2015 UPDATE

As usual this post is loooong overdue, but what are you gonna do about it? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Anyway at the end of April I went on tour with a bunch of my buddies and the wonderful Ella Henderson, in support of Take That’s ‘III’ Tour, which comprised of about 40 UK & Ireland arena shows across 2 months, and it was awesome. We had the best time and played some really great shows. The crowds responded really well to Ella and the whole Take That crew were lovely, so in all it was a big success. Here’s a shot of us together before our last show in Newcastle:

IMG_6124

We had a bit of time off after the tour and have since been doing a few festivals here and there, including V-Fest last weekend which was really great. Hopefully the footage from our rainy (but awesome) Chelmsford set will surface soon, as I think it was one of our best shows yet! We’ve got a handful more festivals between now and October which will be when we start rehearsing and getting prepared for Ella’s first ever headline tour, which we’re all pretty excited for.

Almost forgot – as well as continuing to play with Ella I’ve also managed to work with a couple of different artists this summer too; most notably the talented dude that is Aston Merrygold, who is a really cool guy with an insanely good voice. I did an acoustic session with him for 4Music where we played his latest single, which you can check out below:

As well as this I started doing some small gigs with a new singer named Claudia Kane, who signed a development deal with Sony a while ago and is getting ready to put out some really killer music. I definitely recommend you check her out at www.claudiakane.com!

Next up for me is Fusion Fest with Ella so fingers crossed it doesn’t rain in Birmingham this weekend…

The Mothership.

After a week of intense troubleshooting and various soldering injuries I have finally finished my new pedalboard. And it is AWESOME. See for yourself:

IMG_3007

IMG_3012

IMG_3014

So that fine looking board that all of my pedals are sitting on is made by an awesome Canadian company called Temple Audio, and I am incredibly proud to be their first UK endorsee. I got involved with Temple through a guy named Vincent Rice, who is the head of their UK distribution company Robothead Industries. Vince kind of became my pedalboard guru and I wouldn’t have been able to put this board together without his help so am incredibly grateful to him for that.

Temple boards are just killer. Their whole take on pedalboard design and functionality is really refreshing and it just works incredibly well. It’s the perfect alternative to the slatted-style boards which, personally I was getting kind of frustrated with. Plus it looks BADASS.

I’ll leave you to go check out their website to find out more about them and will now go through the different elements of my board, because if you made it this far then chances are you’re as big a nerd as me and are actually interested in that.

Firstly, as you can see on the right-hand side of the board I’ve got 4 standard jack inputs and 2 Neutrik locking jack inputs on the top and bottom respectively. The top 3 standard inputs are for switching between guitars (currently labelled for the upcoming Take That support tour where I’ll be using my Duesenberg and my Nash) using the Boss LS2 Line Selector (the 4th one is currently not being used, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I incorporate that one in), and the Neutriks are for my Mission SP-1 expression pedal.

Out of the line selector my signal goes to the Digitech Whammy V and then into the RJM Mastermind PBC, which is my ridiculously cool new MIDI loop switcher. Again I could go on about the PBC for a long time but I’ll let you check it out yourself so I don’t get distracted, SO…

Loop 1: Barber Tone Press

Loop 2: Strymon Mobius (pre)

Loop 3: Roger Mayer Voodoo TC Octavia & SM Fuzz

Loop 4: Barber Gain Changer

Loop 5: Free the Tone Gigs Boson

Loop 6: Suhr Riot

Loop 7: Strymon Mobius (post)

Loop 8: Xotic RC Booster

Loop 9: Strymon Timeline

Loop 10: Strymon Big Sky

The PBC’s A & B outputs then go to the other 2 Neutrik locking jacks on the left-hand side and from there will either go to my amp’s channels or to two different amps, depending on whether I want to run Mono or Stereo. Because with the PBC I can choose with the push of a switch. Because it’s awesome. Above those Neutriks is an IEC input with an on/off switch, which is connected to a CIOKS Ciokolate power supply, which powers everything (including those awesome underside LEDs) AND has switchable voltage for when I’m in the states.

The PBC is insanely customisable thanks to the editor software so i’ve got all my songs and setlists ready to go at the push of a button.

Really happy with this board and am going to do my best to leave it alone for as long as possible! (Obviously by that I mean until Strymon bring out a new pedal.)

Once again I must say huge thank you’s to the guys at Temple Audio and Vince at Robothead – as well as Chris Goodie at Musicpysch and Ron and Sheri at RJM. Can’t wait to take this thing on tour!

 

Temple

 

Live Lounge 2

Last week we returned to Radio 1’s Live Lounge with Ella, this time to play her latest single Mirror Man as well as a cover of James Bay’s Hold Back the River. I was kind of nervous about this one as it was my first time singing backing vocals on something with Ella…but thankfully it went really well and I didn’t completely ruin the song with my singing. Well, actually you can be the judge of that, here’s the vid:

We also did a cool live session for MTV last week – not sure when it airs but I’ll post it when it does.

In other news I’m about to redo my pedalboard (again) and it is going to be an absolute MONSTER. With a bit of help from my two new favourite companies Temple Audio and RJM I am gonna put together a pretttttty special board. And soon! Will do a geektastic blog about it when it’s up and running.

Get Busy

Last week I got to do something I never thought I’d get to do. Not in a million lifetimes. If you’d told me that on the day after my 26th birthday I’d be stood on stage at the tonight show, in the Rockefeller Centre in New York City, playing with The Roots – I’d have slapped you like the crazy person you so obviously were. Yet somehow, by some ultimate miracle of awesomeness – this actually happened. Ella went and got a slot on the tonight show with Jimmy Fallon – and seeing as I was out there in NYC with her doing promo, I was able to join in for her performance of ‘Ghost’ on the show. This is largely thanks to my amazing production and tour managers; Tubbs and Tubbs (we call them both called Tubbs, get over it) – who put in the request for me to do this, so thank you boys. It is also of course, thanks to Ella, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to take this amazingopportunity, so thank you E-Dawg! Anyway I could go on about it forever (and will do to all of my colleagues, friends and family) but I’m just gonna say what I know you want to hear if you’re a fan of these guys: yes they groove so, so hard – and yes they are all classy, stand-up dudes (especially my man Riq G’s). It was a career highlight and an experience I’ll never forget. So without further ado, here’s a video of me playing with The Legendary Roots Crew. FRANK KNUCKLES ON THE 2’S AND 4’S YALL!!!!!

 

I can now die a happy man.

IMG_2597

USA & Canada ROUND 2

2015 started with a trip to the states with Ella, which was a pretttttty sweet way to start the year if you ask me. First we headed over to New York where we played on a  couple of TV shows (one being the Late Show with David Letterman, which was a HUGE bucket list tick for me – will stick the video below), did some promo stuff, and played an album launch show at the Diamond Horseshoe, which was killer. After a brief stop off in Washington DC (yes I went into full tourist mode and visited all the monuments) we headed to LA for a few days, which was warm and sunny and we had lots of time off so we played football and ate chicken wings and then Joe fell off of a bucking bronco. We did actually do some work though; we played on Sharon Osbourne’s TV show The Talk, and did a cool acoustic session for Young Hollywood, as well as some other bits and bobs that I cannot remember. After The Talk the rest of the band stayed in LA for a little holiday (still jealous) while I went back east with Ella to do some more radio promo in Miami and Detroit – and then we went over to Canada…

..I feel like this is getting boring so I’m gonna break it up with a picture of this huge deer/mammal skeleton I saw at the Natural History Museum in NYC:

IMG_2127

Whaaaaaat! those antlers are bananas!! Right?!?

Anyway as I said we went to Canada, which was so very very cold. We hit Toronto and Montreal (which was -18 degrees celsius at one point. What the hell, Canada?!) and did various acoustic performances on various TV and radio shows, which was fun! Think I’m finally getting the hang of this Ghost tune now.

So the next couple of months are all about promo for Ella’s fourth single ‘Mirror Man’ (TUUUUNE) as well as gearing up for the Take That tour in May. Obviously when I say gearing up I mean buying and fiddling with lots of guitar gear that I want and probably don’t need. Speaking of which; I must give a shout out to the lovely folks at Duesenberg Guitars and Fred at Divided by 13 Amps for making such amazing gear – my Duesenberg served me extremely well on this recent trip and I was also lucky enough to have a fresh FTR 37 waiting for me at every show – so thank you guys for being awesome.

Now, feast your eyes on this Letterman video:

BBC Awards

Last year ended with a really cool gig, and that was the first ever BBC Music Awards at Earl’s Court. Not only did we get to play there with Ella, we actually ended up doing a sort of joint performance with her and the super talented Labrinth. We played right at the beginning of the show just after Coldplay opened up. You could say that Coldplay opened for us. And I do say that.

It went really well and was loads of fun – see for yourself in this super sweet video:

2015 is looking like it’s gonna be a busy year, and we’re starting it off  by heading out to New York this Sunday for an album release show and a bunch more TV & Radio promo. I will almost certainly not blog about it while I’m there, and probably not for a while after I get back either – because when have I ever blogged about anything less than a month after it happened? That’s right, never. #bloglife

 

USA & Canada

Recently got back from an amazing trip to the states and Canada with Ella and co., where we played on some cool TV and radio shows. It was the first trip we’ve done with the whole band and I can’t wait for the next one – the whole team is awesome and we have tons of fun together. Halloween in NYC was especially good; we had about an hour after finishing promo to go and buy our costumes before heading out to see the parade, so we snatched up some turtlenecks, some wigs and some glasses, and went as the Beatles:

IMG_1674

Nailed it. Plus we’re British so all the Americans loved it.

Anyway on this trip we played 3 major US TV shows; The Today Show, The Ellen Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Ella killed it on every one and as a result Ghost has shot into the top 20 out there, so that’s cool. My favourite video of the three is from the today show, mainly because of the dude in the audience who is going in hard on the Dad-dancing, check it out:

Also definitely watch to the end to see the presenter’s weird reaction (around 4:20).

Crazy Americans.

So Ella’s next single is a beautiful tune called ‘Yours’, but unfortunately for me it’s a piano ballad, so I won’t be doing much promo for it I don”t think! It’s cool though, we’ve still got a good few shows and things planned before the year is out. As for next year it looks like we’ll be going to the states again early on, and then come April we’ll be heading out to support Take That on their UK arena tour, which will be bananas. Roll on 2015…

Live Lounge

Last weekend we bundled into BBC Radio 1’s live lounge with a string quartet to play some stuff with Ella. We played Glow and Ghost (the latter of which I believe is an ‘unlock able’ extra on the live lounge website) and then ended the session with a cover of A Great Big World’s ‘Say Something’ featuring Christina Aguilera, which – although I find to be a somewhat depressing, borderline morbid song – did sound very nice with the string arrangement and trademark perfect Ella vocals.. Have a little look and see what you think:

 

I’m currently in Cologne, Germany right now which I think marks the first time I’ve ever blogged from abroad, which is something I always say I’ll do but never get around to. So hooray me.

Berlin tomorrow and then home for a few days before heading out to Belgium next week!

Sunday Brunch with Pro Green & Tori Kelly

As the title of this post suggests, I recently found myself performing Professor Green‘s new single ‘Lullaby’ with him and his band for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch show. I got the call last weekend as his usual guitarist was unable to make the session due to being ill. The show went great and I had a lot of fun – him and his band are a lovely and professional bunch of guys, and to top it all off we had the incredible Tori Kelly (who features on ‘Lullaby’)  singing with us which was amazing. She has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard and I really hope she becomes massive – she’s ridiculously talented, not to mention lovely, as well as absolutely stunning! I was unable to find the full quality version of the video so this one will have to do, check it out:

Mirror Man

Last month we went back into the awesome RAK studios with Ella to film some more live stuff. This time we went through four tunes with the full band and it sounded ace. The first video has just surfaced and it’s probably my favourite song of hers (lots of guitar), it’s called Mirror Man and this is what it sounds looks like:

Shout out to Duesenberg and Divided by 13 for making me sound good!