I've been working on doing a bit more solo stuff of late. If you're one of the two people besides my mother who regularly checks this blog, you're probably already aware from my constant plugging on twitter and facebook of my newly recorded solo(ish) EP, which has come about because I'm playing more solo gigs, which in turn has come about because I wanted to fill the gaps between .44 pistol gigs.
But it's a funny thing playing by yourself when you're used to working with a band. It feels very exposed, a bit like trying to play a football match without the rest of your team(or so I would imagine anyhow, I never was much cop at football, with or without a team). There's no one to look at, no one to play off when the audience aren't on your side, you just have to plough on relentlessly and hope that they come round eventually. And looking cheerful while you do is much harder when there's no one beside you to share a joke with.
But solo does have its' upside. The issues of trying to co-ordinate three or more diaries in a band suddenly disappear. there's no need for any nervous pacing whilst wondering where the drummer is when you play by yourself. You can also take smaller gigs and still come away with more in your pocket, and not having to worry about anyone else means I can use that money to take more freebies, in the hope that getting myself in front of as many people as possible will help me develop more of a following.
I've also enjoyed the freedom to be a bit different with the EP project. Don't get me wrong, I'm the person who came up with a concept for .44 pistol, and by and large, I'm the first person to defend the idea that it should stay a raw edgy, unpretentious good time drinking band. But starting work on my solo EP was liberating, because suddenly I was free from those self imposed restrictions. Ultimately the material that has gone on the EP would work just as well with .44 pistol, because that's the kind of stuff I like to listen to, and ultimately end up writing, but it was fun to approach it from a more folky angle for a change.
Anyhow, shamelessly adding yet another plug to the many I've made this week please download my solo (with a little help from amazing violin player Jamie Parkes) effort completely free from here.
HARVEY MANDEL - Snake Pit (2016)
4 weeks ago