The VOX AC30Vr amp competition winner

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pirate-studios-vox-amp-winner-count-counsellor

The Winner

Last month we grabbed your attention with another online competition but this time with a bigger prize to be won – a Vox AC30Vr amplifier.

Our Facebook-based competition asked our audience that is made up of bands, musicians and songwriters to comment with a link to their best song. The response was incredible and the composition standard was high. After working our way through pages of comments and replies, eventually, a shortlist was formed which led to a final decision.

The winner of the competition is London based Count Counsellor. He’s a regular at our London rehearsal studios and a talented young producer dedicated to writing disco fused pop music. After receiving critical acclaim from his debut EP released on Quality Time Recordings last year, he has been popular on the London gigging circuit selling out venues such as the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in Shoreditch.

The track ‘Disco dodo’ demonstrates skilful arrangements of crisp percussive layers which blend with lively electro ear snacks. With a fat and groovy bass line driving the song forward during the verse, you remain hooked and refreshed by the display of sophisticated synths and dreamy sonics that feature throughout.

By the end of the song, you can’t help but sing back the chorus line and whack it into your weekend playlist. We love this track and all of its bright synths and grooves. We are excited to see how Count Counsellor grows this year and will certainly be following his journey.

Count Counsellor – Disco Dodo

Runners Up

Although it all boiled down to one track, we can’t ignore there were so many great entries for this competition. Here are 10 tracks that made our shortlist :

1. Sam BrockingtonPiece of mind https://soundcloud.com/sam-brockington/peace-of-mind

2. Amani AMIFeathers Fallinghttps://soundcloud.com/amani-am-i/amani-ami-feathers-falling

3. Tom ForbesTurpentine –https://soundcloud.com/tomforbesmusic/turpentine

4. Regime Queeniehttps://youtu.be/PyCngxkIaWo

5. PhonesYou Don’t Know Mehttps://soundcloud.com/phonesband/you-dont-know-me

6. Hot DreamsPlunge pool https://soundcloud.com/hotdreamsband/plungepool

7. FedericaHuman – https://youtu.be/UfTzeB3MwZE

8. Daniels Gold Seal – June – https://soundcloud.com/thegoldseal/june

9. Sam Jackson Emily – https://soundcloud.com/samjacksonmusic-1/emily

10. English WeatherResham Firiri – https://youtu.be/UBpGgYX5VLo

 

Picture – Sam Brockington

Introducing acoustic acts : URI, Joe Corbin and Sam Brockington

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Here at Pirate Studios we love all genres and welcome all musicians to use our Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff rehearsal rooms. We love all music genres and never forget some of the classic acoustic singer songwriters like James Taylor, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley. You can’t beat a bit of honest lyric writing and guitar playing. Acoustic guitar and vocals often form the basics of a great song and that’s why we love acoustic songwriters. Recently we have been finding lots of emerging acoustic acts across the UK and we want to share them with you!

First is URI, a London based artist originally from Te-Aviv. URI aka Uri Sade, moved to London 3 years ago after winning the Shure song writing award, which was judged by Frank turner that year. Within his music you can here clear influences from Jeff Buckley, Elliot Smith and Nick Drake, to current artists such as Bon Iver and St.vincent. This is reflected in the diversity of his debut E.P ‘Black Flag’, released on October 2015, which was produced by Richard Fomby (Wild Beats, Ghostpoet) and Orel Tamuz.

The EP opens with “Back To The Ship”,  a track that starts with a luscious, and simplistic picked guitar which evolves into a euphoric anthem. The song encompasses intelligent arrangements of ambient acoustic percussion and haunting harmonies providing a magical journey for the listener. The EP picks up with the track “Diamonds” which offers a rhythmic push and a darker and dramatic message. This track quenches your thirst to hear some harsher, grittier tones before arriving at the track “Black Flag” which begins with a soft acoustic guitar progression similar to Nick Drake. Lyrically, this track delivers powerful imagery which is supported by subtle, ambient soundscapes, capturing a simple and strong arrangement that keeps the listener engaged. Concluding the EP is the song “Adjusted Virgin”. This track sways towards an electronic atmosphere with experimental tones and colorful sonics throughout. You can hear the production skill from Richard Fomby clearly here. Fomby’s dark, electro arrangements compliment and collaborate with URI’s captivating vocal creating something very unique. The EP demonstrates a real talent for song craft and showcases a real consistency; it is a piece of timeless art.

Uri has played a number of London venues such as Bull In A China Shop, The Monarch and Fu Manchu. His performance is truly mesmerising and refreshing . This summer he plans to make new music and play a number of different shows across the UK, you can find him on Facebook or Soundcloud to find out where he is heading next.

U.R.I : A Thousand Ringing Bells (live) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1aek2l9vfA&app=desktop

Another musical talent smashing it out on the London gigging scene is Joe Corbin. We found Joe at an intimate acoustic night at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London and have followed him since. His stage presence is truly captivating; he grabs your attention with his advanced blues guitar style and with a vocal that is full of soul. Corbin’s music bleeds out influences from Ray Lamontagne, Jeff Buckley and Bill Withers recreating a mammoth sound that embodies rich tones.

Joe’s lyrical style is insightful and wise. His song “Brother part 1” demonstrates his slick blues guitar style and delivers a complex story, capturing thoughts of a character that is angry, frustrated or lost, then he sketches out another individual or perspective that wants to share a new outlook to help the person that is struggling. It is emotional disputes and situations like this that echo throughout Joe’s work. He also steps into more biographical spheres with tracks like ‘Butchers Blues’, revealing personal reflection and his own beliefs. There is a dark depth to his writing style that offers multiple interoperation for the listener and also stylish repetition within his lyric writing which make his tracks very addictive. This year Joe will continue his musical journey playing shows up and down the country, and our rehearsal rooms will always be open to him if he ever needs a practice in South West London.

Joe Corbin : Brother part 1 (live @ Spiritual Sessions) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irapMFyCFl4

Our last musical discovery is Bristol’s Sam Brockington. He’s a regular in our Bristol practice rooms and is dedicated to sharing his music with the UK. Sam shows off a powerful and dynamic vocal range that combines with a alternative / blues guitar style. His music can be compared to the likes of Matt Corby and Jeff Buckley. His writing can be dark and fragile and then upbeat and hooky, he has no limits.  This year he has been busy forming a band in order to amplify his sound. His track “Follow” has exceeded over 100,000 plays on Spotify over the last few months which has launched him comfortably into 2016. We have no doubt that he is going to become increasingly popular over the coming months, especially with the amount of festivals and shows planned. We are looking forward to hearing more of his music and seeing his fan base grow.

Sam Brockington : Sea Anemone (live @ Red Dog Productions) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCcieA7gjMs

Pirate Studios loves finding new songwriters at our studios in Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham as well as finding fresh talent online and at live shows. Tag, share, tag and post, we want to here what you guys are playing!

Writers Block : Lyric writing

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The clock is ticking – your tapping your pen and foot vigorously, and you begin to frown so that your brain squeezes out the words that will solve everything. It doesn’t work, so you start to think about quitting because, “are words really that important, No one really listens to what is being sung right?”…

Writers block can be painful. Lyric writing can be a tedious and effortless task. Sometimes you have too many syllables and not enough rhyme and other times you spurt out something that is just too cringey!

Whether you’re writing in your rehearsal in Bristol, finishing your final rhyme for upcoming studio time in Cardiff or planning a Birmingham practice, Pirate Studios is here to encourage all of those songwriters, lyric writers and creative individuals who are thinking about lyric writing.

We have 5 tips that can help cure the worst case of writers block and regain clarity within the writing process:

1. Cut and Stick it will do the trick

If you want to stop writing about your heartaches and regrets, and instead want to throw together some post-modern and abstract imagery then the Dadaist cutting and sticking method is the one for you.

This approach has aided artists such as Thom Yorke, Chris Martin and David Bowie in writing some of their best works. If you are used to writing about typical topics e.g. Love, loss and rejection, the Dadaist approach is product of randomness which creates depth, excitement and it can change how music is interpreted.

To attempt this method, you will need to grab a pile of random books, a pair of scissors and an envelope. For the best outcome pick a diverse selection of novels, fiction and non- fiction books and dig out last week’s newspaper – the more diverse the better. If you are struggling to find such things then go to a second hand store, book shop and search intensely around the house.

When you have collected an odd array of books – cut out a selection of different words shake them around in an envelope, spill them out on the kitchen table or your bedroom floor and begin to craft autonomous worlds and characters.

This method can feel strange at first but it will inspire you and lead your writing style down all sorts of bizarre and descriptive routes. We are intelligent beings we want to share our heartaches, knowledge and experiences, but sometimes you can take personal memories and stories and mix them up with abstract approaches like this to enhance and re-create their realities.

2. Know your word types

The Dadaist method is useful; but over time start identifying your randomness so you use a healthy balance of Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs and adverbs, and of course conjunctions and articles (and, the, an). Be aware and familiar with the types of words that you are using and eventually it will be a natural default to use a broader palette.

To some this may sound too basic and to others really confusing, it may even take you back to your school years, but it can be helpful to those who slip into using the similar descriptions and topics.

3. Do some homework

Do some solid research. It’s not about copying exactly what others have done, but instead acknowledging their success and skill. Pick 4 different genres and artists, print off lyric sheets and study different rhyming schemes.


4. Listen to the world around you

If your sitting on a bus, walking through the street or in general transit, tune into the loud talkers, pick a word that you hear and type it in your phone.

It might not always be the most successful method, but sometimes you can here a word that can make your brain go crazy. Targeting different social environments means you will be exposed to different people, which could lead to creating a unique tale.

Note – If you are not the subtle type or don’t want to come across invasive, try different channels on the TV. Pick a documentary on Ancient Egypt, then a soap opera and mix them up.

5. Learn from the best

Research some of your favourite artists and see how they have done it – focus on a individual track and see how they have delivered certain words, analyse and interpret the message and see if you can create something that has a similar flow and rhyme.

These are just a few steps to cure the classic songwriters syndrome. There are lots of other ways to stimulate the brain like visiting a new place or country, collaborating with a poet or lyricist like Elton John and Bernie Taupin and also using apps such as word pallet and Oblique that are free to download from the Itunes App store!

The main thing is don’t give up. Pirate Studios believe that practice always makes perfect. Our practice rooms love to be filled with creativity, innovation and passion, so give these 5 tips a go you never know what could happen! – no rhyme intended…

Cardiff you’ve got it going on!

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Cardiff you’ve got it going on!

We’ve just opened a brand new Cardiff rehearsal studio! So here are a few words expressing our love for the Welsh city and its Musicians.

Cardiff is a city that brings a patriotic fizz, from rugby fanatics and extreme party goers to the heart of the city which comprises of the millennium stadium, surrounded by enough shops and bars to make your wallet appear gaunt.

Cardiff for years has been known as the place where the rugby happens, but what really makes the city the capital?

Your Nan might say that it’s the sweet deals of the old market stalls that offer strawberry bonbons and hot steamy Welsh cakes, whereas the younger folk will probably excite about the dance floors of Revolution and Walkabout on a Saturday night. “I don’t remember buying cheesy chips… or buying 7 rounds!”…

We believe the Welsh capital can be defined further by its artistic glory and the amount of musical talent that it has to offer.

Today the UK music industry is considered to predominantly thrive in London, with the live music scene spilling and spreading across cities such as Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool and so on…

However, the question that comes to mind – is musical success and progression simply determined by your environment?

We believe that your environment can influence how your music is heard and crafted, and it is this belief that has led us to create efficient rehearsal rooms across the country, providing fully equipped rooms that can bring clarity when casting creative spells.

Today you can release music from your bedroom with a cup of tea in your left hand and multiple online distribution companies in the other; or you can ignore the digital route, and instead harvest and develop your work until one day your firm arty butt cheeks are sat on top of a musical goldmine ready to explode into the earth’s atmosphere – just like Prince.

It is your choice what musical path you take. Whether you want to be a bedroom genius, a captivating live performer or maybe a bit of both! It’s important to remember that music is about expression, passion and escapism.  It is these fundamentals that help us hear the distant cry and crave for practice studios across multiple cities. We want to facilitate the Frank Zappa’s and the Simon and Garfunkel’s – so we’ve decided to build another musical home in Cardiff!

Cardiff has a burgeoning live music underbelly that shows off a plentiful pool of emerging musicians. We have recently discovered so many wonderful artists who manifest within the Welsh realm and want to share their work with you.

Clwb Ifor Bach and The Full Moon Bar located opposite each other on Womanby Street reek of an incredible musical stench that you want to smell over and over again. It is in these two venues’ that introduced us to HMS Morris and PARCS.

HMS Morris are a trio that can be credited for creating an unusual fusion of electronic pop and psychedelic welsh rock. The group showcases fat synth lines and adventurous vocal melodies that appear in both English and Welsh. The bands on stage chemistry and energy is truly captivating; watching them live is like walking through an old second hand shop and finding a rare, unwonted, colourful item that transcends and rebels it’s time and placement, you simply remain glued to the same spot, fascinated and captivated by its existence.

The band recently played The Great Escape festival in Brighton and have lots of exciting shows coming up this year, so you need to catch them! A track to listen to is “Shipping Forecast” – it embraces trippy, floating synth textures and gritty guitar tones.

At the other end of the spectrum is PARCS, a recently established group who explain they make “atmospheric/hip hop/beat things”. Their sound can be described as “laid back” and offers complex electronic hip-hop beat patterns that work with luscious vocals.

Their sound shows clear similarities to The XX, Little Dragon and MØ and their potential as a group is massive. Its early days but they are sure about their direction and have cultivated a solid sound. PARCS showcase advanced skills with live production and songs that are truly mesmerizing and articulate within their arrangements.

These are just two Welsh acts that demonstrate great musicianship. The Cardiff scene is so diverse and offers indie rock bands like Palomina Party and WETPAINTTT, as well as hardcore metal bands like Shaped by Fate, alternative rock bands such as Mumbleman and folk pop bands like Vince James!

Some may say the live scene isn’t what it used to be, however we believe it’s growing stronger. The lack of musical venues does not reflect the number of talented artists there are and despite the amount of venues in Cardiff, the ones that are around have a lot to offer.

Buffalo bar is spinning vinyl every day of the week.10 Feet Tall introduce singer-songwriters with a regular Monday Club, and Gwdihw carries a fat mixed bag of exciting promoters; the Cardiff scene is alive producing some quality music.

We love what we are finding in this city, so Cardiff musicians please keep doing what you do because we can’t wait to discover more great music!