Heart of Gold

Had to record something today.

Haven’t been able to for a while. So I chose something neutral and treated it as an exercise. That, as they say, is all.

Heart of gold cover

Tracklist for the first album, “The Tyranny of Pretty Things”

After a lot of thought I’ve decided on the list of songs for the album I will release later this year. Check out the playlist below. Savannah is not in the playlist but will definitely be on “The Tyranny of Pretty Things”.

There are two more songs already selected, but they are not in the playlist as I am still busy recording them and, besides, what good would an album be without some surprises.

There is space for one more so any suggestions are welcome and can be posted on the wall of the 88 Kilos of Sunshine FB page I also want to say thanks to everyone who helped me get this list together.

Creating Beauty

Fortune has favoured me. Over the last few years this effort at recording songs and putting them out there in the world has brought me a whole new network of friends. They have, together with older comrades, allowed me to stretch and learn. It’s made me very excited about possibilities.

There are two projects that are particularly exciting to me. One is Nechama Brodie‘s album that I’m working on. I elaborate on this in my last post, which features the video for one of the songs we’ve completed. The video was made by none other than Nadine Hutton.

The second is a particularly beautiful project documenting singer-songwriters around SA. “Cheap Seats”, as it’s called, has done 8 of these videos and you can watch them all here. This project is the work of Djf Head and Gareth Jones who you can find on twitter at @gareth_danger.

The latest Cheap Seats post brings them to Nechama and the result is astonishingly beautiful. Here she is with “Ghost Story”, one of the songs that will feature on her EP.

Go on, share it.

Last, but not least. It’s been a few months since I rolled out a new song of my own but I still think “Open Letter” is the best thing I ever did. Take a listen here: Open Letter

“Cold” by Nechama Brodie

Regular followers will have noticed that I’ve been quiet for most of 2013. This is because I’ve landed a dream job producing Nechama Brodie‘s EP.

A dream job for several reasons:
1) I get to work on music.
2) I get to work on Nechama’s exceptionally beautiful songs.
3) Nechama’s voice. Just listen to it, you’ll understand.

It’s been quite a process. We started by recording the basic tracks with rhythm guitar and vocals. Once these were finished I would then add additional instrumentation and then do the mixing.

But in the last two weeks things got really exciting. I had finished the arrangement for “Cold” and Nechama was so happy with the result that she put on the pressure for us to get the song out by today. So it was all hands on deck! I jumped in and got the guitar and bass tracks done and then started the mixing process so that the track would be ready for mastering by last Monday. Nechama also contacted Nadine Hutton to start formulating a plan for a video and before we knew it we were all in Kitchener’s on a Sunday morning at 7am putting together the video. I even landed a cameo role in the video!

I cannot tell you how proud I am to be part of this. The effort put in by everyone was superhuman (Nadine especially, who pulled several all-nighters) but it’s well worth it. The final product looks and sounds excellent. Take a look (and listen) for yourself:

As an aside: there are 18 classic movie scenes referenced in the video, for bonus points see how many you can spot.

You can also head on over to Nechama’s Bandcamp page to listen to the song and buy it for the princely sum of $1. I’ve even made it easy for you, just click this link:


Last thing (humblebrag): The launch date was meant to coincide with the launch of Lauren Beukes’ new book “The Shining Girls” and the following tweet made me very, very happy.


Americans – The Mugu Studios “Underdog” Demo – Part 5

A few months ago I posted the wonderful video that Justin van Loggerenberg did for Americans. The song has been around for ages. It was originally written while I was in Sundogs with Con and Max Loubser (only Richard remembers us), and then became a staple of Sharkbrother live performances.

Here is the original demo version I recorded at Mugu Studios with Riku at the desk.

Americans – Mugu Studios demo

The harmonics “riff” was written at about 6am on a cold morning when we were waiting for Con to return from Burma. Sleep deprived and revved up on tequila and espressos I made a huge racket on Con’s old Guyatone amp (I miss that amp).

Help me with my album release (no, not the money bit)

After an enormous amount of introspection and internal argument I’ve decided to release an album in 2013.

To regular followers this will seem odd as I have previously stated very clearly how I wanted to avoid this. Not only to avoid the format, but also all the additional “industry” that goes with it and, to my mind, detracts from the priority, which is “making music”. In my case “making songs”.

Over the past 2 and half years I have recorded and released 19 songs, mainly in an un-mastered format. It’s been fun but I now feel the need to bundle some into a collection. This is where you, the reader, can assist.

I would like to select 7 songs from the existing recorded material and I would like your suggestions on which ones would be best. I will add 3 or 4 songs to this list and those osngs will only be available on the album.

If you want to assist please go to http://www.88kos.com where you will find all 19 songs on a media player where you can also download them. If you don’t handle flash then go to http://www.reverbnation.com/88KilosOfSunshine – Please listen through them (if you can stand it do this more than a few times (I know, I know)) and then list the 7 that you think would work together on an album.

The quality of the production is not important as I will be re-engineering and then mastering the songs before release. In all likelihood the vocals will be re-recorded as well.

If you can add your sugestions as comments on my Facebook page that would be extremely helpful: http://www.facebook.com/88kilosofsunshine

And if you are willing please share this with others. 

Open Letter – New Release

Over the last few years there have been an ever-increasing number of “open letters” aimed at various political factions having a go at every possible injustice. When I started writing this song there were a few of those letters going around, some even ended up in the writer having a pleasant lunch with the addressee…

I have never been muchof a letter-writer so I would obviously rather write a song. In it I wanted to catch as much of the despair present in today’s world as possible but I also wanted to leave the blame open, because I personally believe that there’s nobody that’s really in control, we’re all just players in a game. If we want to make a difference we’re going to have to change the rules and rewrite the book on how we measure things.

If we continue along a path where we have to struggle, first to stay alive, then to prosper, finally to gorge ourselves on idiotically priced luxuries (in order to prove our status), and in so doing, measure success by a dollar scoreboard then the world as you see it now is the result.

We must also question the role of government, its purpose, its goal and decide whether what we have designed and implemented can achieve those goals.

So here’s my open letter, it’s free, you can dowload it and you can share this link with your friends.