Wrap on Recording The Goldblacks

Why even do a solo CD?

Well first, these two weeks was a whole lot more than just recording. Last night marked not only my last night on vacation which I used for recording my first solo effort, but it was also my first day back on stage with Cookeilidh after almost the same two weeks.

But recording this now was for a mix of reasons. After ages of collaborative things I wanted to prove (mostly to myself) that I could be creative without someone to lean on. I was inspired by the project Low Roar which was essentially started as Ryan Karazija by himself in his kitchen in Reykjavik with a guitar and a laptop. (He’s since gone full time and has way more production going on).

I also had been working with the keyboard and for some reason got into this Instagram habit of a post per day, primarily a song. Some were covers like “Up Where We Belong” but some weren’t and they gave rise to songs like Reason, which this little teaser clip comes from…

I also had a few songs from the past and just this desire to create things that don’t necessarily fit in a Celtic band. It is fun to lead the charge, but of course it’s more demanding so I knew I wanted to give myself some actual time off to do it. I certainly learned a lot over both this recording process and the time building towards it. I’ve decided to give the whole thing some time so I can work out what to do with the project in post. I am busy with Cookeilidh and that’s still moving forward so how do I incorporate this new thing in? Anyways I will be releasing singles before the now May 1st release, starting with She Lives There and Reason.

The process hasn’t always been easy, which is one of the reasons I’m very proud of it, whatever it does. I’ve found myself listening to it regularly, like when I was in Vancouver filming parts of the She Lives There music video. There are parts I’m really proud of, even if they are less straight single material like Precipice, Missed Connections and parts of Secret Star.

Can’t wait to share more of this with you!

Thanks for checking me out!

🙂

Tom

Week One

It’s the first week for everyone which is partly the reason for the title as it’s also the first week of Goldblacks recording.

And my first time off in about eighteen years, which naturally, I used to work on something.

As I’m writing this, the protest here in Victoria is marching up Fort Street in solidarity with the BC First Nations who are, long story short, being put through the same crap that they did in Standing Rock. Really unfortunate this still needs to be sorted out but great to see such a large crowd of support on a rainy January day.

For those who we should be building bridges with we are quarreling with, pulling Elders (First Nations seniors) out in the snow.

Here’s a link to more about their first week.

For me the first cuts of each song are recorded and now it’s going over, fine tuning, remixing and some rerecording. Just did a live version of Take Me Higher, a song that’s been around for just decades, it being requested many times including at work and on a #4 bus

I also have some plans for a music video for She Lives There and maybe two more. I did that Such a Drag one to kick the year off but Ill have to see. The main thing is to finish the CD in time for this Summer.

First Cookeilidh rehearsal is this week so getting ready for that, with the focus being on Robbie Burns as his day comes up on January 25th.

There is a few shows this year that we’re doing including Craigdarroch Castle with the address to the Haggis. The castle has been a wonderful partnership with us all these years and we are very lucky to play such a beautiful Scottish castle for this date. If you are in Victoria at any point check it out, and especially during Robbie Burns or Christmas season.

Inside Craigdarroch, the last being us two years back!

It has been a politically busy first week, but I think that’s because we are finding more and more that we can’t take things for granted.

We should be all able to enjoy life at it’s fullest or as Freddie Mercury sang

“this could be heaven for everyone!”

Cheers,

Tom

5 Ways to Cool Down this Summer

Here we go again. Now you can get air conditioning at about $500 a machine. But failing that here’s how to make it to September!

It’s been almost a year since I first posted this and I wanted to update it and put it out since the temperature made its first steps past 21 degrees here in Victoria BC.

One thing you can immediately do is make decisions as to what passes your lips. While proteins are still great the last thing you want is anything heavy or involving cranking your oven block to 450 degrees. Salad, fruit and smaller light meals are definitely the way to go when the temperature goes up. They are also water based, fruits and vegetables, so you’re up one straight away.

But as summer has already kicked in here, and I imagine elsewhere, let’s get to what I would call…

one

Keep the motor cool

Now this comes from just years and years of working outdoors in summer heat, the wackiest being when I tried doing roofing on a crazy custom house when I (no joke) had to leap part to part like being atop a castle. But, I digress.

Caffeine and alcohol (sorry but true…) are diuretics which essentially means they will take moisture out of you. Now both of these have their place but, and you probably know this is coming, but fundamentals are key.

You should be drinking 8 glasses of water when it’s cool out. I’m talking winter. As such you want, just like making sure your car has it’s coolants, enough water to keep you internally cool. I have two easy to clean steel water bottles and those are way easier to use, and remember to use, than cup after cup. If you do use plastic have a look at the bottom just for fun. There will probably be a little recycling symbol with a number. The higher number you can get, the better, as it means it will be easier to keep clean.

If you want to really geek out and be sure that you are hydrated (and maybe don’t bring this up with the gang buuuut…) Keep an eye on your, well, pee. If it is solid yellow you definitely need to drink water. Like now. Like lots. If it is clear then you are good to go.

One thing of course is you will want to ease back in the last 30 minutes before a road trip, or next thing you know, you’ll be looking for gas stations.

two

airflow

In the morning the sun rises on our east facing windows (hard to believe, right?) so what we’ve come to do is darken those just a little more will an extra sheet, allowing still for any breeze to blow around there. This helps to keep the greenhouse thing from happening.

Later they can come down and the focus is on allowing any cross breeze from to occur. It’s a little crazy if you’re in an apartment, but if you find the hallway warmer, well, open your front door for at least 30 minutes to allow for the air to flow through the building.

Then there’s your fans. In the case of a house you can do the thing where you point it facing out as you are blowing wind straight across from one side to the other. For apartments aim it in so you’re pulling the cooler outdoor air in and keep another window open for the rest to escape. There is the classic of putting ice behind a fan. You can try it but in truth, it’s a boat load of work for very light results. Unless you’re got like a big slab of ice. In which case, I’ll be right over.

three

Silent running

Honestly, the whole trick is to keep it all as simple and minimal as possible. My mom on holiday in Tuscany said she was getting warm so she had it recommended that she chill under the trees with a mineral water and white wine mix. I know what I said before, but it was an instant cool off. Turn off any extra stuff running, including excess lights as every one of them gives off heat. Get low as heat rises and chill, both in style and also physically. If you have one of those raised beds, make a little place to sleep in your lowest place. Think of it as summer camp. This is actually a classic First Nations thing, moving from the Winter Village to the Summer Village. The Summer Village near here was an small island out in the Salish Sea. They knew what they were doing.

four

baths, big and small

You should absolutely keep clean as much as you can of course, as sweat and body oils will help you warm up when you aren’t really looking for that. But, if you are home, feel free to indulge in extra cool baths and (holding your nose) get your whole head under there. In the same way you would lose heat through your hair and head in winter, this is a spot that also keeps you warm. You might even consider keeping your hair on the shorter side in summer, but that’s your thing.

five

clothing thoughts

Obviously keep this as minimum as possible. Most restaurants will be ok with dressing lighter in summer, but check if you’re not sure.

But the principal points here are to stick to nice, breathable cottons and to keep the palette on the lighter side of life. Keep the black clothes hung up until night time, as black absorbs sunlight and heats you up while white repels it. It’s not Labour Day for a while yet so you’re good to go.

Hope these help and I’ll see you tomorrow for more blogging fun.

To add to staying cool, you can’t lose with the classic Groove Armada vibe.

Groove Armada – Back to Mine (full album)

Cheers!

🏝️🍻

Tom

😊