new album

New Album Recording…

 

I’ve been recording a new six by seven album at a studio in Nottingham called JT Soar. It’s a fantastic studio with an Amek desk that used to belong to Iron Maiden. It’s also got two tape machines and lots of old tape echos and weird and wonderful vintage keyboards. The owner of the studio is Phil and he knows his stuff.

I shall be mixing the album and recording more stuff at Rockfield Studios in Wales in early December.

It’s coming together and sounding great.

Tomorrow I shall start a Kickstarter campaign to fund the album. I’ll be doing a new ‘Bleak Strategies’ book with it too, for Christmas.

The album will be released on CD before Christmas.

Alan Vega / Suicide Special…

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This months MuZK KLuB is an Alan Vega tribute. I’ve made a special 13 track compilation CD to go with it. These songs vary in style but I’ve tried to search through my record collection and find tracks that I think are there because Suicide existed. When you do this, it’s actually amazing how many tunes there are that have this thread..or maybe it’s just my record collection!

I didn’t come across Suicide until the mid 90’s and I never saw them live. I believe they only toured the UK once back in the late 70’s and were mostly bottled off the stage. Nobody really knew what to make of Suicide back then and when they played here again, years later, after being established as an influential band, it seems not many people knew what to make of them either. I have some friends who saw them live and said that Martin Rev was the only one man band who could actually go out of tune and out of time with himself. I’ve never met anyone who talks about a Suicide gig as being spellbinding like, say, a White Stripes gig. On the contrary, most people who witnessed a Suicide gig walk away wondering if ‘that was any good or not?’ (Please leave some comments if you saw them and what it was like). A lot of people refer to them as being quite scary. People are scared of what they don’t understand. People were scared of Kraftwerk!

But that’s just it. Music is also about showing intent, it’s not just about melody, harmony and rhythm. I’ve always been drawn to that sort of music and I don’t know why. Most of my favourite albums are bootlegs or live recordings that sound like shit. I love the 70’s live albums (although most of them aren’t actually even live). In the 80’s I used to get stoned and listen to Neil Young (did I really just say that!). My mates, who were into Van Halen laughed at me and laughed at Neil’s guitar playing.. I got bored of hearing them say: “what a load of shite..he can’t fucking play (or sing)!” It just made me want to turn it up louder. It wasn’t about that for me. I’d like to think I was right!

I love those songs that Neil Young does, the ones that repeat and continue until you finally submit to it because he is willing you on, his sheer persistence makes you take notice. Does it matter that he can’t play guitar like Steve Vai or sing like Adele? I love the fact that if Neil Young turned up on the xfactor they would all hit the ‘no’ buzzer before he got to the second verse. Unless of course he was THE Neil Young and had paved the way for his sound to be part of our listening experience in which Simon Cowell would say: “Mmmm, has a certain Neil Young quality about it but it’s too far out there.”

It’s easy to forget that when you do something totally new, no one has done it before. It takes a lot of intent to get you to that place and you can only release it when you think it’s ok to let your baby go. Suicide, Neil Young and Kraftwerk. People laughed at Kraftwerk in the beginning, now they are (after the Beatles) the second most influential band in the world. Apparently Suicide spent years sitting on their first album before deciding to release it. Either they weren’t sure or they waited for the times to catch up with what they were doing. Punks.

As I’m writing this I’m listening to the six by seven Kickstarter album I’ve done. It’s totally unique to my ears and I’m scared. It sounds like six by seven and it rocks but it’s so different that I have to take 5 days off and then listen again because after 5 days off I’m convinced it’s too ‘out there’. However, when I listen to it, I think that it sounds great, and so does my wife; there is something about it that I really like. Is that good enough? I think so. I’m an artist, there is always that fear. Maybe 50% of you who have bought and will get it through the post will hate it but then 50% of you will love it. To be honest, that’s what I want, I’d be totally ok with that, part of me actually demands it.

Maybe a percentage of you believe that six by seven should be one thing and one thing only. I don’t. What was it in the first place. I was petrified when I released KluBmiX!33. I was expecting hate mail but I got many emails telling me it was the best thing I’d done that it gave me the confidence to carry on with the six by seven name. That was a radical album. I had to do something back then because the band had walked away again. The girl who did my press at the time refused to work it saying: “It’s not six by seven”then adding “I really like it though.” I decided not to ask her to do it and to limit it to 300 double vinyl albums with black and white artwork and not do the usual press job and not put it onto CD.

Deciding not to put that record onto CD back then was surprisingly what brought on lots of emails asking me what the hell I thought I was doing. Now loads of people seem to have bought a record player. I had to put that record out to pay for the financial disaster that was Love And Peace And Sympathy. (Manufacturing large amounts of product for a gigging band that just evaporated overnight).

Releasing something on record, vinyl that is, is much more special. It looks and feels special and it is constrained by time, just 18 minutes on each side if you want it to sound good. That’s liberating for a musician, a CD can go on and on and isn’t split into two chapters. On vinyl the bass gets lost on the tracks at the end of each side too so you have to make lots of decisions about track placement. It feels like you are creating something energised by the medium itself when you make a record for vinyl only. That’s the important thing, it has to be vinyl only, you can’t make all those decisions about 18 minutes per side, compression, track placement and splitting it into two coherent chapters and then just bang the results onto CD.

These are interesting times when you can make a solid piece of vinyl again and make it like Neil Young made Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere or After The Goldrush or Comes A Time. I love the diversity in Neil Young I love On The Beach and Tonights The Night as much as I love Harvest (I draw the line at the utter guff that is Landing On Water though!). Neil Young is a punk, Suicide is punk and I’m beginning to realise that I’m a punk…at heart. It’s all about the attitude and the persistence. A true punk just keeps on going. My MuZiK KluB has helped me to keep going and now hopefully releasing vinyl albums too will help a bit more. It might take me from month to month survival to month to month existence. To be able to exist by making music that has attitude and sounds good to me is the best I can hope for… I’m not interested in hits, videos or TV anymore. (I don’t think I ever was).

Keeping on going has been the biggest challenge. I suppose it is for any band. I went to see the Dandy Warhols again the other day in Coventry. They are still doing it, still with the same line up and Coutney is still complaining about the venue being too hot and the floor being sticky. I have so much respect for that band. I’ve noticed throughout my travels through a musical life how music attracts all sorts of people, mostly those who want things like fame and fortune out of it…no really, there are a lot out there who just want that. They latch onto singer songwriters and people who they percieve to be charismatic enough to make it work…for them. If it doesn’t, or when it doesn’t, they send an email saying..”thought long and hard about this and decided…” Chances are they didn’t think long and hard about the music, they thought long and hard about whether it was worth it, will it get them the things they wanted. I don’t blame anyone who’s done this with me, I didn’t really know what they wanted until they weren’t getting it, stupidly I thought it was the music. For me, I didn’t want anything, I just had to do it because in the end I’m fucked up and I can’t do anything else. Now I’ve done this for so long that I really can’t do anything else, all chances are gone. I like that in a way.

KlubMix!33 was the most punk and radical thing I ever did and, this might surprise you, if someone asked me what music most defined me out of everything I’ve done I’d say it was that record. That would be followed by the blood stained Record Store Day album and this new one which is coming out because it was funded through Kickstarter by those that just want it to be there and want to hear it. It doesn’t get much cooler or punk than that.

All those 3 albums are also vinyl only. I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence. Is it just me or does making vinyl seem to give a project more creedence and longevity? It’s expensive and takes time to make. It gets looked after and cherished (not all of mine did I have to say, remember waking up in the living room after a good party and seeing all your vinyl without covers all over the place, propping up the furnitur and each other).

Most people would say that The Closer You Get is the album that most defines me / six by seven. The lyrics are vitriolic and the sound of that record is full of anger, even in it’s acoustic and quiter moments. On reflection it was probably a special set of songs that were collected together back then, even if I now hardly recognise the man who is singing that record. However, let’s not forget that in the grand scheme of things it was also a quiet failure. It cost X amount to make and market and brought in less than all of those parts put together. This is not the case with the last three vinyl albums and that makes a difference. Back then, Beggars made it happen, they are that sort of label, probably more punk than Stiff and they are still doing it. They didn’t know if it wasn’t going to be a big seller, they tried everything to make it one but it never happened and they even gave us another chance with The Way I Feel Today. You can’t keep doing that forever though. That’s another story.

Anyway, changing the subject; I decided to change the artwork with this months MuZiK KLuB again. I thought the last few started to look a bit corporate. Don’t get me wrong, they looked cool but I felt after a few releases that they started to lose the personal handmade touch and I was constrained by the format, not in a good way. I’ve pulled them back in and am now only getting the covers printed and making the rest myself again. It’s a labour of love and I’m lucky to be given the chance to keep er… labouring…working… just doing…making. Speaking of which, must get on…

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Get Sum…

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I’m loving this new little Twelve album I’ve just put out. It’s totally different from any of the other Twelve albums but still fits the Krautrock brief; Acid-Kraut! I played it live with a Roland 707 drum machine and two 303 bassline machines into a multitrack recorder (not a computer). It has an old skool sound and it’s got a helluva groovy bounce to it.

The title track, Get Sum, reminds me and my wife of an old acid track but we can’t put our fingers on which one it is. Quite possibly from the 90’s but could be later…a free album to anyone who can tell us, it’s driving us mad!

MuZiK KluB…yeaargh…

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There’s been a bit of a storm on the MuZiK KluB this month…! Been at it all day and gonna have to change my policy about just 40 free albums. So if you want it, there’s going to be more. With this album coming out as a limited edition vinyl only release for record store day I was told I could give some away with my MuZiK KluB. I thought 40 would do it but because of the demand I’m going to make it a few more…

KluB Mix!33 OUT NOW!

album cover with sticker

(only 300) Limited Edition Double Album OUT NOW…

Only available as limited edition double Vinyl (comes with free download in 96khz 24 Bit WAV, FLAC, ALAC (Apple Lossless), AAC, or Ogg Vorbis format or MP3 320)
Get your copy from your record shop or buy online by clicking image above
Answers to FAQ & 10 reasons why you should buy this record…!!

1. Only 292 vinyl are being made available for sale and this record will not be manufactured as a CD. It will be worth lots of money on Discogs and ebay this time next year. Cool, it’s an investment!

2. You get a download with the vinyl. If you don’t have a record player, download the twice than CD quality files and if you don’t do downloads, get a friend to download them and burn you a CD.

4. Support music and keep music evil as the Brian Jonestown Massacre would say. By buying the vinyl and using the downloads you are supporting smaller bands. CD’s need to be manufactured in their 1000’s to go into the stores. This leads to too many being manufactured and one third being returned. This costs the band money and then they have to sell the rest off cheap. It’s a crap-junk-throw-away culture and it’s not fair on the consumer or the artist.

5. Become part of the few who own it, keep it exclusive or whack it all over the net, the choice is yours.

6. **** iTunes.

7. It looks cool and sounds the way it should, because it’s on vinyl.

8. What else will you spend £20 on instead this month? Be a freak, join the KluB go to bed tonight knowing you have funded the arts and got something great in return!

9. It may prompt you to buy a record player or ask for one for xmas? A whole new world awaits!

10. All of the above and because you are a cool mother-of-a-hipster, you love Iggy Pop and what he had to say in his BRILLIANT John Peel lecture and you know it makes sense…

six by seven KluBMix33 is a unique album. In April 2013 Chris Olley started his website MuZiK KluB, which was a way of funding and being able to artistically manage his own vision for his musical and creative output. Every month Olley would sell his demo’s and his stories and photographs in an exclusive artistic package, handmade and individually signed and numbered to each buyer.

During this period Olley released over 60 songs and several mini albums before re-recording and mixing tracks to compile an album which he felt captured the dark and intense uplifting sound he was looking for, a sound which was to be reminiscent of a setlist from the 80’s Blitz Club.

“I wanted to feel lonely and detached when I wrote the music for this record, so it felt like I felt when I was 15, when I first fell in love with music properly. The music of that time was all the early synth stuff and it felt cold and industrial but pure and melodic too. It was real punk. I forced myself into solitude so I could get on with the task of self examination. I wanted it to be six by seven but I wanted it to be free from six by seven and free from the temptation to just follow on from what had gone before. I wanted detatchment, detatchment and tranquility and songs that reminded me of just being who I am, not what people want me to be.” CHRIS OLLEY

This record is six by seven firing on all cylinders, albeit with a new sound. They are in a dark basement club, jamming with Bauhaus and Fad Gadget and early Kraftwerk. At times the record is Krautrock and psychedelic at other times sparse and beautifuly melodic and with tracks like the 9 minute ‘Stealth Wind’ and the gargantuan 8 minute ‘Master Race’ it is as heavy as or even heavier than any six by seven record before.

And… as promised, everyone who bought a MuZiK KluB release was given a credit on the album as executive producer.