Four and a half years…

Four and a half years. Seven countries. On land, on the sea, in the air, underground and under the sea. AND NOW IT’S FINISHED!!!

Seven countries: England, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Scotland and Norway. I managed to add Scotland when I was on a songwriting weekend in North Cumbria… I drove over the border for the sole purpose of adding a few stitches! Whilst travelling to concerts, as soon as there was a traffic jam, out came the stitching. Waiting for a soundcheck – time for some stitching. On an aeroplane? Just make sure I put my scissors in the hold luggage so I could cut the threads once we reached our destination!

Repelen, Germany. March 2017

On the plane to Norway, June 2017

For those of you who saw this on facebook, here are a few more pics of the finished cross stitch.

I started sewing in public as a way of dealing with my near-constant anxiety. It has another fantastic benefit though – at least from the viewpoint of a woman with autism. You see, I have a ready-made topic of conversation whenever anyone speaks to me! Maybe this sounds strange to people for whom chatting comes naturally, but having something to talk about has done wonders for my anxiety levels in public!

And here’s the final picture: (Yes, I’m rather proud of it..!)

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Carys’s Musical Review Of 2018

alt="Carys and David Wright onstage in 2018"/>

Carys’s Musical Review Of 2018 Which Nonetheless Doesn’t Include Every Live Performance, Rehearsal Or Even Every Concert I Attended Because That Would Be Silly

January

The musical year began on 6th January playing in The Netherlands and having colds! In the middle of the month my album crowdfunder closed with well over 100% funding which meant suddenly everything was very real indeed! The rest of the month included 8 recording sessions. A really organised person would tell you which tracks were recorded on which day. Sadly, I am not that organised person.

February

With less than ten weeks before the album launch, I spent 10 days at David’s studio this month…again, I have no records of what was recorded on which date!  At the end of the months there was (for England at least) an impressive quantity of snow, which did not stop me from getting to the studio though my car almost got stuck at the end of the road!

March

Recording vocals, March 2018

According to my diary I was at the studio 12 times this month, including one period of 9 days/nights of which 7 of them were in the studio and I was also working full time! During that week Mike (bass), Tim (guitar) Sophie (whistles and vocals), Sue, Mim and Rosemary (vocals) all recorded their parts for my album. I remember the evening when Sophie was in the studio as the night I fell asleep on the floor. She and David recorded everything and woke me up to listen when it was finished!

Also, to prove my magnificent lack of organisational skills, during the last week of March I finished writing (and we began recording) 13… yes, that’s 13 as in “A Different Kind Of Normal”!

April

April is a blur. The first ten days were spent finishing off the album mixing and mastering; a weekend of Code Indigo rehearsals…and now the truth can be told. We didn’t even think about the album artwork until the beginning of April. The majority of it was done in a 24 hour period without much sleep and the entire album mastering was finished at 6pm on a Monday evening before I leapt in the car and drove to Felixstowe, arriving 8 minutes before I was due to play live on Roger Pettit’s radio show! Roger, if you wondered why I was twitching a bit in the studio that evening, that’ll be the reason!

Mum and Mike’s wedding

The 20th was Mike’s 70th birthday and the day after he officially became my stepdad by marrying my mother. Despite everything else going on I somehow found the time to write a song for the occasion; called “Hot Tub Honeymoon” (don’t ask!)

Then on the 27th,  THIS happened!

May

Bill Pipe’s xxth birthday festival (which was indoors) and Spring Wood day (which was, as the name would suggest, completely acoustic and in a wood) started the month. At the end of the month we started rehearsing as Code Indigo for E-Scape.  Aside from that…I sold quite a lot of CDs, which was A Good Thing!

June

Code Indigo played its final live performance on the 2nd at E-Scape. It was a brilliant day but also quite emotional (as anyone who heard me introducing the band at the end of the concert will attest to!)  A week later I made my earliest ever radio appearance to date, starting at 7am on Ipswich Community Radio.

I spent the rest of the month delightedly listing every radio play I could, including the BBC and somehow entering One World Radio’s charts at number 68! For those who are as obsessed with such things as me, Welcome Home was the early leader in terms of airplay; but Beating the Streetlights Home has just about caught up now. Whether this means that tracks with the word “home” in are more likely to get played on the radio I couldn’t tell you…

July

The New Forest Folk Festival was July’s undoubted highlight! No , I wasn’t playing, but it was the best festival I went to in 2018! Acts I particularly enjoyed included Burgess, Nicol and Kemp (yes, the Rick Kemp who played bass on “Apocalypse Dreams”) Julie Felix, TradARR, Little Johnny England, Steeleye Span, Reg Meuross, Gerry Colvin, Winter Wilson… and that’s about a quarter of the line up. I bought my ticket for next year before leaving! It was also the hottest weekend of the year and I was very glad Little Orange Dog had stayed home!

At Stowmarket Carnival

The following weekend I was the closing act for Stowmarket Carnival which was also the hottest weekend of the year.

Little Orange Dog at Wolfshead Camp

A week later, this time with dog in tow I was at the Wolfshead Camp during the hottest weekend of the year where I ran my first ever songwriting workshop…for people who claimed they couldn’t sing, much less write a song. And guess what – EVERYONE had written lyrics by the end of the session! To celebrate, we had a campfire and we all sang Baby Shark…

To round out the month was BROMFest, run by the Columbines. It wasn’t hot.

August

A relatively quiet month performance-wise, during which I attended Cropredy Festival; my stepdaughter’s wedding and saw the fantastic Wavestar at Awakenings, though not necessarily in that order!

September

Photo by Simon Falconer

Alyfest on the 8th and the Half Moon Folk Day on the 9th, comprised a weekend which could have been subtitled “Two festivals and an ambulance” after my stepdad collapsed onstage! Thankfully he was fine, and more importantly so was his bass guitar, though Peter Kerr (whose band he was playing with) ended up with a bruised leg from Mike’s fall! Apparently Celandine’s performance was perfectly acceptable, though unsurprisingly I don’t remember much about it!

October

– Went to see Lindisfarne at the Apex. They were brilliant! Elsewhere, rehearsals began for the November Awakenings concert.

November

Awakenings by Dave Massey

David Wright and guests – or was it friends playing at the Awakenings on Saturday 17th. I’d woken up with a nasty sore throat and spent the day in a state of high anxiety that I wasn’t going to be able to hit that top D…and then when the time came it was almost – ALMOST – easy! Code Indigo fans got a nice surprise at the end of the evening when Robert Fox joined us onstage for “Code 14”.

December

On the 1st I played at Pooka’s Pageant where “Wolf Song”, created at the Wolfshead Camp back in July, had its inaugural performance. A week later was the IPC festive pantomime, which this year was titled “Law and Disorder – Supernatural Victims Unit”.

As far as the day job goes, on the 14th I accompanied 80 eleven year olds to the Lille Christmas Market. We left the school at 3am and arrived back sometime after 9 in the evening. It was a successful trip and we even brought home the same 80 children as we took with us!

I even made a cake!

Festive sessions are always fun and this year The Dove was no exception; though I surpassed even my own efforts a few days later when I began the evening singing “We Need a Little Christmas” (from the musical Mame) at The Half Moon and finished at Needham Open Mic when Rosemary joined me onstage to sing “At the Turn of the Year” and then, after requests for encores had exhausted my supply of prepared festive ditties, The Boar’s Head Carol…completely unrehearsed!

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Cat shaming!

Because sometimes, a photo really is worth a thousand words. Meet Freycat…

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Ipswich Community Radio Interview Transcript

This is a transcript of my appearance on Ipswich Community Radio’s Breakfast show with Izzy Lane from Friday 8th June this year at 7:30am. If you would like to listen to the whole show you can find it here

“Have you got a favourite track on your CD?”

“Um…That’s a funny question isn’t it! I’d probably pick 13 actually, unless you played it earlier in which case, don’t play it again!

“No, I played Welcome Home, Welcome Home’s my favourite”

“Oh, yes I’ve had several people play that!”

*pause* “So we’ll go with…”

“13 is track 8”

“Apocalypse Dreams..? Oh 13…the song!”

“No, you don’t want Apocalypse Dreams, that’s 10 minutes long and that forays into Prog rock, You don’t want that at this time in the morning!”

“Fancy having a track called thirteen AND a track number 13”

“Absolutely!”

“Okay, this is 13”

*13 is played*

“It nearly caught me out! We are joined this morning by local singer-songwriter Carys, good morning”

“Hello!”

“And we’ve just been listening to 13 off her new album, A Different Kind Of Normal. Can you start by telling us a bit about what inspired you to produce this album, as I’m not allowed to ask you about…what was it?”

“Brexit, North Korea and whether all unicorns should be tax-free.”

“No. Only invisible pink unicorns”

“Obviously it was the tax-free unicorns that inspired me to record the album. Yeah… Did you actually warn the listeners that you weren’t likely to get anything even relatively sane out of me? I might get around to talking about the album eventually…”

“No, I didn’t warn anybody about anything”

“Okay, fair enough…What inspired me? I think anybody who writes songs and does so over a number of years, the natural next stage is ‘I want to record these songs’.

I’ve wanted to do a solo album for about a decade, though I dread to think what state it would have been produced if I’d done it then. Its safe to say most of the songs I was writing 10 years ago don’t make it anywhere near the album. The exception is the first track Siren Call which was the first song I ever wrote which would have been in 2005. But then the next oldest one on there, not counting the two cover versions, Sir Dominick’s Bargain, I think I wrote in 2012. So there’s a massive gap where nothing actually ends up on there. Though that said, some of them have been released on bandcamp, so they’re already out there in a digital format.”

“You do quite a lot of work with other groups don’t you? Is that more singing other peoples’ material?”

“It’s some and some. Sophie and I do a pagan duo called Freyja’s Fire. Some of that is covers of chants, Inkubus Sukkubus and other bands I can’t remember the name of at the moment…”

“Its way too early in the morning to remember anything”

“.It is – and some traditional things, some songs I’ve written and some we’ve co-written. So there’s quite a big mix in there, it’s anything that’s got a pagan flavour that we like. Oh, Show of Hands we do a couple of theirs. There’s one called The Well that Soph does.”

“I particularly like their ‘Arrogance, Ignorance, Greed”

“Yes, great track. I must be good and not start singing it loudly. Not that one when I’m not warmed up! And then, I do vocals in a Nightwish tribute. For anyone not familiar with Nightwish, they’re Finnish symphonic metal. I do operatic vocals so that’s jolly good fun. We’re actually on hiatus at the moment because we’re minus a keyboard player. So if anyone listening – preferably in the Essex/Dagenham type area or able to get there – fancies being keyboard player in a Nightwish tribute do please get in touch and the guys will love you forever.”

“So you’re doing quite a bit aren’t you?”

“Yes, I haven’t even mentioned the work I do with David Wright who’s my producer because that’s actually the main thing. David has a band called Code Indigo which actually now is no more, because we played our final concert at E-Scape festival in Halesworth last Saturday. The band itself has actually been going since 1994. David and another musician called Robert Fox started the band. Unfortunately a combination of Robert’s ill health and retirement means he isn’t going to be doing any more live concerts, so Saturday was his last live concert and that was a bit emotional, but it was a really good night. Loads of photos on facebook, and quite a lot of video was taken, so I’m not going to say anything about a potential DVD release because I’m not allowed to. That would be naughty.”

“We won’t mention that!…so is that a case of one door closing and your solo career’s the next door opening?”

“Well I’m still very much working with David and we do stuff together as a duo as well. He’s an electronic music composer and we did an album together last year called Prophecy, which we toured. We took that to Germany and Holland and Norway…and Upnorthshire which obviously you need a special passport for”

“Yes, definitely! Even worse than Norfolk!”

“Yes, they check you for the extra finger obviously…am I allowed to say that?”

“I don’t know, I think you just did”

“I always feel its better to say something and then apologise rather than ask permission.”

“Yes, I do union work and we work on the same theory – do it first and then apologise.”

“Absolutely! Did I say that? I thought I only though it…”

“So this is your first solo album. Where can we get it? That’s an important question!”

“You can stop me in the street and purchase a copy, because I will always have a couple in my handbag. You can – and this is where I always mess up the website so I may have just dive my head into the bag and check. My website’s carysmusic.com and… this is where I always mess up the AD music site. I think its admusic shop. It used to be AD music online which doesn’t work anymore. I’m sure its admusicshop.com. It should be on there somewhere. There will now be a short bit of rustling while I dive into my handbag”

“Well the link’s off carysmusic.com isn’t it. If you go there you’ll get to it won’t you?”

“Yes! www.admusicshop.com”

“Where did you find that?”

“On a completely different CD that I happened to have in my handbag.”

“I have just spotted it, but its in very small print”

“Oh, I just grabbed out a compilation CD from last year that has it on in larger letters”

“So there’s a whole range of music on there we can go and get?”

“Oh, absolutely! Well, AD music is David’s record label. My CD is, the catalogue number is AD197, so that’s how many albums have come before. A lot of it is electronic. You will absolutely find something you will enjoy. If you’re into electronic type space music then definitely check out David’s music. There’s a fantastic female composer, Bekki Williams. Not very prolific unfortunately, she’s not done many albums, but really really great. If you enjoy folk type stuff I’d recommend Steve Orchard. There’s all the Code Indigo albums on there as well”

“Is there stuff by Celandine as well?”

“Celandine’s album is on the AD site as well”

“Going forward will you be focussing on the solo work or carrying on with the bands or mixing and matching..?”

“Yes! The priority is the work and composing I do with David Wright and my own solo work, which aren’t actually mutually exclusive because – obviously I’m doing vocals in both ways. The only difference is, when I do vocals with David it tends to be instrumental vocals so its using my voice as an instrument rather than actually singing lyrics. Lyrics are most likely to be spoken over the music. So its very different things and I struggle to only do one thing, I then get very excited by something else so I have this dreadful tendency to spread myself too thinly.”

“Tell me about it! You’re talking to the person who’s knackered because I’ve been out every night this week and only done half a set of interview notes”

“I was a good girl, I stayed in last night”

“I had some friends come round, they offered me free dinner!”

“You can’t say no to a free dinner, can you?”

“I would like to say good morning to my brother. He wants to know if its just rainbow unicorns that are going to be tax free…”

“Oh no. No, I think ALL unicorns should be tax free. Especially Deathstar. Deathstar is my invisible unicorn.”

“I think it should only be invisible pink unicorns…I can’t remember why they were pink…that’s another story…”

“Oh, I know, but unfortunately I’m World Leader, so what I say goes. And if I want to make all unicorns tax free I shall.”

“Um…you’re going to have that as…your policy…to…”

“AAAnd I’ve cracked up the interviewer! I’d love to say this is the first time this has happened..!”

“You mention on your website that you’ve got Aspergers syndrome. Do you want to say a bit more about that?”

“Fabulous! An open-ended question, I really deal well with those! Um…yeah…um… I’ve always…I’ve always been aware that I didn’t seem to, I don’t know, react to things like other people. I remember these dreadful circular conversations in my childhood when I would say something completely blindingly obvious and simple to my parents, and they wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about, and I would tie myself in knots and end up howling and crying because I couldn’t get through to them. I actually remember wailing at them ‘But it’s so easy, why don’t you understand?’ And they… didn’t understand that perhaps I had originally been concerned that a pencil was pink instead of blue and I was trying to get through to them that there was the wrong coloured pencil on the table, and they actually thought I was talking about where we were going on holiday.

And that probably sounds completely bizarre, and that’s because that’s the only way I can describe something like that.

I live by rules, and they’re not the sort of rules anyone else would need to think of. One very impressive example was with my ex husband. He threw out a feather duster and I was absolutely horrified and devastated and I had a meltdown over it. And this was before we knew I had Aspergers. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued. Eventually I got him to understand that because he’d thrown out a feather duster which was a joint-owned thing, I thought it was equally likely that he might come home and throw out our bed without asking. So we had to create a rule that he wasn’t allowed to throw out anything that cost more that £10 without asking me first.

So it’s things like that that apparently most of you would take for granted and the idea that someone would throw out a bed without asking would be ridiculous, but it didn’t even occur to me that… anyone wouldn’t do that. As it said in the song, ‘Absolutely anything can happen at practically any point in time.’ It can. It could. It could, I have already while we’ve been sitting here checked out all the possible escape routes in this building in case a nutter should come in through the door holding a machine gun.”

“Unfortunately there’s only the one. Well actually there’s a second one through the back door…”

“What’s really disappointing as well is that in the loo that trapdoor doesn’t go anywhere. There’s a loose floorboard and if you pick it up there’s only concrete underneath. There isn’t even a little cubby hole, and I was very disappointed when I checked under there. But I was excited that you’ve got orange swarfega soap in there.”

“I have no idea why we’ve got swarfega soap – like anybody’d get would get greasy in here”

“But nobody has swarfega soap anymore! That’s why it’s so exciting… I have a feeling I may have wandered off at a slight tangent here.”

“Only a slight one!”

“So, it was probably about a decade ago that I put a probable name to what I thought I had. And I mentioned it to a couple of friends and my boss in my day job, all of whom said “Well of course you have, tell us something we don’t know!”

“Yeah, I think some of these things are very obvious to other people. I do some work with a chap and I said to him one day ‘do you happen to have dyslexia?’ and he said ‘oh, no, no’ and then he’s come back more recently and said ‘I think I might have dyslexia’. Yeah, I know you have!”

“Yeah, about two and a half years ago my mental health crashed and – lets just say the doctors finally upgraded my anxiety to severe, which is kind of what it had been for about the preceding four years. But I’d been told ‘oh, its only mild, you’re fine’. So I’d thought that everybody spent an hour and a half trying to calm themselves down enough to go to sleep every night and had three or four panic attacks a day. I thought that was normal. I’d got into that state. But from that I ended up seeing a really great counsellor…therapist. And I said to him ‘I think I’ve got Aspergers syndrome’ And he said “oh right, okay’. And then a couple of weeks later he said ‘I’ve written you a referral letter!’”

“Oh right?”

“And I’m like ‘Okay, so I’m not imagining it!’ And I did all the questionnaires and my mother filled in a load as well about when I was small, and there’s a 2 hour psych review thingy, and then finally in May last year it was official – I am a Different Kind Of Normal!”

“Oh wow, it’s taken some time then”

“What the really strange thing is, if you get a diagnosis, I’m not sure if it happens so much with small children, but certainly teenagers and adults, you regress. Because after you get the diagnosis, it’s a very weird feeling of oh my god, I…I’m allowed to behave like this, I can behave like this, I don’t have to mask. I went through several months of real…bizarre behaviours I haven’t displayed since I was 11 or 12. I’m 41 now…and probably drove some friends up the wall. I’m trying not to rock at the moment because then my voice would do this (moves forward and back from microphone) and that would be a really bad thing wouldn’t it? Yeah, okay, so I won’t do that…”

“You don’t have to sit on your hands either”

“I’m not sitting on my hands, I’m grabbing my knees really really tightly so I don’t fiddle”

“I fiddle with all sorts of things!”

“What you do in your own time is entirely your own concern!”

“It must be quite difficult to get a diagnosis so late. Because its almost like you’ve kind of got used to it and people accept you for who you are, because I think with adults it’s very different isn’t it, we do accept people…”

“We learn to mask...pause...I don’t know, you kind of accept that your work colleague will just stop and stare into space for a few minutes every now and then or sometimes just gets angry and screams for no apparent reason. But…pause…I’ve apparently now come to the end of my personality, please ask another question.”

*laughs* “Well its a problem with having badly prepared notes, we’re back onto the tax-free status of unicorns which was actually a facebook joke that only makes any sense if you have fb”

“If you’re on my facebook friends it makes loads of sense!”

“And I refuse to talk about Brexit…”

“On the grounds that we might incriminate ourselves”

“I’ll only rant! So, is there going to be another album?”

“In the fullness of time, absolutely. But given that this one’s only five weeks old, then I haven’t even got past…actually the next one I’m going to be on in any format is David Wright’s forthcoming album, I think its a double, its called Stranger Days which is out sometime the end of July I believe. I should be finalising the vocals on that sometime in the next week or two. So that’s the next thing. I’ve got a download single release I’m going to be doing later in the year of a song I wrote back in March for a pirate songwriting competition”

“A pirate song? Do you have to say ‘ooh aargh’?”

“Oh, absolutely. Well, friends of mine, Sophie Sue and Mim, they are vocalists in a pirate band called CMRD, and there was a pirate day…”

“I didn’t even know you could have pirate bands! This is an education!”

Well Roy Mette who started the band, he’s written two albums worth of songs about pirates. One mostly the Caribbean pirates and one mostly the ones who worked around the Thames and the like. They’re very good songs, get hold of the albums if you can. So there were several bands having a full-on pirate festival day. And there was a songwriting competition. So I duly wrote a song, but then I was in the studio working on my album and I couldn’t go along so the song wasn’t used. I thought, I’m not going to not perform it, and I took it out, and its Max the Pirate Cat. It’s a jolly and very silly little ditty – it gets very sad in the middle, but it’s alright children, it has a happy ending…”

“I don’t want cat ditties that have unhappy endings…”

“No, no, Max is a very happy cat at the end of it. Without giving too much away, Max becomes Manx after a terrible battle at sea, over about thirteen verses. The next thing will be I need to record that and and release it as a download. So that’ll be happening at some point. I’ve got a musical half-written.

“A musical?”

“Yes. It’s called NightCity, its based on urban legends… but not just urban legends, also Victorian myths and some thing I’ve completely invented myself. Just say, you do NOT want to meet the NightWatchman down a dark alley! And… at some point I’ve got a vague idea in my mind of dragging Soph into the studio – I don’t think she knows about this yet – and recording all our Freyja’s Fire stuff and releasing those as a download. But both of those, we’re talking in the next year or two. And David Wright and I might well do another album in the next year or two as well. There’s no set schedule for any of those though.”

“We’ll just have to follow you on the website or facebook”

“Yes, carysmusic.com. I’ve got a blog on there, I believe the blog is called ‘Things’ and my biog is called ‘Stuff’ or it could possibly be the other way around…”

“I would look it up on my tablet and check, except my tablet won’t talk to the internet”

“That’s okay, don’t worry… the blog is kind of about performance and things. I’m still hopeless at self-promotion. I still forget to tell anybody when I’ve got a gig until two days before”

“Well that was one of my questions, I did remember to write that down. Where are your upcoming live performances? Because Celandine can be found at the Half Moon in…Walton”

“Walton near Felixstowe, fourth Thursday of the month. It’s a really great folk session, it’s very much a ‘come along and join in no matter what you play, what your level of ability’, just come along, have some fun and anybody can do a solo if they’d like to do a solo but bear in mind we’re very, very ‘joiny-inny’ and if you sing a song that anyone knows we’ll all be joining in by the end of the first line!”

“I’ll be alright. I don’t know many folk songs and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket”

“Depends what sort of bucket. I find orange buckets are best for tune carrying”

“No, I prefer metal ones”

“Fair enough…they do resonate better”

“They have ting-y noise”

“I have actually got an orange metal bucket at home”

“That’s slightly scary…”

“It is, because I had forgotten that…well, its a plant pot but it looks like a bucket”

“Oh yes, I had one of those they’re quite good fun aren’t they? They’re not big buckets are they…’she says, they’re about this big, holding up her hands’…”

“Oh, no, mine’s about this big…For the benefit of several listeners, I’m holding my hands about eight inches apart”

“Whereas I’m only holding mine about four inches apart. Reminds me a of a phone conversation my Mum had, when she phoned her Mum up and said ‘is this fish off?’ – it gets worse – and her Mum said ‘hold it to the phone and I’ll smell it.”

“If I’d been that Mum I would have gone *sniff, sniff* ‘oh gosh yes, throw that in the bin right away, don’t even give it to the cat!’ Anyway, going back to the original question…”

“Live appearances, yes”

“I’ve got quite a lot of things that are in the process of being finalised at the moment, so we’re actually firming up dates rather than saying ‘here, here, here and here’!”

“But they’ll all be published in due time, on carysmusic.com..?”

“They will be published either on my website or on my facebook page or on my facebook profile AT LEAST forty eight hours before the event. When I remember.”

“That’s facebook.com/caryssongs/”

“Facebook really confused me this morning. One friend had shared a video clip of the iconic rain scene from “Singin in the Rain” and the very next comment down was a old school friend of mine saying ‘That was the scariest movie I’ve ever watched!’ And naturally my brain at quarter past six in the morning put two and two together”

“So, you’ve got the new album out. We can go on the website and get it or stop you in the street and get it”

“Or you can ask me about it on facebook”

“Was there anything else you wanted to add?”

“Fabulous, another open-ended question! Ideal!”

“Its supposed to be good interview technique, because if you ask an open-ended question there’s always a risk that the person you’re interviewing will say yes or no. And my mum’s saying it wasn’t fish, it was a chicken. And she phoned her mother-in-law, not her mother, and was told to wash it in vinegar. I got most of the story right!”

*silly voice* “Ladies and gentleman, today in Cookery Tips from the wise and sensible. If you have an off chicken, be sure to douse it well in vinegar BEFORE giving yourself food poisoning.”

“I guess it depends on how off it is…let’s not even go there”

*continuing* “If its very, very off be sure to use strong vinegar, if its only a little bit off you can get away with Cider vinegar. Other vinegars are available!”

“Hahaha! Now we’ve got very silly”

“Have we? I’m only just getting going!”

“Right!”

“Right. Sorry…I suppose I should say sensible things about my album! Okay, please buy the album because its… Let me think… There are two completely unaccompanied vocal tracks with just wind in the background. I’d like to point out that’s the sort of wind you get whirling around in the trees or at the beach. Not the sort of baked bean-y wind you might be imagining. Am I allowed to say that?”

“Yes.”

“Yes, because that would be inappropriate wouldn’t it…”

“It is a very good album”

“Thanks. There are two tracks featuring Rosemary, who is the other half of Celandine. The final track as I mentioned earlier is a ten minute foray into prog, which includes on bass Rick Kemp formerly of Steeleye Span. To which people say “How did you get Rick to play on it?’ And I say ‘I rang him up and asked.’”

“Yes, its always surprising what you can do by ringing people up and asking”

“I’ve done several songwriting courses with Rick at Maddy Prior’s place, Stones Barn which is in Cumbria. Three or four of the tracks on there were written on his songwriting weekends and a couple more of them were refined. So there was one that was particularly inspired partly there, which was Apocalypse Dreams, part of that. So I said to him “Would you play bass on it” and he said “well I’ve retired you know.” and I said “Okay, that’s fine don’t worry .” And I very sneakily sent a copy of the half finished track and the lyrics and chords and said “thought you’d like to have a look at this.” and he said “I’ve retired you know” “Oh yes, I know, I just thought you’d like to hear it”

Then a couple of days later I got a message “I’ve found a studio to record in, will you send me the backing?” Yeah, I think I can manage that! So, very, very grateful to Rick for playing on it. And the other bass player is my stepdad Mike!”

“Brilliant. Well I think its a really excellent album, I enjoyed playing it”

“I’m rather pleased with how it turned out. Big thank you to David for producing it, playing on it and dealing with my meltdowns in the studio. We actually had to create a coloured card system for when I can’t express myself…”

“Well thank you very much for coming into the studio ridiculously early!”

“I shall now run off to the day job and hopefully get there on time!”

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A Different Kind Of Normal is HERE!

It’s here – and I suddenly have writer’s block and can’t figure out how to start this post. However, given that this has never stopped me before, I shall randomly start writing and see what happens. Firstly, here is a VERY IMPORTANT LINK which you should definitely click!

I should probably talk about Friday evening. My only real mistake was forgetting to organise anyone to take photos! So I’m very grateful to friends and fans with phone cameras, otherwise this would be a photo-less post! (Is photo-less a word?) Anyway, this montage is by my sister-in-law Leanne.

Carys A Different Kind Of Normal album launch

I’ve just realised a title would probably be a good idea.

A Different Kind Of Normal – Album Launch, First Half!

The evening started with Keith Sadler…actually no, lets go back a bit further than that. It started when I first saw the CDs at a little before 5 in the afternoon! This left just enough time to unwrap some for my backers who I knew would be at the launch, listen through one to make sure there weren’t any exciting little errors like track 7 being repeated 6 times, and put the cakes in the car. Actually, the cakes aren’t strictly relevant, now I come to think of it. Also, wouldn’t it be funny to have an album where track 7 really did repeat 6 times? Imagine everyone’s confusion!

Anyway. I watched most of Keith’s set from the “green balcony” which isn’t really a thing but it should be. (The John Peel Centre doesn’t yet have a Green Room, but performers can watch from the balcony which gives a great view not only of the stage but the entire audience). I really enjoyed his songs as always, and I’m really pleased to hear he’s planning another album for this autumn.

Next was…me! I’m not sure what to write about this, so I shall start with the running order for those who are interested in such things:

  • Siren Call
  • Welcome Home
  • Face the Raven
  • Max the Pirate Cat
  • The Sentinel
  • Rewritten
  • 13

This was the acoustic set, and I thoroughly enjoyed it – and I think the audience did too! Rosemary Griffith (the other half of Celandine), joined me onstage for “Rewritten”, but my favourite was undoubtedly “13”. This is actually the title track of the album, though calling it “A Different Kind Of Normal” would have been far too normal, wouldn’t it? I wrote it about what it’s like to be inside my head, despite swearing a couple of years ago I would never write an autobiographical song!

The Break

In which homemade chocolate fudge cake, random plain cake with yellow icing and purple glittery sugar on top, and gluten-free vegan chocolate brownies (all made by me) were consumed; t-shirts and CDs were purchased, and this photo was taken by Robin Sermon, of me with Ian Ralph Huckin.

I should probably also mention the t-shirts, which you can almost see in the photo. Is it daft that I’m more excited to have a t-shirt with my name and album title on it than I am a CD full of music I’ve written? Yes? Oh, okay then…

 

A Different Kind Of Normal – Album Launch, Second Half!

Anyway, Triangle started the second half. I have to confess I missed a fair bit of this due to covering my face with glitter and changing into my dress. The dress also needs a mention, because it’s called…Carys! I found it on the Debenhams website sale while I was trying to find suitable bridesmaid dresses for my mother and stepdad’s wedding, and got very excited that there was a dress named after me. It’s even more exciting because it was designed by Jenny Packham, sister to Chris Packham who also has Aspergers. Well I like the synchronicity of it anyway.

For the second half David Wright joined me onstage (it feels very strange to put it that way around!), we used backing tracks, and the running order looked like this:

  • Apocalypse Dreams
  • The Piper
  • Charm
  • Sir Dominick’s Bargain
  • Fountains of Hope
  • The Promise
  • Beating the Streetlights Home

The high points here were…all of it! For those of you who haven’t heard “Apocalypse Dreams” yet, its a 10 minute prog track and the song I’m most proud of. I was a bit nervous about performing it live (not least because I’d never sung it live before) but…it worked! Then things got interesting. Due to a bizarre double glitch, we had no backing track for “The Piper”, so Triangle (with Sophie on whistle) and I performed it acapella and completely unrehearsed! Nobody got up and left, so I think we got away with it..!

For “Sir Dominick’s Bargain” and “Fountains of Hope” my stepdad Mike joined us onstage. This was actually the first time we’d ever performed together and I had to work hard not to get emotional. It was hard to realise that the evening was almost over, and all too soon it was time for the final song. “Beating the Streetlights Home” is actually a Celandine track, so Rosemary joined me onstage again. This photo was take by John Whittaker – you can just see David Wright behind the synths!

And now…

So, fast forward to Monday. All my backers’ albums and perks (with one exception, Anton!) have been sent out, I’ve been receiving lovely messages all day from people who have got their CDs, cards and scarves, and I’ve already received the best review I shall ever have, via my sister-in-law Leanne, who was playing the CD in the car this morning with her daughter. Here it is:

“Auntie Carys has a very beautiful singing voice Mummy.”

My niece is three and a half years old. ❤

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“A Different Kind Of Normal” Track Listing

After much discussion, many lists and final arrangement tweaks we have finally decided on the track listing for my album! Hopefully some familiar titles in there, and with any luck a few surprises, too. I’ve tried to keep some of the songs secret so even those of you who are most familiar with my music are going to hear something completely new.

So, without further ado, here it is!

  1. Siren Call
  2. Welcome Home
  3. Rewritten
  4. Face the Raven
  5. The Sentinel
  6. Charm
  7. The Piper
  8. 13
  9. Sir Dominick’s Bargain
  10. The Promise
  11. Fountains of Hope
  12. Beating the Streetlights Home
  13. Apocalypse Dreams

I’m planning to perform almost all of these – though not necessarily in this order – at the album launch which, if you haven’t seen my posts about it, is at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket on Friday 27th April. Ticket are still available, priced just £5. For that you get me, acapella trio Triangle and the excellent singer-songwriter Keith Sadler. And there’s a bar – what more could you hope for?!

Now the album is *almost* finished, its time for something different this weekend – we’re in a different studio with Code Indigo in preparation for E-Scape on 2nd June. Photos may follow. If I remember to take my camera, that is…

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The sound of a nose…

…or, Yet Another Album Update!

First, the really exciting bit – the album is actually starting to sound like an album now! We’ve finished nearly half the tracks and the rest are well underway. By this Sunday I’ll have been in the studio seven days out of the preceding nine and my car knows how to get there without any assistance from me. We’ve recorded most of the guest musicians… I’m sitting about three feet from an electric guitarist (see below!) as I write this!

Last weekend was particularly fun thanks to the snow. I’d actually had 3 days off work (schools with a rural catchment are always the worst affected by snow thanks to the buses) and wasn’t completely sure I was going to get to the studio. But aside from a fun few minutes driving uphill on sheet ice, I made it..! We had a productive weekend, only slightly hindered by my communication issues. Sometimes what is totally clear in my head comes out wrong, or I can’t figure out how to say it at all. Which is why, when struggling to explain why I liked a particular rhythm section more than another, I eventually declared

“That part doesn’t sound so much like a nose.”


But you know the really scary part? David understood exactly what I meant!

So, that song sounds more like a nose, which I promise is A Good Thing, and everything else is coming on nicely. I shall have to end here because I spent an hour trying and failing to get wordpress to align the pictures. So here are some random photos of people who will be playing on my album:

Sophie, Mim and Sue: Backing vocals. Mostly in latin.

Rosemary, aka the sensible half of Celandine

Sophie playing whistles

Tim, composer of “The Promise”, playing electric guitar

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Album launch party!

Being an Informative and Entertaining Guide to Getting A Ticket For Carys’s CD Launch Party

The Date: Friday 27th April 2018

The Venue: The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, Church Walk, Stowmarket, IP14 1ET.

The Schedule: 

 

19:30 Doors open

20:00 – 20:30 Keith Sadler

20:30 – 21:00 Carys

21:00 – 21:15 Break

21:15 – 21:45 Triangle

21:45 – 22:30 Carys & Guests

 

The Tickets: Available from the following places

  • from Carys in person. (This only really works if you live in Suffolk.)
  • from the AD music website.
  • from the John Peel Centre, their box office is open from 10am to 2pm. I have no idea why they’re not advertising the event yet.

The Price: Yours for the very reasonable cost of £5 per ticket.

The Other Stuff:

  • The John Peel Centre has a licensed bar. Beer is £3 a pint. Wine and spirits are not £3 a pint. Nor are they served in pints.
  • There will be CDs for sale! Not just mine, but Keith and Triangle will have albums available as well.
  • I got really distracted when I was writing this because we say “An Exciting…”, “An Informative…” but “A Useful…”. I still quite can’t get my head around why this is the case because they’re all vowels. You will notice that I decided not to use the word useful.
  • The above point was not at all useful.
  • I shall stop now.

Hope to see you there!

Categories: Carys solo | 3 Comments

Spam, lovely spam!

*Disclaimer* This post has absolutely nothing to do with music!

You know one of the most exciting things about writing blog posts? When a real, live human being reads one and makes a comment. Especially when its something even more exciting than “I agree” or “I’m really proud of you. Love Mum xx”. (Mum, I’m sorry I never actually set that one to being visible…). I’ve got comments set to be approved by me, so if you reply to something I’ve written it might be a few days before it shows up. However, the alternative is lettering the sp*mbots add their massive lists of unsavoury links. And frankly, I figure that if anyone reading this wanted to find p*rn, the fact that you have fingers and a keyboard is all you need!

But last week, I had a sp*mbot so hilarious I almost – almost – approved it. Rather than the usual linkfest, it had an extract from what might have been a badly-written eleven year old’s homework, which I quote for you here:

“Okay,” Lеe said after which he stopped and thought.

“Ꭲhe perfect thing about God is, hmmmm..???” he puzzled as he had ѕo many things that were nice about God. However he wished to choose the perfect one so he would win the game. “That he knows everything. That’s really cool. That means he can help me with my homework” Larry concluded with a proud expression on his face.

Admittedly, I’ve edited this from the original quite a bit. I removed the entire lines of question marks and ellipses, not to mention the random cyrillic letters. I added punctuation so it actually made sense on the first viewing, rather than the sixth. But, folks, I’m proud to report that artificial intelligence has discovered religion! Not only that, but this is a teenage AI that needs help with its homework!

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Coffee Breaks!

Honestly, is there anyone who wouldn't adore this?

I’m starting this post knowing what I want to say, but having absolutely no idea what order the words are going to come out in. This is probably not good. Anything could happen in the next few paragraphs…

So, last Saturday was my first concert of the year, with David Wright in Best in The Netherlands. I’m never entirely sure if I should capitalise the “the” in “the Netherlands” or not. Anyway, the first half was just us performing, the second half was the “aHonestly, is there anyone who wouldn't adore this? nd guests” part, including Stephan Whitlan, Ron Boots and Frank Dorittke. We’d planned the set lists, we’d rehearsed, and we were all ready to go! I was particularly thrilled because the leads on stage ended up looking like this:

(I had to untape my mic lead because I like to wander all over the stage, but not until I’d taken this photo!)

Except David and I were both struck by variations on the winter virus that’s been doing the rounds. Our symptoms were different, but one thing was the same…neither of us could stop coughing! Which is annoying enough when you’re playing keyboards, but when you’re singing it becomes noticeable fairly quickly!

Or should that be cough-y breaks?

So we did the only thing we could do. We admitted to the audience right at the start that we were coughing. We proudly displayed bottles of water, throat lozenges and cough medicine next to us onstage. At the end of the first track (“Dreaming Desire”, from Beyond the Airwaves volume 2) we both coughed. And coughed. Someone from the audience shouted “its a cough-y break!” And so, what could potentially have been an embarrassing problem became the joke of the evening!

The concert went well, despite us both coughing like we’d had a 50 a day habit since we were twelve. Miraculously, my singing voice was entirely unaffected. For the first time, we performed the full (edited) version of “Prophecy”, including the part I swore I’d never risk singing live – the top D at the end of “Beyond the Veil”, a note I’d never before sung in public. Result!

In the second half, the high point for me (and, I suspect, quite a few other people) was “Chameleon”. It started out quite sensibly and quickly turned into a 5-way jam, with both me (with mic) and Stephan (with keytar) playing extra notes on Ron’s synth at one point!

So despite the coughing, my first concert of the year was a success. I’m just about recovered now, David’s not quite there yet, but we’ll be back in the studio tomorrow, now to concentrate on my solo album for the next few months…

…and in other news, my crowdfunding campaign is now on 102%! There are still 4 more days to go though, so if you haven’t backed me yet and have been wanting to, please do!

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