The end of all things (or 2017, whichever comes first)

2017 is coming to a close and we’re just about to begin what I assume will be the final year ever, at least the last one given a number by humans.
6 to 9 months longer then we can all pack it in and hand over world domination to whatever hardy creatures are still left alive after the Trumpian apocalypse. I assume it’ll be the cockroaches or the tardigrades.

With that note of impending doom, I thought I’d say thank you for being so supportive over the last 12 months. 2017 has been one of my most successful years, from both a creative and financial perspective. I released two albums, Happy People and my instrumental album Murder and Parliament, both of which have just about squeaked into breaking even more or less (still need to sell a couple more of the latter if you don’t yet have one). That’s two albums of not exactly the most commercial music in the world selling enough to at least mean we can keep on making more.

This isn’t a profit making exercise, it’s art and every person who buys a download or a CD is helping us make a bit more art. I am genuinely grateful. Thank you!

Here are my highlights of the last twelve months:

  1. Happy People

My 5th solo album was finally released in March 2017. It’s loosely a concept album about a near future dystopia, my first album length foray away from the steampunk aesthetic, and the first of my albums not to be an entirely solo affair. I was aided and abetted by Jordan Brown, Dan Bowles and Michael Cairns. Of course I’m biased, but I think it’s bloody good.

  1. Not The Tom Slatter Duo

Gareth Cole, who I first played with on Mike Kershaw’s album in 2016, joined me for this year’s gigs. We got to the North East for a prog gig, the North West for a biker event, and London and its environs for a few other gigs. It has been marvellous to play some of my songs live with a few more of the parts included.

The next gig, for those of you who can get to it, is 6th Jan in Glasgow. Here’s a link.

There should be plenty more in 2018 too. I’ll let you know. As ever, if you know somewhere that you think I should play, please get in touch.

  1. The Sunday Bootleg is finished!

In late 2015 I decided to amuse myself by telling absurd stories about what had definitely really happened after gigs as a way of sharing some ‘bootleg’ gig recordings. I intended to do one a week for a year, but real life kept on getting in the way, so I never quite go it up to a weekly thing.

I’ve bought it to a close after 47 episodes in which I’ve accidentally told a truly ridiculous story involving the evil creatures who live in London’s financial district and tend the sky-scraper eggs and their war with the metal insects created by a machine that turns sound into monsters.

It is ramshackle and mad and I love it. Here’s a playlist with all the story episodes.

  1. The Immoral Supporters

Perhaps this is a lowlight, eh? The denizens of The Tom Slatter Immoral Support Group on facebook have bullied, teased, cajoled and complained, posting videos and photos, codes and comments, and endless, endless puns. I’d like to say I’m grateful to them, but of course that’s not true. I hate them all, each and every one. The fact that they were thanked in the Happy People booklet is simply a clerical error.

Nevertheless, I do find the Immoral Supporters motivating, in a strange, masochistic way. I am motivated to succeed in spite of their bullying. The bastards (Aside= Thanks guys and gals, you’ve made my year).

If you want to join in, here’s the link.

What will 2018 contain? I’m planning for a new full length album to be released in early 2019 (if there is a 2019), so 2018 will contain all the production for that, as well as a few other smaller releases and various shenanigans.

As already mentioned, it also contains that January gig in Glasgow, if that’s your neck of the woods.

Thanks for listening/downloading/buying cds/heckling at gigs.

See you in 2018

The Sunday Bootleg is nearly over!

What began in late 2015 as an attempt to put out something out a bit of audio silliness once a week for a year, turned into an off-and-on mess of lies, interviews and dodgy live performances that no-one made me stop.

But now I’m making myself stop. Here’s the penultimate episode of the Sunday bootleg. It includes a snippet from the Masquerade 2 gig Gareth and I played last week, as well as the entirely true story of what happened after the gig.

In that first podcast I told you about Tarquin and the City-egg I saw him and some of his cronies pushing through the deserted London streets. Now we come to the culmination of the war they have been fighting with the metal-music-insects.

It is all true. Every word.

Murder and Parliament – released today!

My new instrumental project is out today.

Here’s the BEM press release message thingie.

MURDER AND PARLIAMENT – OUT NOW!

Bad Elephant Music is excited to announce that preorders for ‘Murder and Parliament’, the new instrumental project from Tom Slatter, are now open, ahead of a December 8th release.

Think you know Tom Slatter? Think again! Murder and Parliament’s instrumental soundscape showcases a side of Tom that may surprise you.

Enlisting the talents of Alun Vaughan (bass guitar) and Chrissie Caulfield (violin), Tom has realised this vision of layered, complex but tuneful noise. Make no mistake: this is a rock album, fitting neatly into the BEM instrumental zone also occupied by the likes of The Fierce & The Dead, The Brackish and The Bob Lazar Story.

”The songs on Murder and Parliament have been running around in my head for a decade or so,” says Tom. “And I can’t wait for other people to hear them too.”

‘Murder and Parliament’ is available now from the BEM webstore, both on CD and as a high quality digital download.

A Scattering – the first track from my instrumental album Murder and Parliament.

A Scattering had the working title of Sleight of Hand for about twelve years. It’s been hanging around on various hard drives for at least that long.

Structurally, it’s something like ABCA. The A sections are in E, but with heavy emphasis on A, making it feel a bit modal until we finally get to the E at the end of the chord sequence. First time round we get the main theme on bass, then basss and clean guitars, then the loud rocky version. It’s in 5/4 and to me feels quite open and anthemic. It’s the instrumental version of a big loud singalong chorus, as far as I’m concerned.

Arranging it the way I did also meant I had a nice arpeggio bass solo for Alun to play right at the start of the album, which seemed like a sensible place to start. I had a good player on board for the project, so why not highlight what he can do early on?

The B section is in A minor, kinda, and has some stupid time signature changes. Like really stupid, I think there’re 7/8s and 15/16s and all sorts of silly things. Did I set out to write something like that? No, it’s pretty rare that as a composer you decide to use a funny time signature. It’s just that the guitar melody worked out that way.

It’s pretty simple – the theme played out three times, once with the guitar playing the twisty melody, once with a synth sound, once again with the guitar, with a twisty ascending unison to finish of and bring us to a big loud Ab power chord.

The B and C sections began life in the same abandoned heavy metal project that led to my song ‘Steamlife’ from Ironbark. I was just getting into prog-metal at the time, so decided to try and write some. I don’t think I got as far as completing a single song for that project, but I did end up with a bunch of ideas that have found their way in to various projects.

The C section begins with a synth section that includes some gestural work using an almost percussive synth sound we heard previously in the intro and in the B section. The weird sounds here were made by messing around with samples of the B section synth sound.

And then, after some clean guitar arpeggios we move into the main part of the section, a brooding, melancholic passage that’s sort of in E, ascending and finally culminating in a tritone on F-sharp, giving us a nice moment of tension and dissonance, which resolves as we return to the bass solo from the A section.

And that leads into the A section again, nice and loud – the ‘singalong’ tuneful bit, this time with an extra counter melody from one of the guitars. The previous sections were twisty, tense and changeable – this final section is tuneful and straight. All right, it’s in 5/4, but that’s near enough to 4/4 as to be pretty much the same.

It’s an instrumental piece. So what is it about? This piece is a journey there and back again. It’s a Frankenstein’s monster of disparate, scattered parts, it’s light, then dark, then light again. It’s also very autobiographical in the sense that it brings together some of my oldest musical ideas and my most recent collaborations.

More importantly, it just makes me feel happy every time I hear it.

Murder and Parliament – Pre-orders open now

My new instrumental album, ‘Murder and Parliament’, is available now for pre-orders. You can stream the first track, ‘A Scattering’, right now.

Here’s the Bad Elephant Music announcement:

MURDER AND PARLIAMENT – PREORDERS AVAILABLE NOW
Bad Elephant Music is excited to announce that preorders for ‘Murder and Parliament’, the new instrumental project from Tom Slatter, are now open, ahead of a December 8th release.

Think you know Tom Slatter? Think again! Murder and Parliament’s instrumental soundscape showcases a side of Tom that may surprise you.

Enlisting the talents of Alun Vaughan (bass guitar) and Chrissie Caulfield (violin), Tom has realised this vision of layered, complex but tuneful noise. Make no mistake: this is a rock album, fitting neatly into the BEM instrumental zone also occupied by the likes of The Fierce & The Dead, The Brackish and The Bob Lazar Story.

”The songs on Murder and Parliament have been running around in my head for a decade or so,” says Tom. “And I can’t wait for other people to hear them too.”
‘Murder and Parliament’ will be released on December 8th, 2017.”

I’ve also made a couple of videos explaining the project:

The Sunday Bootleg Episode 42 – Simon Godfrey

In the new episode of my podcast the following things occur:

  • I remind us of the origin of the insect creatures and what they’ve been up to
  • I have a chat with Simon Godfrey about Simon’s musical adventures and our mutual problems with our record label boss, David Elephant.
  • I play Simon’s song ‘Tea Head’ from his album of rarities and obscurities ‘The Black Back Archives Volume 2’
  • I tell a little story about what I got up to after my last meeting with the evil label boss, David.

You can find more of Simon’s music at: shineback.badelephant.co.uk/

Sunday bootleg episode 41 Abomnium

Episode 41 of the Sunday Bootleg.

I’ve decided to include more interviews with other people and bootlegs from others on the podcast.

This week:
-An interview with one man extreme metal band Peter Watkinson about his band Abomnium.
-True facts about the war between Tarquin’s City Boys and the metal insects
-True facts about what it’s like being signed to BEM and how different Peter’s label boss is to David Elephant.
-Some heavy metal, including a demo track that Peter and I did together two or three years ago, and a track from Abomnium’s latest album A Hollow Path.

You have been warned.