Tag Archives: So Long!

So Long! Lyrics

It’s been wonderful meeting people on the Gipsy Tour so far. It’s also been really brilliant how many people have asked me about the lyrics from the songs I’ve been singing at the gigs (genuine interest is the sincerest form of flattery for me). Some people have even asked me for print copies of the lyrics from So Long! — so here you are! So Long! lyrics

-Ben

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Cogito Ergo Sum

by Ben Kritikos

Being a musician is a funny thing: it’s one part playing music, one part relentless admin and one part heavy lifting. If you’re anything like me, the first and last of these is not a problem; if you’re anything like me, the middle one is a panic-inducing stress-fest akin to going to the dentist when you know there’s definitely something really wrong in your mouth.

That said, it’s always good to learn new skills. There’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end to confront those things about yourself that you’d rather relegate to the dark corners of your psyche, where you keep memories of all the kebabs you’ve eaten at 4am while staggering down a rainy, vomit-strewn street. Or that time you walked nearly the whole way across town with your fly undone while wearing those boxers with the broken button, wondering why every passerby seemed to be staring at your crotch. The brain cupboard under the brain stairs, basically.

I hate being a salesman (I once had a telesales job at a carpet cleaners). The only thing I hate more than being a salesman is being a self-salesman. But every musician is a self-salesman: YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME PLEASE LISTEN TO ME is the underlying message. A horrible little parasite of a man inside my heart, who feeds on weird black tendrils of self-loathing, frequently confronts me with the question, “Why would anybody want to listen to you?”

So the big, bear-hugging woman in my heart, who looks a lot like Kathy Bates and feeds on tea and lovely cakes made by my friends, takes the tough love line, and says between mouthfuls of Victoria sponge: “Shut up and get on with it”.

Poet, novelist and dreadful misogynist Charles Bukowski famously quipped, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” While this isn’t altogether untrue, it’s not useful.

So many truths are useless. It’s like our Tom says, translating Descartes’ cogito ergo sum: believe in yourself and your dreams will come true. The moral of the story is: BUY CDs AT OUR GIGS. Just kidding. But seriously, do.

 

Ben is currently on tour around the UK. Check out the tour dates here.

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Herons! featured on Folkroom Anthology

Herons! are pleased to announce that we’ve contributed to the independent London-based label Folkroom’s second anthology, which is released today. Our track “Aliens” features on this compilation, and it’s the first recording we’ve released since our debut So Long! in 2010.

We’ve had the good fortune to work with the Folkroom bunch before, having  played at their regular showcase gig at the Queen’s Head in King’s Cross. We’re really pleased to be contributing to their Anthology Two (which you can download for free here) and we’re dead pleased to be doing another London gig with them on the 15th November, at The Islington — aptly located in Islington.

Check out the Folkroom website for more info about the artists who’ve contributed. Over the next few days, you’ll be able to read some words about each track, written by the artists themselves, on the site. Oh, and for your information — “Aliens” will feature on our forthcoming album Some Things Run Wild, but the version on the Folkroom Anthology is a special recording that is only available as part of the compilation. So go ahead and download it!

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Some Things Run Wild* – Phase one

Phase one of our album recording is complete! We have the bulk of 13 songs recorded, and now have the chance to relax and decide which tracks are shoddy enough to be re-recorded.

The process has begun like a bit of a fairytale, and we hope the magic hasn’t yet run out. After our Buskathon fundraiser, we started the hunt for a place to record. We’re not fans of traditional studios, and wanted to find some kind of secluded house or cottage (an upgrade from the stable we recorded our first album in) which we could fill with microphones, duvets, instruments, home cooking, decent tea, and a backgammon set, and record the album in our own time and with our own stuff. We were busy trawling the internet and local contacts for a musician-friendly cottage, when a medieval manor house fell into our laps. And who can say no to a medieval manor house?

In fact, it’s a medieval and Tudor manor house with notable nineteenth-century additions, full of art and surrounded by sculptures, only a 5 minute drive from our home in Gloucestershire. Legend has it, it was the house in which the gunpowder plot was conceived. Not only convenient, but brilliant beyond our wildest dreams. The owner – a new friend of ours – was going to be away with his family during the time we’d booked Aidan (our engineer/clarinetist) to come over to help, so we wouldn’t be bothering anyone, except Ivanka, the lovely housekeeper and Reggie, the dog (and they were both very accommodating).

Over 7 days we recorded the bulk of 13 songs, working an average of 12 hours a day. Aidan was a powerhouse of an engineer, and I doubt he actually slept at all, working late into the night, comping, stomping, bouncing down, bouncing around, and all the mysterious things that engineers get up to with their mixing desks.

We had some brilliant guest musicians to help out during the week. Marianne from Hot Feet (one of the greatest local bands and best buddies of ours) recorded some gorgeous backing vocals on our new song Tell Me Girls, as did our old collaborator and part-time lover Wallis Bird, who also recorded some kick-ass guitar solos. Aidan barely got a look in on the performance side, but will be adding some clarinets and other bits and bobs over the next few months, if he can fit it in to his tight schedule promoting his own long-awaited studio album. You can see some more photographic evidence of our recording adventure here on the aul’ facebook if you fancy it.

Over the next few months, the incomparable Jo Silverston is going to arrange some strings for certain songs, and we’ll be overdubbing a bunch more arrangement ideas, from trumpets to gangs of children shouting. We hope to release a single in April/May, along with a video. The album should be out by the end of the year LATEST, but hopefully quite a bit sooner than that.

Meanwhile, we’re still trying not to lose steam promoting our first album, which is still pretty new to the world. You can read our first review at wewritelists.com and hopefully more press will follow soon…

Thanks again to everyone who has helped out so far, we can’t wait to be able to put the finished product in your hands… and then charge you a a very reasonable price for it 😉

Yours affectionately,

Herons!

* ‘Some Things Run Wild’ is the title of the new album.

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Scorched Earth, Four Years On

Four years ago, I was living in Dublin. It was the winter of ’06 coming into ’07, and it was bitterly cold. Well — it doesn’t really get bitterly cold in Ireland. What happens is, it gets sort of cold and really damp, which makes the cold feel much worse than it really is.

Winters are pretty tough for me. I’ve never been a winter person. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of light or the lack or warmth, or the combination of the two, but it gets grim and feeling like it’ll never end. The damp winds blow right through all the layers of clothes and my big navy P-coat and my longjohns, and all I can think of doing is curling up by an open fire and sleeping until the snowdrops and crocuses pop up their little heads to announce with a chorus of whispering the arrival of spring.

But, of course, come hell, high water, weather or winter, everybody’s got to put their shoulders to the wheel. Luckily for me, the wheel was spinning in Dalkey, south of Dublin City on the bay that was once referred to as “The British Bay of Naples”. Now, I’ve never been to Naples or its bay, and Ireland isn’t part of Britain anymore, but I think I get the gist. You would, too, if you saw Dalkey: they’ve got one of the best vistas in all the-world-that’s-known-to-me.

Down at Bullock harbour, you can visit the seals, who always pop their noses up hoping that a friendly reveller will throw them something by way of comestibles. Up the road was Vico Road, one of the most beautiful agglomeration of extravagant housing a person could hope to see without being stared at strangely for being there. It’s a rich area, but I get the feeling that because it’s so nice to look at, nobody there really blames you for gawping.

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Our album “So Long!” is available for download

After a great big long wait, I can finally say that our album, So Long!, is finally available for download.

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