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January 19th 2016

Tonight I start teaching in an adult guitar group. Should be fun. I’ll be teaching at least two Bowie songs. Still not settled on exactly which ones. Maybe one week I’ll slip in a song by an Indie artist called ‘SlugCat’.

Hmmm, it’d probably be Jet Pac as that’s a pretty good guitar riff and is fun to play. Next Great War is also fun to play. Infact come to think of it there’s quite a few that I enjoy playing and would be good to learn. But in all seriousness, I won’t teach any of my tracks unless I suddenly become well known within the next eight weeks.

 

January 11th 2016

Goodbye David Bowie,

I listened to Blackstar for the first time last week and was so impressed. Musically and vocally I was blown away. Still trying to decipher the imagery and lyrics. Thanks for the journey you shared with us. You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth, before your baby brother becomes one of us… forever.

 

January 2016

Well, a new year. I really hope that this will be the year that I finish this album. I’ve been working on it since 2011. I wanted to raise the bar and get the production value higher than I’ve ever achieved. I’ve also worked harder on the instrumentation.

My aim is to finish the album and for it to be my ‘first’ album. The previous albums I’m treating as demo albums. When this one is finished I plan to take the best songs from my previous albums and create my ‘second’ album with the best fit of songs also produced as good as possible.

November 29th 2015

Had the amazing Becky Thomas over at the weekend to sing on a few songs. She has a fantastic voice. You’ll hear a lot of her on the new album. Our voices go together really well

November 2015

Quite a few songs now nearly finished, waiting for the final icing bits that will hopefully help them make the cut on to the album.

October 2015

The hardest thing about songwriting (for me at any rate) is not ruining a song. What I mean by that is that when I come up with an idea, it’s because there’s some kind of spark or magic. And the next process is about helping that spark find it’s way to really shine. There are so many things that can dull or mask or swamp the spark and you can be left with a song that has potential but hasn’t really lived up to what it could be. Maybe the speed is wrong or maybe there are too many things going on, or maybe the lyrics aren’t that good, or maybe someone never really realised what the initial spark was etc etc.

Alot of it I’m finding is almost out of my control. My own limitations as a singer or musician mean that in order to create the picture and harness the spark that I’ve stumbled upon I need help from other people. Sometimes its their skill on an instrument, sometimes it’s an objective ear, but a lot of the time it’s sound. Production. And engineering. I feel like I could be doing better if I were recording in a really good studio, with engineers and producers on hand. And/or if I had some kind of entourage that constantly fed back how my songs sound to them (not yes men, proper honest music lovers). It’s a blessing and a curse working on my own and in many ways I wish I were going through the band route but that’s not really the issue. It’s more that if I had access to a really good studio and people really took my music seriously I could produce something amazing.

It’s scary laying your soul out on the line and taking a risk working on songs that could end up as just pale shadows of what they could be. There are all sorts of repercussions connected with how I feel about myself and my impact on the world as well as those horrible looming feelings about missed opportunity or failing at something that you’ve really tried hard at. They loom tall everyday and constantly chime in on all of the stages of this creative wonder that I’m privileged to have the opportunity to attempt.

Anyhow, I’ll keep plugging away.

 

September 2015

I’ve always thought that writing lyrics takes up to about a third of the entire process of writing, recording and producing an album. That’s certainly been the case for me with the first three albums. But so far with this new album the lyrics have arrived a lot quicker relative to the whole process. Don’t get me wrong they’ve not been easy to write but I remember some of my previous albums, lets see- ‘The Heart Toll’, those lyrics took an age to write as did the song ‘Love’ and ‘Welcome Home’ wasn’t easy, ‘Running To Keep Up’ also took a while.

So I have been pleasantly surprised with how the lyrics have seemed to come easier on this album, That is until my latest song that I’m working on- ‘Forgetting’. So far I’ve written at least six different sets of lyrics for it. I know what I want it to be about, but balancing my message with the right level of ‘open to interpretation’ has been so hard. I have some lyrics that fit pretty well, but I don’t want it to be about that. I wonder how it will end up?

 

 

August 2015

My friend Dan Little from Spitdust has been doing some different versions of some of my songs, here’s a glimpse in to this wonderful parallel universe.

 

 

July 21st 2015

I’ve now finished another song. It’s called ‘Run Away’, although it may change to become ‘Burn Away’ or maybe ‘Don’t Look Down’. It’s probably the most ‘Andy Billington’ sounding track that I’ve done so far for this album. Songs like ‘The Mexican’ and ‘City Of Strangers’ are a bit new stylistically for me, but it’s nice to have some songs that reference my ‘sound’.

 

May 2015

Well City of Strangers is finished and I’ve sent it off to the producers to mix. I’ve agonised over it somewhat. There are 3 different endings to the song when I get to the stage where I’m choosing the track listing for the album I’ll see which one fits in best.

 

March 26th 2015

I seem to have lost all my posts from 2013. Not sure what’s happened there.

 

March 24th 2015

OK so I was wrong, I’m still working on that song. But yes, nearly there.

 

March 05th 2015

I’m so close to having finished this song- City Of Strangers that I’ve been working on. It’s definitely the most difficult song I’ve written/ recorded so far. I reckon this time next week I’ll have sent it off to the producers. It’s taken 5 years but I’m so close now. That’ll be 9 songs sent off to be mixed.

2012-01-18_11.36.48[1]

A friend- Aidan Bryden and I went to a local pub called The Swan to ask about gigging there and they were so impressed with our music that they asked for us to play 3 weeks in a row. We’ve decided though as a start to just play on 22nd March and take it from there. So I’ll be sharing the bill with Aidan who is a phenomenal live performer.

 

February 29 (March 1st) 2015

This is an important date for me, and here is a song I wrote in a very important year in my life.

 

February 09th 2015

Here’s an early mix of one of the songs for the new album. It’s called Andover and is about a rainy day on a motorway;

 

January 18th 2015

A new year a new start. We had our first gig last night at The Art House in Southampton. It’s a fantastic venue to play at with a great atmosphere. The gig went really well and interestingly enough my latest song- Campervan Man proved to be the most popular song of the night. Here are a couple of  clips of the gig. Sure the recording is distorted a bit, but you get the idea-

Art House 1Art House 2

December 2014

Not sure if I mentioned it before but I have a band. We are currently a 4-piece. Matt Findlay on lead guitar and glockenspiel, Karen Denise on drums/ Cajon, Gary Chase on bass. We know about 10 songs well and about 4 other that are harder to play pretty well. I think the songs we enjoy playing the most are-

Until The Next Great War, Jet Pac, Ghost Clouds and Diamonds

 

November 23rd 2014

Good news. I have recorded violins and violas for my latest (and proving to be difficult to finish) song. Mr Chris Nichols popped over to record them and boy do real violins sound good (thanks Chris). It’s the same song that I recorded piano for a couple of months ago and it’s taking shape. I need to work on the drums and edit the strings and piano. The vocals are done but I’m not entirely sure of the structure of the song. I don’t want it to be too long. It’s working title is Strangers. Remember you heard about it here first.

View from Becky's cousin's Flat in New York showing September 11th laser

September 2014

A more difficult month, it’s been harder to get stuff done this month but on the plus side I drove down to see Steve and Tom the producers working on my songs and learned a thing or two about production. The sound they are getting is good, but not quite there yet. I’m realising that I have a sound in my head for each song and I’m pretty good at knowing what I want. It’s just communicating that to others I need to learn.
slug cat at parliment
July 10th 2014.

Summers well and truly here. I’m getting close to finishing 2 more songs. Working with a producer is certainly helping me finish stuff that otherwise would still be in song-writing limbo.

 

May 3rd 2014.

I’ve had 2 mixes back from Steve and they are both sounding excellent. A few tweaks here and there and we’ll be well on our way. I’ve been trying to find a string quartet to play a string part on one of my favourite new songs for the album, but at this stage I’ve not found any quartets willing to accept my offer of money. If anyone knows of any willing quartets please let me know.

I recorded some piano at Cardie’s studio the other day. Was fun. It’s actually for the same song as the one that needs the strings. Should be a good’un. Here’s a clue of what it’s about

2012-09-17 13.11.51

 

April 08th 2014.
So it’s finally beginning to be a bit more consistent with the sunshine. It was a long tough winter with a series of storms and terrible rain.
I’m at a good stage with the new album now. I’m currently sending my new songs to a producer- Steve Harding who recently produced my friend Hitch’s first album- https://www.cardiemusic.com/
I think Steve will do a great job with my new collection of songs.

2012-06-27 21.14.30

Feb 28th 2014.
It’s early 2014. February 28th (Not a leap year this year)
Leap years are particularly significant to me, so tomorrow- March the 1st is my February 29 for this year.
It’s sunny and rainy here in Southampton but promises to be a bright weekend.
So to celebrate here’s my song February ’29

View from chalet in Scotland holiday

This time last year we were in Scotland. We had the best weather in the UK and the sky was amazing.

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