Tag Archives: Coffee

Robb Murphy…Q & A

I’ve been writing blogs about everything happening behind the scenes with Robb Murphy for a couple of years now, but while writing the blogs about the band members and introducing them, it came to mind that I never really wrote a blog like that about Robb. It’s about time!

Those of you who’ve been reading my blogs already know a bit about Robb. Next to being a songwriter, creator of music and producer, he’s an outstanding pizza maker, coffee and tea lover, vegan, vinyl collector and he’s always up for silliness….a lot of silliness… Robb likes to challenge himself but, maybe more so, he likes to challenge others…yes I’ve been there 😉 It’s not easy to fool him…but occasionally I manage to do it… Robb always tends to be late and I remember that during one of the tours we had to be at a radio station very early in the morning. I had reasons to believe that we would be late if I told Robb the exact time we had to leave, so I added 30 minutes spare time to that, without Robb knowing… Due to that we arrived at the radio station earlier than expected… That trick never worked again after that btw! And I have to admit…that trick was never needed again, because  we’ve managed to be on time everywhere we had to go ever since.

And…there’s that thing with reading… Robb doesn’t always read everything…of which he recently posted proof…just a few emails to read…

Sometimes I have to be creative when it comes to making sure that Robb reads what I send him…by adding silly things for example. A while ago I made a to do list and I needed to be sure that Robb would read it. I added ‘practice choreography’ to that list and when he asked me what that was about, I knew that he had read the file 😉
And there’s another example of Robb not always reading everything…it sometimes leads to funny situations like this:

All joking aside…I’ve been working with Robb on the music for 4 ½ years now and it’s been a pleasure. We’ve done so much, had ups and downs, but one thing for sure…things are never boring behind the scenes. There’s always a lot of work to do but we’re always having a lot of fun! Robb, the band and me…we’re all very lucky to have the support from partners, wives, husband and family, because without that we would not be able to do this. We have a lot of plans and are working on some exciting projects, so the work continues….onto the next 4 ½ years!

Time for a Q & A with Robb now…Just like all band members Robb was sent a list of questions too… He complained, saying that I sent him 9 million questions to answer – I think math is a problem here 😉 – but he answered the questions, here’s what he said:

What drives you to write?
Something compels me to write, I do not know what but I need to write music. Things that influence what I write about are just everyday situations, nature, and dreams. I also like trying to put myself in other situations, imagining how it would feel.

Can you remember the first time you wrote a song? Describe it to me.
One of the first songs I wrote was called, “Turtle Dove”. Lyrics were; “I’m a turtle dove, I’m a turtle dove”. Half of this song credit goes to Rick from the band.

What’s your favorite piece of music and why?
So many to choose from but for now I will pick Holocene by Bon Iver. I am usually more about the lyrics of a song but the melody, arrangement and textures created are what never fails to get me. I have been listening to it for years and have not once got bored of it.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song?
When I was working on Stars from the Sleep Tonight album I heard a few xylophone notes during the instrumental that really worked, but were not recorded in the mix, I thought I was going mad! What actually had happened was we had guests in another room where I had left a small xylophone, one of them by chance played a few notes at that particular time.  So I had to put it in the song !

Have you had any crazy fan encounters?
Not many, but the first time I was asked to sign something I just assumed the person meant one of the other acts that had played so I went to get them. #Awkward

How would you describe your music?
Lyric focused, emotive, my personal therapy! The music is arranged by whatever instruments and gear I have at hand, and whoever of my musical friends want to be involved.

Best advice ever given?
Don’t try to copy current musical genres, trends will change so just be true to the type of music you want to create, and maybe a future trend will sync with one of your songs.

First song ever sung?
The earliest song I have memories of singing is Nelly The Elephant, The Toy Dolls version.  It was a birthday party favourite !

Secret craving?
Sultanas, in anything

Favourite food?
Pizza

What’s the hardest part about producing your own music? And what’s the easiest?
Hardest part is not having other people’s input, meaning I am sometimes unsure if something is working. Easiest part is not having other people’s input so I can do what I want.

Is there someone you’d secretly love to work with?
Not really, I am a loner. I am most comfortable writing among people I know and am close to. Songwriting for me is a very personal thing so it’s hard to switch it on if I am not relaxed. I love bringing songs to the band that are not fully finished, songs I am not even sure I like, hearing their opinions gives them a burst of new energy.

What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?
I like traveling, going for a drive, gardening.

You’ve toured the Netherlands quite a few times now, what’s your favourite thing about the Netherlands?
I love the feeling of space in the country, the openness and fresh air. Also the people, always very helpful and welcoming.

Favourite Dutch word?
Stroopwafel

Oddest thing that has happened while touring?
It’s all weird, but one that sticks out happened when on tour in The Netherlands.  Returning home late from a gig, my turn to drive, and in front of me was a cyclist riding from side to side on the road. We laughed at this but I just assumed it was someone not realising there was a car behind them. As I slowly approached him he swerved out again to the middle of the road, cycled in a big circle and I will always remember as the car headlights shown on his face his very large grin! He was a happy chappy without a care in the world !

Cats or dogs?
Don’t mind either but cats seem to find me, so I will go with cats

Favourite gig so far?
A gig at Theater ‘t Heerenlogement in Beusichem during last year’s tour. It’s a great old theatre venue, we had a lovely meal with the owners Tineke and Gerard Holst, and a full house! Oh and wine back stage 😉

3 places you’d like to play?
Coachella, Burning Man, Dublin Olympia Theatre

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to have a recording studio and work with other artists to record their music.  Other than that just be alive, healthy and happy!

Best software you’ve used for producing so far?
I use Pro Tools for recording as it’s what I learned in university. But actually before that, though it’s not software, I used a tape dictaphone for recording ideas and I would also record sounds I like when I was out. There will be a lot of weird stuff on there!

Best hardware investment for music production?
When recording Sleep Tonight I got a Focusrite ISA 828 pre amp, a set of 8 preamps that can be used on a bunch of things, I think I will always use it even if I get a larger variety of pre amps!

Favourite instrument?
Acoustic guitar, trumpet & wurlitzer close 2nds

How many instruments do you play?
A few, but variety of skill levels! Main instrument is the guitar and this feels most natural to me which is why I usually write with it. I play a bit of keys, harmonica, trumpet / trombone (badly out of practice) and the belly slaps.

Favourite  place in Northern Ireland?
Anywhere near the sea! North coast is great. The Mourne Mountains too. Not in the north but a recent favourite is Kellybegs, a small fishing town near Donegal in the North West of Ireland.

What trivial knowledge may save your life one day?
I know how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe

If you could live anywhere on this planet and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live and why?
I like it here, but it does lack some sunshine. So I would go somewhere in Tuscany, Italy, a farmhouse just outside Florence. I would take my new wife (not that I have an old one, but recently married) and my guitar. I could also take my macbook and phone, but I can live without them really. Tuscany has a lot of things I love, mostly reliable weather, scenery, art and culture all around. Oh plus coffee, wine and pizza are pretty good there too.

Top 3 songs on your playlist?
Currently on my phone they are:
Bon Iver – Holocene
Traveling Wilburys – Tweeter And The Monkey Man
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Man On Fire

Favourite song from high school?
A few that always remind me of high school are:
Crash Test Dummies – MMM MMM MMM MMM
Wet Wet Wet  – Love is all around
The Cranberrys – Linger
The Corrs – Runaway
Enigma – Return To Innocence
The Connells – ’74-’75
REM – Daysleeper

Favourite thing about music?
Writing and recording, the buzz when something works.

Least favourite thing about music?
Promoting it, needs to be done but I feel like a broken record.

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?
A chilli pepper

One perfect day…  what would it include?
Big sleep in, good food, sunshine, sea, maybe a sneaky wine

Thanks very much for this Robb!

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

If you’ve missed the blogs about band members Kevin, Dave, Rick and Al, click on their names and you can read all about them!

Where’s Wally?

The ducks are back! After not having seen them in months they’re back again since early this Sunday morning. It’s 1.30 pm and they’re still here, swimming, sun bathing and napping in our pond. It’s nice to see them again. A couple of days ago  I was looking at pictures from last year…I actually forgot about the ducks, but seeing the pictures made me wonder if they would come back again. Last year they suddenly were there in April/May. They didn’t stay for long. After a week or 4 they didn’t come back anymore and we haven’t seen them since. Looks like Spring is coming now! The weather is great out here in The Netherlands. It’s a bit chilly but the sun is shining and I’m sitting outside in the sun for the first time this year. It feels so good to be outside. Nothing is better than sunshine and fresh air!

We’ve been busy behind the scenes. A new single will be released in 3 weeks from now, on the first of April. The single will feature a new music video with silly pictures and clips from the band, fans, friends and family. Big thanks to everyone who has sent us their silly pictures and footage!

There’s also a gig coming up on Saturday the 26th of March, 12 pm.
Love Coffee NI (http://www.lovecoffeeni.com/) will be organising a marquee tent at the Good Life Festival full of great coffee, wonderful treats and 10 of their favourite artists from their Thursday Night music nights!
http://goodlifeoxfordisland.com/

Meanwhile it’s Monday morning…I’m waking up with coffee and I’m finishing this blog. The sun is coming up…another beautiful day out here!
The weather was so good yesterday, so I spent most of the afternoon outside. I started writing the blog and I meant to finish it yesterday, but the ducks distracted me and kept me entertained all afternoon.
They seemed to have had a good time in our pond, there’s plenty of food for them to find in there. We just let them be and enjoy it that they’re here. We want to remove the pond, so next year they might be disappointed when there’s no water in our garden anymore…

Time to end this blog…with a song…as always…Where's Wally?
“What Do I Say?” from Robb’s debut album “Take A Stand”.
Robb teamed up with Patrick Maxwell (http://www.headlinefilms.com/) to film this time lapse video over a six month period at various locations in and around Belfast.
This makes me remember something I forgot… Did you know that you can find Wally in this video?
Robb once did a Where’s Wally?-competition. It’s not so easy to find him, so it kept people busy for a while…;)
Have a look and see if you can find him!

 

Downtime

It’s Saturday…weekend, time to relax. It’s chilly outside. This morning it was snowing, but the snow now turned into rain. I just turned up the heating and made a big pot of tea. Time to write a blog.

The new year has started.
Behind the scenes plans are being made for this year.
One more single and video will be released from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’ and Robb is making plans to record a new album.
There are no big events planned in the near future. We’re having a bit of downtime which we’re using to catch up and focus on what we didn’t have time for during the past year. Time for Robb to write songs, time to do research and find new opportunities and more time to just relax…

Crocheting (yes, I’m a big crochet lover!) and listening to music is my way to relax. I love to cuddle up on the couch with a big mug of coffee or tea. There’s always an unfinished ‘crochet-project’ to keep me busy. To me crocheting is like meditation, it relaxes me and it’s a way to express my creativity. When I’m crocheting I’m always listening to music. Right now I’m listening to the album ‘If I was’ by The Staves. I downloaded that album months ago, but I didn’t start listening to it until a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been listening to it a lot ever since.

I’m a big music lover and so is Robb.
I listen to all kinds of music, from classical music to rock and everything in between, new music, but also music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.
Often I’m looking for new music. There is such a great amount of talent out there. I prefer listening to music that usually isn’t being played on the big radio stations. Thankfully there’s the internet and there are numerous ways for artists to spread the music. I’ve been finding a lot of new music in the past few years, due to the work I’m doing behind the scenes for Robb. We found a lot of blogs, magazines and radio shows that do pay attention to new music and there are so many more great sources like YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp etc. to find new music.
We often share links to new music with each other. Last week Robb was all into listening to new music and the idea came up to make a playlist on YouTube of music we like a lot and are listening to at the moment.

Over to you! You can contribute to this playlist as well.
Click on the link below, save the playlist and you’ll get permission to add videos to it.
Add your favourite music, share what you are listening to at the moment. Surprise us! We’d love to listen!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4coVYmTkrNBc8x18GmJA4LvbJ0cOS0vc&jct=W3CuH8dbnB0icLZWgTMTfBfdR5_grQ

 

 

 

Coffee time and time for an update…

It’s Saturday…lazy Saturday… it’s rainy and chilly in The Netherlands. After doing some necessary cleaning, laundry and tidying I just made myself some coffee. Perfect time to write a new blog.

The days are going by so fast… Time just really flies!
Robb returned from Italy last week and we’re back to work on the music. There is lots to do at the moment. The release of ‘Headstrong’ is coming up soon. The video for this song is almost finished.
Keep an eye on Robb’s social media sites to stay updated about the video and single release!

While the band started with rehearsals, I am sorting out final things for the tour of The Netherlands next month.
People who have been reading my previous blogs might think what’s there to sort out? Everything already was sorted?
Yes, gigs were sorted at an early stage, just like flights and accommodation, but now it’s time to do the promotional side of the tour and sort out the details. That means contacting all venues, radio- and TV stations to check up on things, talk over some things that aren’t clear yet. Provide info, press photos and a tour poster, make a press release to send to media closer to the tour. Last week I made a planning…travel time included and keeping in mind that there’s enough time to set up, chill and have dinner at some point. I also started making lists of things we need during the tour like water, fruit, stroopwafels, ontbijtkoek and more! Somewhere I have to fit in bacon pancakes…Not sure where yet… It’s all a lot of work, but it’s fun to do. 2015 Poster - master copy B

It’s fun and it’s special. What makes it special is the kindness of the people involved with the tour. There really is a large number of people involved … from venue owners, to radio/tv stations, from DJ’s to people who are lending us their skills, instruments and gear. Not to forget the support the band gets at home to be away for 10 days and also my husband who’s taking time off to take care of the children, while I am away during that week. Literally everyone involved is putting in effort to make this all happen. Always something to be very thankful for! One thing is for sure, with all the effort everyone is putting in, this will be a week in which we will make a lot of great memories again!

More news to share. ‘Headstrong’ will be featured on a compilation album, called ‘Ireland Laid Bare’. This album, initiated by Peter Smith, consists of various Irish artists/bands and will be released on the 16th of October. More info about this album and the release can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/Irelandlaidbare

A song to end this blog with, Trump Card Hand. This song developed during the tour of The Netherlands last year. Robb and the band recorded the song not long after the tour. Listen and enjoy!

Stars

It’s Sunday morning and I’m waking up with coffee. The start of a beautiful day. The sun is shining, today temperatures will go up to 25°C. It’s still quiet in the house. The children are still sleeping. I love these moments…some quiet time in the morning. I’m never in the best mood when waking up. It’s always best to just let me be for a bit and don’t say too much in the morning. I always need time to wake up and get myself ready for the day.

I’ve not been writing much lately. Summer is distracting me. Last night I was sitting outside. It was a beautiful summer night. I watched the sunset. It’s something I really love. Seeing the colours of the sky change and while it’s getting darker seeing the stars getting brighter. Last week Wednesday there was a meteor shower and I spent a couple of hours outside star gazing. So beautiful to see! It always makes me realise how insignificant we actually are. While looking up I was thinking that a lot of people were probably doing the same thing as I did, star gazing… It’s weird to think that no matter where you are in the world, no matter how different things are in each country and how torn apart this world is, we all share the same sun, moon and stars.
While star gazing I always think about a lot of things. It’s always putting me in a thoughtful mood, making me count my blessings, making me remember people who aren’t there anymore but have a special place in my heart.

Last night I was thinking about all that is to come in the following months as for Robb’s music.
There’s a very busy time ahead of us. A single/video release is coming up and there’s the tour of The Netherlands in October.
Last week another date was added to the tour. It’s a very full and busy schedule! I’m looking forward to this week. It will be a tiring, but great week! Below is the tour poster with all dates.

2015 Poster - master copy B

The video for ‘Headstrong’ is in editing stages at the moment. One thing is for sure, the making of this video already got a lot of attention…online and during filming.
Imagine that you’re walking your dog on a quiet day and bumping into these animals…
In the first take of this scene, the Monkey slipped in mud and the Giraffe’s head got stuck in the trees …

Or imagine people’s reaction to this… The Ulster String Quartet playing while the animals are dancing around…

A few more scenes need to be filmed for this video, which will take place very soon. Keep an eye on Robb’s social media sites to stay updated about the video and single release!

A song to end this blog with…’Stars’, a song Robb wrote after he and his fiancée spent a night watching a meteor shower.
This is a live version of the song, recorded two years ago.

What is this light, that comes from above ?
Channeling time, channeling life

To see these starts for the first time
A brand new light in the sky

Now we know, yes we know
There is light, there is love
We will stand, we will fall
Still light shines on

I look at one star, pointed and bright
The longer I stare, I’m engulfed by the light

Out of sight in the day
Overwhelmed by light from the sun

Now I know, yes I know
There is light, there is love
We will stand, we will fall
Still light shines on

Now we know, yes we know
There is light, there is love
We will stand, we will fall
Still light shines on

We’ve got the light, we’ve got the light of stars in our hearts
We’ve got the light, we’ve got the light of stars in our hearts
We’ve got the light, we’ve got the light of stars in our hearts
We’ve got the light, we’ve got the light of stars in our hearts

The album version is available here:

Coffee…coffee…more coffee…

Thursday morning, the weather is really beautiful today in The Netherlands, sun is shining and it’s my day off today.
I’m sitting outside, enjoying fresh air and the sun. It’s coffee time and blog time!
About 6 weeks ago I started this blog and I’m writing blog #13 now. Before I go on, I want to thank all of the people who have been reading the blog and sharing it on social media. Thank you for your nice comments to the blogs I’m writing! Much appreciated and very nice to know that you’re enjoying the reads!

Coffee…it’s no secret that I am addicted to coffee…After water it is the first beverage that I drink in the morning.
Those of you who have been following Robb on social media will know that Robb is a big coffee lover too. You can read on his Twitter profile that he’s a coffee guru and you will find a coffee mug in a lot of pictures he posts.
A while ago I gave him a huge coffee mug. Four cups of coffee will easily fit into the mug… I think Robb’s caffeine intake doubled with that mug.

Being a coffee lover there’s no better place to do a gig than at a coffee shop, which happened yesterday. Robb was asked to perform at Love Coffee NI in Lurgan as part of a 3 day music festival. http://www.lovecoffeeni.com/
Ben, the owner of Love Coffee NI organised a nice festival with 3 nights of live music. Well worth a visit! So if you’re living near Lurgan and love music, go there to enjoy a night of coffee and live music!
Sometimes I wish I could just hop over and go to a gig. Unfortunately no one invented a
‘get-there-button’ for phones yet…

It didn’t take long before the first picture appeared online… Robb asking if anyone wants coffee…

CGmA9ZYXEAAMUQb

 

I said to Robb that he should invite Ben to come along on tour so he can make us real coffee.
Later Robb tweeted that he’s stealing Ben to be our tour barista! Well…good coffee on tour is sorted then! 😉

When Robb got home from the gig he got in touch to let me know that it was a good gig, with a good and friendly audience. Jess McAllister (http://jessmcallister.co.uk/), who also performed that night, sounded amazing.
He also mentioned that Adele (from Wookalily) and her husband also came up to see him live.
Wookalily were support act when Robb had his pre-release gig for the album ‘Sleep Tonight’ at The Black Box in Belfast at the start of February. If you never heard of Wookalily before, then it’s about time to check them out 😉 Their music is great. Have a listen!

Robb told me that the gig venue at Love Coffee NI was upstairs and that Ben’s coffee shop was downstairs, but that there’s a screen so people can also watch and listen downstairs.
Robb was a bit cheeky and as he knew Ben could hear him downstairs, he ordered a coffee from the stage. Ben was so kind to actually bring Robb the coffee he had ordered!

Back to coffee…
There’s a song Robb wrote called ‘Coffee & Tea’. There’s no better song to end this blog with than this one. Have a listen!

 

Read how this song came about here:
http://www.robbmurphy.com/RM/Blog/Entries/2014/7/20_Coffee_%26_Tea.html

 

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Ducks, coffee, sunshine, tour…

2015-04-29 13.27.44I’m sitting in the garden… coffee…sunshine… watching the fish sun bathing in the pond. Perfect Saturday afternoon! So good to be outside and feel the warmth of the sun! This week the pond in our garden had some unexpected visitors.
Mr. and Mrs. Duck thought that our pond was a nice place to stay. I gave them some bread and sat there for a while to watch them. Later in the afternoon they were gone. They returned a day later but I saw them too late…by the time I got outside with some bread they already left. I didn’t see them again so I think their conclusion was that our pond was too small for a nice and comfortable stay and the food supply wasn’t good enough 😉

At the moment we’re very busy behind the scenes. Something people probably don’t notice.
It seems to be quiet on social media and not much seems to be happening, though nothing is less true. Robb released a single, The Mysteries of the Heart, in February. After that he released his new album, Sleep Tonight, in March. There’s a new single, Headstrong, coming up soon and meanwhile we’re organising his third tour of The Netherlands, which will take place in October. Busy times, but fun to do!

The tour…organising a tour is always a challenge. The time that Robb will be here is limited,
7 – 10 days. Everything needs to be planned during those 10 days.
First thing to do is to get gigs sorted. Not an easy task. There are loads of options and possibilities, but most of those options aren’t bringing in any money. There are numerous open mic sessions, lots of venues are very welcoming as long as they don’t have to pay an act. Their motto: “We offer artists and bands a stage to perform and show the public their skills”.
With some luck they will pay for drinks and food and if they feel very generous you will get a bit of gas money. It is sickening, but unfortunately those venues can just do it, cause they keep getting artists and bands who want to play for free. And they will keep doing it, unless artists and bands stop playing for free. That’s an illusion I think…
I’m not saying that artists and bands should never play for free, but I think they always have to ask themselves the question ‘What’s in it for me?’.
This is not just happening in The Netherlands by the way… From my own experience, the situation in Ireland seems to be even more worse than it is over here. But that’s something to write about in another blog.
Back to where I was…getting paid gigs. Paid gigs are necessary, especially when it comes to touring….you need a budget to at least cover expenses. Even that is a hard thing to do. Robb always comes over with the band, so that’s a pretty big expense with flights for 5 or 6 people, accommodation, car hire, gas, food etc.
Thankfully there are a lot of venues who do pay artists to perform. They’re not always easy to find though. We’re organising a tour of The Netherlands for the 3rd time now and still we are finding venues we never heard of before.

The gigs and some radio and tv performances are sorted now, so everything is falling into place. The next thing to sort out are musicians, see which band members can take off time from work to join the tour. Then there’s accommodation, flights and instruments to be sorted.
Closer to the date we’re making a final planning and do the promotion for the tour.
But that’s not all…there’s a lot of preparation to do and also during the tour there’s always a lot that needs to be sorted. Make sure there’s enough water, food and fruit, make sure everyone is there where we need to be in time. Phone calls with venues, radio stations etc. to sort out last minute things when needed… It’s always a very busy and tiring week but it’s also a lot of fun!
A tour really is special and brings everyone involved closer together.

Have a look at the tour pictures from last year’s tour to see what we’ve been up to!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.858285780878732.1073741839.201700783203905

As I’ve mentioned earlier in my blog, Robb released a single in February, called ‘The Mysteries Of The Heart’. Have a listen!