Although the bar staff didn't take much of a liking to me. I ended up sitting outside with them at about 1am, having danced like a loon at the silent disco with the others until 'Come on Eileen' came on and I thought I'd rather have an axe in the eye than listen to that like an irony soaked bank-holiday-celebrating fun-time fuck. Simon Pegg has already covered this attitude concerning The Timewarp. That's my feeling.

So I sat outside with the bar staff who were on a break, feeling like one of the rich people on the Titanic going down to mingle with 'the hands', but sinking even faster as my state of mind made me think it would be funny to make them hate me. I get this feeling a lot, but... Well, there is no but. I get amused by it. I was alone.

Then I went to sleep across the gapped seats of a van that smelt like Vince Cable's voice.

I'm writing in a fit of energy and updatedyness. Maybe it's the onset of summer, maybe it's because I've got other stuff to be doing and my subconscious is telling me to do anything but that, or maybe it's because I love you all – every single one of you – and just want to impress you.

Or make you hate me.

Look, we've got two shows coming up for the launch of Display. One in London and one in Brighton. Click on them. Buy tickets. We're musicians.

I think.

Stay safe and be well, and don't shout too loud at PMQs.

Tim

Friday, 30 May 2014

What's the do?

What's new?

Well, we had three tracks at once in the HypeMachine chart. It's a kind of blog presence aggregator which tells you who's the most talked about artist across the internet. We had it with Red and Emanate, and now Undone has done the same. That's cool, right? This remix of Once Again is in there, too. It's lovely to have so much support that we start getting involved in these things. It's a clear sign that things are moving forward. I mean, we love what we do and have loved everything we've done so far, but moving forward in our online presence and getting more people involved is just so good; knowing that we're able to reach so many people by doing what we enjoy.

Thanks, everyone.

Undone, if you're not aware, is now available to stream. Display is on its way. 16Th June. You can pre-order via iTunes (UK, US) OR take a look at our limited edition vinyl, available here.

Two launch shows; one in Brighton and one in good old London town, at one of our favourite venues. We're talking to the string quartet. We'll be...stringing them along.

Eh?

Eh?

So clever.

We had a rehearsal yesterday for our appearance at Wychwood festival tomorrow. First festival of the season!

Ed hands me a sustain pedal, back in the Phoria house.

'Tim, I've got to go and sort something – can you please remember to bring this to practice for me?'
'Yeah of course!'

So ask me why I left the rehearsal room and got in my car just as we were getting started. Go on. Go on, ask me. Go on.

He got his revenge. 7-0 on FIFA 13. 7-0. I'll get my revenge, though. I wonder if his gear will be at the gig tomorrow, or whether it will have mysteriously disappeared into a ditch somewhere along the A27.

I wonder.

Otherwise, it's work. More new stuff. Talking to people. Doing interviews, watching the reviews come in.

Getting ready for an exciting recording session at a very famous studio at the end of June. Who knows what'll come out of it. Music, probably.

Jeb's working on a couple of videos for us and other people, which should make their appearance soon enough. He showed me some of the drafts yesterday and they're really impressive. I mean, like, really impressive. Damn him.

All I've seen Seryn doing of late is sprinkling salt on buttered toast. What a wacky neighbour.

And I'm just sat here typing.

The weekend's coming up. If you can't feel the sense of pure unadulterated ecstacy that I'm trying to force through this post, then to be honest you're not ready for the weekend ahead of you. I'd pretend it's Monday tomorrow and go back into training, if I were you, which I could well be without your knowing.

Perhaps I should put the keyboard down, now, and play Fez for the rest of the day.

If you're going to have fun, make sure you grease your toes with butter, first. It aids the dancing.

Pleasure, as always.

Heartford O'Helt.

(Tim).