2016 From France with love

Well 2015 was a big change for us, shifting our lives to France has to be up there with big adventures. With a well received EP in My Finest Hour we really did take with us a lot of positivity. Which was good because we definitely needed it, lots of hard work and music on the back burner we have threw ourselves into renovating and building. We hope to offer musicians an escape where they can write in the lovely Normandy countryside and record some material to take away with them, it is still a little way off, but we are on the way.

2016 will see me playing some live  dates here in France and the UK as well as recording and releasing some new material, which has currently taken a breather due to my christmas accident. Once I stop limping and building, I am looking forward to what 2016 has to offer, musically and spiritually. I always feel I should offer my thanks when I post, due to how brilliant everyone is in their support. Whether you are new follower or old, I do appreciate every message of support or buying of a song.

I hope 2016 has a lot in store for you all and that is filled with laughter and great memory making!

Remember you can check out my social media links on my page here, for my latest antics and reverbnation for any work I am testing out on unsuspecting listeners,

Happy New Year

 

Andy x

New EP And All Set To Move…..

I think we all get to a point in our lives where we reflect on what we have achieved. I feel like I have got to that point now, I am happy, I am relatively healthy (broken neck aside) and I am about to start an adventure. It is always hard to look back and not regret, i think few people can in their lifetimes. My life has comprised of two very different stories, one has been well documented on here and other places. I have definitely learned from my mistakes and moved on, but no matter how far you get away from something, it still holds a lot of power over you. I think that with this EP I wanted to explore these questions and offer my viewpoint. Ordinary day is a track that I think will resonate with a lot of people, some days you just want to end and the smallest problem can turn into a mountain to climb. “Shock Of The Fall” is my observation on how it feels when you are suffering this illness, how you imagine people perceive you and what you need to help you through. The title track is very much how I feel about where I am in life, no hidden agenda, just gratitude for making it this far and what lays ahead. “Why Are We Strangers Now” is a letter to myself when I was drinking, a letter I never wrote,  but one that I think shows the impact drink has on you. It felt like I had lost a friend when I stopped and I hope it is conveyed in the song. “We were Young” Is a track I wrote with Jim Ellel, we literally wrote it in one sitting and I think it is a nice little tune, it doesn’t scream a point of view, but it does show how reflective we all become.

“Why God Why?” is a lament to choices we make, internal arguments we face and the significance of it all. Reasons is a love song as such, that shows sometimes you don’t need a marching band and a fanfare, just love.

 

You can buy the EP on iTunes by clicking this link HERE

New pastures

hello everyone! I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth, I have merely been planning the next stage of my life with my beautiful wife. My health took a knock at the end of last year which has meant I haven’t been able to sing much up until recently. It made me reflect on what I was doing and also both jan and I had fallen into a sicadian rythym of monotony. We live in lancashire at the time of writing this, but we are ready for a shake up and so have bought a house in Normandy! You may wonder why there, truth is janet sent me a picture of a house she had seen and I loved it straight away. It will give us the freedom to write and play and earn money, doing the things we love. It has a lovely little Holliday rental business with the house and I plan to open my studio for writing retreats, where you can book the gite and record a demo, an ep or if you are more adventurous an entire album! Or you can just enjoy the serenity of the house and it’s surrounding area, steeped in history and hopefully sunshine. So if you just want to get away for a break, or find somewhere to lay down a few tracks, you can do it all under Normandy skies.

I will be posting more info on that side of things when we get over there and set up. But it really has given us a new lease of life. Our house has sold and pretty soon it will be all go. Which leads me to another discovery I made, while wallowing away in self pity. Although my voice isn’t a hundred percent, it is strong enough to do a few dates and release an ep, it’s a little frustrating as I have an albums worth of songs ready, just not the time or the confidence in my voice to do an albums worth of vocals, I had pushed myself in writing them and I think it would show if I spread myself too thin. But it will all be happening in the next few months, prior to our jump across the channel. (like we haven’t got enough to sort out! What’s a few nights chanting!?)

I am also very excited to be working on scores for new company Summit Fever media, who are a great duo of film makers, orking on documentaries and short films, that are poles apart, but very engaging from a composer point of view. The spine Montaine race is a documentary about the toughest race in great Brittain and has been completed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who also features in the project. Matts specialist drone camera work makes for some stunning arial shots of an epic event, it tests the competitors to breaking point and it’s going to be good to help build the tension with a mix of folk, classical and contemporary tracks. I will also be linking up again soon with LEM films, to work on the new project from the brains of Lloyd Eyre Morgan. I am not sure if I can let out the plot yet, but all I can say is it will be a mix of decades of genres  and musical difference!

So as you can see, although I may have been quiet in terms of my music sharing and general waffling on social media, I have been working very hard. I will update more on everything I have mentioned as and when we work through it. But do keep an eye out for live dates and single releases as they may be the last in the UK for a while!

As always thanks for your support and for taking the time to listen and share my music, (predictive text just corrected share to hate! Not subtle at all Mr Apple, maybe I frequently type my music and hate!)

Catch you all somewhere soon!

 

Single lIve

Running Out Of Time is Live on iTunes and many more

Hey everyone, its taken a while, but my new single Running Out Of Time  is out which you can watch right here……

and you can buy it on iTunes  by clicking HERE or  on many more music stores, such as Deezer, Spotify etc etc. I have been overwhelmed by the reviews I have received for this single, I was really happy and proud of the song when I wrote and recorded it and it immediately set the tone for the album. I still have demons in there but this album shows not only am I through that part of my life but I can look back on it more objectively and look ahead with hope, which I never thought possible. You can see a few of the lovely things people have said about the track in my featured image but if you would like to read the full reviews, here are some links…….

Cross Radar review 

Positive Music Reviews

Indie Band Guru

I hope that if you had doubts about spending your pennies on my music, that the above has helped you decide and I hope it gives you a little bit of a heads up on my new album.

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New article in Musicians Friend and ‘Running Out of Time’ is coming

Its been a busy summer, for all I haven’t been playing Live at many festivals, I took in a few and enjoyed trying out some new material. This summer I decided to make an album, one that would see me move on from where I have been the last couple of years. At my age I have become very nostalgic and analytical of where I am in life. I never expected to be a thirty something alcoholic rebuilding his dream, but there you go. A lot happens I suppose that we never expect,  there are the familiar progressions and the passing of time, but also there are also regrets, loss and frustration  we’ve experienced along the way, I wanted to capture that in my new work and I think on a whole I have. Alright I may be a little shy of the positive and happy, but everything else it has in droves, I thought I would give you an exclusive listen right here of what will be the title track….

 

Running out of time is basically what everyone feels at some point in their life. I think we have all sat on a precipice and wondered how we got here and I like to think that this song will echo with people in a way my explanation of it can’t.

Sure regrets have always got a high prevalence in my life and that is something I continue to battle on a daily basis, I don’t want to be the moaning drunk who has lost his lust for life, cause I am actually far from that. I realise I am who I am, because of who I was and what I went through and I am starting to really enjoy my sobriety in a way I never enjoyed my drinking. After all if it wasn’t for that realisation I wouldn’t be contributing articles online to other musicians or even writing music at all.  Which leads me onto my next bit of exciting news. This month musicians friend asked me for some tips on IOS platforms and also other technological breakthroughs I use when recording, so if you want to have a look what I said, then why not have a little click on this link and if you don’t like what I said, read some other advice from far more clever people!

http://thehub.musiciansfriend.com/artist-interviews/making-music-with-ios-gear-changing-the-shape-of-things-to-come

I will also be announcing some tour dates to coincide with the new album release once I work out whistle parts and see if my drummer still has a beat! Anyways that is me for now, enjoy your read of all things techno and I sure do hope you like the title track, do email me and let me know at andy1@andyoliver.co.uk and  I may even send you a cheeky download for your trouble.

 

Happy Wednesday every folk

Andy x

 

 

Newbanner

Delighted to sign with Speegra.

At the start of the year I began my “take over the world plan”, then I hit March and was extremely delayed by a series of cortisone injections that basically wiped me out, an allergy to the contents of said procedure meant months of feeling really bad, with no energy and the hot flushes of a menopausal woman. I am still getting the flushes, but I am now on the road to getting back to normal.  I can play the guitar and just about limp through a set and the studio is sounding better than ever. A couple of months ago I met with Richard Jackson Bass, a former EMI man who together with Jane Henley had started a label and publishing house called Speegra. I had contacted them to say I was looking to take my music to the next level and they kindly agreed to meet me on my trip to our old stomping ground. It was a great meeting and I instantly felt that with Richard’s drive and enthusiasm and Jane’s all round great philosophy, I could have the makings of the team that would help me complete my world take over.

In the middle of all this I wrote a couple of songs for a documentary and live score project about WW1, my songs matched the narrative and gave a picture of a certain point in a young soldiers life, prior to dispatch to the front lines. It has strong local ties to Lancashire and Leyland but more importantly it was a pleasure to work on. You can have a listen to one of  my tracks by clicking HERE,  I really felt proud of my work and to be contributing to something that should be remembered and shouted about.

And then for something completely different…..Earlier this month I went to see Monty Python with my brother. Since I packed in the booze we had lost that connection we used to share, we would always be having a pint or ringing each other to discuss mammoth sessions. So it was a huge thing for me to feel like we shared something again. I know lives change and all the rest of it, but it felt like we were still kids sharing a joke and more importantly doing it together. It was at this juncture that I managed to meet up with Richard again to sign with Speegra and thus set me back on my way to musical world domination. So without further delay I am onwards and upwards, I should be back on track by the end of the month, with new material sounding really exciting and pitching for more and more film work, I really do think that I stand a chance to make this whole noise thing work.

I hope everyone who gets a read of this is keeping well and doing good, as before I sign off I have one more thing to say, I have faced what I faced and will always carry that burden with me, but I have never been so happy as I am at this moment. It is thanks to people who have embraced my story and have shared my music, it has been a release for me and it has been my reason for staying sober, that and my amazing wife, but that is a whole other post. I know clichés seem to come flowing out of people when they talk about facing addiction or feeling they have survived something, but the reason for that is pretty simple. I may not agree with every cliche but I do agree with every sentiment that keeps people getting by. If anyone reads this and needs to talk or to just share their problems, please please send me a message. I have also seen the devastating consequences of bottling up problems or feeling like nothing can help over the last two weeks, but believe me when I say you just have to ask. Life is a fragile game and it doesn’t take a lot to make it seem like an uphill battle. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, its not going to make people judge you any differently, sure you will have stumbles or doubts or days when you can’t shake the funk, but there is always someone to listen in me without judgement, without dismissal and without fear. So do send an email to andy1@andyoliver.co.uk, where we can start the ball rolling and I will try not to shower you with cliches or wrap you in a blanket of platitudes, but help you start to clear the smoke from your eyes and look ahead. My dad told me a story about one day waking after years of fighting solitude and living with regret, he walked outside in the middle of a job in Jeddah and said he smelt the air differently, it smelt fresh and new and the colours were more vibrant, it was his smelling the roses moment, it is worth fighting for that moment as when you get it everything else seems a breeze.

speak soon everyone and keep an eye out for an exclusive share later on this week…

American Promo shot

Article live on The Musicians Hub and Belfast awaits this weekend

This month I feature on the Musicians Friend website in an article about home studio recording and what you need to get going in your home studio. You can click HERE for a direct link to the article and to find out what I said, as well as pick up some other pointers from more clever musicians. The Hub is a great tool for people of any musical capability and I love what they offer.

We are also about to head off to Ireland tomorrow for the first leg of our tour and we are all very excited, my wife and band member Janet Bamford is from Belfast and is looking forward to a visit home for the first time in a while.  We are all hoping that this is a great start to our jaunt about the UK, Ireland and beyond. If you would like to find out more about the first gig, you can visit an event page on Facebook by clicking HERE. If you are in Belfast and at a loose end just go to the page to find the venue and what not.

The reason I decided to get straight into working with another group of musicians, when I finished my album with Jeremy Spencer, is that I think that is the future of sustainability in the modern industry. Everyone has the power in their hands if they use it wisely. What I learnt from working with Jeremy is you should always try and do something that inspires you. When Sara mentioned this whole thing and we decided to go for it, I thought it would be a good chance for us to raise profile, but also to mix it up in the songwriting stakes and to really have fun. We hope that translates to the stage and if you do come along, please feedback on the gig on here, on Facebook or on your own blog. No matter your thoughts we want to hear them. Its been a tough couple of weeks after a really painful procedure on my neck has left me house bound wondering if I could pick up a guitar before Saturday. Its lead to some interesting choices that should certainly entertain Janet if nothing else.

If you are not Belfast way, then I will take a photo and make you feel you were there. Plus we are attempting to fund our project with kickstarter and there are some amazing rewards for supporting us.

Have a great weekend everyone and in light of the devastating news about  Peaches Geldof, try and see some beauty in it. If its spending time with people you love, just do it with gratitude that you are here and you are living. I wasted so many years and when I see someone that young pass away, I get extremely angry with my addiction and what it cost me.

 

Sorry for getting all deep there for a second but at least I am still here to make amends for my past and to tell everyone go have FUN!!!

 

I will, Cheers, Andy x

Promo 1

Looking forward to heading home then the great beyond

I am heading home to Hartlepool this week to play a gig for the first time in 6 months. My neck has been my major reason for not trying to play the guitar, but I  been working hard the past few weeks to make my hand and neck strong enough to play the start of our tour. This gig will see just Janet and I take to the stage, with a blend of some of my old tracks, some tracks off the Steetley album and a new track or two off the album I am working on for release in New York later in the year.

I am also delighted to be working with the Reverend Moose and his team at The Syndicate, with their help I can see brighter things on the horizon and I may finally reach my goal of a life in LA. I am yet to hear from Hans Zimmer yet, but could still use a vote or two by clicking the link HERE. A vote from you would be greatly appreciated and I always welcome feedback on my compositions so feel free to leave a comment on the site or get back to me here.

I hope you are going to be able to catch me playing over the coming months, we will be in Belfast in April and Lancashire in May, with a visit to London thrown in along the way. Keep a check here, where I will be releasing info when its confirmed. We are also launching a Kickstarter campaign, where you can help create something special and very ambitious. More on that in a week or two.

I hope everyone has a great St Patricks Day, It’s my birthday and although it now fills me with dread, I am going to make sure I try and enjoy it.

If you are coming to Hartlepool, we have a surprise or two to keep you on your toes.

ZIMPIC

Hans Zimmer and Musicians Friend

This month is a busy one and I have been very busy over here in rainy Lancashire. I spent an evening interviewed by Musicians Friend Website, They are a fantastic website that have loads of  helpful tips for us noise makers. You can really make a go of earning money from your love if you find sites to help you, they are invaluable when it comes to what next and you never quite know when you will find the thing that makes it all worthwhile. If you are like me then why not pop over and take a look by clicking HERE.

and so to my next busy bit…….

When I watch a film, the first thing I look for that determines if I enjoy it, is the soundtrack. You can be immediately transported to a particular period of time, or you can feel the tension with a frantic crescendo. It makes you cry and can often paint a thousand more pictures than the images can. I loved Ennio Morricone for his ability to make a good movie an amazing movie, writing hooks and melodies that will stand the test of time. The Mission Soundtrack is still one of my albums of all time.  There is an art to it, an ability to see past the black and white of the words and colour and shade it with a piano sting or a string swell. There are non more able at this than Hans Zimmer, he has carved out a career that has seen him work on some modern masterpieces in the movie world. I have seen three films alone in the past few months that have had an awe inspiring soundtrack accompanying it, like Man Of Steel or more recently “12 years a slave, ” which seemed even more harrowing as the score progressed.

It is with this in mind that I jumped for joy when I saw the contest to win a place on his writing team. I have thus far written the soundtrack to two independent British feature films, “Dream On” and “Celluloid” both by the same company, but with very different demands from a writing point of view. One was very defined by the decade it was set and won praise from movie critics, who said my soundtrack was a “Delightful soundscape of music  by Andy Oliver”  and that it helped to “transform them back to the 80’s,  but in a modern and completely original way.”

I have loved the whole process, one that saw me unwind a script and get to know the characters, I wrote each of them their own theme and embellished and developed those themes into a coherent side story. I was even more delighted when my second score came in as it was the polar opposite, it needed to enhance the heavy content without over bearing it. I challenged myself more than ever, but was delighted with the results and the invitation to Palm Springs Festival in 2013.

 

I would love to do this every single day, write things that make them remember a movie with a few bars played or make someone joyful with a delicate melody. I have written my offering as I really wanted to pitch the best I could. The challenge was to take stem files created by Zimmer and use them as the building blocks to inspire you. I simply took the percussion stem, a low rumbling timpani roll that builds throughout. I love to work with vocals and I think that the simple repetition of a phrase can build a lot of emotion and tension. I found the Latin for “Destiny Calling” thanks to Mollie Finch who gave a helping hand. I wanted to keep the music subtle and let a multitude of singing set the mood. I think I have managed to write something that is a worthy contender for the new role.

I believe also that “Destiny Calling” is an apt title as the competition deadline is 5 years to the day that I got sober. If you would like to listen then click the link HERE and when you have listened, please take a second and vote for me, you could make dreams come true and I will never forget what got me started…….

sitting writing tunes

2014 is the year we start living and 5 years dry.

I say it every year as I welcome in the New Year, this year is no different, I stood on my driveway at midnight with my uncle and promised that this year was going to be the best yet, But if I am honest the last five have been pretty great for me. This year I am five years sober, I don’t know why but I am incredibly proud of this year. I feel like celebrating it, where in the past this time of year filled me with dread. I will always get pangs of guilt at the person I was and what I had done,  this is an unfortunate side effect of sobriety. I don’t blame alcohol, as  alcohol can be a very nice distraction from modern life and millions of people can take a drink and not let the drink take them.

I have changed as a person more so over the past five years than I remember. I was always the last person standing or would drink till I passed out, its not a badge I ever wore quietly and I shudder to think of the antics I got up to through my love of booze.  I had to say goodbye to that person as I couldn’t be him and still be sane, plus I wouldn’t have lasted five years that is for sure.

I used to come home to Hartlepool and would be like a cat on hot bricks waiting to get to the pub, if I didn’t get there I was like a spoilt child  and I constantly lied and made excuses but the only person who I fooled was me. Like I said, I get embarrassed just thinking of it, I must have been a horrible bloke to live with. I have put that person to bed and now I value time with my nephew Josh over anyone in a pub. I love nothing more than staying in my studio making music or spending time with my wife and its this that has got better year on year.

Why am I  telling you this  I hear you cry, well I am five years sober and I am loving every minute, if you are in that first throws of sobriety you may be thinking you will never get here, you may feel you have nothing to live for and you may feel like just getting to a week is difficult. I did in those first few days, I would physically ache for what I had lost, now five years years on I am planning my tour schedule , I have written scores for Feature films, I have produced industry disks for music conferences, I have released singles and made an album with one of my musical heroes.

This year will be a celebration and I hope you will join me in making it the best one ever, I am planning a UK and US tour that will start in March in Hartlepool and end in Portland Oregon in September, I am also working with the amazingly talented Sara Creeney, a superb vocalist and lovely lady, she will join me on my tour and we will be also recording material for the tour and for digital release.

 

If you are reading this and you have just made the decision to confront your demons, believe me you can get through anything now,  once you realise that life carry’s on far better without drink than with it,  you will also think wonder if you will meet a person who doesn’t throw a cliche at you, but lets face to get to be a cliche you have to have some grounding in reality. You will also have those first days to get through when you think that everything is closing in around you. If so get in touch with me here and I will be happy to lend an ear or just kill some time.  This song I wrote after three months sober and it was where I was headed, have a listen, cause you don’t have to be one…….

 

BARFLY

Keep an eye for tour news and more by liking my Facebook page by clicking HERE