Tuesday, 5 April 2011

webby wonder!

My new website is up and running, it is excellent.

Its very clean and looks simpe but deceptively the scrapbook page is chock full of free music, videos, interviews, artwork and the stories begind the songs. Well worth a look, please and thank you.

And you can pre order 'The Romantic' and get the Deluxe edition which comes with a pre release download, an exclusive extra track, art cards, badges and a story book.

Click away: http://www.paulmosley.com/

Christmas with the snowbirds

For Christmas 2008 Johnny The Engineer and I remixed up 'Snowbirds';a 'Then I woke up and it was all a dream' favourite, to have a festive flavour. I still rather like it....

Christmas with the snowbirds by paulmosleyuk

Sunday, 3 April 2011

timing is... everythi...ng

At the time of writing my friend Jamie Lawson (far left) is number 8 in the Irish album charts with 'Wasn't expecting that'. The story of how this came to be is quite remarkable and, in a world of showbiz pretend word of mouth, startlingly true. Jamie tells it best at www.jamielawsonmusic.co.uk

The lady in the middle is the splendid Vashti Anna, www.vashtimusic.com  a remarkable singer, songwriter, musician and human being who will probably end up being the most famous person I know.

The 3 of us gigged together through 2010, it was great we had a good balance of clowning and creative integrity, swapping headline status and joining in on each others songs.  We had plans to head out on the road in earnest as a 3 headed singer songwriter machine in 2011.

Then Jamie became the new U2 and we realised it probably wasn't the best move for his career right now. Vashti and I are stoic in our support of course. In fact I am being his support act on his first fully fledged Irish tour throughout May 2011. Wish me luck.

Here's the song that started it all for him... with an unofficial video somebody on YouTube has cheekily bootlegged from Pixar. It works brilliantly. Go on my son!

No-one's Home

David Solomon directed a video for the Moses nearly hit single 'No-one's home'. It was going to be on MTV but they played 'Yellow' by Coldplay instead, whatever happened to them?

Ah, the you tube clip has fallen over, getting it fixed. Come back soon for the old Moses video!

As an arty type who doesn't mind a bit of showing off I am glad that I know this one thing: I cannot act.

Got to love that Abba-esque 'in mirror reveal' though.

Electric Superman

We're making a video for "Electric Superman' .. when it's done it'll be up on here....

Further adventures in the Swimming Zoo...

The Swimming Zoo was the first Moses album. The Swimming Zoo part 2 was the opening track of the 2nd Moses album.

I had a bunch of additional Swimming Zoo themed songs that I put up on the Moses website, under the name 'Further adventures in the Swimming Zoo'; sadly all gone now.

Kindly Super Fan Spiggie saved me a copy of this track '100 swans' recorded with my engineer friend Robin Howell. It is essentially my first solo recording, although it was within the Moses years its just me and its the first time the acoustic and electronic sounds mix together. Its a pretty good indicator of what was to come.

'The Swimming Zoo' is a place by the way. You'll have seen it if you have any of my album artwork... those bouncy hills and trees and landscapes full of monkeys and pigs and ventriloquists dummies and little skeleton men? Thats it right there.

But is it art?

Confusingly (as in is it a good thing or a bad thing?) I get pretty much the same amount of positive feedback about my album sleeves as I do about the musical contents there within. 

I choose to see this is as a good thing, if you like it please feel free to buy the Bad Boy Blue story book form the shop on my site. I'll do another one if people like it. Maybe about Roboboy. Or Electric Superman. Hmmmm... 

Anyway, here's some artwork I never used... Yet.

up stood the ape

Some juvenilia for you. Just before my lovely band Moses got started, so around 1998, I wrote a lot of doings about monkeys. So 7 years later at my first solo gigs I sang those songs.

One of them got beefed up very nicely as 'How I became the monkeyboy'
One of them 'Pigs and Monkeys' was like my main song and I now actually cannot remember how it went. 

And one of them 'Up stood the ape' was simply a title I'd seen somewhere in my day job (as a video tape librarian at SVC television, great place)

By the laws of serendipity several years later when I'd forgotten about this slight little song I went to the house of my new fiddle player Joe Peet to be greeted by a giant poster for the film 'Up Stood The Ape'.

Turns out Joe's flat mate Antony Somers was the star of this obscure short film I had never actually seen, only pinched a title from. 

This probably goes to show something but I couldn't tell you what...

'Up stood the ape' the film by Heidi Easton is on YouTube go and have a look...   it has nothing to do with this song which I only include here because I sound so astonishingly young.

More romance....

My original idea for the Romantic album sleeve was to do something in the style of José Guadalupe Posada, see above. 

But A: clearance for that seemed impossible and an expense I didn't need 

And B: It would have no connection to my previous sleeves, and I like the running theme in my artwork. 

As it goes I love the sleeve I eventually came up with and although the 'collage landscape' references to other albums are actually cropped from the final image, I know they where there.

Speaking of things that didn't make it to the final version of 'The Romantic' here is one of the fairly numerous songs that I eventually decided to cut form the track listing ; 'Brave Heart'....

we can't all be pirates

Carolyn Mark (www.carolynmark.com) is a pirate I am lucky to know. She sings 'More Stars' on my album 'Then I woke up and it was all a dream' and lives a true musicians life in Canada, singing and surviving on red wine and chutzpa.

I am not a pirate though I wish I where.

This song is about her and features her on backing vocals. It was recoded by her long time collaborator, guitar genius Tolan McNeil on his birthday (the day after mine) in Powell River in BC, Canada during my 2009 tour of Canada.

I had the time of my life.

This version of the song isn't really quite there yet but I am simmering this number for a bigger, bolder project still to come....

Human After All

In 2006 I was invited to record an EP for the new label 'Nice Weather For Air Strikes'. They had heard some bits and wanted something with lots of harp. the logistics of recording Tom meant I only got a little bit of harp for them but they seemed happy enough and released the electro-acoustic loveliness that was 'Todays Lucky Winners' anyway.

When I compiled my EPs into the 'Monkeys, Pigs and Wolves' album some tracks had to be missed off for space and this harp/zither/clarinet seduction song was a bit subtle for that album so it is now only available here.

Based on true events it was the start of much more than I knew at the time...

Bad Boy Blue

'Bad Boy Blue' is a song/book/film from the 'Romantic' album sessions.

To get it you have to buy the deluxe edition of the album 'The Romantic' and you receive  (amongst other extras) the story book of Bad Boy Blue with a link/code to download the song. Both are very lovely.

The Film is a gently animated version of the story book, which will probably be on YouTube by the time you read this. It looks a little bit like this....

I row my boat

Sophie out of Moses (Sophie Traves as was, Sophie Bradley as she now is) sings this song I wrote for her about her Grandad passing away.

"I row my boat' may well feature in next years nautical themed project, wait and see....

Good Man Turned Bad

This is an out take from the 'Fear' album.
I replaced it with more harp songs ('under the frozen ground' and 'slumberland') because harp is more interesting than piano. Fact.

Never wasteful though, me and Johnny the engineer used all sorts of bits of this to make a one off radio song called '35' on my 35th birthday... that is also in the scrapbook somewhere....

Features Gav on drums and Katy Dent on violin.... and an annunciation of the words 'broken bones' that I pinched - without realising it- from Fiona Apple. Oddness.

hope is a boat

Ah Moses. We where good, more people should have known that.

This is 'Hope Is A Boat' a demo that never reached finished stages, I'm going to use it in my next project. Nautical... 

video killed the radio non-entity...

It may be a bad thing or it may not, but either way its a sign of the times; If I stick a video up on the interpipe more people take notice than if I stick a song up.

So occasionally I record exclusive one off songs  in my bedroom straight into the camera on my computer. It looks cheap, because it is cheap - ie: free - but then Jessie J came along and made it cool to video yourself singing in your bedroom, so if its good enough for the Price Tag Lady...

Here's one I did a few Valentines days ago 'Silver Lining'. I was single at the time, you'd never have guessed....

The Gallery Of Fear

When I was making the 'Fear' album in 2006 I hadn't yet established the artwork style that I since carried though for all of my records. My original idea, above, used a photo I had found online and as such seemed a bit dodgy especially seeing as it's of a kid (I think). So I asked punters to send in their images of 'Fear'.

Pleasingly people actually did and for a while the website hosted a 'Gallery of Fear'... here are some of the best ones....

Disco Pigs

In 2008 I made 3 x EP's 'Monkeyboy', 'Wolfboy' and 'Pigboy' : all using our new, exciting self sampling technique. They are no longer available but compiled on the 'Monkeys, Pigs and Wolves' album.

The nature of the compilation meant 2 songs had to be missed off. At the time I was all about curious pop, acoustic meets electro, rhythms and beats. So the saddest, prettiest song from 'Pigboy' got left off the compilation.

'Voltage' is about Sam 'Voltage' Voulters, now a stylist at Vice magazine, then a 17 year old model kind enough to myspace message me saying how much he liked one of my tunes.

The pictures on his profile showed a life a million miles from anything I had known when I was 17, constant parties, urban glamour, sex 'n' drugs 'n' no control. Got to be a song in that...

The original versions featured Tom's harp, brass and percussion made of newspapers but this version here is an exclusive alternative recording by Joe Peet, featuring my original piano demo and some very clever orchestral samples he built up. It is appropriately gorgeous.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The (Other) Romantic

Aww my little shiney Romantic lover.

'The Romantic' is a 'proper' record. I did the things you are supposed to do, namely:

Forget the 'theme' : choose your best dozen songs and record them as well as possible

Take your time: do a version, then do another version, then another

Take advice: you the artist are 'too close' to your record, get other peoples opinions before its finished and try and act on them

Polish it : don't think a 'charming' mistake is OK, if it sounds accidental, take it out

Use your best work: If an old song hasn't been heard by many people, put it on your new record...

I did all those things and low and behold, a lyrical theme bounced right back at me anyway and a musical theme came to the fore thanks to the excellent team who helped me build it. Lots of xylophone, lots of lady singers, lots of synths and processed sounds amongst the acoustic palate. It sounds BIGGER than my other records. Bolder, more cohesive and more... proper.

I love it of course but it could have been very different. The title track is now a Tom Waits-esque gently swinging ballad. Its great.  Prior to some utterly confused feedback form my inner circle, it sounded like this...

Also great I think but perhaps more of an acquired taste...

underneath aeroplanes

In 2007 I played a monthly residency at the Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon, East London. The twist was that every month I was joined by a different line up of musicians playing my music.

Tom the harp and Gav the drums where involved for almost all the shows and I spent a lot of time writing new arrangements for these one off gigs. We did a string quartet version, a brass version, a laptop version, a melodica chorus version and a little choir among other variations. It was great.

Here is a live re-working of 'Underneath Aeroplanes' from one of those gigs featuring :

Tom Moth on harp
Gav on percussion
Fiona Troon on bassoon
Katy Dent on violin
me on singing and concertina...

At the time the music at the Betsey was put on by Plum Promotions and so I met my excellent friend Sarah Thirtle  ( www.fantasticartistbooking.com ) as well as then sound engineer, now my fiddle/bass player Joe Peet there.

I still play at the Betsey the last Thursday of each month as part of The Village Green Preservation Society an excellent free for all night put on by Piney Gir ( www.pineygir.com ) and Emit Bloch (www.myspace.com/emitblochcountry )... come on down some time... 

Stars and Satellites

ALASTAIR BROWN (www.myspace.com/alastairbrown )  is an excellent finger picking folk guitarist I have been lucky enough to collaborate with a couple of times.

I had a strict 'No Guitars' rule for my first 4 albums, and technically I still haven't used any but these days the ukulele is put through so many pedals to make it sound like a guitar that the point is basically lost.

Besides meeting Al and hearing him play made me change my mind. They're alright really guitars aren't they?

We hope to do more in future but for now the only evidence that exists of our collaboration is this rough home demo of our song 'Stars and Satellites'. It's proper lovely.



On my 35th birthday I wrote and recorded a song called 35 whereby myself and Johnny the engineer invented our own version of 'self sampling'.

An unused song from 'Fear' ('Good man turned bad') had a nice fiddle part and a good drum sound so we decided to pinch bits of it to build this new song, and then a bit of cello from an unused Moses song and some out take banjo from 'Then I woke up and it was all a dream' and so on.

we discovered that with a bit of working out, lots of parts in a related key, with a similar tempo or atmosphere to our new song seemed to work. For the sake of completing it all on the actual day of my 35th birthday we rushed it though and it may be a bit rough but it has its charm...

The song was played (3 times, nice) by Tom Robinson on his '...introducing' show on 6music.

We finessed this idea through the 'Monkeys, Pigs and Wolves' EPs and now its a solid staple of my sound, I love it.

And flute parts, it turns out, can be taken from any song and put on any other song and it always works. Always. Magic flute.

something good

I've never yet been recognizably featured in an advert, but I have tried lots of times.

The one I hoped would come off was an actual writing commission (rather than placing already existing songs) for match.com. Joe Peet and Eva Eden  (www.myspace.com/evaeden me and Eva pictured above) and I worked on it together.

The pitch: A boy and girl sing an impromptu duet in a music shop. The brief for the song was incredibly specific, so i was flattered to be asked to write one.

The song had to:

Outline the boy and girl characters
be 60" long at most
be played on guitar and wurlitzer
feature a riff that the instruments could 'call and response' play to each other
include a short deliberately out of time drum solo in the middle
be a 'quirky' love song
have the girl repeat the boys lines in the 1st verse (we disagreed with this idea but were told it had to stay)
have a chorus

I think we did all of those things,  the one they used didn't. I think ours is better but then, thats just me.

the lucky bitches

'It's a shit business' as the League of Gentlemen's Les McQueen repeatedly said. But the music world is brilliant and what makes it so is musicians like what I have met.

In real life Gav Fawcett drums up a heavy rock storm, but for me (and Moses) he tinkles and percusses and Ringos it up just the way I ask him to. And never complains about not playing, which is as excellent as it is rare. He used to be in Ruby, Leslie 'Silverfish' Rankins machine music experiment...

Tom Moth (harp) and Fiona Troon (bassoon) have their praises quite rightly sung elsewhere so take it as read that they are both incredible and I love them...

Joe Peet (www.myspace.com/joepeet) used to be in Cousteau ...

And now sings and plays bass, fiddle, mandolin, synths, piano, you name it with my lot. His excellent playing and production ideas are particularly notable on the 'Monkeys, Pigs and Wolves' album.

I met Georgina Trelour playing the drums for Plakka www.myspace.com/plakkagroup and found out later she is actually a concert xylophonist - how could I not beg her to get involved?  Her beautiful ability to play tuned percussion expressively is all over my album 'The Romantic'. Here she is with her very sexy Chilean/French/Australian band El Gran Chufle:

Johnny Winfield is an astonishing engineer...

Fast and ludicrously generous with his ideas and time. It is Johnny's way with a mixing desk that has allowed me to develop my 'self sampling' style, I wouldn't have a clue how to make it work without him. Johnny has produced countless bands, commercials, soundtracks and some major and serious artists. But I met him because he also puts on a tinsel wig and sings 70's covers in the Funking Barstewards with my (musical genius) Moses pal Colin Smith

He is part of Acid Jazz legends The Past Present Organization ...

Honorable mentions could go on for ever so thank you massively to everyone who has ever graced us with their presence, there's been a lot of you and you've all been wonderful. It's a shit business, but a brilliant world.