We’re now in the process of rehearsing to record the new tunes. Still not 100% sure who’ll be producing yet, but these songs are collectively amazing. There I’ve said it. Here are a few pics from a recent session…
Well Happy New Year everyone!
Fingers crossed there will be a new Captain Wilberforce album this year – the songs are written, but I haven’t managed to get a producer onboard yet. Who knows it might turn out that I record it myself with help from Carl, Dan and Mike (Drums, Bass, Guitars/Keys) – but I want to keep up the standard of the last 2 albums…
Anyway, as usual, I probably won’t post much unless there’s something worth saying, but in the meantime you can follow me on Twitter (@captwil) and see what you think of my Songs of the Day, or go to my Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/CaptainWilberforce.
We’re still waiting to get our official ‘with Dermot’ photo, but here are a few taken by Dan (bass)…
…to everyone who’s stumbled onto this page by luck, typing error or perhaps from having listened to the Dermot O’Leary show. As you’re new here, you’ll have to go through the induction process – learn what’s what and who’s who, etc.
So, to kick off, I’m Simon, your guide to everything Captain Wilberforce related today. We’ll be covering quite a lot in this session, so please try to concentrate and there will be opportunities for questions at the end.
Captain Wilberforce is the band name for Simon Bristoll, singer / songwriter, British Sign Language Interpreter and occasional taekwondo student. Ably assisted by Carl Banks on Drums / Keys / words of wisdom, Dan McGlade on Bass / BVs / sarcasm and a host of local musicians who give their time for free to help get the songs out to lovely people like you.
On your right you’ll see a list of links to various places to hear and purchase Captain Wilberforce songs since 2003. However you can also click HERE to download a seven song sampler from the three Captain Wilberforce albums to date.
We’ve got a few gigs lined up the first of which is next week on Thursday 22nd March at The Chemic Tavern in Hyde Park. If you can make it along, around 8:30, that’d be fantastic – if you can’t we’re playing the the International Pop Overthrow festival (The Cavern Club, Liverpool) on May 17th and the In The Hud festival (Bar, Huddersfield) on June 9th.
Right, so that’s the induction over with. Any questions? Good. You are now fully qualified to subscribe to this blog ;o) It’d be great to see you again some time, so y’all come back now y’hear?
Well here’s a turn-up for the books. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t too hopeful of actually getting a live session on Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2 show, but that’s exactly what’s happened!
After he played our single back in January (see below) he made a fairly throwaway comment about getting us onto his show but at the time I was just happy to have had the single played. A couple of days later Dermot’s producer, Ben emailed to say that there’d been a pretty good response to the song and cutting a long story short we’re getting to do an acoustic session for the show on Sat 17th March.
Previous session guests have included Amy Winehouse, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro, Rufus Wainwright amongst hundreds of other bands. These songs have even been collected onto a series of “Dermot’s Saturday Sessions” albums but it’s really rare for an self managed, self funded, truly independent / DIY artist to get on the show, so my head has definitely gained a few inches in circumference in the last few days – everyone around me is desperately hoping this is a temporary affliction.
Of course there are certain protocols to follow when doing a session for the show – It’s got to be acoustic and basically set up like you’d do for a living room rehearsal. We’re doing one of our own songs and also had to pick a cover – all of the session bands do; it was a nightmare as there are literally hundreds of songs that came to mind, but I think we’ve picked a particularly fantastic song that I’m hoping we’ll do full justice to. Sorry to be a bit secretive about this, but listen to the show and let me know what you think.
Anyway, got to get off and put some rehearsal in – don’t want to go into this under-prepared!
I’m really chuffed that Dermot played “A Beautiful Waste of Time” last Saturday. It’s just one song on one show – not playlisted or anything, but seeing as it was acheived without plugger, publicist, PR company, record company or management it’s another little victory.
And about £60 PRS too – at this rate I’ll be able to afford to record a new album in 2020.
Web presence? Obligatory. Social networking? Naturellement. Twitter this, Linked In that, Facebook the other. And now apps: Apps to find out the nearest Starbucks, the position of Orion, and all about Captain Wilberforce. Maybe it’s overkill (I used to like the fact that Michael Stipe was a mysterious figure who rarely gave interviews – now he probably tweets about his bowel movements) – but there it is, a modern band dilemma. Either make yourself available to people 24/7 through all of the above, or disappear completely off the radar, never to be discovered.
Perhaps my next move should be to change the band name to something even more obscure, have no digital footprint at all and only play gigs rather than release records; I mean, there’s no money in records anyway, right? And then by deliberately playing the luddite card, explaining the philosophy at gigs etc, it might end up being weird enough a concept for people to actually come to gigs? On second thoughts, probably not.
Ah well, follow me on Twitter, download the free app, and like me on Facebook and forget I ever mentioned any of this ;o)
Twitter has it’s uses you know – apart from getting cheap deals on Dell Outlet you occasionally get pointed in the direction of some interesting stuff. For example, today I spent a worthwhile hour watching a seminar by Tom Robinson about songwriting and performing.
I’m generally a little sceptical about people giving advice on songwriting as it’s such an individual experience, and of course what’s amazing to me may sound atrocious to you! However, this wasn’t that kind of thing, rather it focussed on how to get yourself into the frame of mind to write, how to get over writer’s block and why it’s a good idea to collaborate. You can watch it here and I’d fully recommend you do if you’re a musician / writer.
There are some really interesting tips on morning writing, setting aside creative time and cheating (liked that bit a lot!) but what resonated most for me was the idea of Songwriter’s lodges – basically a way of getting songwriters together to collaborate / share ideas and write better songs. I’d been thinking about how to set up something like this for a while, here in Leeds, but couldn’t think of a way of getting people interested, but the 20 song game sounds like it might just work!
Anyway, there were only a couple of things that I wasn’t fully in agreement with – firstly the idea that “The key to achievement is persistance” citing Jarvis Cocker’s slow rise to national treasure as an example. The problem with this idea is that I personally know about 10 fantastic songwriters who are still writing great material and there is virtually no chance of them ever succeeding in the way Jarvis has. For every writer that keeps going and going and eventually hits the jackpot are thousands who just keep going cos they love writing.
And this leads in to the second point I’d contest – It’s easier to be successful now than it was 20-40 years ago. I’d say it was just as difficult for different reasons. Sure, bands can record material more professionally than ever before on a tight budget (I know all about this!) and it’s true that some blogs can bring you international attention that previously would have needed a massive and coke fuelled PR team. But: this has just widened the field – now there are hundreds of quality bands with quality recordings doing it themselves and competing for a place on your phone / iPod / 6Music slot. It’s overwhelming for the consumer and the reviewer which means you still need to pay a PR person to get national press, (Q, Uncut, Mojo, The Times etc.) with the contacts to filter out your excellent new song from the 20 excellent new songs out that week.
However, overall this is both a measured and inspiring presentation and seeing as it’s free advice, you’d be a fool to yourself not to give it a look!
Easy to get into a musical rut isn’t it? Ok, maybe it only happens when, like me, you think you’ve heard everything and even the most heralded new bands sound formulaic but I’ve definitely found myself going back to bands like The Cure, Led Zep and Billy Bragg recently. It’s not that there aren’t amazing under the radar bands around but it’s sometimes hard work tracking them down, which is where the Guardian’s Music Alliance Pact has come in handy for me. A really simple format – lots of songs by bands from all over the world every month in list format with immediate stream / download options. Perhaps it’s because I’m listening to the songs with no peconceptions that the occasional few stand out and sound fresh, but whatever, it works! If you know of any blogs / sites that you recommend, let me know. In the meantime, you can hear one of my faves from the December MAP list here – by Anchorless from Denmark.
Ok, so it’s not exactly a regular band update, but I’ve been wanting to ask a particular question about the Captain Wilberforce Facebook page and it’s not covered in the FAQ’s or support centre. Also, there isn’t a contact telephone number for Facebook on the site, and it seemed that you couldn’t even post a query to get a direct response; but after much digging around I found a page where you can ask a question and someone from Facebook will “do their best to assist you”, which is better than nothing, right? It was hidden in their terms and conditions under the German title “Impressum Contact”. Reminds me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy “Beware of the Leopard” quote!