This was truely one of the most heartwarming things we’ve done… Yet another of the the magical, wonderful, impossible, crazy things that are only possible because of the wonderful friends and fans around us.
For those who don’t know we turned our crypt studio into a French restaurant for the evening, served a 3 course french meal to 70 people, acted as waiters for the evening, played live as people ate, tuned 50 wine bottles which then became the bassline (blows) and rhythm section (chinks) for the song and recorded the song live with the (now drunk) crowd blowing, clanking, banging and singing along. Still can’t believe it actually worked!
It’s the last track on the album and the last blog in this series. Eurospin, again, came from a load of demos that Rich, Si and I did last June. It was pretty throw away at the time – Si on pump organ, me on my Casio (with Casio waltz beat) and Rich playing a Spongebob Squarepants ukulele which was absolutely untuneable. It had something about it though and kept making it through the culls… We kept describing it as “French Supermarket music” and when I exported that really rough demo I named it Eurospin as that’s the supermarket my mum goes to when she’s on holiday. (It’s actually like an Italian Co-op but we ain’t about the borders in this band…)
When we came to listen through the demos James, commented that the track sounded like the sort of thing you would hear in French Bistro…and out of tiny acorns do eating and recording experiences grow! James’ comment sowed the seed that was nurtured and grown by the band and (mostly!) Ben Denison and became the wonderful Come Dine With Us event that we hosted in the Crypt on March 27th. We always had the plan to record it live and drink wine and eat cheese and make it a really fun recording but the whole idea just escalated and escalated to become the whole Come Dine With Us experience…
Here’s the NSFW version of the invitation ditty we recorded on one mic so we could sell tickets via bandcamp. This is the first time we tried to bleep out “that f*cking glockenspiel” and missed the cuss word… very funny…
The documentary video at the top of this post gives an idea of the level of work that was put in by other people to make this all happen and none of it would have occurred without the enthusiasm of the mighty and utterly irrepressible Ben Denison. Half over excited puppy, half fiendish social media genius without his energy it would never have happened.
So G’bless you, G’bless your amazing mum who cooked amazing food for 70 people with no running water and no kitchen, G’bless James Hamiliton for tuning all the wine bottles and somehow getting the crowd to make it work (when it all came together it was a truely magical moment), G’bless The Team, without whom, none of this would have so seamlessly hung together – in fact, it would have been an unmitigated disaster, G’bless Jen Booth who made our fantastic Bistro le Crypt sign (we tweeted, she came and saved our sign-less asses0, and to all our amazing guests who came and who joined in so wholeheartedly… thank you. It was one of those events that really defines what we do… Being with people, doing amazing things and creating magic from nothing. There was so much joy and happiness in the room that night…
We really didn’t know if it would work at all; it was so precarious. So many things could have gone wrong and it just came together. We only wrote the “hold your chin up high” end section a few days before… come the morning of the gig/meal we’d never played it as a band, we had no way of checking if the recording would work, if the wine bottle orchestra would work (and come out on the recording) but it somehow all came together. There was some editing as the bottle clinks were in every mic so we had no separation. We had to edit the song part to the parts where the chinks were in time and it when that just happened to come together in terms of the band performances it was a really magical moment too.
On the album version it fades out at the end to the sound of the brass band marching out of the church door and off around the church… That’s us that is. As the brass band fades out the last sounds on the album are birdsong and then in the far distance a police siren and I guess that for me that is what “April” is about. Trying to do great things, appreciating the wonderful things around us and doing all these things despite the fact that quite often life is in fact a shithouse.
Eurospin is not my favourite song on the album but it’s kinda my favourite bit on the album. Watch the amazing video below. You got to love the amazement on our faces that it’s working and the fact that the crowd just make it look so easy…
Oh, and James Hamilton = AMAZING.
(If you download April from Bandcamp you also get a load of wonderful photos from the evening by the rather talented and wonderful 3B Media guys who also did the videos… like everything we do it’s as free as you want it to be…)
There’s a special enjoyment that comes from making art with new people, and we believe in involving those who join us on our musical journey, those bars of angels who march on through with us. Moreover, we believe it’s now part of the music industries landscape, and it feels like we’re galvanising our fanbase as we go. The buzz online before this event was quite staggering. The hashtag #comedinewithus was used to promote the event before and after the big day and by not only including our fans in our event, but also on the album, they have been our PR team throughout the launch of the album and throughout our recent April tour. Every day there have been people from all over the country, and beyond, plugging our album on Twitter, Facebook and in their blogs, even (rather brilliantly) bastardising the 3B Media pics from the night.
Another success from our point of view was again due to making some art; we also appear to be living in the future now as we know people who own lasers and keep them in their garage. We bought some lazy susans, had them etched with a record, and stylus arm and silent auctioned them off on the night. They are rather amazing, and if we ever get any more done, I’m buying one, but for now, this video will have to suffice.
This one off event paid for the pressing of “April”. Yes we called in all the favours, and nobody got paid, but as Mick Jagger has recently been explaining, apart from a wee blip, this is how music has always been. The event made a profit in its own right, the lazy susans made a profit, Culture Vulture featured a blog on the event and we even got a mention on 6Music for the event and the youtube fan videos are still springing up from the event. In terms of enjoyment, creating art, being sustainable, making a profit, strengthening our relationship with fans, creating a digital/online footprint and giving the band the heart and the momentum to carry on, we consider Come Dine With Us to be one of our greatest successes.
Oh… and one last thing… Ben emailed the track and videos to Eurospin HQ in Italy… their rather charming response:
I have received your e-mail and let my colleagues hear your songs. We all have appreciate very much either the sound, the rhythm and the voice, besides the title of the last song of your album of course.
Thank you, guys! I wish you personally a great success, hoping to see you soon on the stage.
– Ufficio Marketing –
Eurospin Italia Spa
It’s all good.