Life beyond music

a photo of exposed ceiling joists in my lounge that I'm about to re-board

Sometimes I go a little quiet on social media and there can be many reasons for this. Sometimes I just have nothing to say and honestly, I think if more people didn't post on social media when they had nothing to say social media would probably be better. Sometimes I'm struggling with my mental health, posting chirpy shit on the socials when you're in the depths of crippling depression is challenging to say the least! Then sometimes I'm just busy with other stuff. I have a full time job, other hobbies, and I do a fair bit of DIY around the house. This week I'm re-decorating my lounge which has involved replacing the entire ceiling and, for those that know my lounge, I am sorry to say the disco wall is going.

Having said all that the music is never far behind, my good friend Andre Louis has provided some excellent drums/percussion for my new track which I'm still working on. Echochamber have been busy practising for our Cornerhouse gig at the beginning of March and I'm back at Chester Market this Saturday for another solo acoustic gig, so maybe see you there.

Backbeat Driver

a photo taken from the seat of a drum kit looking at Rick White and Bransby practising at Faktory rehearsal rooms

Work continues on my new song Bees In My Head but I thought I'd just mention Echochamber, the fantastic covers band I am in. This photo was taken by the exceptional Darren Hayes and shows his view of a recent practice session at Faktory rehearsal rooms. We're gearing up for our next gig at Cornerhouse which is on March 1st. Echochamber started out as a multi-instrumental acoustic duo, but we've expanded to 3 members now with Darren as our drummer and may be joined by a secret guest vocalist at our Cornerhouse gig! Watch this space...

Mental Health and Creativity – Episode 2

Well it's taken a while but we've finally uploaded another episode of our series on mental health and creativity. This is following up on our first episode which looked at the gory details of my mental health breakdown and the aftermath. In this episode we look at the various treatments I've gone through to help improve things and how they've impacted my singing, songwriting and live performance. You can find the first episode on my Youtube channel.

One for the music nerds…

image of a Kemble upright piano with the top open, 3 microphones used, 2 Rhode NT5s and one U87 I'm continuing to work on my latest track Bees In My Head. I've recorded some finger-picked acoustic guitar and am now working on piano and bass. For those interested this is my setup for recording the piano. I have a matched pair of Rhode NT5 mics, I have them panned left and right an pointing close to the strings being played almost inside the body of the piano. I then position a Neumann U87 slightly above the piano to capture some ambience. All 3 are going directly into my SSL Big 6 USB audio interface and mixer.
image showing channel strips on an SSL Big 6 audio interface, shows pre-amp, EQ and compression settings

I add some very light EQ and compression as they go in but otherwise leave the tone relatively untouched. I'll usually do some more very slight EQing and compression when it comes to mixing and there's likely to be some delay and reverb in the final mix too but generally speaking I try and keep things fairly clean as the piano itself has a really nice sound.

I've also recorded some bass so the track is starting to fill out, I have most of the lyrics written but not necessarily in the final order yet. An old friend, who happens to be an unbelievable musical talent, recently reached out to me after finding my TikTok account and has suggested we collaborate on a track. I'm very excited about this because he's brilliant, I'm going to export some of these initial recordings and send them to him to see what he can bring. Watch this space for more info as it emerges!

Happy New Year!

EMG pickups in a Jazz style bass

Happy New Year! I've celebrated this festive season with the age-old tradition of upgrading the pickups in my bass! I've had a "Westfield" bass for as long as I can remember now, it cost roughly £80 several decades ago and has never provided the best tone a bass could give. I've bought an EMG solder-less pick-up and control plate upgrade and it's now sounding fairly decent. My recent releases of One Night Stand and Get Into My Jeans were recorded using my friend Rick's very nice Fender Jaguar bass and his Ashdown bass amp which made a huge difference to the bass tone, while I'm not quite there with my upgrade it should make some difference on my next recording.

Speaking of next recordings, I'm working on a new song at the moment. It's called Bees In My Head and it's a cheery little number exploring my struggles with anxiety and depression. Seriously, it is quite upbeat, it's a waltz, although lyrically it's a bit grim. I've got some acoustic guitar recorded already and am hoping to work on some piano today. I would like to get it released in January but it can take some time for tracks to get into all the streaming services, so this may be one that appears on my website and Bandcamp sooner than on streaming services. I'll keep you updated!

Don't forget that Better Than Thiswhich was released just before Christmas, is on all streaming services now.

Better Than This – listen now!

cover art for Bransby - Better Than This. It shows a montage of old photos of a young couple and hand-written song lyrics. The young couple may or may not be Bransby and Dawn

My new single Better Than This is available to listen to now, right here on this website!

I like to think this song sounds like falling in love in your mid 20s, that's certainly what it's about.

This will be streaming on all major outlets from Friday December 29th, but it's an early Christmas present here.

Merry Christmas everyone xx

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Battitude 2023!

Bransby and Rosa Lennox on stage at The Windmill in Brixton

Last Saturday I popped down to that there London to play Battitude 2023. Battitude is an annual event which has run for most of the last 15 years to celebrate the momentous occasion of Les "Fruitbat" Carter's birthday. Les very kindly asked me to play when I supported him at The Saddle in Chester earlier this year. I've played The Windmill a few times but not for about 20 years or so. It was great to be back and lovely to catch up with some old friends. Although I was on first and quite early in the evening there were still loads of people there and it was a fantastic evening. Rosa Lennox, the immensely talented singer and actor who provides the additional vocals on Get Into My Jeans was able to join me on stage for that song too which was a real treat.

Blinded By The LEDs

My SSL Big 6 mixer/interface with lots of LEDs lit up

Whilst my latest track All You Leave Behind was released just last week it is now officially ancient history man! I am already working on a new song, indeed it's nearly finished. The shot above shows the settings I used for summing the mix back into the box. I've done a few videos on my Youtube channel about how I record, mix and master my tracks but it's a funny one, I feel a bit of imposter syndrome talking about the technicalities of music production. I have an undergraduate degree in Music Technology and have been self-producing for years but when I look at all the experts and professionals on Youtube it feels silly to throw my hat into the ring alongside them. Then I remember that in this life we are all just making it up as we go along and the production of my songs improves every time so why not show people how I work?

My new song is called Better Than This, it's an old song that I'm recording for the first time. It's a very up-tempo, feel-good, love song, so a bit of a change-up from the existential questioning of All You Leave Behind. I realise that most people have never heard these tracks so it's irrelevant in many ways to talk about this being an "old song", but for me it's nice to be able to mine the back catalogue of my songs and it's interesting to mix up what I'm releasing between songs I've just written and songs that were written 20-25 years ago.