Monday, 24 December 2007

Bye bye 2007

And finally for this year..
Marks been preparing new string parts for our 'unplugged' shows and Paul's been putting finishing touches to '1979' and 'Hush' drumwise and I've been sorting out rehearsals for jan (no mean feat with 8 players let me tell you!) whilst each of us has been struck down with the flu one by one!
Anyway gonna give ourselves a bit of a rest now so we're fresh and ready for the january onslaught! Can't wait tho.. it really has been a good year.. and much appreciated are all the comments and messages we've had.
So enjoy your CHRISTMAS mes amies and see you all next year!
Rice and The Mummers

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Heres a clip of the don of tromboning Mr Ashley Slater, recorded last week on 'Somebody Said'..

Saturday, 15 December 2007

'Somebody Said' has come alive

Hooray.. its up on the myspace profile! All live instruments have finally been recorded on 'Somebody Said' and Mark was busy mp3-ing me mixes all day yesterday till finally we were happy with this one. And i hope you will agree with me that it has so much more energy and life than the demo! So let me tell you who the wonderful musicians are: Trumpet - Rob Heasman, French Horn - Ben Simmons, Trombone - Ashley Slater, Cello - Rob lewis, Violin - Jote Osahn. All layered up to the max of course!

Meanwhile i was at home having a 'writing day' on a new song - the instrumental of which i posted up a week or so ago - 'song x' and whilst the melody came quick, the lyrics were proving a bit of a struggle, as the first lyrical kernals i had kept leading me off on weird tangents that ended up with something like The Owl and the Pussycat for some reason!(I love that poem btw so here it is..) So i did the only decent thing in those circumstances and turned off the mic and made myself a nice cup of tea and went for a cold, brisk walk through twinkly Dulwich with all the fairy lights in the trees and i felt very english and rejuvenated wrapped up in a million layers humming abstract ideas to myself in a slightly Lear-ish fashion..

Have to get back on track next week!
Luego x

Friday, 7 December 2007


I've been banned from the studio for most of this week as Mark n Paul have been writing out parts and recording live instruments on 'Somebody Said', they can concentrate better without me you see.. so apart from fitting in a rehearsal with me and mark multi-tasking our way through the songs ready for our mini-gigs, i have had a chance to catch up on domestic things like washing and paperwork and bills. As i have left all these for about 6 months (well 3 for the washing) you can imagine what a wondrous mood i've been in especially with all this festive cheer starting up. But its ok becos i'm anti-consumerist so no-one is getting any presents this year, sorry kids! However i have just seen a rather nice dress...
On the bright side we have booked gigs for the new year, and we have a title for our album, and we have just started another new song :) based on a guitar riff this time..
And then theres MySpace - I'm still loyal despite everyone's efforts to seduce me away and drag me into facebook instead. I cant get into that for some reason, i guess i've never been much of a networker. Anyway we've made some supacool friends on MS recently and i'm really enjoying meeting them, so if you happen to be reading this HELLOOO AGAIN! HOWDY! LOVE YA!! MWAH!!XX

Friday, 30 November 2007

if music be the remedy for consumer sickness play on!

Back to the train again and as i walked across the concourse at Victoria station trying to avoid the mobile phone shop (i've been in there looking at phones for the last 4 weeks because i cant decide which one to get, i mean i was perfectly happy with the same one for 3 years but now they've put the idea in my head i'm ever so slightly obsessed. There's an inviting feeling of euphoria as i enter the shop that is swiftly followed by a hot sweat developing into panic.. is this what consumerism does to you? its awful. And now i find myself compelled to sneakily have a peak at everyone's phone to see what mega-pixel the camera is, or how big the screen is or if its a flip, slide, clam, classic, candy bar type.. OMG! Please DONT GIVE ME CHOICE ITS SUCKING AT MY SOUL.. so i have now banned myself and walk the other way round the coffee kiosk, also avoiding the Sushi stall since realising the reason my purse is always empty.. oh the battleground that is Vic Station!) its almost a relief to be on the train again.
So, back to the studio today in Brighton to rehearse just Mark and I, and was great to get rid of the sickness with playing music. And i must say we managed to create quite a full sound with Mark playing rhodes, analogue synth and samples all at once and me on vocals and accordion - still the baby one which isnt really good enough - but never mind - i'm not exactly an expert (only about mobile phones). And we were beginning to hear how we can perform the songs another way and it was a bit exciting!
I'm now trying to work out a plan for next week and how we can fit in rehearsing, recording all the live parts on Somebody Said, writing new stuff etc etc oh and shopping.. NOOOOOO!! Enjoy the weekend, only 4 of them till Christmas xx

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

'Somebody Said'

Hi again.. well whilst working on 'song x' i wrote this vocal at home on my 4-track (i'm soo up-to-date its unreal) and was really getting into it and thought i'd done a rather fine job till everyone else started making comments like 'can't hear the music' and its a bit 'overpowering' which immediately sent my deflated self-satisfied self slumped back into the sofa. UNTIL... someone had the great idea (i think it was The Manager) of turning that vocal into another song which for the last few days we have been working on in great spirits! (And i hope you can tell we had fun doing it with all that brass marching band stuff..) We deliberately kept away from the strings on this one and used horns for the chords mainly which gives it a lovely rich sound, clarinets and flutes in pairs, bassoon in the intro and break (which is my favourite bit), a sprinkling of guitar and bass, and of course soaring sparkly trumpets. The drums are Paul playing live on our mini-drum set-up at 12A, and Mark's orchestration is fast becoming a Mummers trademark! The lyrics i'd also deliberately tried to make as straightforward as possible which is quite unusual for me, but because the melody was in my head for days before writing the song i knew it had to be simple to make it fit that exact chorus line. So what do you think? One of the others has already put it up on the Myspace profile so enthusiastic is he - though the live instruments haven't been recorded yet - and that is one of our many tasks for next week..

Meanwhile rehearsing up in London tomorrow with the full band - which will be very nice to be playing together again..tell you more about that another time.

love luv x

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

song x clip

We are working on two new songs.. so here is a clip of one - its just an instrumental right now - vocals are coming. It conceals a riff from a well-known song from the 80s (tho i'm not going to tell you what it is). Ecoute bien!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

my new home

So do you remember me saying a while back that i was on the verge of solving my train obsession in one? Well here she is the beauty!
Well yes i know she's a little old and rather shabby (aren't we all) but she can do 70mph down hills honest! ! Anyway i took her down to Shoreham beach the other day cos we were doing a photo shoot down there and it was such a beautiful day - cold but warm in the sun, and it was most handy to have my travelling boudoir with me! I have to say that Shoreham beach is my new favourite place, and even good for a little impromptu rehearsal! There was no-one around all day, the sea was glorious and we sat and drank tea watching the sun go down, leaning against the rows of empty white beach-huts; the feint outline of Brighton in the distance looked like Hong Kong in comparison to this huge deserted expanse of stony beach.........o yes and then i had to drive back to london in the dark overshooting the garage and nearly running out of petrol panicking like a crazed fool, praying to a god i really believed in whilst doing 45 uphill with horrid mean (mainly) male drivers blasting their horns at me in their equally horrid shiny FAST cars.

Meanwhile starting rehearsing again next week for a slightly different version of The Mummers.. all will be revealed later! Till then! x

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Live Bait

In search of a gig..

rehearsal in a round

10 mins before showtime..hairstyling by drummer loz

my beautiful strings

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Percussionist Paul

Gosh and golly i've got to apologise for it being two whole weeks since the last blog. Its not that i've been lazy (well maybe a bit), but theres been tings appening honest! But first of all i am going to introduce you to one of the core mummers members (eeuw) - guitarist/writer/producer/ Mr Paul Sandrone - who co-owns studio 12a where we work in brighton. Blessed with a natural gift for a fine chorus this man was born in hooksville, catchywick in a remote suburb of Bristol which was in fact where we first met many moons ago. Since then he has become a fully-fledged brightonian and is more often than not to be found fishing on Shoreham beach with a packed lunch like his mum used to make him. (whilst humming his latest 'sticker tune' to catch the sticklers if course). Recently however mr sandrone has learned to play percussion and drums and is now rather obsessed with hitting as many objects as loud as possible in the studio , as you can hear on (finally!) 'This is heaven'. Check out the military drums in the breakdown - a Sandrone special! Dont worry i am going to post a clip soon as i get it thro but those who've been to the gigs may know what i'm talking about..
Which brings me to live shows and again a big fanx to all who came to Monto in London last thursday. Less shambolic than Komedia and the crowd were yet again lovely; it all ran a bit smoother - with all limbs in place this time!
Love to you all. mwah xx

Saturday, 22 September 2007

in recovery..

Gd evening! First i gotta start by saying thank you to all you who came to Komedia on thursday it was such a great crowd, very warm and smiley considering all the teething troubles we had! Yep it was an INTERESTING evening esp for me cos i was trying out some new things - some which worked, others which didnt, so much learning going on there! But i did feel helped thro.. thanks for the lovely messages.. and esp about my foot as i kind of forgot myself after doing 'This is Heaven' at the end and jumped over the speakers landing on something and twisting it bad! Boy did i feel like an idiot hobbling off to the dressing room yowling in pain calling for "ICE!" Anyway i am now pretty much recovered altho i'm not telling that to everyone else cos its nice having them say "no dont YOU do that", or "I'LL get it" and such like.. Hope you all enjoy the ep, you got it really upfront cos its not coming out for another 3 months! Please let me know, i need feedback cos its all for YOUS u know. Gonna leave you now and o yes i think i may have solved my transport problem and train seat obsession all in one.. tell you about that next time.. all my love, Rx

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The EP is finished! Being pressed up as we speak ready (i'm praying!) for you on thursday..! I'm just hoping youre gonna love it and will anxiously await your comments! its great to finally hand it in tho and send it on its way into the ether. So now we can concentrate on the rest of the album.. Had a final rehearsal last night with the full band (miracle!).. so great to have clan mummer back together again.. string music flying about, squabbling over tambourines, new songs pulled apart and then quickly put back together again, feathers, scarves and fairy lights assembled, a whole heap of tangerines eaten.. and all in what seemed like 2 minutes! And then rushing for the last train home, and being so hyper by the time i got back that i couldnt sleep AT ALL and spent the night reading music magazines and the sunday observer which is a luxury really, the house being all spooky quiet...

Heres some pics and stuff - sorry theyre a bit dark but it was dark..

i'm gonna cut this short now and catch up on zzzzzzzzzz


Sunday, 16 September 2007

Musicians Mummer

hi y'all its sunday night and i'm just putting together the set order for the Komedia gig on thurs. i shoulda done it earlier but got side-tracked in Camden Market looking for 'accessories' all day (didnt find much - the market has got so touristy on sundays u have to fight thro the crowds which is sooo annoying..) Anyway we are definitely going to do our new song 'Teardropsfall' and possibly 'Lorca' but theres going to be an element of flexibility to this show..! So let me introduce you to the musicians who are gonna be playing. They are: LINDSEY OLIVER on double bass, JOTE OSAHN on violin, TESS GILLES on violin (heres her myspace), JOE GIDDEY on cello, LOZ THOMAS on drums, PAUL on guitar and percussion, MARK on Keys and ME! We were also thinking of having CHARLOTTE GLASSON come in for 2 songs on flute but unfortunately she is booked up to see Prince that night. What a choice. How COULD she??!! :)

Another thing to say is that our EP is pretty near finished.. looks like we'll be in time for thurs! The mixes are pretty much there.. just a bit of fine-tuning now..

Hope you're all doing good.. it felt like summer today..long may THAT last..x

Friday, 14 September 2007

the addiction of morning routine beautifully broken by ones manager

As i've been getting the train from Victoria most days i've been finding that i am always drawn to the exact same carriage and lately the exact same seat! (2nd carriage from front away from the toilets and with the close together seats where you can hideaway without having to stare at someones paper or (yuk) pimple) How did i get so predictable? I even get so cross if someone is sitting in MY seat that it spoils my whole journey - because its MY OWN SPECIAL TIME and it has to be just so! Anyway today i was wondering whether if i get the train at exactly the same time as the day before will it be the same train and the same seat..and i thought i should leave a little mark on the seat so i can find out the next day... (ooooo nooooooooo stop!!!!!!!!!!! help me plse someone) dont let me grow old its gonna be worse!
Anyway so i'm all set in my own seat with a little bag of raw salmon from the sushi stall - always good for a late breakfast- and i'm getting busy with my headfones on listening to the ep so far unmixed as yet and wondering what changes should be made and drifting off into musicalness when brrring brrrrrring the fone goes and its our manager - the first of a series of calls that last until i get to nearly Three Bridges because he has worked out EXACTLY when i'm gonna lose signal from the moment my train leaves.. THATS the sort of guy this manager is! But let me tell you that i do seriously believe he is the best manager in the world because not only does he never let you forget what you're meant to be doing but he comes up with mad crazy ideas that actually seem to work! (Once his band - cant mention the name sorry- dumped a whole load of used cars painted with his band's logo in the middle of Oxford Street in front of Virgin during morning rush-hour so nobody could get to work - it took hours to move them, got all over the tabloids and was on the national news!) However i think he may have calmed down a bit these days...
So there we are a short introduction to The Manager (he'll get funny if i say his name) but i gotta mention him, as he is an integral part of what we do - musically and non-musically - which is very helpful after the hours we spend winding ourselves up sonic paths and getting stuck in knots!

Love to you all, and talk to you over the w'end xx

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

understanding goosebumps

Having got back to London late last night (i seem to spend my life on trains!) I left the others in 12A for the day rehearsing new drummer Loz, fixing amps and organising fliers. It was an unexpectedly sunny morning and i was with my 2 yr old boy in the park and i found myself reflecting on those first gorgeously rambling sessions in Treehouse where everything was an experiment and it was like stepping into the unknown (with new baby in tow..) and there was so much time and no pressure from anywhere! Its kind of different now we're doing gigs and have started to put records out and theres more people around us instead of us 3 (and our trusty manager)... its getting busy and for the first time we have deadlines! And as i'm thinking all these things .. goodness, whats that strange feeling in my stomach.. is it... NERVES? So i played toddler football for as little as i could get away with and rushed back home to practise the new songs in the set which i have to say i dont really know 100 percent.. yer know - structures and all.. and tried to visualise the whole thing.. and i started to get EXCITED! It got me thinking about music in general and during a 10 min cuppa tea break i pulled out the sunday papers (typically unopened as yet)and by chance came across a really interesting article called "Why does music affect us like no other art?" in the Culture section.. It was a review of a book called 'This is your brain on music: Understanding a human obsession' by Daniel Levitin who when i looked into it found out that not only was he a professor and writer of music psychology but that he'd actually designed and built loudspeaker systems for bands like Steeley Dan and then The Grateful Dead during the late 70's and 80's - you know that real experimental movement in San Francisco that was based around Berklee Music College - before engineering and producing (Santana amongst others) and running record labels. Now THAT'S alot to do in a few years! Anyway this article was saying that the whole of this guy's research is directed at understanding his goosebumps .. now isnt that what we all want to know? i also think its kind of emotional when clumsy science attempts to understand art.. i'll try to find the article online and post it up so you can read it!

Till next time..gotta prepare for tomorrow.. g'nite x

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

mello cello

This is Joe Giddey ( i said i was going to introduce you to clan Mummer didnt i?) in the studio recording 'Hush' - one of the songs we will be doing live next week. Hows that!!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Rehearsing with Lindsey

Its back to me again.. and i'm doing rehearsal schedules (starting from tomorrow!) for this crazy band where no-one seems to be able to be in the same place at the same time! But never mind, cos well once we're all in the room all squashed up and blaring out this stuff all raw u just forget about everything else and whooosh ure transported somewhere else and you come out of it all tingly and flushed in the cheek! I love it and i love these guys who turn up just for the hell of it - for fun (I love that word "fun", nice and warm and basic like "bun"). I'm going to introduce you to all of them but seeing as i have a little clip here i'll start with our latest bass-player - gorgeous Lindsey Oliver (here's her own Myspace).. who we originally found when she was playing with Doon MacDonald at our first ever Sussex Arts Show in April. Check out Doon - her sound is very 1970's Laurel Canyon and she has a most unusual voice. Linzz also plays with Shoreline who are supporting us on the 20th - another of our favourite local bands - you will hear why! And also The Miserable Rich who are excellent. Anyway Linzz is tall like her double-bass, addicted to bananas like me and will read a book in any environment..o yes and her bass-playing is wikid...

Sunday, 9 September 2007

string terrorism

Hello Paul here..

Was with Mark yesterday when he found an ancient cello and even older violin in an old wardrobe in his mum's garage. You see us In the clip playing them after we'd cleaned them up a bit. hopefully with tons of practice we can use them on recordings at some point, but at the mo they do sound a bit like fingernails on a blackboard.. Still, practice makes perfect..

(yeah right Paul...rice :)

Friday, 7 September 2007

12 days to finish ep!

Hello hello we are back in the studio again with Mark busy sorting out string and woodwind parts ready for live recording and Paul fussing over arrangements and me just getting in the way and talking in a bossy voice and wondering whether it would be a good time to try some vocoder.. But we have decided that the deadline for this EP will be the day before our Komedia gig - Sep 19th! Just 12 days to go! We have a new contender which is a song we call 'Lorca and the Orange Tree' very upbeat and joyful and comes from an old poem i wrote when i was in Spain once..The only problem is that the beginning sounds a bit like Madonna.. not that that is sooo bad i mean i used to adore her and still have the crucifixes and leggings stuck in the back of my wardrobe.. so well never mind - who says a bit of cheese aint right every now and again!? But seriously its just momentary and the song soon reverts to true mummers styleee with some nice breakdowns with piano and flute (again Charlotte!) and lovely double bass line from Lindsey Oliver(more about her later..)I'm wondering whether to post a clip up at this early stage - i dont want to put you off..O well s** it here we go remember this is JUST A DEMO!!!

mp3: lorca and the orange tree


Monday, 3 September 2007

Fri Aug 31st Gigs and new toys

OMG its officially the end of summer and it's back to school! And not long to go now till our two very important shows.. headlining at the KOMEDIA Brighton on the 20th and then MONTO London on Oct 4th! We're getting very busy rehearsing all our musicians and preparing the new songs to do - specially for the faithful few who have been to every gig so far! So we've had to put the EP on hold for a week or so cos theres so much to do! And i can now definitely say i will be playing some new instruments live.. an extremely cute baby accordion that we found in that ever-so-handy percussion shop on Trafalgar Street, Brighton.. + my latest greatest expense (thankyou credit card!) - the shiny, analogy, o-so-portable KORG R3 - see here!! Its a vocoder and synth all in one and I am now going to pile vocoder fx over all and sundry as soon as i learn how to use the damn thing.. i HATE manuals my eyes go all blurry after a few minutes so its going to be hard but goodness me i did get a buzz getting on the bus to Turnkeys in Charing X Rd last Sat and then trying out all these instruments pretending i knew what i was doing!
Love and speak soon (heres a bit of me messin about v badly on the accordion in an unusually tidy 12A.. ) Rice x

Friday, 24 August 2007

damp n drizzle august photos at TH

Wet grey drizzly damp greeted us yesterday when we paid our respects back at TH (treehouse) and ran our fingers along the dusty keybaords looking distinctly untouched and unloved since our decamping to brighton to finish the Wonderland ep. Anyhow here are some shots Paul took with his supacool digi camera whilst attempting a hyper-realistic ep cover :)

Friday, 17 August 2007

Gd evening y’all..

Its Friday night and the end of a long hard week (sigh sob sympathy..!) Been in the Brighton studio which is called 12A all hours working on and trying to finish our EP which has now 5 tracks on it. Seems to have a lighter more silvery feel than the album stuff we’ve been working on.. have a listen – this is a clip from the newest one ‘Teardropsfall’ .. it’s a bit messy but we got this amazing flautist called Charlotte Glasson (she sounds like her name!) in for a day and just piled tons of flute everywhere all over.. to be sorted out later! Anyway this song is really just a bundle of knotted threads..made up of glocks, old Kemble piano, rhodes, cymbals, pizz strings and double bass.. and .. flutes!

mp3: 'Teardropsfall clip'

We’re nearly finished so I can reveal the order:

35 Degrees
Let it Roll

More later! Off to pick up the remains of my friday night…..

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Welcome to Wonderland

We’re in our other studio in Brighton which we use to ‘finish’ stuff,
putting our EP together which is like a mini-album and is coming out soon..
Wonderland will be the lead track..
This was one of the first songs we wrote together at treehouse.. and it all started with a melody and acoustic guitar chords that Paul and I had and loved but didn’t know what to do with.. the chord structure is a circle of 5ths where the bassline goes down a 5th each time and ends up at the beginning. My first idea for it was a slinky bond-type theme tune or something but when I got to the treehouse I knew it had to be about me growing up and dreaming but being a bit scared cos that’s what the place made me think of..and well Alice in Wonderland was one of my favourite books.. so we put it down bare bones n all with a sketchy lyric whilst Mark jammed about on the Rhodes.
This gorgeous thing has such a lovely magical sound – its soo big and old but has soul! We do loads of stuff with Rhodes – and now - well the other night - I found a totally rare 54 key rhodes which is smaller and more portable so we don’t have to break our backs lugging it up and down stairs at gigs anymore! look at this beauty here!
Anyway the song aint finished here cos we wanted a ‘Brighton’ element in our songs.. being originally from South London and seeing Brighton from the outside gives me a real feeling of escape and freedom.. So after our sessions Mark went away and out of the blue came up with a whole orchestral piece based on an oom pa pa marching band theme with trombones, flutes and strings etc..

mp3: 'Wonderland' clip

This totally blew us away and also made me think of the Salvation Army (there was a HQ in my high street where I grew up), and The Mummers Parades in Philadelphia..Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This awesome (well I think so!) piece of work became a yardstick by which we measured all our other songs (do they live up to it??). It took ages to record live.. heres some pics of the players:

Pics of the Treehouse


We started writing it with Mark at the treehouse studio near Brighton nearly 18 months ago where we were inspired by the surroundings (lots of pine tree woods, countryside and sea!) and the atmospheric ram-shackle studio that he had stuffed with old keyboards and percussion. We didn’t really have any pre-conceptions as to how it was going to be but just decided to see what came out.. tho I had bundles of lyrics and bits n bobs of half-written songs from years previously (one of which I spent totally at the piano teaching myself how to ‘write songs’ as opposed to my normal method of closing my eyes, blanking out and singing a load of gook). Mark and Paul just went instrument hopping in their new candy shop and we recorded a load of ‘jams’ which became the foundations of our sound..