Eagle…

I’ve always been drawn to heavy music, no matter what the genre; metal, blues, hip hop, classical…

After falling in love with doom and drone six years ago, I started making my own music, echoing the dark sounds I was discovering. It didn’t seem to matter to me that I was playing ukulele and harmonicas, rather than guitars.

My own music has been through a few genres, but it is doom and drone where I feel ‘at home’. The way in which a piece will build up seemingly from nothing is a magical experience to me. I love getting lost in sound.

I’ve been making a lot of music lately, playing pretty much every day, and I have found my sound getting heavier and darker over the last few weeks.

The latest batch of sounds I’ve finished are definitely in the doom style, heavy, loud and menacing. They also have a drone quality to them, leading you into a trancelike state.

They may be short, but they hold plenty of power, and I am very proud of how they’ve come out.

I have to acknowledge my peers and influences, Eagle Twin, Sunn O))), High on Fire and Goatsnake, all of whom have added to the mix of heaviness, tone and texture.

Having played these pieces a lot over the last few days, I have found my groove, and plan on taking them out live into the world… if the world is ready for them.

https://ruke.bandcamp.com/album/eagle

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I have a problem…

… I can’t stop making music. I seem to playing every day at the moment. Mostly harmonicas, but also some ukulele and mandolin. It’s great therapy, and has really made a positive impact on my mental health.

I reckon I have about half a dozen eps or albums sketched out, and am thinking of releasing one a month. They are a mixture of chilled out drone harmonica pieces, heavier doom pieces and straight blues. I also have plans to play live soon too.

My wife has been very supportive of this, even suggesting that I go off and play when I’m feeling low or agitated. As I said, it really helps me, and makes me feel happy.

I’ve also been filming some of the tracks and sharing them on YouTube, some of them have even been watched! I’m really happy with how things are working out, and proud of what I’m coming up with.

Here’s a taste… https://soundcloud.com/morgan-gleave/mountain-demo

Angels & Demons…

I’ve made another album!

My mental health has been pretty good this week, with more days of me feeling good and happy rather than not. With that in mind, I ventured into the attic earlier this week to just play, with no intentions of making another release.

I’ve been recording my playing most of the time, as you never know when inspiration will strike, but I’ve not been thinking of putting any of my new sounds out there. After all, I’ve just released ‘Jesus Meets the Harmonicas’.

I purposely wanted to play some slower music, keeping it simple and quite minimal. You can tell I’ve been listening to Earth a lot lately, given that Dylan Carlson has rapidly become one of my favourite musicians. I seem to be inspired more by guitarists than harmonica players, trying to interpret guitar riffs and lines through my instrument of choice.

So I played. Slower, more naturally and with no pressure, just to see where the music would take me. I used Earth’s album ‘Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II’ as a reference point, and just went from there. 5 tracks just flowed out of me with no effort. I had the recorder running, so everything was captured. A minimal bit of EQ and reverb in Adobe Audition, and an album was born.

I think my current mental state is reflected in the music, as they are relaxed pieces, leaning more towards ambient and drone than anything else. Listening back to them this afternoon, getting them ready for release, I had a big smile on my face, happy with what I’d created.

I put them up on my personal Bandcamp, where you can hear and download them. https://morgangleave.bandcamp.com/album/angels-demons

Thanks for listening…

Jesus Meets the Harmonicas

I’ve made an album!

As discussed in my last post, I’ve been playing lots of punky harmonica music, mainly inspired by Stupids and their album ‘Jesus Meets the Stupids’. I’ve now made an album based around it, and have put it up on Bandcamp. You can listen and download for free, or pay if you feel like it!

After worrying about getting it sounding right, and doing multiple takes for each track, I’ve pretty much gone back to my first takes and uploaded them, as they have the right sound and energy. I did redo a few tracks, but only as I thought they weren’t quite fitting in with the others.

It’s fun trying to play harmonica like a guitar, as most of the tracks are based around the guitar riffs rather than anything else. I seemed to be more inspired by guitarists than harmonica players when it comes to my music anyhow.

I’m really happy with how it’s come out, as it has the feel of the original songs whilst sounding like me too. I hope you dig it too!

https://ruke.bandcamp.com/album/jesus-meets-the-harmonicas

Punk Rock

Hello, how’ve you all been?

I’ve been revisiting my youth lately, prompted by my old college class popping up on Facebook and meeting up again. I’ve also been going back musically, listening to a lot of the music I was listening to back then, namely Stupids and Suicidal Tendencies.

As my health has improved this year, I’ve started making music again, with more of a punk ethic, fast and short tunes that are heavy and rock. Listening to Jesus Meets the Stupids has been a real blast, and made me realise that it might be one of my favourite albums ever.

So, I’ve been playing along with the album, and have made 12 demo versions of harmonica tunes based and inspired by the Stupids and punk rock in general. Punk is huge, with such a wide range of sounds and styles, but short, fast riff based jams are seemingly my thing, so that’s what I’ve been playing.

I want to get these tracks right without sounding too polished, after all, punk is raw and ready to me, but I want them to sound good and be able to play them live. I have a great setup now, with my Pignose amp, selection of harmonicas and stereo recorder, ideal for blasting out tunes and lofi recording.

Stay tuned, there’s some great stuff coming up…

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Onwards…

I’ve been making more music… Working on a new EP of songs about family pets, and just this evening a quick EP of short punky harmonica tunes. I’ve even been thinking about playing live again.

I seem to be drawn to fast punky sounds at the moment, discovering new bands through Bandcamp and Instagram. Even going to see P.O.S. on Saturday was more of a punk gig than a hip hop one, full on with a mosh pit and piercings. It was a real good gig, and I got to meet P.O.S. afterwards, and give home some art I’d made for him. He was a nice dude and really chuffed with the painting.

So, onto this evening… I’ve been really struggling with a change of meds and tiredness, so I’ve been sleeping a lot more than I should be and not being able to function. This morning, I managed to get up and make breakfast, but not long after felt so bad I had to go back to sleep again. So it was quite surprising that I wanted to go and make music. Music seems to be the one thing that keeps me balanced at the moment. After most of the day being spent I bed, it felt good to climb up to the attic and just play, see where the music took me.

I said I’d been listing to lots of punk stuff at the mo, and today was no different. I have found a great Japanese band, OtobokeBeaver, who make great punk pop music. I listened to lots of their stuff, and went off to make some sounds of my own. I love the infectious energy that Japanese people in bands seem to have. So positive and uplifting. So I wanted to play in that mindset, being positive and full of energy.

I played some fast harmonica, which led to four tunes coming out. I seem to work in fours with music, and I tend to make sets of four tunes around a theme. This set were given Japanese names, and art to match. Just quick playing and mixing, with minimal tweaking, keeping the energy of the performance. Heck, I even stood up to play. I put them straight up onto Bandcamp with no mucking about, just a DIY ethic.

You can hear the tracks here: https://ruke.bandcamp.com/album/hamonikarajio

I had fun again, and enjoyed the whole process, from playing, through to mastering and making the artwork. Felt good to be creating just for the sake of creating, feeling more like myself, positive and happy. Sharing the tracks just seemed like the natural thing to do. I think I’ll practice playing them, building confidence, with a view to playing live in the New Year. Fun!

Progress…

The last few weeks have been tough mentally and physically, with depression kicking in and leaving me tired and emotional. I’ve had issues with oversleeping, then being awake until the early hours.

Today looked like it was shaping up to be another heavy day, as after I’d dropped my wife off in the morning, I thought I’d be retreating back under the duvet until she needed picking up later in the afternoon. It seems to be my default setting at the moment.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and walked our lovely dog, Breeze, cut some firewood, before settling down with 2000AD and a cuppa. Then, I managed to scrub the bathroom, unload and reload the dishwasher, before sorting the broadband and having lunch. No sign of needing a nap or hiding away from life.

And then, get this, I headed out early to go for a skate. I’ve been wanting to skate for weeks, but my depression has been stopping me by making my tired or scared. I was almost too scared to skate today, as when I got to the skatepark, there were two other people there. I have anxiety about doing stuff when other folks are around, as I worry about showing my self up. I got out of the car, almost bottled it, then picked up my board and wondered what was the worst that could happen.

So, the two at the park where younger than me, and even though they could skate better than me, they were okay, and I did my best, and managed to flow round well, getting some kick turns and fakie rolls in, feeling better with each turn on the ramp. I stayed for about 30 minutes, then went back to the car to read some Ruby Wax, feeling much better.

You Don’t Belong…

I’ve written about music a lot on here, about how much it means to me, and how making music really helps with my mental health. Well today, I finished off an EP of harmonica jams that I started on a few weeks back.
When I got to college back in 1987, I was an indie loving Smiths fan, and dressed accordingly, but the crowd I fell in with were all metal heads, lovers of Slayer and Metallica. Well, before you knew it, I was growing my hair long, dressing in skinny jeans and Hi-Tec boots, and listening to a lot of metal. I bought a lot of the same stuff as my friends, but the two bands that stood out for me, and which I discovered for myself were Suicidal Tendencies and The Stupids.

It wasn’t just the music that got me, both bands had strong connections with the skate scene, and I was skating a lot at the time, amongst college work and drinking Newcastle Brown. Both bands seemed like a natural fit to me, so I bought everything I could by them. Fast forward 30 years, and I still love Suicidal Tendencies and The Stupids, and have been buying up their back catalogue on CD. Heck, I’ve even started skating again! 

So, making music… I’ve been slowly returning to playing harmonica again, as my mental health has improved, which has really helped with my recovery, and is really good fun too. I started working on the idea of a new EP a few weeks back, and have been playing the pieces more and more, getting the sounds I wanted. I demoed them in Garage Band first, then got a lovely new Pignose amp and a new Tascam recorder, getting the sound quality just how I like it. 

Today, I played all the pieces again, and did some minimal mastering in Adobe Audition to get the sound just right. These jams are inspired by The Stupids and Suicidal Tendencies from back in the day, and Gurt from more recently. Oh, and the EP title is a Stupids song. I’m really happy with how they’ve come out… quite simple pieces, but played with gusto and energy. I did some artwork, and put them up on Bandcamp this afternoon. 

Getting this EP done and dusted means a lot to me, as it’s a good indicator of where my mind and health is. I really enjoyed putting them together, and hope you enjoy listening to them. Hey, you could even download them if you want, as they’re free!

https://ruke.bandcamp.com/album/you-dont-belong

(De)Motivation…

I have a pile of things I want to do… canvases to paint, models to build, books to read and so on, but they haven’t been touched. 

Depression sucks the life out of you at times, sapping all of your energy, so that it takes all of your effort and energy just to make it through the day, watching the clock, and wondering when it would be okay to go to bed.

Today has been one of these days. I was up reasonably early to get to the doctors and then the gym for a planning session, but once I got home again, all I could do was curl up on the bed and go back to sleep. 

We had some people round later to do some work on the house, as we are redecorating downstairs (there’s another whole can of worms/blog post…), and all I could do was stay upstairs out of the way. Depression meant I couldn’t handle interacting with others, so I hid. 

I’ve not been hard on myself though, as mental health can make you, as I realised a day of not doing much apart from reading comics and watching cartoons was what I needed to feel better and be able to tackle the rest of the week. Self-care is really important.

Tomorrow we start putting our new front room together, adding some real character to our home, and over the weekend, most of our new furniture should be put out. We are creating a waram and cosy room where we can read, watch TV, draw, whatever. It will make a huge difference to our life and our health.

But today, we rest…

Got my mojo back…

I’ve  always loved music. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who played lots of different music in our family home. Blues, jazz, rock, folk and a lot of other sounds besides. I can remember going to my village newsagent when I was young and buying 7 inch singles with my pocket money at the weekends, and my favourite thing that I spent my birthday money on when I was ten was an album by Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
Over the years I bought lots of albums and singles, most of which I still have stacked up in the attic. I love having music on vinyl, and have started collecting vinyl and cassettes again recently. At present, I’m really enjoying listening to The Stupids from my college days, and new discovery (to me anyway) Mammal Hands. I love all kinds of music.

About 5 years back, I really got into actually making music, as well as listening to it. It was great release, and I felt that I had found a missing piece of myself. Making music was also good for my mental health, as it always lifts my spirits. That all changed a while ago, when I had a breakdown, and the thought of even listening to music, let alone make it, was the last thing on my mind. 

Over the last year, music has starting creeping back into my life, first by going through my collection of vinyl, thanks to the kind gift of a stereo from old friends. This also sparked my buying of music again, on vinyl, and also cassette. I started digging through Bandcamp, finding new sounds to complement my older ones. Then I bought some new harmonicas. Slowly, I started playing music again.

In the last few months, I’ve been working on new sounds, enhanced by GarageBand on the iPad, and in the last week, through a new amp onto a new digital recorder. Some of them are fast punk tunes, some slower jazz pieces, and I’m really happy with how things are coming along. I don’t intend on rushing myself, just taking time and enjoying playing and learning to play better and with more feeling. When I’m really happy with what I play, I may just release them through Bandcamp.

Music is very strongly linked with mental health, and it’s really making a difference to mine. I definitely feel as though I’m coming back to myself.

You can hear my progress here: https://soundcloud.com/ruke-622656462/free-fall