We’ve had some chilled down-time in January 2018 – time to rest, relax, rehearse, and get creative with some new projects! It has been a pleasure to be involved recording vocals and violin on a beautiful live track and video of Sculpture Music‘s tune ‘Seeds’…
Here it is … Enjoy! xxx
The Embers EP – OUT NOW!
We are very proud to say that our second EP – Embers is …. OUT NOW!!!
You can purchase the CD direct from our website shop, or download and stream using the links below!
Website – http://www.velvetstonemusic.com/shop/
A Precious Process …
Thank you for dropping by to read our blog! We’re very excited that we’re finally in release week for our new EP ‘Embers‘ (release date – Friday 13th October 2017)! Following our debut EP ‘The Storm‘ in April 2017, we feel like this has been a long time coming, so thanks for hanging around!
Embers is a really special record for us. We’ve been on a huge learning curve, and have made lots of amazing new memories and friendships along the way. All of the tracks were recorded in four days at Cube Recording, near St Agnes, in Cornwall. Cube has become a bit of a home from home for us … And we head down there again at any opportunity!
Ahead of the release, we thought we would give you an insight into the four tracks, and tell you a little about the writing and recording process! So, there are four tracks on the EP:
1. RAGGED WOOD
2. RAISE YOUR GHOSTS
Read on for more details/ anecdotes about each of them! –
1. RAGGED WOOD
Ragged Wood was one of my favourite tunes to write. Similar to Fisherman’s Blues on our first EP, the song takes a traditional folk tale and re-interprets it in our own style. It’s based on the tale of the unquiet grave which has been reinterpreted by lots of folk artists such as Seth Lakeman and Kate Rusby.
Whilst it was definitely one of those songs that seem to write themselves, it hugely came to life once we were in the studio. Guided by the expert hand of our producer Gareth, an awesome baseline was added; atmospheric percussion, keys, effects on the violin, and a tense, rhythmic guitar part – which really bring it to life – adding a folk rock flavour whilst keeping the ethereal vibe.
In terms of playing it live, we get a bit bored as there is no chord change until the third verse! … But sometimes simple is best right?!
2. RAISE YOUR GHOSTS
Awwwww love Raise Your Ghosts! We’re so happy that it has been picked up by BBC Radio 2! You can check out the video here (filmed in the woods in the middle of no where …)!
Raise Your Ghosts was a strange one to write, as it was written in two parts … The first written a couple of years ago in a cabin on the cliffs in Devon (that’s how we roll ?) … And hence the sea-vibe … (!) And the second part written last summer … With the two ideas merging ? We performed the original song a few times (I can’t even remember what it was called), but it never sat quite right, so we put it on the back burner for a while until the new idea came along.
The song is about moving on, and leaving old relationships behind when they no longer serve you …. … On a less serious note, this song quickly became known as Raise Your Goats in the studio … You can’t un-hear that now ?
I distinctly remember Embers being written during ‘Winterval’ between Xmas and New Year! Kat came over to mine for dinner one night, we sat on the floor with the keyboard and came up with Embers! I had the melody and lyrics in my head/ scribbled down for a few days, sang them to Kat, and voila! Embers was born!
This was the first tune we recorded in the studio, with Gareth arriving very quickly at the concept of how it should sound. It was all done in one vocal take, and really simple piano, which capture the emotion of the song. You can watch the video here (filmed at Cube and on the beach at beautiful Porthtowan)!
…. Finally, our song baby ‘Trouble’ … ! To say that this song has been trouble is an understatement …. We’ve spent hours (maybe days …) over this song, writing and re-writing, parts, trying to get the right vibe … There have been tears and arguments …. At the end of one particularly sparky episode, I remember Gareth describing making music as a ‘precious process’ … I think that summarises it for me 🙂
Trouble is definitely behaving itself now though, and has just received its first plaudits from BBC Introducing, so it’s back in the good books for all of us!
I wrote it last summer when Holly was leaving the band, it was a bittersweet time for Kat and I as we’d had a brilliant summer, releasing an EP, playing at Cambridge Folk Festival, … but also knowing that our lovely friend and writing partner was saying goodbye. So it was a time of limbo and not really knowing what to do next, but also a time of lots of potential and knowing that we were determined to carry on making music!
So, there it is! We REALLY hope you enjoy the EP!
Next stop … We’ll be touring around the South West and Midlands at the end of 2017. We’re planning on finishing (yes, we’ve already started … ??) our debut album in early 2018, and doing lots more gigs and festivals. Hope to see you at one of them!
P.s. If you want to see what really went down in the studio, just watch this … ?
Songs from the Shed
We spent a lovely afternoon recently with Jon who hosts the brilliant Songs from the Shed sessions in Somerset. We recorded ‘Raise Your Ghosts’ and ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ completely live and unplugged … In a shed… Watch below!
***New Music Alert***
Some of our most loyal fans may have had a career change, gone grey, or migrated in the time between our last release and now … Yes, it’s been a while… Sorry about that! Our bad!
We’re back! … And, just like busses all coming at once, we’ve got TWO tracks for you. That’s two tracks in less than 24 hours’ … You’ll be able to download/ stream our single ‘Raise Your Ghosts’ with it’s B side ‘Embers’ on all the major digital stores (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc) from 00:01 on Thursday 17th August!! Watch out for new music videos for both tracks via social media!
After our quiet spell on the record front, we thought you’d want us to share LOTS with you so sit back and enjoy a lot of creativity coming your way! Following our single release, Our EP ‘Embers’ is due for release on the 13th October (in time to be the perfect Christmas present of course!). The EP has already received acclaim from the likes of Sam Kelly and BBC Introducing and singles are getting spins on radio stations around the country!
The Embers EP features our Lara Snowdon on guitar and vocals, myself – Kathryn Tremlett on violin and piano, Roger Styles on guitar and vocals and Barry Muir on bass and double bass. It also stars acclaimed cellist Caroline Lavelle [Radiohead; Massive Attack; Muse; Loreena McKennit; Afro Celt Sound System], and our wonderful producer Gareth Young on percussion across all of the tracks. The EP was recorded and mixed at Cube Recording, and mastered by Pete Maher.
We’ll be announcing more dates for live performances in the coming weeks so keep an eye on our gigs page and social media to make sure you’re in the know. We’ve also just announced our EP launch party on Friday 13th October (good job we’re not superstitious) at The Bike Shed Theatre!! We’re delighted to let you know that our lovely friends, folk duo Harbottle and Jonas, will be our special guests giving you all the more reason to come on down. Tickets will be available on the door for a very modest £5 and you’ll get a chance to party/ dance with us after we’ve played which, in my opinion, is an opportunity not worth missing! You’ve seen the shapes we can throw. Just think… you could be a part of that!
So, in summary, keep an eye out for links to new music, dates for gigs and information about our EP launch party.
You may have noticed over the last few days we have been posting lots of smiley pics and vids of our good selves with headphones on, various instruments out, songs being sung, questionable poses being pulled and just generally frolicking in beautiful sunny Cornwall (check out our Facebook and Instagram for all the dets). Contrary to popular belief, we haven’t been pulling together footage for the TV pilot ‘A Devoner in Kernow’, (although think this is a genius idea so BBC if you’re reading…) No, we have in fact been recording new songs for a series of releases later this year. It has been simply amazing. There have been smiles, jokes, bums, banter, brilliance and beauty in equal measure and, most importantly, the musical journey we want to share with you is taking shape. Moments of pure genius have been interjected with comedy gold (cat wailing, agricultural bow changes, wine spillages and fruity language to name a few).
Quite apart from the stunning vocals from our very own Lara, bodacious rocking out from lord of guitar Rog and sumptuous string playing (there’s got to be a bit of alliteration in here somewhere) from Kat and Barry, we were incredibly lucky to have the extremely talented Caroline Lavelle come and play cello for us. Her carbon fibre cello is quite the spectacle but the sound she creates with it is out of this world, bringing further depth and magnificence to the music. I think it’s safe to say that we can’t wait to share the end result with you so that you can see for yourself the ethereal qualities her playing adds to our sound.
And that’s just the start, Gareth Young is something else again, his years of experience as a musical producer mean we’re in good hands when it comes to sculpting our sound. Ever the master, he has calmly plotted the destinations for our tunes, building majestic masterpieces; building harmonies, space and ambience into our music. To be fair, with us lot jumping around like 10 year olds with ADHD, that must have been a challenging task at times. Think he’s probably glad of a bit of peace and quiet to hone in on mixing now!
Safe to say it was an exhilarating experience and all of us are now somewhat despondent at the idea of returning to the, in comparison, mundane monotony of 9-5 life. So, before signing off again I’ll leave you with a few of my personal highlights from the last few days:
- Watching creative genius, Gareth at work: Seeing how his ideas become a reality, carefully placing the pieces of the musical jigsaw together and layering to create the desired effect.
- “Haven’t you heard of me? The name’s Roger, Roger Styles. I’m an international session musician don’t’ you know!” ☺
- Ebow puns (When you next see Roger, I’m sure he’d be delighted to give you a rendition)
- Invention of some incredibly special dance moves. You’ll have to venture to a festival this summer to see Lara and Kat throwing these shapes! Personally I think they will become time honoured classics in years to come.
- C major is Roger’s favourite Piano key
- Roger inadvertently meeting every guest we had visit in the toilet!
- Listening to Lara’s beautiful singing voice every day
- Hearing Kat’s vocals be turned from something only dogs could hear into a chorister choir
- Becoming entranced by Caroline Lavelle’s cello playing, it really way hypnotic
- Collectively rocking out to Barry’s bass
- Barbequing on a secluded beach watching the sun set on an uncharacteristically sunny day for Cornwall
- Eating out at the Blue Bar on another sunny Cornish evening
- Spontaneously partying in ‘The Hide’ to 80’s classics
- Finding out all sorts of interesting fun facts about other band members (yes Roger does have the same size bum as Kim Kardashian, it is scientifically proven by the SUN newspaper so it must be true!)
- The pointless phone and listening to Gareth and Ross’s conversations, well mostly banter, complete with accents from across the globe
- Being able to spend time with people who I love and mean the world to me and not having to rush off for an early night because of work or other commitments
Recorded on a lovely, frosty, sunny Exeter morning at Samuel Jones on the Quay. Catch our latest Balcony TV video below! Thank you to Matt and Cate for having us back. Our fresh, new track ‘Embers’!
Now we’ve been back in Devonshire for a week, recorded a new video with Balcony TV Exeter, and performed at Bradninch Folk Club, now seems like a good chance to reflect on the awesomeness that was Celtic Connections! WOW, comes to mind. In fact it really was such a whirlwind 48 hours that it’s a bit hard to know where to start. So, I think this calls for a Kat special observations/ highlights roundup. Here goes:
- Receiving a Highly Commended award from the Danny Kyle Open Stage (DKOS) for our performance during the Festival.
- Meeting Liz from Celtic Radio who is the loveliest person! If you haven’t met her and you ever do, you’ll agree too! The DKOS initiative is such an amazing opportunity for emerging talent across the UK and beyond and we were extremely proud to be a part of 2017’s syndicate.
- Escaping the West Country and bringing our music to another part of the British Isles
- Having the rare opportunity to see a fabulous number of extremely talented artists all in the same place at the same time. Personal fav’s: Patsy Reid, Bryde, Sarah Jarosz, Rory Butler, Kathryn Joseph and Yola. Watch out for all these folk in 2017, sure they’ll continue to make waves!
- Seeing the infamous Barrowland Park album pathway
- Extending our social media following with some fabulous new Scottish recruits
- Glasgow is cold, VERY cold. The floor of a ground floor flat in Glasgow is even colder still, brrrrrr!
- You don’t need a passport to get into Scotland if you’re driving. Come to think of it you probably don’t need a passport to get into Scotland by any means of transport if you’re a UK citizen! Better to be safe than sorry though!
- Cruise Control in a Volkswagen can’t be altered by using the radio volume buttons!
- Barry reading the Scottish version of children’s book The Gruffalo with an authentic accent (and I do mean authentic, he is a proper Scotsman; a ginger beardy one at that!)
- Learning how to pronounce Borrrderrrrs in a Glaswegian accent!
- Wishing I had not purchased the Scottish bagpipe fridge magnet that plays Scotland the Brave for my 1 year old!
I could go on…
…But that might get a bit boring. So… now we’re back down ‘ere, why not come and see us play over the next couple of months locally and, whilst you’re at it, check out our talented Barry’s new logo featured all over our social media accounts and this lovely website… we think it’s pretty swish!
New Year Fresh Start
A belated HNY from a rainy, foggy M6 (thank you to the wonder of a WiFI hotspot!)! We’re on our way to Glasgow where we will be performing at (no less) than the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the annual Celtic Connections festival! We’ve been selected to play on the Danny Kyle Stage, which has hosted such acts as Talisk, and the incredible Karine Polwart in previous years.
We’ve had a pretty busy few months in the run up to Xmas and NY 2016. We’ve been working on lots of new material and we’ve got some new bods on the case who’ve been helping out with composition and creating new sounds! In December we recorded some demos and a new video at Cube Recording in Cornwall. Just before Xmas we ventured to Hay-On-Wye to play support for the mesmerising Martha Tilston at the beautiful Globe-at-Hay. Early in Jan, we headed to the BBC South West studios in Plymouth where we held forth on the BBC Introducing Roundtable! Thanks to the wonderful BBC Introducing team! You can listen online here.
There’s also tons to look forward to in the next few months. We’ll be releasing a new Balcony TV video at the end of Feb, performing at folk clubs in Bradninch and Frome, supporting Daria Kulesh, performing at Harbottle and Jonas’ album launch, and heading to our fav place to gig – Lusty Glaze for a Woodburner Session (all info is available on our gigs pages). However, our BIGGEST NEWS, is that we’ll be back in the studio again in April! We’re excited to say we’ve got producer Gareth Young on board, and we’ve got a new EP-a-brewing!
So here’s to Celtic Connections and our Glasgow mission! Our performance will be on Celtic Radio, and will be live streamed online, if you fancy listening in! We’re very pleased to be joined in Glasgow by Barry on bass, and we have a special set lined up including some brand new tracks and a couple of older ones which we’re looking forward to playing in a new setting.
We’ll leave you with this thought. Which is more shocking? That Kat thought she might need a passport to get into Scotland? Or, that Barry (a true Scot) has never had a deep fried mars bar, and is looking forward to indulging in one?
Lots of love,
Lara & Kat xxx
P.s. We’ve archived the old blog as it was getting a bit lengthy. It’s still available here.