Saturday, 4 January 2014

£10 well spent

A few weeks ago I received a message in the Silent Sleep facebook account. It was from a guy who ran a music blog and the message started by telling me how much he enjoyed my music. He went on to say that he would love to do a feature on me on his blog in the form of an interview. I always try to cooperate and complete any interview that any blog or site offers to me as it's nice to think that somebody has heard you and likes you and wants to let other people know about your music. It's flattering and it's also a way of reaching out to an audience who otherwise may never have known you existed. I went on to read the rest of this e-mail and the guy ended by telling me that for the interview to go ahead he would require a £4.50 donation. I saw my arse but tried to comprehend the reality of what was being offered to me. And asked of me. I posted the whole message on my personal Facebook page as a large number of my facebook friends are in bands or are promoters or are somehow involved with music, particularly what you might call the DIY side of things. The message generated a fair amount of interest so I continued to post each of the messages that the blogger and I went on to send to each other. I went along with what he was asking and before long, we'd agreed (at my suggestion) to forego his usual format and instead offer 'fans' the opportunity to ask me whatever question they want for a small donation of 50p. The more and more deep I got into the dialogue, the more I was convinced there would be a point when he would realised that I wasn't being completely serious. That point didn't come, instead he thought it was a great idea but insisted we split what money we make from the fans 60/40 (60 to him 40 to me. I think? I can't remember and it doesn't really matter) so on the back of the popular posts on my personal facebook I asked my friends to ask me some questions for the blog - the more ridiculous, the better. The questions were ridiculous but I still felt the interview made too much sense so I answered most of the questions using words used in the songs Safety Dance by Men Without Hats and Birdhouse In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants (and a whole load of Bukowski). When I read it back I thought to myself, 'This is it, this is surely the point where the guy suddenly sees what's happening and wants to batter me'. I sent it over anyway along with £10 via paypal not really expecting a reply or if I did receive a reply it would tell me what a huge dickhead I was and that he was going to keep the 10 quid anyhow...he didn't though, he's posted it. When I realised it was going to be published, I felt a sense of guilt. Perhaps this was a young lad who'd been taught in some kind of performing arts school that this was the way things had to be to make a living in music. The guilt didn't last too long, after all, I've paid him a tenner for it and besides, it's only a bit of fun. Here's the full dialogue and the final, published, feature.

 Hi,
I run the music blog Aldora Britain Records. We do interviews with up and coming bands/artists and also older underground bands/artists as well. Our sole aim is to help bring more exposure to the artists we feature and also to help them work towards their musical ambitions. We conduct our interviews mainly online and via e-mail. Anyway, I was just wondering if you would like to do an interview for the blog? We do ask for a £4.50 donation which we put towards the cost of buying music to review and getting to gigs to review as well. We also hope to use some of this money to expand and we hope to give donations to bands as we grow and in the future possibly develop into a magazine. You may ask what sets us apart from other blogs. Well, we post new material every day of the week and in theory this brings a brand new audience that could potentially be introduced to your music every day. We also provide in depth and in detail interviews for the artists that we feature in a unique style. Finally, if you have any questions or want to discuss anything then don’t hesitate to get in touch. We hope that you’re up for it as we would love to feature you on the blog. Look forward to hearing back from you! Thanks Facebook.com/aldorabritainrecords Aldorabritainrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

8 November 2013Silent Sleep
Hi, Thanks for getting in touch. I'm really flattered that you 're considering us for the blog. When you mentioned the £4.50 donation I did indeed ask myself 'What sets this blog apart from other blogs? Other blogs that wouldn't dream of asking a band for a donation to be written about.', but when you described yours and I had a look at it, I saw that it was indeed very different from other blogs. I don't think there are any other blogs out there that post new music every day and provide in depth interviews with artists, it's a brilliant concept and I think you've done really well coming up with it! So, taking all of this into consideration, how do we go forward with this? Best, Chris 

9 November 2013
Hi Chris, Firstly, sorry for the delay in getting back to you - been having a hectic time here! Also, thank you for having a look at our blog and the kind words! We're really up for doing an interview with you and if you are up for it then the first step is the small donation. Let us know how you want to do this? (Paypal, bank transfer, whatever suits you best!) Once we have this I'll personally put together an interview for you and send it over to you! Let me know if this sounds good to you! Regards

10 November 2013Silent Sleep
Hi, Don't worry about it. It's absolutely fine!! I can imagine it must be busy running a professional music publication!! Do you have staff? Anyway, enough of me. I'm keen to go ahead with this - really excited, actually. I'm a bit hard up at the moment though so I wondered if instead of making a £4.50 donation, would you accept £4.10? Maybe you could knock a question off the interview? Or alternatively I could forward the remaining £0.40 next week. Cheers, let me know what you think. Best, Chris

10 November 2013
Hi Chris, kinda - it's me and a mate that do it, don't think he thinks he's 'staff' though haha! And don't worry about it - we'll just make it a nice round £4 and we don't need to be knocking questions off the interview either. Let me know how you want to pay it and I'll get the ball running on it!

11 November 2013Silent Sleep
Hi, Before I go ahead and arrange payment, I thought I'd better ask how many hits you anticipate the interview getting? What are your average figures? It's just that I've discovered some other blogs that are quite similar but don't charge for interviews and features etc. Also, are you VAT registered? Cheers, Chris

11 November 2013Silent Sleep
One more thing...would you, hypothetically, take American Express?

11 November 2013
Hi Chris man, our interviews range in hits. The minimum hits an interview had got of ours is 27 but they usually get much more than that! We usually average around 100 hits per interview and our most popular interview with a band called The Most has 394 hits to date!

11 November 2013
We're not VAT registered as we don't really earn anything in the grand scheme of things to be honest! And I think we can take American express!? Hope you decide to do a feature with us! Speak soon mate!

12 November 2013Silent Sleep
Hi, Not a problem at all. Glad you can take American Express. 394 hits is very impressive and also it's hilarious that a band called The Most has the most hits! Who got the least? Anyway, I've had an idea, I'd be happy to transfer some money across to you if we can do something a little bit outside of the box...Would you be happy publishing an interview where the questions come from our fans? I think it would work really well and bring a lot of traffic to your blog and instead of me paying the £4, we could ask fans to make a donation of £0.50 per question. That way, if we manage to get, say, 20 questions, that would be a tenner, which is well more than £4! If you're happy with 70/30 split in your favour I'd be more than happy to go ahead with this. What do you say? Best, Chris

12 November 2013
Hi Chris, haha never actually realised that connection with The Most haha! There are actually a great European beat band though - you should check them out! I'd rather not tell you who got the least cos it'd be a bit harsh on that band! I really like your idea though, it'd be nice to spice it up and get your fans asking the questions. Also, since it's your idea I think it's only fair we do like a 60-40 split in your favour, sound good to you? Also, how we gonna organise it? Will you get in touch with your fans and then get the answers to me to post? Regards

30 December 2013Silent Sleep
Hey, Hope you had a good Christmas. I've got the interview here...20 questions asked by fans. It's turned out quite mad but it was really good fun to answer. I have £10 here for you. Where shall I send it? Cheers and all the best, Chris

30 December 2013
Hi Chris, Hope you had a great Christmas too and have a good one tomorrow night! If you can send the interview to thomashilton4@sky.com and I'll get it posted, most likely, on new years day. You can send the money to me via paypal using the same e-mail address (thomashilton4@sky.com) also, I'd like to reiterate you don't have to give me all £10! Speak soon man

1 JanuarySilent Sleep
Hi, Did you get my email yesterday with the interview? I've stuck £10 into your paypal account. Let me know when it's up and I'll share appropriately. Best, Chris 2 January Hi Chris, got it all! I hope to have it up by tomorrow - it's a new year and am already behind schedule haha! Will send you a link as and when! Speak soon man.

13 hours ago
Hello Chris, interview is now live! Please can you share the link on the band's official facebook page and wherever else possible - http://aldorabritainrecords.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/walk-me-to-sea-something-bit-different.html Also, if you personally have facebook can you give our page a like here - facebook.com/aldorabritainrecords Finally, please do keep in touch and if you ever need a little bit of promotion for something then please do get in touch! Regards and all the best, AB Records THE INTERVIEW.

 I think it's only fair that we give him the hits...Here's the link to the interview. If you read it out loud it sounds like you've lost your mind.

 http://aldorabritainrecords.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/walk-me-to-sea-something-bit-different.html

Monday, 15 July 2013

Australia

It's been well over a year since I made an entry in this blog. I think that's because now that I'm back living in Liverpool I kind of thought that it was a bit pointless as I originally started the blog so that family and friends could keep track of what I was up to whilst I was living in Berlin. Now that I'm back , it felt a bit daft to keep a regular blog because I was just up to normal things again, but recently I haven't, it's been a really busy and transitionary time in my life, so I think I'm going to start keeping it regularly updated again. In May 2012 I played my first gig with the new line-up of Silent Sleep. We were supporting The Wedding Present in The Zanzibar in Liverpool. The line-up consisted of a load of mates and some guys that at the time I didn't know at all - we met through recommendations on Facebook, but have since gone on to be really good pals. Graham Jones played bass, Claire Heaslip played Glockenspiel, Andy Donovan played drums and John Gibbons and Elaine Sykes, they guys I met through Facebook played Trumpet and Violin respectively. Since then the line-up has changed slightly and David Johnson now plays guitar and Olly Gorman has replaced Andy on the drums. We've played about 10 gigs together now and it's been really great fun. In September last year I embarked on a Pledge Music campaign to raise some money to record my debut album and it went really, really well. I had no idea what to expect and I was blown away by the response. It was a really interesting experience and one that I enjoyed greatly. I raised the money and I went into the studio with Rob Whiteley and made my first record, Walk Me To The Sea, with the help of a lot of good people. I think I'll save going into too much detail about the whole pledge music lark right now and save it for it's own entry some other time. So much has happened and I'm probably going to be remembering things of note over the next few months so I'll try and remember to write that stuff down here, even if only for my own sake. What really gave me a kick up the arse to start the blog up again is the fact that in 2 days time I'm going to Australia to play some gigs. Even looking at that written down looks unbelievable. I'm going with the guys from The Anfield Wrap podcast and The Tea Street Band. The guys from The Anfield Wrap will be doing three live shows and I'll be playing at each of the shows - the last one being a show with Alan Fletcher and The Waiting Room. That's Dr. Karl Kennedy's band. Karl Kennedy from the Australian TV Show Neighbours. It's just too nuts to properly comprehend what is about to happen over the next 10 days - and I suppose that's why I'm going to write all of it down here. I think there'll be some really cool stories that you'll want to read about and hopefully enjoy. That's if I make it through the flight. I've got valium and the booze is free.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Oh look! I'm back in Liverpool.

It's been ages since I last posted a blog. I didn't realise it was 3 months...it's flown by and absolutely loads has changed. I'm no longer living in Berlin for starters, which is quite big news (in the context of this blog). I arrived back in Liverpool on the 3rd December 2011. I think I decided to come home after a visit to Liverpool just before my birthday in October and I made the decision in about 10 minutes and without a great deal of thought. The main reason for me coming back was because I'd spoken to Andy and Rob about starting a new band and initially we spoke about sending tracks back and forth via email and trying to do it that way, but I knew that I would never be able to work that way as I'm far too easily distracted by going out and getting lashed and having fun in Berlin. That was another reason for me coming home...I was just going out and getting lashed and having fun in Berlin way too much and not getting anything proper done. I was doing stuff, no doubt about that, but it was so hickledy-pickledy and skew-wiff and I could never concentrate on anything in particular. It's easy to get distracted in Berlin, especially if you're that way inclined - and I certainly am that way inclined.

Loads of things happened in the last three months though and I'm going to end up skimming over them and probably forgetting a lot because it were so long ago now. Here are some things that happened.

I had a great big party in Klub der Republik for my 30th birthday - a load of my friends came over from Liverpool for it, which was amazing. The manager at the club, Deacon, is one of the loveliest people I've ever met and is a great example of what a club manager should behave like. Always going out of his way to help if there was a problem...one time I had a mega bout of toothache whilst I was DJing there and I asked if he had anything behind the bar that could help - 2 minutes later he comes over with a drink that he said contained most of the spirits behind the bar. he set the drink on fire before giving it to me. Moments later there was no toothache.

I went away, on and off, to Saarbr├╝cken to work on a massive construction site with my friend Seb and a good lad called Simon, who I met in Berlin not too long before this - he played trumpet and sung on the last Silent Sleep EP. It was a big load of fucking hard work - 12 hours a day most days and absolutely hard graft. In a mad way though, although I FUCKING HATED it at the time, when I look back now, I kind of look back on it with fairly fond memories. The three of us had a laugh whilst we were there and we ended up meeting some great people, too. Some completely terrifying people, don't get me wrong, but some nice ones too. One night we went out to the local 'Indie club' or whatever you want to call it and we got lashed and met a group of people on the way out who we got talking to. Cut to the chase, they ended up organising a couple of really brilliant gigs for us to play whilst we were over there and we stayed friends with them after we left.





We had the last Liquidation Berlin just before I left for home. Jules came over and we had a dead good couple of days. The last Liquidation itself was amazing and for the first time in my life I blacked out because of drink. I remember leaving the club with Jules. We were on our way back to mine. Then I'm waking up on a train in a part of Berlin I never knew existed and it's 7.30am and there are parents taking their children to school and there are people on their way to work and there's me, wearing Jules' massive overcoat with no shirt on under it looking like a mad, pissed up flasher. I'm sure I remember kids cowering behind their parents' legs when I stood up and tried to make my way down the train to the door. Cowering and crying. Cowering and crying and screaming. I had no idea where Jules was. I made my way home and eventually, after a load of phone calls and google mappering, Jules arrived back too, wearing my coat, obviously. Turns out Jules can't remember how we got separated either but woke up in a park somewhere.

It was sad to leave behind the people that I'd met over there. I met some absolutely wonderful people who I hope I'll always stay mates with. People who totally reached out and helped me when they totally didn't need to. I'll definitely miss living in Berlin and I'll definitely miss these people.

I've been home 1 whole month now. It's good. It's great to be close to my friends who know me really well again. I'm living, bizarrely, in the same house that I lived in about 4 years ago with Graham and Claire, at the top of Penny Lane in Allerton.
I'm definitely going to continue doing my Silent Sleep stuff - I did think about jibbing it now that I've moved back but I realised that I really enjoy doing it, so I'm going to record the album properly with Rob Whiteley in his fancy studio. I'm absolutely looking forward to doing that. I'm more excited to get started on the band that I (mostly) moved home for though. We've got our first practise on Sunday.

I watched The Human Centipede 2 last night. It's going to ruin the rest of my life if I don't scrub my mind hard enough.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow Tree

I've decided that I want to become dead into country music for a bit so I can learn how to play country guitar...I really want to - I enjoy playing it loads. I've become obsessed by 'Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow Tree' by The Carted Family, so I'm sticking it into this list. I've also added a few more.


Low - Over The Ocean
Elliot Smith - Waltz no.2 (xo)
The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?
Elbow - Powder Blue
The Wedding Present - Spangle
Cinerama - Wow
Alton Ellis - I'm Still in love with you
LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
Talking Heads - Pulled Up
Billy Bragg - Sexuality
Hefner - Hello Kitten
Pixies - My Velouria
Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
Radiohead - Black Star
Big STar - Thirteen
Weakerthans - Aside
Otis Redding - These Arms Of Mine
The Carter Family - Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow Tree
The Dears - 22. The Death Of All The Romance
The Notwist - Pick Up The Phone

Sunday, 4 September 2011

sluggish entry

Last night was the launch party of Silent Sleep's 2nd EP. I finally got round to finishing it but it was really close to the bone. I'm so disorganised. Actually, no, swerve disorganised and replace it with lazy. I knew for about 2 months that I'd said it was happening on the 3rd September yet I still left it so that until 1 day before I was still recording it and until 1 hour before we were still making the sleeves!! What's the matter with me?? Anyway, it was a boss gig, loads of people came to see us and we had a lot of fun playing it. On the last song I got everybody to play drums on whatever large object was closest and everybody did it so it sounded amazing!

I'm settling into my new place really nicely...the people are both dead sound and sociable and we have a laugh - it feels so much more relaxed than my old place for some reason.

Ermmmm, I'm struggling loads to write anything good here because I'm well hung over and dead tired. I played at the opening of a vintage clothes shop yesterday afternoon too. Maggie, the girl that owns it, is really sound and she gave me a lovely shirt for playing. I had a nightmare on the way up though...well, maybe nightmare's a bit much like. My chain came off my bike. That doesn't sound that bad like but I realised there and then that I haven't put a chain back on a bike for about 20 years or something and it absolutely ruined the afternoon almost! I was already late for the gig so I ended up turning up super, super late, covered in sweat and oil. I was disgusting. The shop was full of absolutely cool looking people too so I felt like a right meff.

I've got quite a big beard at the moment that i'm getting into. I like it. I think I'm going to keep it.

I'm enjoying living in Berlin, you know, it's a fucking brilliant place to be and I've met some really, really good people here. I love Liverpool too, don't get me wrong, and I've got all of my best and closest friends there and obviously my family who I do miss loads, but I just can't see me coming back anytime soon.

It's my 30th birthday next month so I'm having a party and I'm gonna combine it with a few of my friends' birthdays too. Loads of mates from Liverpool are coming over for it so I'm really excite about it.

I can't think of anything else to write because my mind's slowing down really quickly.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Paul Green visits.

It's now the end of July and I've moved out of my place in Huttenroderweg with Paula and Angeline. I've taken on a room in a shared flat not too far away with a guy from Australia and a girl from Austria - both seem like nice people with a similar sense of humour. I don't move into this flat until the 12th August so for the time being I am homeless. I've got places to stay though, James has gone away until the end of the month and Seb and Charlotte have also gone away on holiday for a few weeks and both have very kindly left me the keys to their flats. So I write this from the relative luxury of Seb and Charlotte's brand new massive sofa bed.

One of my best friends ever, Paul Green, has just been to visit me and we had such a good time. It was great to see Paul. Paul suffers from manic depression (I don't think he'll mind me writing this as he was diagnosed a few years ago and also he told a lot of people here that, in his own words, he has mind problems) and at the moment he has just come out of a long spell of depression and is in a manic stage. Paul and I have known each other since I was 19 which is nearly 11 years now and we've been through quite a lot together. We've had some absolutely amazing and magical times and we've also had some really shitty and frightening times together. This trip to Berlin can be counted amongst the amazing and magical times (as are most tbh)...we had such a laugh from the moment he arrived here holding a sick bag with my name on it in the air. He helped me out at Liquidation on Thursday night (which was one of the busiest ever), then we had a great day on Friday drinking and playing pool and giggling and singing and then on Saturday, Pete turned up with his band, 'Pete Bentham and The Dinner Ladies', so we hung out with Pete and co all night and watched them do really great gig.
By Sunday we were both pretty done in so we just hung out at my place and ate some proper food (not kebabs, not pizza, not ale) and then on Monday we pretty much done the same and then I put Paul on the bus to the airport in the afternoon. It was a bit of a whirlwind but it was so, so good to see him and I hope it happens again soon. He's a beautiful person. If you want to see around 600 photographs of Paul's visit, you can go on his facebook and have a look.

Last week I had the responsibility of finding the cast for a video shoot that James was directing for a band called Twin Atlantic. I had to muster up 20 people to fill out a Berlin street. In the weeks/days leading up to the shoot I had gathered up the troops and managed to get 20 of my friends to promise that they will be there at 7am on what could have been a cold and wet July morning. I was so, so worried in the days and hours leading up to the shoot because if the people didn't show up then the whole shoot would have been a disaster and I would have gotten into loads of shit. The night before I didn't sleep at all worrying about it. Anyway, I needn't have feared as on the morning of the shoot there were about 25 or so people that turned out for me and the weather was boss!! I'm hugely grateful to all those who came along and did such a good job!! It was, at times, very boring with lots of waiting around and it was so hot too, but everyone was totally awesome and I think overall, we all had a really good day. The shoot went well and we had a big ol' BBQ afterwards and then went down to the canal for a bit of Kubb.

Right now I'm going to crack on with recording and then I'm going to go on a bit of a bike ride alone. I think I gained about 5 stone in ale whilst paul was over and I've just watched The Fighter so I feel dead motivated.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Just information.

Time seems to move super-fast-warp-speed-turbo boost here. I think I'm 54 years old already. No, that's not true. Sometimes I feel like I'm 54 years old though. My liver in particular. A 54 year old tramp. It's impossible to stay sober in Berlin. If you really want to stay sober I've found the best way is to not leave your bedroom. At all. You have to stay in there. Even if you leave, there might be a flat mate with a bottle of wine or some beers. If you actually go outside the house then there's nothing down for you - you're going to be pissed within minutes. It's cheaper to buy a bottle of beer here than it is to buy a bottle of water. Anway, I'm being dramatic and of course you don't have to drink if you don't want to, it's just way easier to find yourself drinking if you are that way inclined.

I've been working with James a little bit the last month on a music video for a norwegian band called Katzenjammer. I've recently seen the final edit and it looks cracking! I'll stick it up here when it's ready. I was mostly preparing the sets for the shoot - drilling and hammering and painting and re-wiring stuff. Good fun though and it was great to work with and meet loads of boss people.

I played a gig a couple of weeks ago at a kindergarten. I was a bit sceptical at first but once the hangover had been shaken off and we started playing it was kind of amazing! The kids all wandered over to us like tiny zombies and we had layed down a load of percussion instruments on the floor for them to grab, which they did...they went mental!! It was boss! We're doing it again tomorrow afternoon and I'm really looking forward to it.

It's been nice playing more with Silent Sleep. We went to Trier last week and played a couple of gigs there. It was so nice to see Alex and Katrin and Marius and all of those guys again - they're some of the best people in the world and I'm glad I can call them friends. The gigs were great and we had about 47 laughs in total. One of the things I like best about playing with Silent Sleep is that we can pretty much turn up anywhere and do our normal set - we've done quite a few gigs in parks recently and it's so much fun. People just turn up with a bottle of wine and some butties or whatever...it's absolutely one of the most civilised things ever. I've been recording the 2nd part of the trilogy too. It's taken me way longer than I expected but only due to me being too easily distracted. I'm looking forward to finishing it and getting it out there. James is going to make a video for the song 'Love Never Lasts' which is going to be great. I think that song is my bleakest ever song. I enjoy playing it to the children in the kindergarten. It's a valuable lesson that needs to be learnt.

I have to move out of the place I've been staying in since March at the end of this month so I'm looking for new places. It's tricky though - I've sent SO many emails replying to ads and out of maybe 40 I've had 1 reply. Not panicking just yet though.