This is exciting! IronBark 2020

This is very exciting! I have just finished recording a new version of my 18 minute ‘epic’ song, IronBark. I am so excited I immediately made as many little homemade singles as I had the materials for. Which is 18 (I only had enough labels for that many).

There are 18 CDs of the brand new version of IronBark. It sounds well good! 18 minutes of music about the murderous, melodramatic happenings in the town of Ironbark, all set to twisty guitars and synths and stuff.

I’ve put them onto these vinyl style CDs. You can have one, if you’re quick! £1 (or more if you want) plus a little for the postage.

I have no idea if a ‘proper’ physical version will ever exist – I have literally just finished the recording and have had no time to work out plans for a release. So this might be the only way ever to get your hands on a physical thing with this song on it. Certainly the only way for a while. (Can you tell how this is a smooth, commercial endeavour full of careful planning?)

Get ’em while they’re hot.

All together now: “Five men know where the bodies are buried…”

My indecisive face

Here’s a pic of me pulling an indecisive face. I’m trying to work out what to do next, artistically speaking.It’s a weird time. The eye of a plaguey storm. We’re likely to be heading back into full-on lockdown soon here in the UK and while I’m lucky to have a relatively secure job and little personal risk, that doesn’t mean I’m unaffected. I find myself lacking concentration. Do you find that? Hard to focus on anything weighty, long, meaningful.

I’ve been throwing around ideas for the next album. Is it a scifi concept album? Is it a looser collection of songs that will allow space for the big long prog rock epic that is currently brewing? Is it a combination of the two?(I might be combining those two ideas into some chimeric monster album)

But, is it the right time to be thinking of an album? That’s a big load of music, a large statement. I’m not sure now is the time to be making big statements. it might be the time for lighter distractions. Individual songs. Sillinesses.

Not sure.’Just follow your muse. You’re an artist, do what feels right’.But a lot of that view of the artist – that we’re instinctual, creative, making decisions in the moment without too much thought – is fiction. Getting an album written, recorded, mixed, mastered, released? That’s a big project with lots of moving parts. Musicians who get stuff done are project managers as much as ‘artists’.

So I’ve decisions to make about what the next things I release are.I reckon those two album ideas that have been knocking about are about to become one idea.I reckon before that there might also be:

– Another demo tournament. I enjoyed the last one.

– Revamped ‘Seven Bells John’ songs plus the short stories that go with them (yes these exist). That’ll include new versions of Through These Veins and Ironbark which I’ve nearly finished. They sound fantastic.

– Individual single releases.

Probably that’s what will be happening. Maybe.

Satellites – Lyric video

I had a day off, so I’m amused myself by making a lyric video to my song Satellites.

This means I’ve had an excuse to listen to the song. It is good! It’s been in the setlist so I’ve played it relatively recently, but haven’t heard the album version for a while. It’s one of my most collaborative songs really. Michael Cairns plays drums and also decided on the half time feel in second chorus (which was a good idea!). Jordan Brown got me to change key from C# minor to F# and also provided the rather excellent bass playing. Dan from Seren Sounds produced and if I recall correctly sang backing too.

Being a loner, weirdo solo artist I have to push myself to collaborate with others. I’m always pleased when I do.

Satellites is the third track from my album Happy People. It’s about love in a near future dystopia where the government watches your every move, where people are forced to live underground sheltered from the post-apocalyptic nightmare outside. And it’s about two people trying to escape.

It turned out to be about this accidentally as the lyrics were inspired by various attempts at Burroughs/Bowie-esque cut-ups from which the story seemed to emerge. You can see that in some lines being, well a bit weird (the one about gunships. What’s that about?) So in the video I’ve tried to give the sense that this is found footage with subtitles that happen to match the song.

Here’s a link to a blog post that tells you more about the song.

These Skeletons – out now

My new single, These Skeletons, is out now. Here it is on bandcamp:
I’ve written so many songs about murder over the years it seems inevitable that someone might start questioning some of my characters. So this song is about a murderer dealing with unwanted questions – he isn’t telling you anything. And maybe you should stop asking.

lyrics

If you keep digging around
You won’t like what you find
Is this a clue to the man that you are
A key to a door that should stay locked?
We’ve all done things that are better burned and dead
If you keep digging around
You won’t like what you findMemories fade and our consciences clear
If you dredge up still waters you might drown

These skeletons
These skeletons
Ain’t coming out for no-one

These skeletons
These skeletons
Ain’t coming out for no-body
Ain’t coming out for no-body

Everyone’s wearing a mask
Everyone’s got a past
Are you as blameless as you pretend
As pure as driven snow?
Cos we’ve all done things that are better burned and dead
Everyone’s wearing a mask
And you wouldn’t like what you see

Memories fade and our consciences clear
If you dredge up still waters you might drown

These skeletons
These skeletons
Ain’t coming out for no-one

These skeletons
These skeletons
Ain’t coming out for no-body
Ain’t coming out for no-body

Memories fade and our consciences clear
If you dredge up still waters you might drown

These skeletons
These skeletons
Ain’t coming out for no-one

These skeletons
These skeletons
Ain’t coming out for no-body
Ain’t coming out for no-body

credits

released June 30, 2020
Tom Slatter – Rhythm guitar and vocals
Gareth Cole – Lead Guitar
Keith Buckman – Bass guitar
Michael Cairns – Drums

These Skeletons (Live. Sort of)

These Skeletons is my new single, out on 30th June.

Here’s a ‘live’ in the 4 different studios version of it.

I’ve written so many songs about murder over the years it seems inevitable that someone might start questioning some of my characters. So this song is about a murderer dealing with unwanted questions – he isn’t telling you anything. And maybe you should stop asking.

Murder songs – another live bootleg.

The most recent thing I tormented my bandcamp subscribers with was this set of murder songs – a set of acoustic live-for-the-internet songs about murder.

It’s one of several live bootlegs subscribers get their grubby mitts on.

There’s also a set of songs from the Raising Steam festival 2019 – that’s a full band one and lots of fun.

There’s the Fit the Fourth album launch bootleg, which is one of only two times I had a go at a one man version of the entire Seven Bells John song cycle/concept meta-album thing. It shouldn’t have worked, it was almost derailed by a well meaning but drunk heckler, it includes half a version of Demon with the whole chapel singing along out of tune. Oh yeah, and it was recorded in an actual consecrated Chapel (they had to burn it down soon after).

And there’s a set from The Surrey Steampunk Convivial which was one of the most glorious acoustic gigs I ever played – and one of the first times I found myself thinking I had really figured out how to perform.

The poor fool subscribers get all of these, and more. I assume they force themselves to listen to it all on a loop until every moment is etched into their brains like a record player needle cutting through the grey matter.

Erm, I mean I am grateful to my subscribers and I hope they enjoy the music.

More info about the subscribers thing is here.

Racing Gravity – out now

 

My new single, Racing Gravity, has been out for a week now. I think it’s lots of fun. It’s a space pirate love song. Cos that’s a genre, right?

Like lots of my songs, it takes inspiration from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. In that comedy scifi book there’s a fictional band called Disaster Area and all their songs tell the same story: “boy-being meets girl-being beneath silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.” I’ve got loads of songs that are basically love songs set against some sort of scifi or dystopian background. Satellites is about love despite the evil government drones, Run is about love at the end of the world. Whenever I’m not sure what to write, that’s one of my default lyrical settings.

Racing Gravity itself started as part of February Album Writing Month, an annual songwriting challenge. In that you have to write 14 songs in a month. And I only had the weekends so really it was 14 songs in 10 days. In practice that meant I had to write and demo each song in about an hour.

Racing Gravity started with the thought ‘I haven’t done anything in triplet time, so let’s do that’ and then I found myself messing around with the opening guitar pattern. The basic idea I thought was the same as ‘No Surface All Feeling’ a relatively obscure Manic Street Preachers, but as I write this I’m listening to that song for the first time in about a decade and actually my song is less of a rip off than I thought it might be! The Manics song is much slower and not in 3 time.

Racing Gravity is also the first studio recording of the Tom Slatter Band. Gareth on guitar, Michael on drums, Keith on bass. We’ve played a couple of gigs and released some little rough bootleg recordings. Gareth and Michael have also recorded for me on a few other projects. But this is the first of what will hopefully be many recordings together.

Here it is on bandcamp, where you can download for free it if you want to: