Tuesday, 25 September 2007

This week, I have been mostly listening to: 25/09

Villains: Drenched in the Poisons
Abigail - Ultimate Unholy Death
Slowdive - Just for a Day
Blur - Greatest Hits

and, courtesy of Sam's car stereo, a double run through of a very old Roxette: Greatest Hits tape.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Autobiographical (part one)

To get this blog off to a mediocre start, I thought I'd do a big long rambling post about who I am, what I think about stuff, and the music I write.

I live in Southampton, in a flat with four rats (Lily, Rita, Pearl and The Monkey), a shitload of instruments+recording equipment and no people. I'm currently in the process of becoming a professional academic - I received my BA earlier this year (English and Film Studies, First Class Honours) and am going to be receiving full AHRC funding to pursue a Film Studies MA next month. After that, I'm hoping to do a PhD and become a lecturer, but possibly not in this country. My area of specialisation is post-war films that deal with Nazism and the Holocaust, and more specifically those that deal with the performer in Nazi Germany (e.g. Mephisto, Lili Marleen, Invincible, Black Book etc).

I grew up in suburban West Sussex, close to a large expanse of open countryside and woodland, which I used to explore from a very early age. These landscapes are important to me. I was normally alone - I didn't mix a lot with other children. As a kid, most of my life took place in my head, and this is something I can trace into my adult life: Caina essentially involves an escape into my interior world, but nowadays I bring back artifacts from it and let people listen to them.

I started the project in November/December 2004, about a month after I picked up a guitar for the first time ever. The early demos (1 track in December o4, 3 more in May 2005) are pretty much in keeping with how you'd expect someone who loved Black Metal but could barely play to sound like if they were locked in a rehearsal room for three hours. In short: not great.

The second demo 'The Cold Taste of Perdition', was recorded in June 2005, but represented a much higher level of commitment, if not ability, incorporating avant-garde elements. I'd invested in my own recording equipment, which meant I had a lot more time to focus on the music itself, and to chop and change elements. A while after its release it was featured in Zero Tolerance's demo section, and given 5/6. This demo was picked up for commercial release on tape by France's long-respected Drakkar Productions, and they requested another for a joint release. This I duly did, emerging with 'The King Beneath' - I'm not very happy with this recording, as I felt under pressure to incorporate certain elements that I otherwise wouldn't have included. After the two tapes release, Drakkar and I had certain problems which meant that I would only ever see the finished products over a year and a half later when a fan bought me a copy of each demo. I'm not here to talk shit about them, but we won't be working together again.

Shortly after this, a self-released split between myself and now-defunct UK Black Metal act Vivid Dreams was arranged, but around the time of it's intended release, Vivid Dreams was suddenly reclassified as an NSBM project. Because I believe fundamentally in democracy and free speech, I can't do anything about those whose ideologies would rob us of those principles, other than politely and articulately object. Indeed, some excellent NSBM records have been released. Art should have no boundaries, whether they be creative or sociopolitical. However, I can't personally associate with such people, or musically collaborate, because of the fact that our ideologies (and thus our entire worldview and outlook) are so fundamentally different. So, I stopped printing the CDs after 17, and the project was essentially shelved. I consider it an official release only because it is important to remember and take responsibility for ones mistakes.

The Caina material on the recording is very substandard, and I will also never self-release again because I believe wholeheartedly that if the music is good enough, someone will release it. The (music) world doesn't owe anyone a living - just because you've 'created' something, doesn't mean that the public "have to hear it". It implies a gross artistic egotism to assume the role of sole mediator between your art and the consumer - I believe that as an artist you need an intermediary, because when the relationship works properly the label also acts as an editor and no-bullshit adviser.

During this period of activity I was struggling under the weight of a severe bout of clinical depression, for which I was receiving therapy. The difficulties with the demo release didn't help matters, and I was in a pretty sorry psychological state when God Is Myth, my 'night in shining armour' brought themselves to my attention when I saw a flyer for their releases in a CD I bought from them in an eBay auction. I shot them an email and very quickly established a good rapport with label owner Todd Paulson, which continues to this day. After I sent a CDR of some recent and past recordings, Todd was impressed enough to offer me half of a split with Cruel Harvest. However, when I collated the material for the split and sent it off, Todd insisted that instead he put out a full length Caina album. This was in about April 2006, and by June I'd hastily got some more material together to make a full length, which was released in July. The album, Some People Fall, was essentially a patchwork of various things - some material was only weeks old at the time of release, others over a year. Although the album received some great reviews and a strong reaction from 'fans', I became increasingly dissatisfied with the end product. The production is thin and inconsistent, and in some places the songwriting simply isn't there. However, even I (a hideous self-critic) could tell that there was promise.

By the time the album was released, I had decided to tackle my problems with drugs and alcohol head-on, and when doing the promotion was totally pot and booze free for the first time in a long while. However, whilst this was an undoubtedly positive manoeuvre, my personal relationships were strained and fragile, and the events of the coming months (including the recording sessions for 'Mourner') would do little to remedy this situation....

((((continued later this week))))

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

This week, I have been mostly listening to:

Hopefully this'll be a regular section. I obsessively listen to a few songs/albums each week, and I'm gonna plonk what those things are on here, and you'll pretend to be interested.

This week:

Mercyful Fate - "A Dangerous Meeting", "Gypsy", "Welcome Princes(s) of Hell", "Evil"

Rainbow - "Tarot Woman"

Bruce Springsteen "Mansion on the Hill"

...and of course the rushes for various tracks on the next Caina album...

First post of new blog!


I'm Andy, you might know my post-black metal project Caina (www.myspace.com/cainaband)
This blog is going to consist of random lists, links, my outspoken and inarticulate opinions about music, films and culture, updates for my band, potentially illegal incitements to violence, Alan's Funny Stories, and every metalheads favourite non-pornography based internet info - PICTURES OF SERIAL KILLERS.

Okay, everything except for the last one.