Interview – audiodeluxe

One of the best things about writing this blog has been discovering bands I may never have discovered without it. My latest favourites are audiodeluxe, a husband/wife duo from near Glasgow who have been making music together since the 1990s, but are a new discovery to me.

Dez and Sammy were kind enough to answer my questions on music and parenthood, and I  always find it very inspiring to find a band who are making music just for the love of making music.

Before you read on, why not check out their video for ‘Treasure’ below, listen to some more of their music on Soundcloud, and head over to Bandcamp and buy the 3 EPs they have available (EP3 is my personal favourite).

Were your parents music fans? What influence did they have on your own musical tastes?

  • Dez: The least said about the ‘music’ I was subjected to, the better!
  • Sammy: I grew up surrounded by music; my dad was a singer-songwriter and he was an avid listener to a huge range of genres. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeplin and Donovan were staples in my house when I was growing up. As children, my brother and I produced our own little songs that my mum would encourage us to perform. My brother and sister’s musical talent was encouraged by both parents and they are now accomplished artists; my brother makes an excellent living from performing and producing and my sister is a wonderful singer-songwriter.


Did you play any instruments as a kid, or if not, when did you start playing music?

  • Dez: I started playing guitar when I was around fifteen/sixteen – the day after seeing the Manic Street Preachers play [mime] ‘You love us’ on Top of the Pops. I bought a Les Paul copy for £10 from a guy at school. All the other instruments I play followed on from the guitar over time.
  • Sammy: I played the recorder in primary school and I was pretty adept at the ‘Eastenders’ theme tune! I also had a go at keyboard and drums when I was at high school but quite honestly, the discipline required to stick at any instrument alluded me. I knew I had quite a good voice and it was easy for me to use it so that’s where it all started for me.


You have been writing and performing as audiodeluxe since the late 1990s. Were you in any other bands before that?

  • Dez: No, just jamming with friends while learning to play the guitar.
  • Sammy: Not unless you include the stuff my brother and I did. It’s the stuff of legend in our family but (perhaps wisely) will never see the light of day.


You were signed to an early internet record label, PeopleSound, back in 2001. Can you tell us a little about that experience?

  • Dez: Peoplesound was supposed to be the future model for record labels. They were more like a distributor with an A&R department; you sent them your finished Album/EP and they decided whether it suited their label. Our work did suit and they used the CD we produced as a master. It was reproduced with all the artwork and promoted on their site and to various radio stations around the world – and they took a percentage of the sales. It was a good deal until Sony (if I remember correctly) bought them and pretty much shut them down.
  • Sammy: Yeah, I thought that it was a good idea at the time as it suited us to make music as and when we wanted. I got a kick out of seeing our CD for sale.


Have you been writing/recording/performing as audiodeluxe pretty consistently since then, or have there been periods of inactivity? If so, why?

  • Dez: We’ve been consistent in our own way as this was never meant to be a career for us. We write songs and play gigs at our leisure and up until our children were born I was in our home studio most nights playing the guitar or making sounds/samples. I would then call Sammy to hear what I’d came up with to see if they inspired her to write lyrics and turn my tunes into proper songs.
  • Sammy: Oh, l’m busy with the business of life and the music doesn’t get my full attention unless Dez lures me into the studio with one of his amazing new creations!


You’re a husband and wife duo. How do you feel a creative partnership with your spouse differs from a creative partnership with anyone else?

  • Dez: Neither of us has been in a band with anyone else so it’s a hard question to answer. We’ve been together a long time and have similar influences when it comes to music but there’s also enough differing musical tastes to create a bit of friction – which is good because we’re not fans of overly happy music.
  • Sammy: We were creative partners long before we were married so I don’t necessarily think that’s a massive thing to consider. That said, I honestly couldn’t work with someone on something as important as this unless they totally ‘got me’. We argue a lot about the music and I think you can hear that spark when we perform.


How many children do you have, and what ages are they?

  • Dez: We have two: our eldest is three and a half and our youngest is five months.
  • Sammy: Yep, we have two little babies so it’s not always easy to find the time for making music. That said, I am always singing and making up little songs for the children. Our eldest is sometimes like, “Mummy, stop singing pleeease”.


Do you find it hard to find the time to devote to your music since becoming parents?

  • Dez: Having a five month old means there’s pretty much no time for music at the moment; a situation I was shocked at with our first as it felt like it would never end. But second time round, I realise it’s a brief but all-consuming time that you should just settle into and try to enjoy.
  • Sammy: Haha, wise words there from Dez! I am going to be a bit hippy here and say that because you give your ‘all’ to your children, it can be quite difficult to have the spiritual and emotional energy to be creative. That and wading your way through baby sick and nappies can hamper one’s artistic tendencies sadly.


Do you feel like the music you make has been influenced at all by becoming parents?

  • Dez: Again, I’m not sure. I’m a bit of a musical magpie at the best of times; I’m always listening to music and collecting the ideas I hear and like. If you hear a xylophone (Baby TV’s instrument of choice) crop up in a one of our songs in the near future you’ll know the answer is ‘yes’.
  • Sammy: Yeah, but every experience shapes you, doesn’t it? Having the children means that you see the world differently so maybe our music will be less egocentric in future.


You’ve recently gone down the route of releasing your music through Bandcamp and promoting it via blogs and fanzines, what made you decide on that approach?

  • Dez: This approach suits us as we can do it at our own pace; we can upload tracks and release EPs as and when we finish them and hopefully this gets our music to the ears of the largest audience possible. Also, since taking this route we’ve found that there’s a lot of music lovers running stations and blogs in the same manner we make music – doing it because they enjoy it and not because it’s a job. Dealing with people like that has been far more pleasant than some of or past experiences.
  • Sammy: It gives us a chance to share our stuff with like-minded people. We are not interested in being famous or (gasp!) making money from what we do. Instead, we see it as a life project and a legacy to leave for those who come after us. We are the antidote to the ‘X Factor’ generation.


Beyond the three (excellent!) EPs you currently have available on Bandcamp, do you have more ready for release?

  • Dez: We don’t have anything finished at the moment but I do have the majority of two, possibly three, future audiodeluxe tunes waiting for Sammy to write lyrics for.
  • Sammy: I am very prolific when I want to be; I just have other priorities at the moment. Music is there for me and not the other way around. I think that a lot of other people would benefit from that mindset to be honest.


What else does the future hold for audiodeluxe?

  • Dez: Hopefully, a few gigs to play the songs from our new EP and see how they fair live.
  • Sammy: World domination from the comfort of our sofa. 😉


My thanks to Dez and Sammy for sparing the time to answer my questions, hope you enjoy their music as much as I do!



Q & A : Danny Chavis – The Veldt

The Veldt’s ‘The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur‘ is one my favourite records of this year (I wrote about opening track Sanctified back in May). It’s so inspiring to find a band who have been around for 30 years but have stuck to their creative vision and are making the best music of their career. So I am super-excited that Danny Chavis from the band agreed to answer some of my questions on childhood, fatherhood and a life in music.

Were your parents music fans? What influence did they have on your own musical tastes? 

My mother and father were not together by the time we took note of certain music, the family in general listened to the music of the time BB King, Motown, and a lot of soul/r&b my mom was 16 so we heard all of the top hits of the time. I pleasantly remember Shotgun and Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin. My grandfather had more of an influence with all the blues records.Sun House, Slim Harpo just to name a few.

At what age did you start playing music? Did you learn any instruments when you were a kid? 

I started playing guitar at age 13 my grandfather bought me my first guitar first an acoustic then a vantage flying V guitar.

When did you and your twin brother Daniel first start playing in a band together? Did you start out as The Veldt, or did that name come later? 

The band was called The Armory first then The Veldt, prior my brother played in a juke joint band, and I played in church.

 At what point during The Veldt’s existence did you become a father? Were you already an established touring band by then? 

 I became a father at 19 we were not established by then it was just the beginning. She was born July 6th 1986 Aprincesae Sade Glenn.

Did a career in music made it more difficult to spend time with your family (due to touring commitments etc.) or did not working a 9 to 5 job give you more freedom to spend time with them?

 Well in between time on and off I made time for her until her mother and I separated due to personal differences.

Do you think becoming a parent influenced the music you make? 

Yes it made me determined that I wasn’t going to be just another father who didn’t try to be more than he could.

How did your children feel about having a musician for a father when they were younger, and how about now?

Well it seemed like she liked it at the time, I used to take her to practice with me from time to time. And she liked it. I could have been anything and my daughter would have loved me for as long as I spent time which unfortunately wasn’t that often, from time to time, but I never gave up, there are a lot of things that I would do over for her if I had the chance.

Have your kids shown any interest in following you into music, and if not, did you/do you encourage them to do so?

Well my daughter has a pretty set idea of how she wants to live her life, I’ve never tried to influence her to do music. More like art and painting.


The Veldt’s sound is not quite like any other band I’ve heard, which other bands and musicians have influenced you?

 Sun Ra, Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Lee and Love Cocteau Twins, Miles Davis

What prejudices have you experienced as a black man in a genre of music that is very white-dominated? And are things any better nowadays? 

Too many to begin to tell you, not much in the US as you can see. We tend to go where we are wanted. We pretty much know the passive-aggressive stance in indie music toward us the fake liberal agenda doesn’t go over to well and you can usually see right through it, not to mention when your own people do it to you it’s boring…

The records you put out in the 1990s were on a variety of different labels. Why do you think your record labels wouldn’t truly get behind you at that time?

Same old thing these labels served their purpose at the time, they were too concerned with racial stereotypes and marketing so we got pigeonholed. Which was the norm with most majors we encountered. But we persevered and continued making music, most people by that time had either gave up or moved on to other things. We never stopped because we didn’t know we were supposed to, so to speak…most people that were involved also moved on for one reason or another but we held on to our vision till this day.

After recording as Apollo Heights in the 2000s, what brought to you back to being The Veldt?

 Our history brought us back and the feeling that it was just time to do it, ironically there are tons of so called shoegaze bands now.

Was there ever a point where you and your brother stopped making music together?

 Yes 97-99 we didn’t see eye to eye on the direction.

 You released a fantastic EP earlier this year (The Shocking Fuzz of your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation). I understand a new album is on the way. What’s the latest on that?

 At this point it’s going to be an EP we like the idea of doing small projects from time to time and keep releasing new things.

And you’re over here in the UK for Liverpool Psych Fest in September, can we expect more UK/EU dates?

We are currently in the process of getting more gigs we’d like very much to play more dates here!

Thanks so much for your time Danny.

The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur (The Drake Equation) is available from Bandcamp. Tickets to Liverpool Psych Fest are available here. And when more tour dates and the new EP are announced I’ll be sure to let you know!

Q & A – Dean Garcia (STFU, Curve, SPC ECO)

Absolutely delighted today to feature a Q & A with Dean Garcia. Dean was one half of Curve, one of the 1990s best and most underrated bands, and has been involved in many other projects, before, during and since, from touring with the Eurythmics to SPC ECO, his project with his daughter Rose.

Dean’s current project STFU (with Preston Maddox of Bloody Knives) is from start to finish, a fantastic, atmospheric work of dark electronic pop. ‘Deeper’ (below) is my personal highlight, but please do head over to their Bandcamp to listen to, and purchase the full album.

Dean was kind enough to spare the time to answer my questions on family, fatherhood and his varied and eclectic career in music. Enjoy!

Were your parents music fans? What influence did they have on your own musical tastes?

Anytime Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee or Bo Diddley came on the radio or popped up on the telly my Mum would always get very animated and happy, she would dance around and grab whoever was close to join her, I liked the effect and music too as it sounded or felt a bit risque or naughty in some way, All Shook Up and Lucille stuck in my mind, and then I heard Paint It Black by the Stones on TOTP which instantly switched something else on inside me. Strawberry Fields was another and oddly Fool On The Hill. Then I heard Come Together and instantly knew I had to learn how to play that bass line. I was about 12. The first song that made me want to dance was Sex Machine by James Brown, some funky ass shit right there, around that time I was  starting to smoke too which led me into Motown, Marvin Gaye, Sly and onto Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart, Can and Kraftwerk. I never knew my Father, other than he was Hawaiian which may explain my fascination with steel and slide guitar.

At what age did you start playing music? And at what point did you realise you wanted music to be your career?

I started to notice music around 5/6 when people would play the piano in the spare room at my Nan’s home, no-one could really play but my Mum was good at Chopsticks, especially the bit where you had to cross over your hands to reach the high notes while maintaining the lower notes, I was mesmerised by it and spent the next year trying to be as good as she was at it, I don’t think I ever did manage that but what I did discover as I digressed or got bored with Chopsticks was my ear for the notes and how they made me feel or change my mood. I spent a lot of quality time in that room losing myself and tinkering about.

It wasn’t until I got to big school and met my school bud Marc where we would pretend to be T Rex as his Mum always let us practice after school in his room upstairs, he had a drum kit, amps, electric guitar and even a sound on sound reel to reel tape recorder. I think it was then I realised that I wanted to be in a band and be on TOTP and play live through the biggest loudest PA in the land. That was also the time I decided I didn’t want to waste my time with any exams and refused to take part in any of it. I virtually stopped attending school around 13 and spent most of the time teaching myself how to play the drums, followed by guitar and then onto the bass as it was a combination of the two, I loved the way it glued everything together. I discovered the Bass drop n boom and how complete it made everything…

You were already touring and recording as a musician when you first had kids, but was it before or after you formed Curve?

Before, I was in tour mode with Dave n Annie for some years followed by an attempted band ( where I met Toni) followed by a memorable stint with Ian Dury which was the time we had Rose our first born. Rose was about 2/3 and Harry 1/2 when Curve started up.


Did you find touring with Curve kept you away from your children more than you would have liked? Or did they tour with you?

Any time apart from the family was difficult but when the cards are with you, you have to roll with them, fortunately we never committed to massively long touring schedules with Curve, we did a lot but they were short bursts quite long gaps and then back out again. Jules (partner) and I decided without even discussing it that a touring band is no place for children of that age which is the exact time you also need to be completely tuned in with your partner as to how things unfold, you have to be on the same page and encourage and support completely. Perfectly for me Jules and I function extraordinarily well when it comes to such things and she miraculously and brilliantly sorted them while I was away.

I was in the role of sorting funds so we could move from our short life housing place into the leafy North London suburb of Crouch End where we have remained and survived a consistent home life and focussed education for both Rose n Harry. One of the reasons for side stepping and taking breaks with Curve was due to me not having the time I wanted with the children, it was starting to seriously affect me and make me detached and depressed within Curve, and the fact that my Son Harry wasn’t talking wasn’t helping my moods, I made the decision to step off the tourbus and be with the family and help teach Harry to read and communicate, which we did with the help of Mr Men books and very noisy guitars.

Did you find combining a music career and family life difficult, or did the flexibility of not working a 9 to 5 job actually mean you got more time with your family?

As explained it did take its’ toll as the touring continued, to the point I had to step off, but from then on we all made the most of our time together and had a brilliant very close family life, the fact that I was still involved with music making as I’d set up a studio in the front room and the internet was about to happen, I don’t feel anything got in the way, it was all part of it and we all embraced the music to the max. I was around and involved a lot more than most dads which I was very happy with, surprisingly I think everyone else was too. Lots of Dad time, funny stories, acrobats, holidays, creative expression, cooking, sleepovers, parties, encouragement, Rose’s boy friends, school plays and concerts, showing Harry how to play the Green Onions bass line and him coming back about three weeks later playing way better than me, discovering Rose had a way with melody / voice and recording with her continuously and last but not least discovering every emotional experience known to our species was and still is an amazing.

Has becoming a parent influenced the songs you write either directly (by writing songs about your children) or indirectly (by changing your outlook on life)?

I think it affects subconsciously on may levels, I’m not entirely sure how as I think I’m not meant to know, it just does. Having children and nurturing a family is the reason we’re all here, nothing becomes more apparent than when you actually have children, your whole world changes in an instant and it’s suddenly all guided by their well being and making sure they are as sorted as they can be, whether awake or asleep at every given moment, never out of eye shot and always within your grasp 24/7, it’s all absorbing. As to it affecting your music or creativity in a particular way I don’t know, my creativity will always be with me, how it is guided I have no idea, best to just keep an open mind and try to get some sleep.

How did your children feel about having a musician for a father when they were younger?

I think they thought it was a normal fun and cool thing, we all expressed and learnt newthings together, they have and always will love music and the effect it has, both of them play and will always be involved with music on some level throughout their lives and hopefully pass it on to theirs. Someone once asked Rose what it was like to have me as a Dad and she says he was someone who made my packed lunches, served dinner, mademe laugh and read the wrong words from the story books. Fine by me.

I would usually ask if you would encourage your children into a career in music, but I guess the fact you have collaborated with your daughter Rose Berlin in SPC ECO answers that question! When did you start making music together? And whose idea was it (or did it happen organically?)

I’d always encourage them in whatever it was they want to do, if I feel they had a way with something I’d always point it out, no stone unturned, if they wanna do music do it, doesn’t really matter what I think other than to help them achieve what it is they’re interested in. Rose and I started recording more or less as soon as she could make a sound, I’d get her to make the sounds she could or liked and put them in the sampler and make her laugh with the sounds she made on the keyboard, the high stuff made both of them giggle, endless fun but the low stuff was a bit scary. Music and singing is just something we both enjoy, it’s always been an escape and explore type thing, no holds barred everything is good approach, which has helped me to break down any misconceptions I had about the way you make music, I’ve always been open and experimental but working with Rose completely breaks down and dismantles the concept of genre and boundaries and instead celebrates the happy accidental world of sound dust and the unknown.

In what way (if any) is collaborating with your daughter different from collaborating with any other singer or musician?

I’m not sure if it’s different as in the approach it’s more to do with the natural chemistry that we have, we’re there to make the piece work for each other, there are no hidden agedness or goals, the intention is aways to make something we love, which seems to come quite naturally to us both which is not surprising as we have been having fun with music making together for 25 plus years…

Has your son had any interest in following you into a career in music, or has he taken a different route?

Not really, he does play guitar really well but is driven more by the visual arts and computing. He’s a brilliant film/digital editor, When I watch him work he’s just insane at it, his sharpness is so astute and instinctive it’s actually scary, his mind is focussed to the extreme and once on a roll there’s no stopping him. I have noticed that he will always lean on the guitar when feeling low or out of sync with himself, he plays the blues to heal the inside, he says there’s nothing like playing some Meters riffs or his rendition of the Peter Green solo of ‘I Need Your Love So Bad’ note for note (and feel) to put yourself back on track. I hear you Harry, he also makes a lovely cup of tea.

You’ve collaborated with a huge number of a musicians in various projects. Does the variety keep things more interesting than if you were just working with one band throughout your career?

I do like to explore music with others and it can and does keep things unpredictable and exciting, I think I’ll always do that, I like the outside forces and they like me, so more of that I think, plus the fact that the world is at everyones fingertips now, everything is possible within music now, and you don’t even need eye contact anymore, which I always found unnerving and awkward, I still wear sunglasses when working with Rose…

• Tell us a little about how your latest project, STFU, (a collaboration with Preston Maddox of Bloody Knives) came about?

It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for many years but have not got round to for various timing and other life commitment reasons, Randomly I just sent him a prompt out of the blue after no contact for a year or so and he got back to me quickly and started to shunt sound back n forth, the album came together very quickly, we sat on it for a while added what we thought it lacked and it was done. I have nothing but good thoughts and feeling for Preston, that voice for one, he’s a cool dude who knows his shit and is in the zone. The record was a real joy to make, it almost feels as if it made itself. Def more of that please.

The STFU album ‘What We Want’ is due out on July 29th I believe, will there be any STFU live shows around that time or in the future, or does the physical distance between you and Preston make that difficult?

It’s already out really, but we plan to make a run of CDs and have discussed playing live which we’d both love to do but as ever it will all depend on the support and traction the record receives, if it bites so will we.

And finally, what next for you? More STFU? More SPC ECO? Or entirely different projects?

In the immediate future I’ll be making sure Harry has his Nikka Scotch for his non smoking one year celebration and that I’m available to accept and retrieve Rose’s Asos deliveries that seem to be continuous nowadays, that and cooking a nice dinner for the fam and then possibly laying down a beat n bass after I’ve watched Game Of Thrones.

I’m always working with Rose, in fact we have a new release in August 2016 called Anomalies that we’re excited about, we’re just recording a few extra free DL tracks to go with the release and… Might do some new stuff with some life long pals that I can’t speak of late this year and into the next, and if the STFU record bumps I’ll be needing a very convincing hologram…

A big thank you to Dean for his time, and all the wonderful music!


Interview – Rodney Cromwell

Rodney Cromwell is the solo project of Adam Cresswell. His track ‘Black Dog’ was our track of the week recently, so I was very pleased that Adam was kind enough to spare some time to talk to us about the Rodney Cromwell album ‘Age of Anxiety’, his previous bands Saloon and Arthur & Martha, running a record label, and combining music, work and parenthood.

If you enjoy the interview, why not head over to Happy Robots Records and grab yourself a copy of the album.

Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time to talk to On a Good Day!

Hey Mark, the pleasure is mine

First question which I always start with, were your parents music fans, and if so what influence did they have on your own taste in music?

Good question. Yes they were – they were both mods and then hippies when they grew up so the house was always full of David Bowie, Led Zep type stuff. When I was a kid they were listening to Elvis Costello, Blondie sort of stuff. Even so the music I chose to like was a bit of push back from their taste stuff like Pet Shop Boys , Erasure, New Order… So I suppose they were an influence – but ultimately I deliberately liked stuff they were less keen on. I’ve always been a bit difficult I suppose

Did they encourage you to play music? Did you play any instruments as a child?

No not really – I had one recorder lesson when I was about 8 and my teacher refused to teach me after that because I had a small wart on my hand and she thought it might be contagious. I never had any lessons after that. I joined my first band when I was at school when I was about 15. I was the singer but taught myself to play bass guitar because no-one else wanted to play it. We played Wild Thing and Pixies and Joy Division covers mainly. We used to practice in our loft – my mum was supportive though in that when the neighbours came around to complain about the noise she would tell them to piss off.

Brilliant! Not sure my mum would have done that for me. So, how soon after that did you form Saloon?

Ha my mum was always supportive. She loaned Saloon the money to buy our van. I had to pay her back when we split up though. So Saloon was late 90’s so a good few years later. We were very much a post-Britop reaction

Were Saloon ever successful enough that music became your full time career, or were you working other jobs at the same time?

We all had other jobs but I would say we were semi-professional. For our last three years I did temp work so I could take as much time off as I needed. I would say it was about 60/40 split real work V band. We had got to the point that when we toured we could pay ourselves a few quid – about 100 quid a week – but it was never enough to live on. And of course we split up just as the band was on the ascendancy.

What led to the band’s split?

A mix of things. Personal circumstances, we had been going for 5 years and we were getting a bit bored of the touring, we had a great indie label but we still didn’t have any extra help – we could have done with a manager or someone to take us up the next level, there was a degree of frustration about the fact that were starting to sell a lot of records in America and we were getting great coverage out there but still we had never managed to tour the States – and of course we had started to get dissed by people after we topped John Peel’s Festive 50, that criticism really hurt. So we fell apart. It was a messy split. Not a time I remember fondly.

How long after Saloon’s split was it that you started your next project Arthur & Martha?

Pretty soon. There was about a year where Saloon were in limbo – but as soon as that was resolved, I met up with Alice who had just moved to London and we decided to start a band together.

And you put out Arthur and Martha’s releases on your own label, Happy Robots Records. What prompted that decision? Was it due to your previous experience with labels?

Yeah we recorded the ‘Navigation’ album within a year of getting together because I didn’t want to gig without something to sell, so we prioritised having an album. But we got mucked around by a couple of labels – which dragged on for a couple of years – in the end we decided, y’know we can do this ourselves. I’d aways wanted to run a label at some point anyway, so it seemed a cool idea to just get on and do it ourselves. It also appealed to the control freak in me!

I can relate to that! So, the last Artur and Martha release was in 2009, but I don’t the impression that this was a messy split in the way Saloon was. Is it more of an indefinite hiatus?

Yeah absolutely. The whole Arthur & Martha project sadly coincided with some really bad personal times for both of us. I was burned out, I needed some time away from music. I got married and moved onto doing different things – a lot of DIY. Arthur & Martha never officially split – although the third single ‘Vallorian’ never happened you can see the video on YouTube and hear the remixes that were done for the EP on our Soundcloud. I would never write off the idea of doing another Arthur & Martha record because I know a lot of people really love that album. If Alice was up for it I would be – although I know she has all sort of other exciting things going on.

What bought you back to making music again after you decided to take time away?

Well I never really gave up tinkering away in the home studio. I find working in the studio on my own very therapeutic. So I had a couple of half baked ideas that were left over from Arthur & Martha along with all sorts of little new ideas. I had really just taken myself away from the business side…. The thing that really brought me back though was that my home studio was to be turned into the nursery for our second child. So I decided before I dismantle everything while not mix down the songs that I’ve got and see if they work together… I played the results to a few friends and they told me I had to put it out. And here I am now I suppose!

Well, i have to agree with your friends, the Age of Anxiety record is fantastic. You mention your children there, do you find it tough to find the time to make music and run the label alongside having a young family?

Can I swear in this interview…. Damn yes!

Really great that you like the record though. I am thrilled with how it has been received – to say it has surpassed expectations is an understatement

But to answer the main question. It is incredibly difficult – obviously I want to spend as much time with the family as is possible; they are everything to me. And as a – lapsed – catholic I feel an incredible amount of guilt about the time I am away from them, or the time locked away in the studio when I should be spending some quality time with my wife of changing nappies.

Are your kids aware that you make music? They’re still quite young I guess?

Yeah they came to see me at Indietracks last year although they only lasted for three tracks because it was a bit loud. My eldest gets a bit moody when I have band practice because it means I can’t do bedtime story. In fact he can be seen dancing around in the video to ‘Black Dog’ (see below). I recorded him dancing about when I mixed it down. I’m not sure the little one gets it yet – he’s pretty nifty with a melodica though, despite only being one and half…. In fact my next show is an ‘all ages’ show which is at Lewisham People’s Day, a big free festival near where we live. At that gig they will not only see Daddy sing but also Mummy because we plan to do the live debut of ‘Fenchurch St.’ on which my wife also sings (well talks)

Would you encourage them to follow a career in music when they’re older, if they were interested?

Ha ha. I will let them follow their own paths. I want them to do whatever makes them happy. I do feel sorry for young acts these days though -as there just aren’t the opportunities that even we had as Saloon. There are less venues, too many old bands competing in a shrinking market, the print music press is dead, the internet is saturated with so much crap it’s really difficult for the best acts to get heard. I don’t want a return of how things used to be, but I do think new opportunities need to be made so young acts can come through. Sorry that got a bit ranty.

Not at all, I think we’re all concerned about how difficult it is for young musicians (and all musicians) at the moment. In this climate do you find it hard to find the motivation to continue putting out music and running the label?

Absolutely. Running a label is so difficult now – it’s so hard to even cover costs let alone make any money back. It is very difficult to keep motivated. 2015 was brilliant for me – but 2016 has really challenged my motivation. BUT… the good outweighs the bad – I’ve met some great people doing this, my agent Shauna has been a rock through the bad times… and not only is my music being heard but I’m getting he music of the likes of Hologram Teen heard more widely. So in all, all is good

Glad to hear it, and long may it continue! I’ve taken up more of your time than I intended, so just a couple of last questions. What does the immediate future hold for both Rodney Cromwell and Happy Robots? And what’s the significance of the Rodney Cromwell name?

There will be a new Rod Cromwell EP later this year – it might be mostly remixes but it will happen. And next year I’m going to step back a bit and see if I have it in me to write another album. In terms of the label, the Hologram Teen single (which is the new project of Morgane Lhote ex-Stereolab) is out on July 1st, very excited about how that is going. I’m toying with the idea of a Botpop 2 compilation in the new year and who knows what – certainly I have a couple of acts on my wish list….. And as for the Rodney Cromwell name, well it was a name I’d used back when in Saloon for a one off solo project – when it came to ‘Age of Anxiety’ I was just too lazy to think of something new. My wife hates the name Cromwell – as an Irish Catholic it’s not a name that really warms the heart.

Ha, no I suppose not! Well, thanks so much for your time, it’s been fascinating. 

That’s terrific – many thanks for doing this.

Rodney Cromwell’s ‘Age of Anxiety’ is available from Happy Robots Records. ‘Age of Anxiety’ and the ‘Black Dog’ EP are available in digital form from Bandcamp. Happy Robots releases Hologram Teen’s (excellent) ‘Marsangst’ on Friday 1st July, but it can be pre-ordered right now here.

Interview – Meter Bridge

I’m very excited to be featuring my  first interview on On a Good Day, with the Canadian electronic duo Meter Bridge. Meter Bridge consists of Richard Kleef and Jill Beaulieu, and I was lucky enough to chat with Jill about music and parenthood, as I’ve always been fascinated with how artists who are parents balance their creative and family lives. If you’re a newcomer to Meter Bridge’s music, why not check out their video for ‘Filter’ below before reading on?


For my first question can I ask, were your own parents music fans? And what influence did they have on your taste in music?

Yes, my Dad played guitar and sang with my sister and me. My mom loves music but didn’t play. Richards’ mom played the bagpipes in a successful girls’ pipe band. His Dad loved music but never played.

So you were playing music from quite a young age?

I had a keyboard at the age of 9. Richard started playing at the age of 5.

 And have you been playing ever since?

Richard has always played, he has been in several bands. I have been more involved community wise with singing. As a feature during community events like gatherings and funerals etc. Also as a practice singing Sanskrit stotrams. We started writing music together in 2010/2011.


Was it through music that you met?

We met on the street in Nelson when we were teenagers. Music was always central to our relationship. We used to make each other mixed tapes

So, were you already making music together by the time you had children, or did that come later?

It came later. Richard was in a couple different bands before and after kids. We started working together when our daughter was 6 when we acquired some home recording equipment

Do you find it hard to find the time for your music as well as bringing up a daughter? Do you both work other jobs?

We both have jobs. I work all year long as a Registered Massage Therapist and Richard does seasonal silviculture work. He generally has more time in the off season so he has time to write when he isn’t working.

 Do you tour much as a band? If so, does your daughter tour with you?

We have both sides of our family living in the same area as us and they have always helped with the kids. I have an older son from a previous marriage so he helped with babysitting too. We have just begun to play live. She is too young to be alone at night (10), so we will leave her at home with someone when we gig

We are coming to London to play ElectroLondon in September. We will have set up with our mothers for three weeks while we are away


Do you think having children has an influence on the music you make? Have you ever written songs about or related to being parents?

No we haven’t yet. Our art has a delineation between our family life and our range of skills and imagination

Does your daughter play music herself? Would you encourage her into a career in music if she was interested?

She loves music and has a large collection. She sings along but refuses to learn an instrument! I would like her to at least take piano but she doesn’t want to! We would encourage any and all interests that she has 🙂

My son plays guitar and writes his own music. He has his own soundcloud page and YouTube channel. I did a collaboration with him for his project in an anthropology course.

 I think that’s all the parenting relating questions for now, just a couple more quick questions about Meter Bridge. Where would you recommend my readers start if they want to listen to your music? At your bandcamp page?

Yes. Also, you can stream all our albums on our YouTube page meterbridge357.

It’s a good idea to search Meter Bridge on bandcamp and soundcloud too. Then a bunch of collaborations will come up too.

We have another page meterbridgeweatnurecords on bandcamp too. It has our music remixed.

And is there a new album on the cards?

We have had two releases. Our third is mastered and ready. The first was Meter Bridge, Meter Bridge -September 2014. The second Slow Motion -April 2015. Our third is mastered and ready. The next album will be out in early September.

You also mentioned you would be over in London for ElectroLondon in September, is there any chance of more UK/Europe dates at that time?

I believe it’s September 23rd in Doncaster with the Jan Doyle band and PulseLovers. We have dates in Hamburg and Berlin the following week with Trium Circulorum too.

That’s all the questions I have. Thanks so much for your time. I will look forward to the new album!

I’d like to add my thanks again to Jill for her time and patience with an inexperienced interviewer. Please do head over to Bandcamp to enjoy and buy Meter Bridge’s music, and look out for their UK/European dates this September.