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...