The Blog

Nick Oliveri

By |June 14th, 2014|Blog|Comments Off

So, I haven’t posted in nearly two years! Whoops!

Last night, I supported the legendary Nick Oliveri at The Live Rooms in Chester. Wow.

Wow is really the only word that sums it up. I first got into Queens of the Stone Age when I was about 14 years old, sat in my friend Rob’s house and we had Kerrang on the TV. The usual music was playing in the background, until I found myself glued to a song I’d never heard before. Dave Grohl on the drums, Josh Homme on the guitar and vocals, and a scary looking bald dude with a big beard on the bass.

“No one knows” was the song, and I was instantly hooked. Queens of the Stone Age became my obsession for the coming weeks, their sound and song structure struck me and a fan for life was born. I’m 26 now, and Queens of the Stone Age have always been at the forefront of my go-to playlists.

As you do with bands you like, I read up on their members, followed their other bands, side projects and connections, and opened myself to a new world of music. Watching live videos, Nick Oliveri always struck me with this noise that came out of his mouth. It just didn’t stop. It was brutal, it was so fucking loud… I loved it.

So you can imagine my jaw-dropping and dribbling when I was asked to support him at The Live Rooms. A musical hero for over a decade, and I’d be sharing the same stage. Wow.

Fast forward then, to last night. We arrived around 5pm to set up and sound check, greeted by the promoter and venue managers who were awesome. To me, this was rock royalty now. Shortly after I loaded in, Nick Oliveri walks in, nerves totally overcame me, but he was sweet and said hello before setting up. The venue filled, my nerves increased, and suddenly 9pm, my stage time was upon us. I played for 45 minutes and hopefully winged it. I’ve never been so nervous. The crowd reacted amazingly, I said my thank-you’s and rejoined them, ready for Nick.

Nick’s set was amazing. Death Acoustic. This roaring scream complemented his rhythmic playing style and his anecdotes, quips, stories and frequent slugs of tequila complemented that. There were Ramones covers, QotSA songs, and a bunch of his own, all uniquely brilliant and powerful – there stood a man who knew how to OWN that stage. Fast forward a little later, Nick announces that “my stage, is your stage”, and half the crowd get up to sing “Feel good hit of the summer” with him. It was a spectacle that set his gig aside from almost every other I’ve been to, an experience I will remember for a life time.

Probably the biggest moment of my night after he thanked me for playing, was when I was stood, arm around a musical hero, taking a selfie and pulling a stupid face, that I handed him one of my cards, and asked him to have a listen. He told me he would, and gave me one of his CD’s, he didn’t want any money for it, and called it “trade for trade”. I told him I couldn’t afford to get CD’s pressed, and he said “one day you will”. It totally floored me. A sweet guy, with an amazing sound, whom I have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with.

Today, I feel like I am the luckiest man alive to be able to even blog about that experience. These are the things memories are made of, these are the moments that remind me why I play music.

More. I want more.

Is it even Music anymore?

By |August 13th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Something is wrong with the music world.

We see the Olympic ceremony touting performances from hasbeens & irritating pop drivel being described as “great british music” – so called musicians appear from nowhere with an autotuned track, with mindnumbingly empty lyrics fronting a droning wobbly computerised bassline and stock dance drumbeat, who then go on to become the “next big thing”, filling the minds of todays youngsters with the impression that that’s how it’s done, and filling us hard working, unsigned and under the radar musicians and bands with frustration and bitterness.

We’re being told how rock music is too rawkus and loud, the media constantly paints a picture of drugged up smelly yobs who listen to rock & metal music, trashing people’s property and being a bad influence, whilst constantly reminding us that the Nicki Minaj’s, the Rhiannas & the Kanye Wests of this world are what we should all be listening to. This is a fact of the modern music world, a fact which many of us have realised & dealt with, but it does mean that when gigs get cancelled for pathetic reasons, it brings that frustration and bitterness straight back home.

This weekend I was booked to perform at the Conwy Rocks River Festival, along with many other acts, most of whom are unsigned & under the radar musicians, playing real instruments, putting real work into their craft. The music however, has been cancelled – the committee of organisers blaming “Litter, unruly crowds, fighting, vomiting, undesirables & noise due to the type of music”. This is the end of 20 years of live music at the festival, because of the unwarranted stigma attached to rock music.

Of all the rock shows I’ve ever been to, heavy or not, people are there having a good time. Friendly, community spirit and shared interest are always at the heart of rock shows. Even in a seemingly violent mosh pit, people are considerate & make a point of helping people out and making sure everyone else is OK. Rock music is inspiring, it’s driving, it’s skillful and powerful… most importantly, it’s REAL.

Move on then, to a dance party, or a rave, a club, playing droning, repetitive music, and tell me that they don’t attract undesirables. I’ve seen enough of these events – there’s a plethora of drugs being taken, many of which, when mixed with alcohol, induce violence, noise, vomiting, many of the things highlighted above. I’ve seen it time and time again.

So, the short and quick of it is, that once again, the unsigned musicians and bands, working hard at their craft and simply wanting to showcase their talents are being shunned, playing gigs (if at all) for pennies compared to the million-pound industry of pop with all it’s divas and controversy.

This has really gotten my back up, it’s not just about a gig being cancelled, it’s the underlying reasons – once again smacking those of us who believe in what we do and work hard at it in the face; so I’ll finish how I started, because I know nothing will ever change.

Something is wrong with the music world.

A weekend of shouting

By |July 13th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

I love weekends like this one coming up.

Tonight, I get to play a 2 hour set at Bar 236 in Prestatyn, showcasing a load of songs from the album, as well as belting out some covers by bands such as Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Mumford & Songs, Greenday and more. They are my favourite kind of gigs, I get to scream my face off, dance around, get all sweaty and put on a show far rockier than your average acoustic act. I love it. After those 2 hours I feel exhausted & worn out, my heart is beating as if I’ve just been for a run, my fingers hurt, my throat hurts – but I feel like I’ve given it my all and that’s what matters to me.

There’ve been occasions in the past where I’ve been offered gigs at pubs or clubs, by the owner who’s come to another of my gigs – and I’ve been told I can have a gig at their venue, as long as I “drop the silly shouting” or “calm it down a bit”…. surely that’s like offering an olympic runner a chance to compete in a power-walking contest? They’d finish it feeling underchallenged and pretty silly. Some people’s style is sitting down and singing quietly, and it’s what they do, they enjoy it – god only knows that I wish I could sing as softly as them sometimes, but I can’t.

So after I’ve finished dumping my lungs onto everyone via my face, I get to chill out for a bit, have a shandy, pack up and hit the road – I sleep like a baby after my gigs. What makes it better on weekends like this, is knowing that when I wake up, I get to do it all again on Saturday. Castell Beat festival in Rhuddlan has asked me to play on a bill full of some fantastic local musicians, all individual in their own right – so by 5:30 on Saturday I’ll be doing it all again; only for 45 minutes this time, but I still get to play a bunch of songs off my album, blast a couple of covers and hopefully wear myself out a little. A good weekend’s worth of gigging makes Isaac a happy boy! Hope to see some of you there :)


Website update & Stuffs!

By |July 4th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Well hello there!

So, I’ve been updating my site recently, and decided it’s probably time for a blog. Not only do I get to harp on about all the stuff I’ve been up to, but it also keeps the site updating nice and regularly, which isn’t a bad thing!

Exciting news this month – I was put in touch with a PR company by a man in the know, and after a few emails back and forth, they’ve told me they really like my music & the uniqueness of my sound, and want to take things further, what does this mean to me? Well, hopefully if things do well, my music will be promoted across radio, TV & magazines, as well as online – I guess it’s time to get that music video made ASAP!

Today I will be finalising the mix of the album, a couple of months of just listening can do a lot to change how you think you should’ve done something differently, and now I have a bunch of ideas – reduce the rumbly bass and up the low-mids, take the cymbals down a touch and the vocals up a touch – Nobody can hear my harmonies, and everything is drowned out in mud!

Hopefully it shouldn’t take me too long – the only problem being the fact that I may have slightly sold the PC and equipment that I recorded the album on, which means getting my laptop up to scratch with the software and doing it on that… luckily it’s a beasty machine and well up to the task. Watch this space!

Ciao for now! :)

RIP Jim Marshall

By |April 12th, 2012|Blog|Comments Off

Today I heard some very sad news, which I’m sure will ripple across the music world.

Jim Marshall, the father of loud, has passed away aged aged 88.

My very first proper amp was a Marshall, an MG30DFX. For it’s size it had some punch, and it had a tone that I fell in love with instantly. I put an overdrive pedal in front of it and the thing seemed to sing, even back then when I was only just starting to play the electric guitar. I eventually sold it, and had regretted doing so ever since.

At the beginning of 2012, when I decided to record my rock album, Projekt Noiz, I sought to buy myself a Marshall. I knew that it’d provide the sound I wanted, and so I got myself an MG100HDFX half-stack, and boy can that thing shout. It’s gnarly & strong, yet rounded and full, it can produce a certain clean sound which only Marshall’s can, then a distorted tone that kicks you right in the face – it does this, and everything in between so beautifully.

It’s almost as if you can hear the 50 years of craftsmanship, tried & tested musicianship and trust in the world’s most iconic amplifiers coming right at you from those speaker cones. It’s confident yet controlled, a truly magic sound.

In a way I’m glad I got the amp when I did, and not after today’s sad news, unfortunately there will be a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon, now buying a Marshall just because of Jim’s passing.

So that album contains a sound which is now a legacy. I played a gig the night he passed; and although my Marshall wasn’t with me, I dedicated my set, fittingly debuting new songs from the album, to Jim and his work, knowing also that I won’t be the only one. That bank holiday weekend, there will have been countless gigs, in countless venues all over the world, guitarists cranking their Marshalls just that little extra, to sing Jim’s song just that little louder, on a weekend where people are already remembering Kurt Cobain, who passed away on that day in 1994.

How fitting that Jim’s legacy will be heard world-wide, his work and his passion will live on to the sound of a million decibels, spread from continent to continent, from every genre of music – what a way to be remembered, what a way to live on.

On behalf of the music world – our condolences to Jim’s close friends and family.

Rest in peace.