Tag Archives: Belfast

Space cake…episode 2

People who are looking for a space cake recipe…I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find it in this blog… Space cake…I can almost hear you say “If there’s no space cake recipe, then what’s this blog about??” 😉

Well…I’ve been writing blogs about everything happening behind the scenes with Robb Murphy (singer-songwriter) for two years now and ’Space Cake’ happens to be one of the most viewed blog posts in the past few years. Every time I see that someone viewed that particular blog, it makes me giggle and think that it’s probably someone who was looking for a space cake recipe… Space cake tells the story of customs mistaking the Dutch spice cake (ontbijtkoek) I took with me on a trip to Northern Ireland for drugs… If you’re curious, go and have a read. It’s one of the many funny things that happened in the 4 ½ years I’ve been working with Robb.

Two years and many blog posts written…
Today I was reading some old blogs….there’s so much I wrote about! It’s good to read it all again, because I forgot a lot of the funny things that happened in the past few years. Reading the blogs brought back a lot of great memories!

Over the past few years the amount of people visiting the blogs increased, this year in particular. In the first months of the year I wrote blogs to introduce you to the band members. They were sent a very long list of questions to get to know them a bit better…and they all took time to answer the questions….without complaining…except for Robb, who complained that I sent him 9 million questions to answer 😉 I’m glad that they all took time for this, because these blogs were read a lot! Until the end of last year Space Cake was on top of the stats, but every blog I wrote about the band members were viewed a lot more! Kevin is the man though! Sorry Robb, Al, Rick and Dave…I think that Kevin has some secret admirers 😉 because his blog is the best read blog so far!

If you didn’t read the ‘Introducing’-blogs yet, click on the pictures of the band members below, that will guide you to the blog posts.

Robb Murphy Rick McKee Kevin Carlisle David Bennington Alan Ladd

Two years of blog writing…thank you all who’ve been reading my blogs!
I’m sure that there will be many more blogs to come, keep an eye on here or follow us on Social Media.

Those of you who are reading this blog for the first time…Robb is a singer-songwriter from Belfast and if you’re a music lover and like acoustic music with elements of pop, country, classical and folk, check out his music!

 

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Take A Stand – 5 years

Take A Stand…Robb Murphy’s solo career started with this…the album was released 5 years ago on the 27th of April. Something to celebrate…and to write a blog about! I’ve been looking back into the blogs I wrote over the past few years, but I didn’t write a blog about Take A Stand and how this album came about. This 5-year anniversary sure is a good reason to do that!

‘Take A Stand’ is an album with an electronic pop sound. Robb had no intention to officially release it. It was all just something he did, because he liked it. It was an experiment for himself to get familiar with the studio programs that he was using. He sent a rough copy to BBC, not expecting to hear back from them. Robb then went on holiday and while he was away a few friends told him that they had heard his songs on radio and that a few DJ’s had been saying really positive things about it. In the next months BBC Introducing played a lot of the tracks and Robb made the decision to officially release the album. Robb was invited to do a live session for BBC Introducing and at that stage he didn’t have a band yet. The opportunity was reason enough to get a band together and do the live session for BBC Introducing, which was recorded and broadcast in the UK.

‘Love in Abundance’ was the first single Robb released. It wasn’t until later when the video for this single was released, filmed and edited by Carl Best, lead roles by Kelly Long (HBO Game of Thrones) & Ignacy Rybarczyk (BCC Ripper Street/Faraway):

The story behind the video is guy meets girl in a coffee shop with a twist. The male lead played by Ignacy Rybarczyk (Ripper Street/Faraway) is dumped by his girlfriend, seeking solace he heads for coffee and encounters Angela, played by Kelly Long (HBO Game of Thrones) who is on a blind date. He is mesmerised by her and when her date doesn’t show he ends up being the one sharing coffee. The concept for the narrative of the video was developed by writer/director and DOP Carl Best. Together Robb and Carl worked out the ideas, keeping the plot line simple to reflect the simplicity of this song.

‘Love In Abundance’ got a lot of attention and great feedback over the years. Recently the song was used for the documentary ‘Love In A Day’ on BBC Northern Ireland.

The next single Robb released from the album was ‘On My Side’, released in March 2012.
For this video Robb teamed up with award winning short film director Patrick Maxwell of Headline Films. He captured Robb and his real life girlfriend (who is now his wife!) over the course of a day in Belfast for the video of the single ‘On My Side’.

The video starts showing a young man shifting his weight, filled with the excited nerves that come before a big date. Will the following hours hold the potential for intimacy, indifference or even rejection? He resolves to rely on his tried and tested formula — ‘We will talk and I will smile’ — after all — he’s ‘got an act to keep up dear’. But what if he just goes with it and sees what the day holds. Could it live up to his expectations? Or even surpass them? Message of this video…Stop imagining. Drop the act. Be yourself. And she might just surprise you.

The last single of the album, ‘What Do I Say?’, was released in February 2013.
Robb teamed up again with Patrick Maxwell for the music video.

‘What Do I Say?’ was filmed over a six month period at various locations in and around Belfast. This music video was created using time lapse footage mixed with a real time performance by Robb Murphy and his band at a show in The Black Box, Belfast.

The artwork of all singles and the album were created by the very talented Ronan Reid.
Ronan Reid is an artist originally from Ireland, who lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work is really amazing. Whatever idea Robb has in mind for an album or single artwork, Ro is always able to translate those ideas into amazing covers. Have a look!

Take A Stand…5 years…a milestone! it’s good to look back and write about how the album came about.
It makes me think how much has happened since and how much has changed as for Robb’s music, but that’s a different story…
Time to end this blog and celebrate this milestone with a glass of wine! Cheers!

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!

In the spotlight: Standing ‘O’ Project / Art of the Song

It’s Sunday night. After a really beautiful sunny day and a trip to a Christmas market this afternoon it’s time to relax… The perfect time to write a blog.
I’ve been writing a lot of blogs about everything happening behind the scenes and I thought it’s time for something different.

I wrote about the numerous opportunities there are for songwriters/musicians to spread the word about their music and the challenges that come along with that before. Over the years there’s one online community we came across that really stood out to us, The Standing ‘O’ Project. It’s about time that we put them in the spotlight!

What is The Standing ‘O’ Project?
The Standing ‘O’ Project is an online community for both fans and singer-songwriters. We were made aware of The Standing ‘O’ Project a couple of years ago. Back then it was a new community founded by Vivian Nesbitt and John Dillon.
John and Vivian are both singer-songwriters and former touring musicians. They understand like no other how difficult and challenging it is for singer-songwriters to spread the word about their music and to make a living from being a musician. About 12 years ago they started to produce a radio program, called ‘Art of the Song’, showcasing singer-songwriters. ‘Art of the Song’ can be heard online, via podcast, and on over 150 public radio stations across North America.

Both John and Vivian felt that they could do more for singer-songwriters though, which resulted in The Standing ‘O’ Project.
Together with Katie Mitchell (Chief Community Builder), they built The Standing ‘O’ Project-community, bringing fans and musicians closer together. Artists can sign up for free and fans can sign up for $5 a month. Unlike other streaming services who don’t pay artists very well, Artist Members of Standing ‘O’ Project receive a full 50/50 split of subscriptions to help support their music. All of it goes to the artists, not to big record labels or publishing companies.

Fan members get access to a wealth of exclusive music, video and interview content. Fans will get a closer connection through artist’s personal insights and stories. Over 300 artists already joined the Standing ‘O’ Project, so there is an enormous amount of music to find.
Next to that there’s an archive of complete Art of the Song programs with established artists that often include rare musical performances.

There’s not a better place for music lovers to find new music!
The short video below perfectly explains what The Standing ‘O’ Project is about:

Over the past couple of years we have seen The Standing ‘O’ Project grow.
Recently they introduced ‘Fair Trade Coffee House Music’. This a special curated stream of music from Standing ‘O’ artists for independent coffee shops worldwide.
Fair Trade Music, is available to any coffee shop wanting to support independent artists and wanting to show the social responsibility of playing background music that doesn’t exploit singer-songwriters. Shops earn a referral fee when their customers join the Standing ‘O’ community. Again…another initiative of which all Artist Members will benefit. Any coffee shop wanting to know more about this can get in touch through the following email address: support@standingoproject.com

Katie, John and Vivian passionately continue to support independent singer-songwriters. They keep coming up with new ideas and services of which Artist Members will benefit. It’s all for the love of music and singer-songwriters that they are doing this which makes The Standing ‘O’ Project very special. Their support really makes a difference. Without The Standing ‘O’ Project a lot of amazing music would be overlooked.

Over to you!
Please take a moment and check out the following websites to learn more about The Art Of The Song and The Standing ‘O’ Project:
http://artofthesong.org/
https://www.standingoproject.com/

You can sign up as a fan for only $5 a month and there’s also an option for a free trial.
Robb Murphy also has an artist page on there where you can find his music and back ground information. You can also listen to an exclusive, very interesting interview John Dillon and Vivian Nesbitt had with Robb a while ago for their radio program The Art of the Song, by far the most in-depth interview Robb ever had.

https://www.standingoproject.com/artist/robbmurphy/

Time to end this long blog…with a song…as always…
It’s the start of December, not long now before it’s Christmas, so here’s a song to get you in the mood! ‘When Love Is Tangled Between Friends’, Robb released this song last year along with a Christmas themed video. Watch & enjoy!

My Joy

Lyrics

I heard somebody say
We weren’t built in that way
Now its been ten years more
And I still come through that door

When I was just a boy
My heart was filled with joy
Some years can leave you burned
Now my joy has returned

I will be the one for you
I will share it all with you
And when our minds are tired and old I will hold you
Just like we are new

It is a lonely heart
That makes true love depart
I once was just like you
Stubborn in my point of view
It’s what men do

I will be the one for you
I will share it all with you
And when our minds are tired and old I will hold you
Just like we are new

And all I see is colours when I hold you tight
It takes much more than dollars just to make it right
Yeah there’s ups and downs but even day has night

I will be the one for you
I will share it all with you
And when our minds are tired and old I will hold you

And I will give it all to you
Nothing less would ever do
And when our days are nearly though I will still love
Just like we are new

Usually I’m ending my blogs with music, but I thought I’d start my blog with music for a change…
“My Joy”, a new song. Robb shared it with the public a couple of days ago.
Robb and the band have been working on new songs in the past months and ‘My Joy’ is the first song of the new album that’s finished. Here’s what Robb says about it himself:

On YouTube Robb explains how this song came together:
“Written at the end of last year ‘My Joy’ came together pretty fast, the guitar phrases through-out lead the vocal melody. The first line of the song jumped into my head when playing the riff, “I heard somebody say, we weren’t built in that way. Now it’s been ten years more, and I still come through that door”. This set me on the path to tell a story of a love which does not grow old, even though the body does. The band then added layers and the song builds organically until the end with the aim to leave the listener both hopeful and uplifted! Thanks for listening – Robb”

We’re not sure yet when the next album will be released. There’s a lot of recording to do for it and just like any other album, it’s a long creative process.

Robb and the band started rehearsing again. They’re also practicing new songs, which can be heard live during the upcoming tour of The Netherlands.  It’s going to be the fourth time that Robb and the band will be touring in The Netherlands and it’s a very full schedule. We’re preparing things for the tour at the moment and we’re really looking forward to it.

2016-poster-a3-lower-res

Do you want to stay updated on all things happening? Don’t want to miss out on Robb and the band’s shenanigans?
Follow Robb Murphy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

https://twitter.com/TheRobbMurphy

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

https://www.instagram.com/therobbmurphy/

Thanks for reading! Wishing you all a good day!

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!