Well here I am on Monday the 14th of May struggling to think of what to write about and all of a sudden I hear an old song on YouTube that I had forgotten about.
Cool, that’s a bit different
Only this time it was covered by someone else. It’s a great version and I love it, a real blast from the past. I particularly like the changed wailing synth bit at the end, new bass line, and new lean production that makes it even more minimalist than the original and that’s hard to do well.
That brought back memories
I always loved the wailing synth bit. I really loved playing it because of the sweeping crescendo. Steve played the lead oboe synth, can’t remember the name of the synth, big flat thing it was. We recorded this in the Summer of 1983 in a little studio deep in the Cornish countryside close to the Goonhilly Earth Station.
We all took turns in the studio and knew each others parts just as we did in rehearsals. All apart from the singing of course, that was always Frankie, except for some backing vocals, clapping and a little sneezing.
We wanted to make it
We all knew we were making something a bit different. I remember the likes of Tangerine Dream, Devo, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode & Ultravox all playing their part in our history and influences.
This song was a few years old and had been recorded several times over in the home studio to make demo tapes. We never received any attention back from all the record studios & A/R departments. So eventually we got it recorded & pressed in mid 83 when we could afford it.
We tried to make an impression
We thought had got this done just in time because that year there was a lot of songs that came out in a similar style. Of course they where way ahead in terms of production and commercialism. Maybe being naive, but we thought we were bang on current style at that time, only more raw, like punk electro. It was a bit of a nod to our punk roots, new romantics still ringing in all our heads.
We made about 500 in the hope to promote ourselves better than demo tapes. Plus sell them locally, at gigs, to get more equipment, and to be seen as current.
It soon fizzled out for me
That was 35 years ago. I never expected to hear our songs again. Personally I gave up the music about 5 years later and went into computing, telecoms, and then IT. Steve and Frankie however both kept the dream alive and still gig today.
I guess I sold out and gave up the music dream. For me it just wasn’t happening, I wanted a life from whatever I did. I don’t think making music was my forte, and think I only got into music because of the technology and tech.
I was always the techie, the sound mixer, the recording engineer, the gadget man. I was not really the musician, yes I could do bad versions of electro-pop music way before SAW studios had started. But that was just me having a laugh in between trying to be serious.
A blast from the past
Hearing this definitely brought back all the memories – no pun intended – of the great times that I had whilst being in the band trying to make a career for myself.
But discovering this on YouTube, a fantastic alternative version, by someone else, 35 years later…
WOW… That’s priceless.
I used to cover bands. Never ever dreamt someone else would like something we did so long ago. Turns out, I’m a proto-electro musician according to some of the comments on one of the posts for this record, can’t remember if it was on Discogs, YouTube or on one of the other labels that had decided to re-release this a few years ago for DJ’s.
I’m a what?
I had to Google what proto-electro meant.
Proto means original, as in first, I like that.
Oh, it also means primitive, haha ha. Well I will take that too.
I find it strange to think that because we were at the start of the electro-music scene that we are now part of it all when looking back.
That’s another wow, because I never thought of it like that.
At the time we were just one of thousands of small bands all trying to get a break. We were in a great place, with the likes of Queen and others emerging from Cornwall. Our original drummer was taught by Roger Taylor’s brother. I guess that inspired us too.
I’ve always liked the minimalist tag
We liked what we were doing. At the time it was minimalist in style whilst the mainstream was getting more heavy production wise and also more commercial. Looking back, yes that really was raw. I guess we we’re also giving a nod to the very early electronic music from the late 70’s, so we wanted it raw.
The minimalism really sticks out when listening to the original.
35 years on, if that’s my only public legacy of leaving something, then I can’t think of anything better that sums up my efforts better, other than being a dad of course.
So yep, I quite like the tag of proto-electro musician, even if that does also mean primitive. I can live with that.
I love the rework
To hear this has been covered by someone else that also makes music, 35 years after we made it, well that’s just priceless. So if anyone is thinking of giving up music because it’s just not working out, then take a tip from me. Do what feels right, always. Because when it comes to art and music, someone somewhere may like what you’re doing, so don’t give up totally like I did.
Have a good listen to how Night Caller has covered the original – I really love it – they make it even more minimalist. The production is also more on-trend than ours was at the time. Perfect for DJ’s to add to a set.
I hope he has great success and a great future with music. You can find Night Caller on YouTube by following their cover version below.