I finished the show with one of my favourite ever songs- December Hunting…. by Stars of The Lid. It has once again provided a wonderful background over the last week or so. I described how it’s music I enjoy through good times and bad. During bad times it takes some of the weight of some fragile and uncomfortable burdens.
This week it was a pleasure to welcome Andy Valiant of London based stoner rock band Oak into the studio. I’ve been playing their music or referring to them over many weeks and it was finally lovely to speak to him to find out more about them.
You can hear the show again here:
We discussed their origins, the origins of the band name and how their style has evolved. Partly due to how each of their EPs have been recorded in different studios, but also the evolution in Andy’s voice, from mainly making noises in the early days, to now with lyric writing. From this is also the enjoyment of having a platform for telling stories from the heart.
Andy Valiant | OAK
I’ve been a fan of the artwork Oak use on their EP covers and Andy spoke of his relationship with the artist- Unexpected Spectre and how much of a symbiotic relationship it is, where they don’t have to explain too much of what they’re after, but they get wonderful results anyway.
Andy also described his musical influences, especially the effect Led Zeppelin had when he first heard them. Also the effect this had on how he can use his voice, also the difference between singing live and recording in a studio.
While Andy spoke of how he enjoys performing, I wondered whether his growth in confidence came from the progress of this. Actually he discussed how it was more from knowing that this path is what he wants to do.
With the discussions about their musical evolution, we spoke about the new single Love Is Falling and how it came about, especially how it it became a single almost unexpectedly. They also created a video for it which you can see here:
I then meandered towards a more relaxed end of the show, even discussing one of Dave Grohl’s favourite pop songs Andrew Gold’s ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’ from 1978. I then chose another example from that year with Billy Joel’s ‘My Life’.
You can hear it all again here:
Here is the playlist for 29th March 2018 (With links to purchase or discover more where possible)
1 Anthrax – Time (Persistence Of Time – 1990)
2 1968 – Duchess (Fortuna Havana – 2017)
3 Megadeth – Holy Wars…The Punishment Due (Rust In Peace – 1990)
4 Helmet – He Feels Bad (Meantime – 1992)
5 Black Orchids – Still Remains
6 Elder – Staving Off Truth (Reflections Of A Floating World – 2017)
7 Dinosaur Jr – Get Me (Where You Been – 1993)
8 Faith No More – Ashes To Ashes (Album Of The Year – 1997)
9 Aerosmith – Beyond Beautiful (Just Push Play – 2001)
10 Mother Love Bone – Heartshine (Stardog Champion – 1992)
11 A Perfect Circle – By and Down (Stone And Echo – 2013)
12 Memory Tapes – Yes I Know (Player Piano – 2011)
13 Andrew Gold – Never Let Her Slip Away (All This And Heaven Too – 1978)
14 Billy Joel – My Life (52nd Street – 1978)
15 Beautiful Girls – Cash Money (Learn Yourself – 2003)
16 Feist – The Limit To Your Love (The Reminder – 2008)
17 Brandi Carlile – Again Today (The Story – 2007)
18 Neil Diamond – Pretty Amazing Grace (Home Before Dark – 2008)
19 Natalie Merchant – Not In This Life (Motherland – 2001)
20 Snatam Kaur – Deep Blue Sea (Celebrate Peace – 2005)
This week I enjoyed playing some new releases from Australian stoner rockers Foot and Swedish post-rock band Loud Exit. I also continued to share new music from Tanya Donelly, The Breeders and carried on the recent habit of playing songs from recent favourites such as the Lonesome Sisters.
Welcome to Episode 6 of the Mental Health Matters podcast on Phoenix FM. You can listen to the whole episode here:
Fitness In Mind – Chris & Evie
First of all it was lovely to speak to Phoenix FM’s own Chris Hood, who also works for Fitness In Mind at the Brentwood Centre in Essex. It is an initiative designed to promote, encourage and provide physical activity as an aid to mental wellbeing.
Chris enjoyed being on the other side of the microphone for a change, receiving questions and describing the services they’re able to provide. We spoke of their origin, funding and how successful the scheme has been in helping people out of difficult circumstances and isolation.
We were able to hear a success story first hand, because joining Chris to share her experience of how it works was Evie. She spoke enthusiastically of how she was able to come from a low point after a breakdown and never consider entering a gym or class, to now enjoying them and feeling positive of her progress. In fact, she is so positive about her experiences and is able to describe it so well, that it is clear she would be a great ambassador for the initiative.
As well of the benefits of physical exercise and the feeling of achievement of completing a course, one of the main benefits I picked up on was the feeling of community that develops when people come together with shared experiences and goals. There is soon a comfort and strength in numbers and camaraderie that continues after the course finishes. I’ve spoken about this on previous episodes of the podcast, where isolation is more common in our society, surely a major cause of mental health issues. Living in a small community, or ‘tribe’ is something I advocate and I certainly have felt better since bringing myself out of isolation and once again returning to circles of friends once again.
A bit like the isolation I mentioned above, issues in relationships have a major effect on our mental wellbeing. I know from my own experience of how upset, even distraught I have felt in moments after a break up, or the heartache that can come from the yearnings for that someone special you wish to be with. I also see it around me, with those my age feeling similar yearnings as they continue to get older and don’t have that special someone they’d like by their side. Or conversely, have had relationships or marriages broken up, perhaps after many years, with the trauma and loss that can bring.
Steve’s coaching work helps people through these problems. A lot of it is based around changing our perspective, focussing on what we want to create in our lives, such as love, joy, happiness and success.
I was able to record an online conversation with Steve and his UK based colleague Dan Dore, who both wonderfully described what they do and how they are able to help. It was also a big turning point for me, because it meant I had to be more honest and open ‘on the air’ than I have been in the past. Since starting this podcast, and indeed at other times on my other Musical Meanderings music show, there have been limits to what I’ve shared of my own experiences or things personal to me. But to help illustrate points for Steve and Dan to describe their work, I provided specific examples of issues I have been having with relationships- in finding them and maintaining them. Indeed, also why I was focussed on that on not other areas of my life. I found it very healing and has already helped me in my work and removed a restriction in communicating and sharing.
The topics that we covered include how important it is to realise that you’re ok right in this moment, how expectations can build in resentments in relationships and examples of their coaching, such as where they encourage writing and describing your guiding principles and values you have and want to create in your life.
This week it was lovely to celebrate some beautiful female vocals with the likes of Windhand, Sarah McLachlan and Nicole Atkins, but also hearing from Tanya Donelly again.
Also, I celebrated some more live music, also with Nicole Atkins, speaking about her recent UK tour which has just finished and the coming of Obituary in London on Saturday and Night Ranger on Sunday. Also, recently in Manchester was the Riffolution Festival, which hosted the likes of Oak, Trevor’s Head, Wychhound and 1968, so it was lovely to mention during the show.
Legendary Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell has had a side project for a few years with his sons Todd, Dane and Tyla. After the sad passing of Lemmy, he had time to reflect and decide what he wanted to pursue next. He chose to make the band his next full time project and they’ve just released their first full album together- The Age Of Absurdity.
It was a great chance for him to start from a blank slate creatively and experiment with different musical styles, including blues rock in songs like Dark Days. But there is still his trademark riff sound throughout. Also, he greatly enjoys playing in a band with his sons and it has helped as part of his process of getting over the loss of his friend Lemmy and his time in Motörhead.
In tonight’s show I enjoyed sharing a conversation with the singer in the band Neil Starr. During the interview we spoke about his involvement, the path of creating the album and enjoying the different musical styles. Also and how they’re looking forward to playing more live gigs, including the upcoming tour supporting Ugly Kid Joe and then their own dates sometime after.
You can hear the conversation during the show available on my mixcloud page:
The show also included more of the usual meanderings, including adventures in soul, with a recent song by Thundercat, some post rock including Ruins! Ruins! and Arsiesys, memories of my youth with Natalie Merchant and Loudon Wainwright III and even an opportunity for some worship with Hillsong United.
Welcome to the latest episode of the Mental Health Matters podcast. You can listen to it here:
It features conversations with Youtube creator ‘Wild Thing‘ and Brentwood based Mindfulness teacher Myra Mchale.
‘Wild Thing‘ is a Youtube creator who posts videos talking about and sharing his experiences with personal growth and mental healing. Much of it is described from a philosophical perspective, but also very grounded and easy to hear and feel how it applies to our lives and what we’ve been through.
He offers his e-mail address to get in touch and have a Skype session to talk about what is on your mind. He is open, listens and reflects back what his understanding is of what he hears.
I got in touch with him to record a conversation for the podcast, but also to see what he could be able to help with. On that note the recording begins with a sort of testimonial of the skype session we just had. I was curious to how it would go and what he would be able to share and help with. I included that part as I thought it might provide some explanation of how he is able to help you should you wish.
The conversation then unfolded where I learned more about his perspectives on life and the human condition, and what ultimately led him to spread his word on Youtube.
During the interview we spoke about how much they’re enjoying being back together and creating the new album ‘No Cross No Crown’. They continue to have a big, grooving sound and Reed spoke about how great it was to still be working with John Custer, their ‘fifth Beatle’.
We also spoke about their origins, such as how Slayer helped get them signed, the evolution of music through the eighties and nineties. And how they almost worked with Dave Grohl to do some work with his sound city studio for the new album, though it wasn’t needed in the end as they were so happy with what they recorded locally in Mike Dean’s studio.
He was also looking forward to playing in London again. We talked about the venues they’ve played and lamented some of the ones that have closed that Reed remembered fondly, such as also gigs he’s seen such as Faith No More at the Brixton Academy.
During the conversation I played the first two singles from the new No Cross No Crown album- Wolf Named Crow and The Luddite, then also one of my favourites of theirs- Albatross (written by Reed) and the song which introduced me to them- ‘Vote With A Bullet’.