Tag Archives: Behind the scenes

Happy New Year!

It’s the last day of the year… I just made some tea and I’m listening to the Top 2000 on Radio 2 (The Top 2000 is an annual marathon radio program in The Netherlands, that plays the 2000 most popular songs of all time, from Christmas through New Year’s Eve). It’s rainy and windy outside and ‘Dancing Queen’ is playing on the radio. I’m looking back at the past year. It’s been a year with ups and downs, but I’m grateful for all the great memories 2017 brought.

New Year’s Eve…whether you love it or loathe it, it’s there! It’s one of the largest global celebrations, the end of another year… on TV the saddest, the best and the most successful moments of the year are being shown, shops are crowded with people getting food and drinks to celebrate that last night of the year. The most frequently asked question on this day is ‘What’s your new year’s resolution?’

We’re programmed to reflect back on the year. Where were you a year ago? What were the best moments in the past year? What have you achieved? Are you happier now than you were a year ago? What do you feel grateful for?

At night people gather to celebrate, dance, drink and be happy. There’s a collective feeling of things coming to an end and a feeling of a new beginning; expectations are high. At midnight we’ll ring in the new year with fireworks and champagne. It’ll be the 1st of January…the start of a new year… Apart from sore heads, eyes being sensitive to light and family obligations waiting, is this day any different from other days? If you think about it it’s just another day.

It’s funny how we all let time dictate our lives. We’ll get running for another year…365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months to fulfill the dreams and to accomplish the goals we’ve set for ourselves on New Year’s Eve to find ourselves in the same setting again next year… ringing in the new year with fireworks and champagne. It’s a really strange global tradition if you think about it.

In reality, New Year’s Eve is just the same as every other night of the year, but as it’s such a big global event, it’s something that connects us all. We all make it a special night and make it meaningful. I’m doing the same thing. I don’t need a big celebration but personally I do think that new year’s eve can make a difference. It’s a good moment to use the vibe to make some positive changes and set some realistic goals. I like the feeling of a fresh start in the new year to work towards my dreams.

Over to you, thank you for reading and sharing the blogs this year and thank you to all who’ve been supporting Robb’s music!
Happy New Year to everyone and I hope that 2018 brings you everything you wish for!
Tomorrow we all have a new year, make it a good one!
“…‘Cause we’re only here a short time don’t you know…”


The Mysteries of the Heart, lyrics:

I will say it once and say it clear
I’m standing on a roof top crying out I am sincere
And I’ll look up to the heavens and I’ll wave my flag of truce
‘Cause we’re only here a short time don’t you know

I’ve been holding on to something real
I’m holding on to hope that I can finally clench that deal
And I’ll look up to the heavens and I’ll pray I have your ear
‘Cause we’re only here a short time don’t you know

And let it all unfold, the mysteries of the heart
And let the truth be told, if I really have your hand

And I’m not giving up or letting go
I’m ready to evacuate my self-doubt, take control
All I want is something real
All I want is something pure
‘Cause we’re only here a short time don’t you know

And if there was a mountain in the sky
I’d climb up to the top and place a rock for you and I
And I will show you love
And I will show you hope
‘Cause we’re only here a short time don’t you know

And let it all unfold, the mysteries of the heart
And let the truth be told, if I really have your hand

So I wont hinder ’till tomorrow
I’m ready to accept my fate and let my feelings show
So I look up to the heavens and I’ll pray for clarity
Take a breath and fall onto one bended knee

And let it all unfold, the mysteries of the heart
And let the truth be told, if I really have your hand

 

Happy New Year

 

Introducing David Bennington…it’s all about that bass…

After the introduction of the man behind the beat, Kevin Carlisle, it’s time to introduce another band member. David Bennington, a.k.a. Sexy Dave, a.k.a. Captain Banter.

People who follow Robb or have seen him and the band live will know that Dave can play bass and trumpet simultaneously. This all started a couple of years ago when the band was practicing the song ‘Sleep Tonight’. When playing this song live the trumpet was missing and Robb asked Dave if he couldn’t just play both bass and guitar. Dave took on the challenge and started doing it. Where ever the band plays, this always leads to a lot of positive reactions from people being surprised and amazed by it.
Things are never boring when Dave is around! Dave loves sports and is very active. He even gets the band doing pull ups and yoga! When touring in The Netherlands Dave a.k.a. Captain Banter also drives a lot… If Dave decides to be Captain Banter we always need 15 minutes extra time, because before driving off he will tell everyone the safety instructions, he’ll check if the person sitting next to the door is capable of opening the door in case of an emergency and he’ll not leave until everyone has confirmed to have understood the safety instructions and rules on board.

To get to know Dave a bit better, we sent him a list of questions. Here’s what he said:

Tell me a little about yourself in one rambling, run-on sentence 🙂
20 something, moderately active, love jeans, hate trousers, brown hair, brown eyes, bass player, computer programmer, wine and gin lover, terrible sense of humour.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee before dinner, tea afterwards 😉

3 songs on your playlist right now?
a. Two Steps from Hell: Stay
b. Muse: The Handler
c. Mario Kart 8 title theme – I played that with the Irish Video Games Orchestra, great tune.

How did you meet Robb and where?
When I was a student I was looking for a band to play electric guitar with. Cruised around some wanted ads and found one that I liked the sound of: turned out to be a Robb creation! Sadly wasn’t as popular as I thought it should have been (of course!).

Describe one perfect day…
I couldn’t, I would be asleep. Jokes. I would wake up in a penthouse room in a swish hotel with the sun beaming in, breakfast served on the balcony of course. Follow this with some swimming and relaxing until a light lunch, then a couple of hours of yoga. Drinks and reading sci-fi novels until dinner, which would be fancy, then banter with friends in the bar until the wee hours.

Cats or Dogs?
Well I already have 2 cats, so I guess cats it is!

Do you dance?
Depends who you ask. Probably more accurate to say that I attempt to dance. I know there’s videos out there somewhere…

What song would you choose to play for the Queen and why?
I would play the national anthem. On 3 different instruments. In 3 different styles.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be and why?
Backstage at a sunny festival. Failing that just anywhere outside.

Favourite place in NI?
I don’t really have one favourite place really, though when I need to reset myself I go for a walk at Helens Bay. Love the sound and smell of the sea.

Who would you be nervous to meet?
John Carmack. One of the smartest guys on the planet.

True or False… is it really all about the bass?
True, obviously

Silliest thing you’ve done this past month?
Dancing at a new years party. Silly (funny) because I can’t dance and silly (stupid)

What is your most valued possession?
I have a small stuffed toy that I’ve had since I was about 3 months old. Everything else I own is replaceable, except that.

Future plans?
No idea, never really known tbh. I just try and do whatever I enjoy doing and see where that leads me.

If a penguin wearing a sombrero walked into your room right now, what would you do and why?
Put on my own sombrero, open the tequila and just go with it.

Name one thing about music that drives you crazy?
Good crazy or bad crazy? I love close harmonies, but can’t stand manufactured singers.

Can you share some of your thoughts on the music scene in NI?
It *could* be great, but things just start too late here. Nobody wants to still be listening to a band at like 12, they’re already in clubs by then. Bands need to be playing earlier before the party crowds are heading out.

How many instruments do you play?
Well? Trumpet, guitar and bass. I can play a tune on some others but I don’t sound those!

Mac or Windows?
Mac. Used to be windows but I work with linux systems as a day job and and OSX is similar enough to work well, as well as they just look lovely.

Top 3 places you’d love to live
California, Costa Blanca, and Belfast. I’m not kidding, as long as you can get away for a sunny holiday when the weathers crap, Belfast is an amazing place to live.

What surprises you the most?
How utterly stupid some people can be when driving.

Favourite thing about the Netherlands?
Gotta be the people. They have a really relaxed attitude, easy to get on with.

Favourite song from high school?
See, I had 2 major phases in school – trance and alternative. Would be unfair to myself to just pick one, so if you’ll allow me I’ll have 2! Kylie Minogue ‘On A Night Like This’ and Placebo’s ‘My Sweet Prince’. There’s a ton of other ones up there, but those come to mind first!

What inspires you?
Anybody who has a passion for what they do. Doesn’t really matter what, but seeing people who love what they do and give 100% is a fantastic thing.

Thanks very much for this Dave!

You can follow Dave on Twitter. Stop by and say hello!

Introducing Kevin Carlisle…the man behind the beat!

It’s a new year! Time for something new… I wrote a lot of blogs in the past few years about everything happening behind the scenes, but not once have I introduced the band to you. It’s about time!

Starting off with Kevin Carlisle, the man behind the beat!
Over the past few years I got to know Kevin a bit during the tours in The Netherlands. Kevin is funny, he’s always up for silliness, he loves being photographed (not really) and – I’m not sure how he does that – he can sleep anywhere at any time.

No better way to get to know the band better than sending them all some silly questions. Here’s what Kevin said:

Tell me a little about yourself
I’m quirky, love making music and also making people laugh!!

Coffee or Tea?  (An important subject for Robb Murphy and the band, they are fueled by caffeine!)
Defo coffee not into tea at all. 

3 songs on your playlist right now?
Psy – daddy:  https://youtu.be/FrG4TEcSuRg
On the Nature of Daylight – Max Richter:  https://youtu.be/rVN1B-tUpgs
Bang Bang – Green Day :  https://youtu.be/mg5Bp_Gzs0s

How did you meet Robb and where?
First met Robb back in The Minority days. His band organised a gig in the Pavilion Bar, we were one of the support bands. Also it was our first gig in Belfast as the John Shelly and the Creatures (later Master & Dog). Was a great wee night.

Describe one perfect day…
LOL, being off work!!! Actually sleeping in…. I always wake up at 7am, stupid biological clock. I would make a batch of Kevy pancakes; 2 eggs a whack of self raising flour, and a dollop of whole milk, mix, cook then top with maple syrup. Boom! Also this perfect day would consist of chilling out watching TV with the missus. Playing drums/guitar and computer games. This one is tough! Lol moving on.

Cats or Dogs?
I don’t mind either. But have more of a preference to cats.

Do you dance?
Awkwardly and badly.

I say it’s time for some choreography practice Kevin!!

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Usually I would say my bed! I mean who doesn’t love their own bed. I’d happily be on the road playing gigs right now … that’s the dream.

Favourite place in Northern Ireland?
NI is such a nice wee place. But I advise everyone to go to Sugar Rays in Dundonald. Get the ultimate combo…. so much meat!!!!

Who would you be nervous to meet?
I wouldn’t say I would be nervous to meet anyone. I usually go head first into first contact with people.

True or False… the drummer is in charge!
Now this doesn’t have to be asked. See the GIF for why!! Lol.

Kevin GIF.gif

Silliest thing you’ve done on the latest NL tour?
Drinking then dancing to YouTube videos. I blame the alcohol. You should talk about it with the other lads in the band.

What’s your most valued possession?
My drum kit yup. It’s a bit awesome.

Future plans?
Can’t think that far ahead!!!

If a penguin wearing a sombrero walked into your room right now, what would you do and why?
Video it, put it on the internet and watch the millions roll in!! Lol.

Name one thing about music that drives you crazy?
Counting songs in. I hate it!!!

Can you share some of your thoughts on the music scene in NI?
One tough nut to crack! The scene is small with loads of really talented folk! If only people went out to more gigs the world would be a better place.

How many instruments do you play?
Drums, some percussion. I used to play the clarinet and alto sax. I like to tinker on piano when I can find one, guitar/ bass.

Favourite t-shirt?
Any of my Adventure Time t-shirts.

Top 3 places you’d love to play live
Ulster Hall Belfast
Mandela Hall Belfast
SSE Arena Belfast.

What surprises you the most?
Ermmm that after 30 years I still stay up too late hahaha.

Favourite thing about the Netherlands?
I probably should say stroopwafels, but it’s how nice everyone is. They truly do appreciate the music. 🙂

Favourite song from high school?
Ah jaysus this is like saying what’s your favourite food.

The offspring – Kids Aren’t Alright.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iNbnineUCI

What inspires you?
I take inspiration from friends, family and other musicians. Keep an open mind listen to all types of music, you never know when you’ll find that next song or tune that stays with you forever.

Thanks for this Kevin!

I hope this gives you a bit of insight into the man behind the beat! You can follow Kevin on Twitter  Stop by and say hello!

Summer

Summer… I always enjoy summer more than any other time of the year.
The long days, sunshine, warmth, hearing the birds, seeing the butterflies, beautiful flowers, blooming bushes and trees… Windows and doors open, fresh air coming into the house… I love to just sit outside and look up to the constantly changing sky, watch the sunset or the stars…

We just returned from a holiday in Tuscany, Italy. Visiting Italy has been on our bucket list for ages, but we never had a chance to see the country until now. It’s the best holiday we’ve ever had. Thinking back of it all makes me aware of how fortunate we are that we’ve been able to do this.
We’ve experienced and seen so much. Tuscany really is one big open-air museum with a beautiful variety of landscapes, from mountains, to hills, sandy beaches, sunflower fields, olive groves, vineyards, cypresses and ancient medieval towns. A place where it’s warm and where you will see the sun every day… Italy brings a certain feeling, it’s a beautiful country which (like any other country) you will just have to visit and experience yourself. We enjoyed our stay there a lot and we will definitely go back there again. There was just too much to see and to do, we couldn’t see it all in 3 weeks!

Italy, it’s also where Robb found the inspiration to write the album Sleep Tonight. We saw many of the places that have been an inspiration to Robb, which was good. Every song on the album brings a certain feeling. A feeling that is even more intense now I’ve seen and experienced Tuscany myself. Sunny Mountain is probably the best example…”I’ve got a feeling that I’ll long for this place badly when I want to be free”…

We’re just back and I’m already longing for this place… We took home so many great memories. The house we rented was just perfect. It had a large porch where we would sit every morning when waking up with coffee, having a view on the mountains…we could see the sun go down from the porch as well and were treated on beautiful sunsets every day. I’ll not forget the moment when I went for a swim in the pool for the first time and looked around, being overwhelmed by the view…the mountains, the vineyard and around the pool the olive trees, peach trees, pear trees, fig trees and lemon trees. The owner of the house kept providing us with fresh fruit from the garden and homemade wine. Not to forget the great Italian food and ice creams! I just so loved the place, it was close enough to the beach and cities/places we wanted to visit and far away enough from the very busy touristic places to get our much needed rest.
And then there are the great (and often awkward) experiences of being in a different country…the language issues, learning new words (mostly in the supermarket), the traffic…Italian people drive slightly different than they do in The Netherlands… It’s a totally different culture where people are busy in the mornings, shops are closing in the afternoon and where you will see local people gathering on the piazzas until the most warm part of the day is over. After that the shops open again and cities and towns come back to life. Below some of the pictures we took during our time in Italy.

Right…back to reality 😉
It’s time to start working on the music again. There’s a lot to do in the following months. Robb and the band will start rehearsing again in September, followed by a tour of The Netherlands in October.
(dates can be found here: https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_shows/1492877 )

Meanwhile we’re working on the last release from the album Sleep Tonight, which will be the title track. Teaming up with The Samaritans, this release aims to help raise awareness for mental health. Currently an animation is being created by very talented artist Maria Becvar using the full album version of the song, 6’30”, featuring The Ulster String Quartet.
Next to that Robb is also writing and working on songs for a new album.
Busy times ahead of us, but with our batteries charged again, we’re looking forward to what is to come!

Time to end this long blog….with a song…as always.
A new song, ‘Knock Me Down’. Robb recorded an acoustic live version of this song in Italy.
Watch, enjoy and feel free to share!

Today

Where does time go? Something I asked myself a lot in the past few weeks. It was a busy time and it often felt like there weren’t enough hours in the week to get everything done…
What is it about time? Time fascinates me. A while ago I wrote a blog about time:
Next Time

Sometimes time really is my worst enemy and sometimes it is my best friend… Time is precious…like I mentioned in a previous blog time brings countless options, possibilities, chances and decisions.
Time can bring stress, but it’s all about how we look at it, how we take time…enemy or friend?
Last week I ran into this video:

Scott Thrift, filmmaker and designer, designed a 24 hour clock, called today. A clock that shows dawn, noon, dusk and midnight, with only one hand representing the day. It moves twice as slow as the clocks we’re used to. With this clock Scott Thrift wants to change the way we look at time and  when I first saw this video I really wondered why no one else thought of this before? Only looking at ‘Today’ makes me feel a lot more relaxed.

timeclocks.gif

That video let my imagination run wild… How good would it be if we didn’t let time dictate our lives… What if we could just make an appointment ‘today’ instead of ‘2.15 pm’… How relaxed would things get… Working ‘today’…instead of working from 8 – 5… Getting up in the morning when we had enough sleep, instead of getting up after an alarm clock brutally woke you up… It would mean less stress, that’s for sure! Guess I’ll have to dream on for now, but this clock fascinates me. It fascinated me enough to write a blog about it 😉

Time…it’s almost time for a summer break! In a couple of weeks we’ll be enjoying some time off.
The past few months have been busy. Robb and the band have been working on new songs and there will be one more release from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’, which will be the title track.
At the moment a video is being made for it. More information about this release will follow after summer!

A song to end this blog with. ‘A Good Place For Us’ from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’.
It’s a song about all the distractions we’re living with nowadays…the internet, social media, constantly checking phones, how stressed life can be and how things were before we even had internet…different time…different world…

If you want to know more about Scott Thrift and the ‘Today’-clock, have a look at this website:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scottthrift/today

Thank you for reading this blog! Wishing you a great summer!

 

 

Coincidence?

“We don’t meet people by coincidence. They are meant to cross our path for a reason”

I’m in a thoughtful mood at the moment and in the past week I’ve been thinking about a lot of what seem to be random events, but actually aren’t. I’ve been thinking about the people I’ve met and the events happening in my life in the past few years and how those people or events affected me in a positive or negative way.

So many people we pass each day while going to work, doing groceries, heading back home, getting out for a walk, doing day-to-day activities and even while being online. Most people you won’t even notice, but sometimes someone stops you in your tracks long enough for you to become aware of them.
Sometimes someone is there in your life for only an hour, a week or maybe a bit longer, but even though they are there for a very short period of time, they can leave a life lasting memory. Sometimes you meet people who will stay, people who will become acquaintances. Once in a while, although this is rare, the relationship you have with an acquaintance will grow into friendship. These people are the ones to keep around.

I believe that people don’t just randomly cross your path, there’s always a reason behind it. Everything happens for a reason…If you take time to reflect you will learn a lot about yourself and it will make you grow as a person, whether the events happening in your life are positive or not. Sometimes you meet people and you right away know that they were meant to be there and sometimes it may take a while before you see the purpose or the reason behind meeting certain people. There are people you want to run away from immediately, but there are also people who will touch your heart even if they’re only there for a very short period of time. Some people will bring the best out of you, others the worst. Sometimes you meet people who will teach you a lesson, whether or not it’s a lesson you want to learn…it wakes you up and gets you thinking. Sometimes you meet people you will inspire or they will inspire you and you meet people to become a better version of yourself.  It’s all up to you to decide whether or not you allow the people you meet to come into your life and it’s up to you how to respond to the events happening.

Thinking about this all puts a smile on my face. It makes me aware of how lucky I am having a wonderful husband, children, family and friends. I am grateful…grateful for all the people who have crossed my path…whether they stayed or not or whether the events happening in my life were positive or not…it has all shaped me to who I am today.

As I’m writing this blog the music work distracts me… The music work…something that has become such a big part of my life and something I really love doing… There is a lot of work to do at the moment. One of the things that’s keeping us busy behind the scenes is the tour of The Netherlands in October… It’s still a long time before the tour starts…5 ½ months to be exact, but things like accommodation and flights already have to be booked in order to keep the costs as low as possible and to make sure that the band has a nice and comfortable place to stay. Once accommodation and flights are booked it becomes more ‘real’ and it makes us look forward to the tour!
There’s more news to be shared very soon, so stay tuned and keep an eye on Robb’s facebook page and Twitter to stay updated:

https://www.facebook.com/TheRobbMurphy/

https://twitter.com/TheRobbMurphy

A song to end this blog with…

Trump Card Hand

Lyrics:
I was standing in the back of the line 
Took up space so I stepped to the side
I am waiting in the shade not the light
I’ll get my chance my wings and fly

I won’t make a sound tonight
I won’t put myself in that spotlight
But I will reach for the best I can do
To prove to myself I can see this through

I had a little love but I never said
Thought it best to keep it in my head
I don’t want to be saying love has passed me by
I got to be a man about it and try
I’ve seen a little heaven when I look in your eyes

So here we are with a trump card hand
Making money from nothing, second hand land
Now I don’t see why we struggle to save
Can’t take it with us when we go to the grave

I’ve had a little luck ‘cos I’m still alive
Surely better than me should have survived
I don’t want to be saying love has passed me by
I got to be a man about it and try
I’ve seen little heaven when I look in your eyes

I see a little heaven when I look in your eyes

 

Music business??

“…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”

Just a quote from an email I received a while ago…
Little did I know when I started helping out and started doing things behind the scenes. Over the years I would be surprised over and over again about the music business. Surprised at the many people we’ve met who have been really supportive and genuinely kind. People who encouraged and inspired us in more than one way. Surprised at the many great opportunities that came by.
But also surprised at how rude, insulting or ignorant people can be.

“…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”
The person who sent me that message is right…I didn’t understand how his music business works…
In this case I sent music to a radio station, not being aware that I would be added to a mailing list and would be spammed with promo offers of the owner’s other business…
I received offers to get the music played on (mostly online) radio stations, get music placed on their own blog, get music posted on their facebook groups and and social media network, and an offer for ‘great’ gigs…all for which we would have to pay a lot of money. Maybe this works for some artists, but it’s definitely not something that we prefer to do. I unsubscribed from the newsletter. Robb’s music was removed from the station’s playlist and I received an email from the owner in which he mentioned: “…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”

Did that comment bother me? No, not really. It actually made me laugh. The comment did get me thinking though, because who does understand how the music business works nowadays? If one business is confusing and hard to understand it’s the music business. Sometimes I even wonder if the music business understands itself…

The only thing that really matters is to do what you love, do what brings you energy, do what makes you feel good, do what you’re good at and become better. (This counts for anyone, regardless if you’re a musician/artist or not.) Don’t take any of the negative things happening personal. Just move on and surround yourself with people who motivate you, work with like-minded people and stay true to yourself.
Music world has changed so much and today there are so many opportunities and so many ways to get your music heard. There really are so many aspects of the music business. What works for some artists doesn’t mean that it will work for others too. Keep doing your own thing, do what feels right. Try new things and always keep in mind with everything you do that it’s always better to try and fail than a couple of years later thinking ‘What if…’ Believe in yourself, trust your instincts and never give up on what you love doing.

As for Robb’s music, it may seem quiet, but behind the scenes we’re very busy. Robb and the band are working on new songs and we’re planning one last release from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’.
A couple of weeks ago Robb released a single ‘To Be A Fool’. The single got great support and some really nice feedback! Robb made a video for this single filled with silly photos and video snippets from the band and fans from around the world. If you haven’t seen the video yet, have a look:

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos and videos!