There are over a hundred tracks in the subscribers only ‘Immoral Supporters’ section of my bandcamp profile, so I thought I’d share one or two with the world on a temporary basis so you can get a taste.
This is Angel, the first track from the subscribers only companion EP to my album Demon.
It is literally about cutting wings off Angels and using them to fly. There is no subtext.
This track will be public for only ten days. It will self destruct on the 15th of October. Get it while you can!
Lately, I’ve been having a go at online acoustic gigs. They’ve been fun, but I’ve been taking requests, and that does mean people have been asking if I can play songs that are nigh on impossible with just me and an acoustic guitar. Recent highlights have included an attempt at Three Rows of Teeth (which kinda worked) and Mother’s Been Talking To Ghosts Again (which sort of did and sort of didn’t).
As well as six full length albums (seven if you include the instrumental Murder and Parliament album) and two EPs, there are several singles available on my bandcamp page.
Well not for much longer! Time is running out!
I’ll be moving those songs behind the subscribers-only paywall on Monday 16th September. They’re not up anywhere else. So if you want a copy, you’ll have to go download them now. They’re all up for free download if you want them.
Here they are:
If We Cut All Your Wires
This song is from a subscribers only EP called ‘Still Happy’. It’s a companion piece to my album Happy People.
The Gloves Are Off
In late 2018 I ran a demo song tournament. 8 of my rough demos ‘competing’ against each other in a public vote. Although it was a close run thing, this song came out on top. Even though it is about as far away from my normal songwriting as you can get whilst still being in the broad ‘rock category.
Rubble and Dust / Run
This double A side digital single thingie contains two songs connected by theme and the fact that they’re the nearest I get to straight-ahead rock songs.
“Rubble and Dust” probably has the most prominent heavy metal influence of any of my songs so far, thought it isn’t full on metal. It’s a big singalong song about mad world-leaders bringing us all to ruin. Yes, I’ve accidentally made a political comment again. I didn’t mean to, honest!
“Run” is about love at the end of the world. It’s a rocky pop song hiding 7/8 verses and at lest one funny chord to keep the nerdy muso side of me happy.
Both of these are my first attempt at mixing something rocky in my new project studio. Not perfect of course, but I’m happy with how both tracks sound.
Monday 16th of September these will be subscribers only. Get ’em while they’re hot!
“I’ve been accused of being a prog rock artist. I like that, but I’m not sure how useful it is because if you listen to my stuff expecting it to sound like 1970’s progressive rock, I think you’ll be disappointed. The main influences for me are David Bowie, Radiohead, Mansun, lots of heavy metal bands, various bits of folk, Meat Loaf, the musical Sweeney Todd and my sort-of-classical composition training. I know that might sound an odd mix…”
This song has my darkest set of lyrics. Drop Dead is a serial killer, so called because he is spectacularly ugly. He drugs his victims and parades them about in public. People assume he’s actually very romantically successful despite his looks.
They don’t realise the hideous things he does. There is no light, just darkness.
Still, it’s a good song, eh? Great lead guitar stuff courtesy of Gareth Cole and great drumming from Michael Cairns
Demon has been out for a week or so now and so far we have exorcised three songs.
What do you mean exorcised?
I mean got it all out in the open, shared all the stories, told all the tales. So far we’ve taken a look at all the behind the scenes, origin stories and nerdy music stuff for three songs.
For Wizards of this Town I talked about working in the Enfield, North London and being so spaced out by the horrible summer heat that at one point I genuinely thought I saw a wizard on a balcony half way up a council tower block.
For Modern World I talked about using the different sections of the song to tell a sort of potted musical biography, including making use of the piece of my music that genuinely got the most negative online comment any of my music has received.
For Weather Balloons (email heading your way on Monday if you’re already on the mailing list!) I’ve talked about my tentacle trilogy. Yes, I have a tentacle trilogy. Don’t you?
Nerdy Musician stuff?
Yes, there are also videos about the nerdy musician stuff. Particularly useful if you’re a guitar player might be the chord charts and tabs I’ve done for all the rhythm guitar parts, and even a couple of the guitar solos (including the whole tone solo from the middle of Modern World, which was an annoying thing to write out!).
Want to join the exorcism?
You can, you’d very welcome. All you need to do is join my mailing list, which i have temporarily named the Demon List.
It’s an album about wizards and demons and tentacles and murderers. But it is also an album about me, about family, friends and home. It’s just none of those things are in the lyrics.
That means all the autobiographical stuff is in the harmony, chord choices, structure and allusions. One song is about changing career and moving to a new part of town, though you wouldn’t know it from the lyrics. Another contains parts of three different pieces of music, sketching out my history as a songwriter. Another uses crossword clue lyrics to say what I really think about humans (hint – I’m not a fan). One is all about the things that haunt us and the reasons we sometimes wake up with an awful taste in our mouths.
And the whole thing is about family and about joy. No it is, really honestly. Yes I know it contains murders and demons. It’s still joyous. It is!
You can hear all the songs and all the stories that go with them by joining the mailing list by clicking here.
If you do, I’ll send you links for all the songs and all the origin stories. It’ll be ace.
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?
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?
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.
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!