Saturday, 25 September 2010

Jay Bellerose / Drummer

This week's TT Test is taken by the awesome Jay Bellerose, a drummer who you may have heard playing with Alison Kraus & Robert Plant, B.B.King, Beck and Ray LaMontagne amongst others. His sound is very special as he collects & uses vintage drums & percussion whose inconsistency may be off putting to some drummers but for Jay add a certain drama to the sound. Having had the privilege of working with Jay on the new record I was so blown away by how he builds a groove, layers & brings structure to the track... I was sometimes surprised by his choices but ultimately always persuaded by them. The only problem is now that I've played with Jay every time I hear a song I think, 'I wonder how Jay would approach this ?!' What is your wake up song at the moment? My favorite music at the moment is the sound of my dog Buster snoring away. It gives me great comfort right now. My espresso machine starting up is a close second followed by Hank Mobley's soul station record. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? My most influential moment was when my brother Nelson saw me at age five lose my mind over a set of drums. He put me on the path and has guided me since. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit & why? I would go back to the 20's, 30's & 40's. I'm really in love with the music and over all style from that period. I love eating out & discovering restaurants can you please recommend one to me? Casa mono in NYC is a current favourite of mine [link] What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your professional/creative life? The best advice for me so far came from T Bone Burnett. "Own it". BONUS QUESTION You are in Ray LaMontagne's band The Pariah Dogs who feature on his new album, how does it feel to be in a band as oppose to a session musician? Being in a band isn't so different other than a bit more acknowledgement.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

All Because of You - Karen Carpenter

This week's wake up song is from Karen Carpenter's solo record that was recorded in New York in 1979 & produced by Phil Ramone. I just love this song & performance & can't understand why it is not more widely known. It's not really a wake up song, it's actually the perfect song for a delicious bout of late night melancholy, and easily stands up next to the great Carpenters' ballads. Tantalisingly, when she was making this record the legendary songwriter Rod Temperton played her very early versions of 'Off the Wall' and 'Rock With You' but Carpenter turned them down on the grounds that they were too funky. Of course, the rest is history and they ended up being recorded by Michael Jackson but it would have been fascinating to have heard her take on those songs, love tt.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Last week I spent a lot of time trying to decide upon the sequence for the new record. It was quite difficult, it's one of those records where once you change the position of one track you have to go right back to the beginning and listen to the new sequence and it is very stubborn about what will & won't work so that process seemed to go on forever. Usually, I just listen to the tail end and intros of songs & the sequence is logical & easy... I think on this new record there are a lot of big personalities vying for space so it has not been so straightforward ! And also I usually I have a sort of story sequence in my head but this record... I think this one just wants to do it's own thing ;) love tt

Monday, 6 September 2010

Mark Creswell / Song-writer, musician

This weeks TT Test is taken by one of my favourite musicians, guitarist Mark Creswell. I first met Mark when I was 18 and was the opening act for the band he was in Brendan Crocker & the Five O'Clock Shadows. I was immediately entranced by his joyous, spirited playing and recently when I began writing a new set songs and was searching for a way to bring more groove & movement into my songs I immediately thought of Mark as a co-writer. You'll have to wait till next year to see how the songs have turned out but I for one am extremely happy with the results !! His answers are very interesting and strangely - if I could travel back in time it would probably also be to 18th Century Germany so I could eavesdrop on Bach improvising, I hope that's a good omen that we are suitable musical partners ! Lots of love tt. What is your wake up song at the moment ? An all time favourite and regular player on my juke box MP3 is the wonderfully eccentric 'Persian Lovers' by Holger Czukaybut [link]. If I need something to really bounce me into the day it would have to be 'Do I Love You ?' by Frank Wilson [link] for it's joy & best bass line to boot. Which work of art or single event has most in your chosen profession ? The invention & development of the electric guitar in the 20th Century. What's not to like ? They sound great, look fantastic... and you can use a wah-wah pedal with them too ! If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit & why ? I would go back to 1720 and be beamed into Bach's life at the time when he was director of music for Prince Leopold in Germany. I would of course speak fluent German and have been inoculated for all possible diseases! I'd take with me a good stereo compact recorder and record him whilst he was improvising & composing the cello suites or violin sonatas & see how he worked & how he played & how he sounded on the instruments of his own time. See just how 'well-tempered' he was :) I'd also take back with me Bach's Complete works in printed manuscript & leave them with him, including the ones that he hadn't thought of yet, just to help him out a bit & make life in those times a little easier... upon my return to the now see what ripple effect & repercussions my little visit had upon the history of music & in particular Rock 'n Roll ! It's a sort of chicken & egg thing like in this favourite 'Bowie's in Space' sketch by Flight of the Conchords [link]. I love eating out & discovering newrestaurants can you please recommend one to me ? I don't get to eat out much except when I'm with you & that's always rather tasty. I prefer simple food so I'd recommend 'Corner Cafe ' in Leeds [link] a small, friendly family run restaurant which just hits the spot. What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your professional/ creative life ? Seeing as my chosen career is music, the best advice to which I've never heeded is 'Get a Job !' BONUS QUESTION How was the experience of recording the new songs that we have written together & are you happy with the way they have turned out ? Recording these new songs was a really great experience for me, we somehow fell on our feet through a series of odd events & coincidences that landed us both in LA, recording with a set of amazing musicians & brought together by the awesome Paul Bryan's production. Playing with these guys really opened up the songs beyond all my expectations & left me with the resounding affirmation that music is at it's best when it involves the interaction of souls & minds together i.e musicians ! These recordings have so much life & vibrancy that I hear something new on every listening giving them a magical, timeless quality that I love.