Monday, 4 July 2011

Two and a Half Gigs: Campstock and Carnie Day

Hello all!

First off, I hope your day is as sunny as mine is. It's barely half way through the morning and the conservatory where I'm blogging from feels like an oven. *melts a little*

If you hadn't guessed, it's Ivy here. So, we've had a busy couple of weekends - two weekends, two(ish) gigs. I'll come to the "(ish)" in a minute. First, I better waffle about Campstock.

Liberty mentioned a little about Campstock in our last update, which was a vain attempt to cover everything we've been up to recently. As she said, this was our first "proper gig". We played the opening slot on the mainstage of a small music festival with the hopes of raising some money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. All the week before we'd been practising every night, our half hour set which I shall detail in a minute. Every time we practised, I'd let the side down by getting my own song wrong. Me and Taylor resorted to playing it during every advert break during our Thursday night TV marathon, just to get it in my head.

And I still got it wrong. Well, it was only one line. Not too bad, right?

Nevermind. The gig itself went really well, despite the fact that I forgot to plug my guitar in on the first song. I'm a terrible band member XD. We still got lots of claps and people kept stopping us afterwards to tell us how much they loved our sets - someone found me in the toilets! What was best about Campstock, for me anyway but I'm sure the girls agree, was how well our originals were recieved. They got the biggest claps and whenever one of the later acts played one of their own they'd always mention us, as if to ask, "Is it ok, Not Quite?" It made these songs we've written feel more like real songs, not just four girls singing in their dining room in an attempt to make their mother blub (it happens all the time!). I feel proud of these little songs we've got.

Our gig aside, it was a lovely afternoon. Mum packed enough food to feed us four times over and then some; the music made a great atmosphere and it was lovely to kick back and just relax after the intense week leading up to the gig. We also lost Charlie, our little sister and Mr Taylor's sister in the Rhoddendron (sp?!) bush - for at least an hour. We ended up sending out a search party. Me, Lib, Mr Lib, Taylor, Mr Taylor and various members of his family all split up and took separate sections of the immense maze, armed with phones and a fifteen minute time limit. I found them. All it took was some yelling from the path so they could get back. Turns out the little one wanted to go on a "wenture", and go off-roading (so to speak). We literally had to drag her out of there. My white leggings got covered in mud, but not as bad as Charlie.

The day after, we checked our Facebook and found a member of the headline act had liked our page and left us a lovely message, again mentioning our own songs. That really blew me away, because the headline act - Tap The Keg - were really good. They got everyone (except the party-poopers in the reserved tent) dancing and they realy knew how to interact with the crowd. I took mental notes, because as front man it is my job to interact with the audience. We also got an email from the guy who organised it all, saying how much everyone enjoyed our set and thanking us and whatnot. He also told us to get out there and get gigging, which was really nice.

We also got a mention in the paper P:

For more photos of the gig, check out our Ma's blog QWERTY Mum.

Now for the second round of gigs. This weekend, it was our town carnival. I remember it as something that takes over the town for one day, all the teenagers get drunk and it rains, a lot. But this year it was a weekend dealie, with sun and the main carnival was at our school. We played both days. So it was one gig, that we played twice - hence the "(ish)", it's more like two and a half. It was all a bit chaotic, we weren't quite sure what was happening until we were playing and not even then! Maybe it was because we joined the billing on Wednesday, maybe it would have been like that had we been on from the start - who knows. But anyway, our Saturday gig was further complicated by the fact that our faithful roadie had to work.

Thankfully, the sound guy from The Joiner's Arms offered to help us - hurray for him! We had a few technical hitches, but I don't think it really mattered. We were playing the highstreet and people were just passing really. We had the odd few that stopped and listened. One guy was tapping his foot throughout. This time I remembered to plug myself in and the words to my song! I also saw one of my college friends during Grenade, which made me smile. Ma told us afterwards that people in their cars slowed down to listen to us, which is pretty cool.

The Sunday was equally as chaotic, but this time we had our roadie. We just had no idea when we were playing and how long we'd get. All the various organisers kept telling us different things and we got bumped by a Children's Entertainer even though two minutes before we'd been told we were on. Confusing! The band we shared a set with - The One Hit Wonders, The Bandeoke Band - were really nice, and helpful, though. They were in the same boat as us and were equally confused. The gig went really well though, and we managed to get the whole set done - we did have to do the swap song last though, just in case. We got lots of claps again and there was this row of kids sat at the front staring up at us with those wide eyes they get. It was really sweet. And! We got scouted! Sort of. One guy, who was chanting "More!" at the end of every song came up to us afterwards and asked for our details so he could pass us on to the people organising a Beer and Music festival in September. He then didn't believe that I was twenty, but there we go, that's irrellevent.

The Bandeoke boys were really up for getting us Not Quite girls doing some bandeoke, which we did. I should explain, bandeoke is basically Karaoke but with a band playing the music instead of a track. It is a lot harder than karaoke, but a lot of fun. You had to be cued in by the bassit/guitarist because the words were on powerpoint. He cued us in fine - but me and Lib butchered Suddenly I See. Taylor went up with our cousin, to do Umbrella, only to find out they'd sped it up and made it rockier. I still think they did better than me and Lib though!

It was a great weekend and I'm so glad we did it - chaos and everything.

We did the same set for all the gigs, and here it is:
  • Don't Call Me Babe, sung by Liberty (original)
  • Grenade, sung by Ivy, backed by Charlie and Taylor (Bruno Mars)
  • Draw Me A Picture, sung by Charlie (original)
  • The Writer, sung by Taylor (Ellie Goulding)
  • Walk You Home, sung by Charlie and Liberty, backed by Ivy and Taylor (Passenger)
  • Moving The Castles (Howl), sung by Ivy, backed by Charlie, Liberty and Taylor (original)
We have a few more songs in the works - both original and covers. Plus, seeing the solos the Bandeoke boys did and listing to Spotlight by Mutemath in the shower has inspired me to pick up my electric and finally learn how to play solos.

But that's it for now. Til next time!

Ivy, out!

Friday, 10 June 2011

A Much Needed Update

So, it's been a while.

That's actually not because nothing has been happening, but rather that too much has. Between careers, school, exams, driving lessons, birthdays, music, songwriting and all that other stuff, the poor blog has suffered.

So, in short, here are a few of the things we've been getting up to during our silence:

A Song For Niomi

Taylor's best friend Niomi was a Young Carer for a while when her mother was ill, leaving Niomi not just looking after her mum, but her little brother too. She joined the Red Cross Young Carers support group and has been heavily involved in making a video promoting the good work that Young Carers do, often without recognition or even understanding.

As part of the video project, Niomi wrote a poem and asked us to turn it into the song. The result was What If?

I actually quite hate that recording. We were pushed for time, and still getting acquainted with our equipment. There's a bit of echo and the vocal isn't best. We have plans to rerecord it in the summer when we have a bit more time and space to dedicate to the lengthy process of recording, but for now that one will have to do!

The song debuted at the video launch last saturday, and though most people thought Niomi was singing it, it was very well received so we were pleased!

Campstock Festival

Perhaps the most exciting development - Not Quite have a proper gig. Like 200 people gig! We're supporting some local acts at a local music festival, raising money for charity. The slot is about half an hour and we're doing a mix of covers and original tracks. We've not played to even close to that big an audience before so we will probably die of terror on the day, but it should be good. I'm excited anyway.

Not Quite's Debut Gig

Taylor and Ivy are regulars at a local Open Mic night, and in preparation for the big gig, they asked the pub they play at if they'd give us a slot as a band. We were given half an hour on Sunday night.

It wasn't the busiest time, but there were enough people there to make it feel official and exciting. We'd never played outside of our dining room before, and the pub had never hooked up pianos to their sound system, so it was a night of firsts.

And it went incredibly well. I was so nervous my throat completely dried up, but I managed to get through my songs, and my siblings were even better - their open mic exposure giving their confidence a boost. We were only supposed to play five songs, then come back for an encore later with two or three, but the bar staff and the audience were so impressed we were told to do our whole 6 song set twice through. We were better the second time round, which was good, as it made me confident that we could be even better at Campstock.

This video was taken by our mum and has a mix of all our tracks. It features such amusing gaffs as Taylor forgetting her microphone (look for my arm shooting across and waving as Ivy sings) but hopefully it gives anyone out there reading a taste.

And I think that's everything. Ivy is home for a while now, so we're hoping to move the video project forwards, alongside some more song writing and recording. I have big plans for music video number two that I want to get on the way soon. We need to make the most of the summer break - it's going to be a busy one!


Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Hello, Ivy here.

Not Quite are officially on Facebook. We even have a shiny little badge over there *points in the sidebar's general direction*.

The page is a little naked at the moment, but that might have something do with the fact that Facebook kept undoing everything I did. I somehow managed to upload our profile picture three times, and it didn't work. This is Ivy should not set things up. Me and my computer have an uncanny knack for breaking things. Still, I did manage to get this blog linked up, as well as Twitter and YouTube. If I'm lucky I'll be able to badger one of the other Gilmores to fix what I broke. XD

Anyway, I don't really have anything else to say. So I'm going to vamoose.

Ivy, out!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Photoshoot: Update on the T-Shirt Front

Hellooo! Ivy here - so expect random (and often ridiculous) spellings, a nonsensical nature and possibly a few extra letters. Some are intentional, but sometimes my keyboard goes peculiar and thinks I want more letters than I need. I've had words, but it won't listen.

Ok, should stop there before Lib tells me off for crazying up the place. Onto why I am posting.

Ma and I went shopping today - a few odds and bobs were needed, nautical clothes and such - and, purely by chance, we came across a load of white t-shirts. Ok, so they are bloke's shirts and will probably be huge on everyone (except me), but they were on the sale rail. Score! I accidentally didn't get four with the same necks because, well, I wasn't paying attention. I was too distracted by the awesome of my new Spongebob Squarepants jumper. Some force was at work though, as I managed to get two v-necks and two round-necks. If anyone asks, I planned it that way. *unconvincing shifty eyes*

So what is all the fuss about white t-shirts, anyway? Good question, invisible person.

When trying to come up with a band name, Taylor was admiring one of Lib's email addresses and suggested that it would be a pretty cool band name. Cue epiphany. This is when Liberty had her genius idea. Call the band Not Quite then our trademark could be wearing tops which complete a phrase to describe what each of us are not quite. Get it? Did I say that too backwards? Probably... Here's an example.

We are Not Quite. I would wear a t-shirt saying Here as I am Not Quite Here (what with being in Northampton most the time).

Get it now?

So yeah! We now have our tees, which means we are one step closer to doing some arty-farty-colour-splash-blinged-up photoshoot. All that stands in our way is having not written on the shirts and picking a location. Though, I may just be in the dark on the location front. No one tells me anything.

Nevermind. Taylor and I have a song idea in the making and are going to try write it. Watch this space. P:

Ivy, out!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Music Video Project: Jewellery Shopping

With Ivy away at a friend's book burning party (? we don't know either...) it was down to Taylor and I to buy the jewellery for the video. Charlie was still in bed, and besides, my car only has two seats.

With the top down and the bad tunes blaring, we drove to the local shopping centre, £20 in our pockets, but instructions from Mum not to spend much more than a tenner.

We headed to Primark first. Much like at the jumble sale, it seemed like everything we said we wanted magically appeared a couple of seconds later. For just slightly more than a tenner, we also managed to pick up our missing colour splash items for the photoshoot (more on that later). We came in a little over budget at £12.50, but picked up some real bargains. Here is Taylor modelling every single bit of jewellery we bought:

We've also been busy writing a song for Taylor's friend. Hopefully we'll be recording it later today. Lots and lots going on!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Music Video Project: Jumble Sale Bargains

When we embarked on the Music Video Project, we knew it would be tight to get our vision within budget. The Charity Shops were doing well for odds and ends, but when it came down to it, we just couldn't afford everything we wanted at their prices and in the timescale of picking up one or two items a trip.

So, our mother spotted an advertisement for a local Jumble Sale, and last Saturday we headed off to check it out, armed with a bag full of spare change and a fair amount of trepidation.

Ivy couldn't make it as she was meeting a friend *cough* has an irrational fear of village halls. She's fired from the band. Just kidding, we simply had the pleasure of picking her outfit ourselves. After she dressed us up for her birthday, it was high time for some revenge.

I think Ivy knew she was fairly safe - she had to look good in the video after all - and while we did pick her out a very unusual skirt, we were fairly sure she'd like it and it was in keeping with the vision for the band.

What we were after was brown/green earthy outfits that were all layered and slightly mismatched, to match the very layered outfit of our storyline character. We wanted to match each other as well as the theme, and have a bit of variation to our individual looks to account for individual tastes. No small endeavour for a Saturday morning.

The Jumble Sale was great though - piles of clothes, plenty of willing, if often a bit misguided helpers, and everything was randomly priced somewhere around twenty pence. The most expensive items were my dress and Ivy's skirt, which cost a whole £5 altogether, from the 'designer' rail.

It took us about half an hour or so, and it seemed that every time we decided we needed something, it would appear under our hands, or from a secret stash the helpers had somewhere. After our mother tired of looking at the books, we headed home with complete outfits (minus shoes which we thought we could gather from our own ample collections - conveniently we are all size five - and jewellery, which will be shop bought soon) and less than £15 down, which included a load of books and a bug viewer for the little ones.

Back at home we laid our goodies on the table.

Charlie, who is playing the storyline character as well as taking her role as bassist in the band, had two outfits to model. You can only see the top half in this picture here, and not the amazing dress that Mum found, but doesn't she look great? She really suits the look (and, somewhat alarmingly, that hat).

Here is the four of us in 'Cool Band Pose'. Based on Eric Cartman's hypothesis that no cool band people face forwards on their album covers. Taylor manages to look cool, while Ivy and Charlie look a bit dopey, and I'm looking intently at the floor to hide the fact that I was laughing my head off because ten seconds ago Charlie's 'Cool Band Pose' involved giving the thumbs up and a cheesy grin.

Here are the outfits laid out on the table:

Now all we need to do is accessorise and we are ready to begin shooting. We hope to get some of the generic band shots done before the end of the holidays, when Ivy has to go back to Uni. The plan is to do them in the fading light, and we don't fancy staying up all hours in the summer if we can avoid it! With the good weather this week, hopefully we'll be able to get something done.

Stay tuned for some jewellery shopping and a great shoe swap...

Monday, 4 April 2011

The New Recording Studio

I remember when I was about fourteen, our mother had this grand idea of recording some of our music to send as gifts to people. We were only fledgling musicians back then, Charlie, only five or so, playing one handed tunes I taught her to earn my pocket money, while I, on the other end of the scale, was experimenting for the first time with pop songs. Ivy and Taylor were somewhere in the middle.

The piano we had our lessons on (we hadn't branched out to other instruments, beyond tinkering with guitars, back then) was given to us by an elderly relative. She wore out the damper pedal holding it down continuously as she played so the neighbours wouldn't hear, but it had a lovely mellow sound and played beautifully. As a very belated thank you, the idea was to record each of us playing something and send them to her.

After our recording studio experience, it makes me laugh to think of those early days, when Taylor mashed her way through a simple arrangement of the Cancan and Charlie played a song that probably only had three notes in it. But the funniest thing wasn't our skills, or lack thereof, it was how we recorded.

Bear in mind this was our first foray into music recording. We had no idea what we were doing and no one to help us. It was before the real internet explosion (we had dial-up, we weren't going to watch a hundred youtube instruction videos - it would have taken months) and our parents weren't exactly au fait with the technology. I can't remember if this was before or after we bought the fourtrack deck (we either bought it for this initial recording session or because of it) but I do remember balancing a golden karaoke microphone in a fruit bowl at the base of the piano in an attempt to capture the best sound.

Despite our incompetence, we did get the tape recorded and sent off (though elderly relative's tape player was broken, and so, in an ironic turn, she couldn't listen to it anyway) and the experiment prompted a desire to do more recording.

At some point, we got some equipment. The four track was purchased, the piano was retired to live performance only, replaced by an electronic grand - a source of much amusement due to it's 'choir' setting (which I mostly used for playing the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack) - which I use to this day.

Over the next few years we recorded a christmas album with the whole family contributing and even taped a few originals. But that was part of the problem... Tapes are, well, tapes.

With the addition of a drummer to the mix, we couldn't record very well anymore, anyway. Our energies were turned towards live performance, which, over the course of two or three family occasions, brought the band together as a proper band, rather than four musicians who happened to play at the same time.

Then we were bought the recording studio experience, and now everyone is fired up about recording again.

In the intervening years between our first recording experiences and now, our mother remarried to a guy who's a complete techno geek. He's tone deaf, but he likes being the roadie. He's also a bit of an ebay/internet bargain addict. His latest purchase was this:

And this:

Yes, that is an electronic eight track deck. No more rubbish tapes, it goes straight to digital. And proper drum microphones for recording the drums.

Taylor and I did a bit of recording as a test. We sucked - it was the first time we'd played properly together for a week or two and I forgot the tune/notes/my own name but the quality of recording was amazing. We've come a long way since the days of putting the microphone in a fruit bowl.

Now we just need to write some songs to record...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Music Video Project: First Steps

One of the reasons for setting up this blog was to document our journey as we attempt (emphasis on the 'attempt') to make a music video for our song Moving The Castle (Howl). As expressed in our bio, we don't have a lot of equipment. Or money. This is strictly video making on a budget.

Today, Taylor, Charlie and I (that's Liberty, by the way, Ivy is back at Uni) went into town with the Small One and had a rummage in some local charity shops for outfits for the video.

We have a very clear vision (though we haven't finalised all the details) and one thing we need to do is get together four outfits, one of which needs to have many different layers. Part of our vision for the video is to have a girl who walks through a forest, gradually losing layers of clothes - symbolically getting back to nature and 'cleaning out the clutter', as the line in the song goes.

For this, I envisage lots of different cardigan/jumper/t-shirts in earthy colours layered over a plain white dress, which is what we were looking for today.

We left Charlie with the Small One in the town library looking at picture books, then Taylor and I made our way from one end of town to the other. After a close encounter with what we can only assume was a serial killer in Oxfam (long story, please don't ask - too traumatic) we had no luck in several of the shops, except Taylor finding two Stephen King books to add to her collection. There was plenty to choose from, but nothing leapt out at us shouting, 'buy me, buy me!'

Then we went into The Relate Shop and found the perfect necklace. It's a bit old and battered, missing one of its gems, but it's perfect. And at 75p, well within budget. A final trip to Sue Ryder Care saw us add a second item to our collection - a woolly jumper type garment. We had to ask the attendent to get it off a mannequin for us, which was a tad embarrassing, but it was only £2.95: another bargain and the perfect start to our collection.

We are on the look out for jumble sales in the area, at which we hope to get the majority of our outfits, hopefully even cheaper than charity shop prices. And we will donate everything back to the charity shops at the end, most likely, as we probably won't want to wear most of the stuff in a normal situation!

I leave you with pictures of our purchases. Keep tuned for the next steps on our journey towards making our music video!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Testing Testing Sound Check One Two One Two

Liberty here.

This is just a test post to see the layout of the new blog in action. But, to anyone reading, welcome to Not Quite Music, the blog of our little band, Not Quite.

Hello world!