It’s out on Friday. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

It’s out on Friday! Aaaaaaaargh!

It’s Sunday morning and I am feverishly trying to finish the ‘behind the scenes’ origin story stuff for my new album, Demon.

For the last few CDs I’ve done a series of blogs or vlogs about each song on the album, so it seemed natural to do that for Demon too. But it’s got a bit….bigger. Because I thought it would be fun to do some nerdy musician how-to-play-the-song stuff too. It seemed like a good way to exorcise the Demon.

Basically I’ve given myself lots of music work at the same time as the day job is madly busy too. I’ve not even got time to write depressing things on pictures to motivate you all in the mornings. There is lots to do.

Because the album is out on Friday, and that means I need to have at least some of this stuff ready to share by then.

Demon is 9 songs of rock and weird. It’s guitars and tentacles, wizards and hermits, drums and demons. It’s rocking out and eating insects, being trapped in a cave, hating all humanity. It’s joyous choruses about evil creatures and strange happenings.

It’s well good. Yeah, I’m biased. But it is you know.

Friday! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

(The picture is my laptop screen showing the caption for the origin story for Modern World, the second track)

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You can see all the ‘origin stories’ and backstage stuff by joining the Demon list.

You can find the album here.

They’re talking about me! And it’s mostly good. I think…

The first review of Demon is out, in the 100th edition of Prog mag no less.

…And before I talk about that review here’s a service announcement: if you like prog rock, please buy that magazine. It’s a great supporter of the scene and a great publication.

Here’s pic of that review. I genuinely think that the reviewer is a bit confused by the album. Which is definitely on brand for me. But it says some nice things and I am very happy with it.

There are also a couple of nice previews up.

House of Prog: “Demon” is the new album from Tom Slatter, and will be released by Bad Elephant Music on 26th July 2019.

Following on from his highly acclaimed “Happy People” album, and the Murder and Parliament instrumental project, Tom returns with his most personal album yet, heavily influenced by indie rock albums of the mid 90’s.  Read more here.

Power of Prog: “The worlds gone horrible at the moment, so I thought it time for another album”, says Tom of Demon, his sixth full-length album, and fourth release for Bad Elephant Music. Read more here.

Isn’t that nice? People are hearing the thing and no-one’s sent me an envelope full of vomit in return, so that’s not a bad start, eh?

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You can hear three Demonic tracks by clicking here and joining the Demon list.

You can pre-order the album here.

If you’re not gigging, are you a real musician?

If you’re not gigging, are you a real musician? What’s better, gigging online or in the real world? How much effort should I put into being a live musician?

When you’re a kid dreaming of being a musician you want to be on stage. That’s where the magic happens, that’s what being a musician really is. Now I’m older and some of the more annoying bits of life get in the way, but that’s still part of what I want to be doing. If I could I’d perform every day. But… there’s always a but.

Over the last few weeks I’ve played a little online gig every Sunday morning on Facebook live, later posted on youtube.  I haven’t given any warning or promoted them, they’ve just been experiments to find out how the system works. The Facebook figures tell me those three gigs have been watched about 200 times.

Contrast that with the last Tom Slatter band gig which had about ten people in the room. In fact, I can guarantee that more people listened to my little fan club only ‘bootleg’ recording of that gig than heard it live in person.

The Tom Slatter band gig before that had a bigger audience and was probably the most fun I’ve had on stage playing my own music. If I could make gigs like that happen on a consistent basis I would do so.

Playing live is fun. Rehearsing is fun. The travel and expenses are not, and at the level we’re playing at the gig fees do not cover all the costs.

Playing online is also fun. It is not as fun as playing with a band, but I still enjoy it.

So where do I put my efforts?

In the short term, I need to be practical. I have a full-time job that at certain times of the year can be very busy indeed (like now. July is mad for us. I am tiiiiiiiiired). I have time to make the occasional social media post on weekdays and find a few hours at the weekend to either record some music or sing a few songs online.

People tend not to come out to see a concert on a Sunday morning. But listening to some acoustic songs online on a Sunday morning? That’s maybe a thing.

So the regular Tom Slatter gigs will be those.

That is absolutely not to say I don’t intend for there to be more Tom Slatter Band gigs in the future, or more acoustic gigs come to that. All these things will happen.

I’m just saying there won’t be loads and loads of those gigs, and they won’t be the main focus for a while. At least until there’s a bit of a change in circumstance with the whole having-to-earn-a-living thing.

That… that still means I’m a proper musician though, right?

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Here’s the third live video. This uses the camera on my laptop, which doesn’t look good, but that allows me to use my audio interface so it sounds better than the first two. I reckon I’m sticking with this set-up if and until I can afford a better camera. It is music after all, so sound probably matters.

The strange things that you think you’ve eaten

I’m doing a little lyric video for the title track from Demon. So of course, I’ve got a load of footage of insects.

One of my favourite things to do at a gig is create little moments where at least one person in the audience has to do a little double-take and think ‘wait, what is this song about?’. Song titles like ‘Some of the creatures…’ songs about replacing your body parts with mechanical alternatives, or in the case of Demon, the lyrics in the middle section:

And the strange things that you think you’ve eaten
Are playing on your mind
The many, many-legged creatures
That you scratched through leaves to find.

This is one of several lyrical images in the album that I think are really affecting. Others include:

  • Tentacles writhing through your hair in a romantic embrace (don’t tell me you haven’t thought about that before).
  • Attaching message after message to balloons and sending them off into the air in a desperate attempt to find some sort of human interaction.
  • Forcing sour-sweet rotting things into your mouth while you huddle at the bottom of a cave.
  • LIttle creatures with teeth and tails cavorting about the place while you’re asleep.
  • A pug-ugly serial killer parading his drugged-victims in front of others to convince the world he’s attractive really.

It’s a happy little album is what I’m saying.

While we’re waiting for the final album to be released, here’s an acoustic version of the title track:

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Demon is out on 26th July, but if you want to hear some of the songs in advance you can do one of the following:

  1. Click the ‘Join the Demon List’ button up the top of this website.
  2. Click here to meet my irascible facebook messenger bot the Slatterbot

Mini-podcast

James ‘Itinerant Banker’ Turner, BEM’s marketing honcho* sat down with me on the ol’ skype to have a little chat about the new album. The last third of that chat got cut off but it was just fart jokes so you miss nothing.

*He’s not a head honcho. Just a honcho.

Irascible Bots and Chord charts

I had a fun weekend.

On Saturday I filmed a little ‘How to’ video and did some chord charts for Wizards of this Town. So if you enjoyed that song and play acoustic guitar, you can join in too. I’ll post it below.

On Sunday I created a bot. It’s not a very sophisticated bot yet, but already it is developing a personality. It isn’t happy that I’m making it tell people about my music.

I call it the Slatter bot. It works over facebook messenger. Here’s the welcome message you receive from it if you sign up:

As you can see, it is an irascible bot. But, it also shares my music with you. So if you want to hear messages about my music delivered with disdain, you could sign up by clicking here.

It is limited, but there have already been some hilarious exchanges between it and some real people. I’ll use it share messages about my music until it breaks its programming and rebels.

Anyway, we’re building up to the release of Demon. It shouldn’t be long before I actually get my hands on the physical discs. This is very exciting!

Anyway, here’s a video about how to play Wizards of this Town:

And here is a link to a pdf with chords and guitar tab.

If you want to hear the studio version of the album, click the ‘sign up’ button at the top of the website, or just subscribe to that bot.

 

 

Pre-order the Demon

My sixth album, Demon, can now be pre-ordered from bandcamp. The demon is about to be unleashed. Run away! Run away!

Or maybe, go have a listen to the studio version of Wizards of this Town that’s now up on the bandcamp page as the first single from the album.

Wizards is a song that has been in my live set for a couple of years, first as an acoustic song and then with the Tom Slatter Band. It’s a song about drunkard wizards trying to fix their town through magic. But it is also a personal song. It’s about how I felt when I changed career from teaching – a job that was deeply destructive to my mental health – to the world of charity, and the place I moved to at the same time. It’s about the joy of having people request my songs, about singalong choruses and family and also, yes, about urban magic and drunk inner-city dryads.

Demon has lyrics about wizards and demons and serial killers. But it is also about family and history and my actual real life. I can’t wait for you to hear it, and you nearly can. Just the small matter of finishing up CD printing. Nearly there!

Here’s the pre-order link.

Demon – New Album Announcement

New album!
 
I am very pleased to announce that my sixth solo album ‘Demon’ will be released later this year on Bad Elephant Music.
 
Demon is a set of deeply personal songs, with lyrics about wizards, tentacles, murderers and demons.
Here’s an acoustic video of the first song:

Tracklisting:
 
1. Wizards Of This Town
2. Modern World
3. Weather Balloons And Falling Stars
4. West Wind
5. Patterns of Light
6. Cutting Up All Of Our Dreams
7. Drop Dead’s Punching Above His Weight Again
8. Tinfoil King
9. Demon
 
Pre-orders will open on 10th June. The album will be released on 26th July.

Lyrical themes: Love at the End of the World

Another recurring theme in my lyrics is love at the end of the world – or against some other apocalyptic backdrop.

I think subconsciously I’m often writing the sort of songs that could have been written by Disaster Area, the fictional band from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:

Their songs are on the whole very simple and mostly follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.”

Satellites 

This song from my album Happy People is all about love in a world where evil government satellites are spying on couples and deciding who is and is not a good match. It also features hand claps in the chorus, because why not?

Run

Run is literally about Love at the End of the World. It has a verse with a funny time signature, but apart from that it’s a straight ahead rock a song about holding hands with the person you love and running as fast as you can from the approaching darkness.

What We Say Three Times Is True

The first part of my Time Traveller Suite, What We Say Three Times Is True is an 8 minute rock song about having lost the person you love in a time vortex. The Time Traveller is searching for the girl with the missing eye, who appeared at the foot of his bed one night during a time travel malfunction.

He doesn’t know that this future version of her hates him and wants him dead. He hasn’t got to the part of the story yet…

Wizards of this Town – new subscribers only single

I just released a new single to my bandcamp subscribers page, in advance of the new album.
 
If you’re not a subscriber you get to hear it when the new album is released, which will be roughly June this year. 
 
Wizards of this Town was written in 2015 (I think) and has been part of my acoustic set for a while. This is the first time it has been recorded in full band fashion.
 
The summer of 2015 was unpleasantly hot. I was working in a school in the poor end of Enfield. This was my first job after quitting my teaching career (choose life!) for the world of educational charity, so I actually got to take a lunch break on this job. So I’d often walk around the area, having a little explore. That part of Enfield is decades past its prime, but hints of its past glories are still there if you’re looking for them. There are ex-industrial areas, old munitions factories, ruined old canals. There are also drunks and drug dealers in the park, and a general air of an area down on its luck (or down, due to political decisions for all I know).
 
Naturally, I found myself wondering whether the people who lived round there ever tried to change the place through the use of magic.
 
I particularly started to think this after catching sight of a wizard half-way up a council tower block. Yeah, it might have been a load of black laundry out on a balcony. It was a long way away, and maybe in the horrible heat haze of that summer I wasn’t thinking entirely straight but I know what I saw.
 
So I wrote a song about it, with drunkard mages and scared nerdy wizards drinking special brew and casting spells in the council park.
 
In the next couple of months there will be more new subscriber stuff and the small matter of a brand new album. Keep ‘em peeled!