Monday, 28 June 2010

Big Antidote on Old Street

If you work or live around Old Street in London you can go and have a look at the Big Antidote project I contributed to as it's been plastered all over a building there (313 Old Street). I've mentioned the project on here before but it's worth taking a look at the website if you haven't had a chance. The basic premise is to tell a story that gradually develops over a series of comic strips dictated by each contributing illustrator.

Anyway here are some pictures. Go and have a look - it'll be up for a couple of weeks or so although the dashing rent-boy in the last picture probably won't be. Oh who am I kidding - times are tough...





Thursday, 24 June 2010

Up The Hill first attempt

Jake Blanchard is a brilliant illustrator and print-maker I met at Print Club and he also happens to dig the same freak-folk-drone-psych I tend to like. That said by comparison I'm something of a pop whore. Anyway he has a new project in progress involving lots of great bands and lots of great illustrators and vinyl (YES!). I tagged along too somehow - thanks Jake!

Here was my first effort. It was really time-consuming but ultimately sadly lacking. I don't know went wrong but it didn't quite come off. I spent an age layering up sheets of elaborately drawn tracing paper but by the end of it the sketches looked a million times better than the final piece.

More details to follow.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Special Benny - Toys

Here's a bit more information regarding the forthcoming Special Benny album from Proper Songs head honcho Ben Smith (also guitarist of the brilliant Leaf Library):

"I'm very proud to announce the release of Special Benny's debut album 'Toys' on 6th September 2010 through Proper Songs!

The six-piece band are Mat Baynton, Grace Cheung, Tom Corbett, Ben Gates, Rob Smoughton and Matt Turner who hail from Southend, Brighton, Bexleyheath and Hong Kong but now call London home. Most of Special Benny studied music, apart from Mat, who went to clown school. Although five members can distinguish between a Neapolitan 6th, and a French 6th, none can fall over quite so hilariously as Mr Baynton.

The tracks on “Toys” draw from a variety of musical influences. Although they admit their individual tastes differ greatly, the band cites Tortoise, Jim O'Rourke, Sufjan Stevens, Battles, Frank Zappa and Steve Reich among their shared favourites.

As might be expected from a band who admire such experimental luminaries, there is a high degree of collaboration and planning involved in their song writing: “We finish all our ideas together, or the band as a whole aren’t interested. Democracy can be hard within a band, it can lead to arguments. But at the same time, the fact that we are always surprised when we play together is an absolute joy.”

Special Benny are not a band to rush things - their ultra-obsessive nature with microscopic detail of sound would send the most hardy of studio hermits around the bend - but even for them “Toys” has been a long time coming. Mat and Ben have been making music together since they were 14, before meeting other members around university and starting Special Benny (named seconds before playing their first gig, the name stuck ever since, somehow). Despite building up a solid live following and self-recording/producing/releasing the “Rumblestrip EP” in 2006, the group struggled to find their natural rhythm and life began to interfere. original drummer Steve Galloway left, Matt Turner took a job in Australia for a year, Mat Baynton’s acting career took off, Ben and Grace started a family – the group even called time on Special Benny with a final gig at their spiritual home of The Fox in Lewisham, South East London. Then in late 2008, they discussed playing seriously again with their friend and drummer Rob Smoughton (who releases as Grovesnor on Lo Recordings and is live drummer for Hot Chip). The resulting rehearsals inspired the group into resuming with renewed focus, leading to the completion of “Toys”.

The release of “Toys” is a testament to their desire and need to create music together, and to do so on their own terms as a group. It is the sound of people discovering common ground despite their differences and disruptions and creating music that’s beautiful, precious, timeless and entirely their own."

I also managed to get the finished album off Ben and I can happily confirm it looks almost as good as it sounds. Right now I have some zines to finish...

Friday, 18 June 2010

PorTable Placemats and Coasters

Ella Doran has designed some ace new placemats and coasters for vinyl freaks like me featuring a series of portable vintage record players. We had a launch night last night where I got to play some of my favourite 45's such as Cozy Powell's drumtastic 'And Then There Was Skin', The Bobby Fuller Four's 'Let Her Dance' and Bettye Swann's 'My Heart is Closed For The Season' which was just enough to prompt Rob Ryan to come sniffing around my rares. I really should start playing records out again.

The placemats are available here and they're great. I should know - I have to make them with my own bare hands.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Spider

I spent last weekend at the Llama festival and I'm still struggling to integrate back into society after such a fun time hence no blog updates. Why can't every weekend be spent in a charming English seaside village with glorious sunshine, wonderful people and Can's 'I'm So Green' blaring out across the usually sleepy harbour for everyone to enjoy (not to mention a whole array of B Music/Very Good Plus endorsed drum-heavy-fuzz-drenched belters)? Chuck in a blistering live set from Voice of the Seven Thunders in a packed out pub and you've got the perfect weekend.

In celebration of all of the above I drew a fuck-off big spider.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Special Benny website

The new and improved Special Benny website is up and running featuring some of my artwork from the forthcoming album 'Toys' aka 'What's The Story Morning Gloria Hunniford'. Not sure when the album is out but I do know it's flipping skillz and the album launch party is gonna be mad-silly-stoopid-tits-dope.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Zine Sketches Take 2 - Serge Gainsbourg

Another day another shitty rough sketch! This time vaguely resembling enfant terrible Serge Gainsbourg. I'm a huge Serge fan and one of the best live performances I've ever seen was watching Jean-Claude Vannier perform the incredible 'Melody Nelson' album at the Barbican with the help of Jarvis Cocker and Gruf Rhys a few years back. Trouble is everyone in the world loves a bit of Serge and I imagine at least half of them have already done drawn him better than I can so I quit while I was behind...