Infinite Worlds Launch Party confirmed! 

So yeah, I am pretty shit at updating this blog thing, I just realised in 2017 I did not post once! well, that was awful of me, especially considering how many quite frankly awesome things have happened to me, and Chase the River as a whole.

In any case, I am back now with quite a big bit of news! So I went to America (No biggie, but plenty of stories to tell you, because it is a fucking big thing in my career). There I was supporting Bassh (who are awesome, go look them up, I will tell you tales later) and doing a bit of recording. I met my brother from another mother out there, the one, the only Leonardo Solis. We got to work and we managed some rather spectacular stuff, some of which I am releasing this April for you to wrap your ears around.

Forgive my bragging but it is sounding awesome, seriously fucking awesome, I could not be physically happier if I wanted a pony and one of those little bastards was sitting under a Christmas tree for me with a little bow on it. 

When we were out there we played with some music gear that I have only ever actually seen in pictures, retro moog, wurlitzers, rickenbackers, you name it, i got to play with it (google omnichords, and be amazed). But the fun bit was, this stuff is not 'chase the river' stuff, it is electronic, it is synth, it is different. And what we did in America was very different. Anyway I am going to be launching this in Belfast at the Black Box on the 6th of April. This is being released in conjunction with my good friends over at Pop Up, who are massive supporters of the local music scene, you can check them out here.

I am being supported at the Launch by Wanderers and Brash Isaac who blow me away every time I see them, so it is sure to be a good night all together. You can buy tickets directly from me by clicking here, and I would be obliged if you would. We are GIVING AWAY the single for every single one of you who arrives, plus £2 from every single sale goes to charity. So in summary, fucking awesome music, for charity and you get your music sent to you for free..... awesome.

Anyways enough of my bullshit for now, I will return presently with some tales from the road, For I have many. Until then, don't kill anyone.

Help Musicians Launch & the Belfast Takeover 

What a positive thing this world can be!

Northern Ireland I always view as a bit of an enigma, well probably all of Ireland of I am honest. Per head of capita I have no doubt we are one of the most talented little congregations on the planet. We built the Delorean, in Dunmurry, which is tiny. We have amazing film studios, responsible for Game of Thrones and loads of Blockbuster films, STAR WARS for god's sake! We have leading IT companies, it is everything really, and there is barely anybody here. 

Music is the same, the sheer volume of (serious f-ing) talent on this island is unreal. But venues have always been lacking. Going back in the day, there were loads, and it was too prominent. Stiff little fingers, Snow patrol, Foy Vance, Silences, Jealous of the birds, SOAK, Bap Kennedy (R.I.P). It is unreal but the fight to be heard has been real.

Then my good friend Declan Legge made an announcement. Help Musicians were coming to town to set up shop. And they have just finished their 9 day launch. They help fund musicians, they chair panels addressing the real issues in the music industry, from venues, to protecting your hearing, offering support and advice on (basically) everything that a musician could need help with. They have a large focus as well on mental health, which I am over the moon about. As you know I have explained my real struggles with this and it's need for musicians to address this problem, which is part of life for so many artist types, just read the articles around this here So during the launch I was fortunate enough to get along to couple of the panels, the gigs and be involved in the #hmnitakeover where stages were set up across the city to expose people in a BIG way to the fact that we are legion, for we are many in this city. I set up in Castlecourt shopping centre with a 360 degree PA and an ever growing crowd. It was great as well to get some of the songs off the yet to be released album out and sound boarded again. I want to thank all the staff at Help musicians for investing in our wee country, for all the volunteers, all the photographers, sound guys, everyone. It is great to see local music making its long overdue return to the centre stage in the hearts and minds of the Northern Irish, outside of our yearly culture night.

Go to help musicians website as well to see how you can get involved in a most worthwhile of causes. You can find them here, but until the next time, you guys just keep doing EXACTLY what you have been doing.

Inside "Recycle your regrets" 

With the recording for the new LP, 'Recycle your regrets' kicking off, I thought it was a good time to tell you a little bit more about the record.

Many of you I know have read through my recent post about how I have lived with depression and anxiety these last few years and probably have a good understanding of how my head works from time to time. This new record is something very close to home and I think that is going to come through.

As I have said many many times in the past I never give out the specifics of what exactly each song I write is about, I am a firm believer that a person can take something entirely different awn from a song and I would hate to jeopardise this, I do like people to know where I have been during the process of writing it. 

I am just out of a reasonably long relationship, it happens, things go wrong. Now this is always a time of heightened emotions, you can fill your day thinking about what you did right, what you did wrong. There can be an almost constant cycle of playing things out over and over again and it can almost be fun to fantasise about how things would have been different.... If only.....

But again, I have always been reluctant to get into specifics of a relationship in a song. It is not fair to anyone. Imagine I start naming and shaming bad dates, lies told, I think as a song writer you have a vicious power to hurt people and I never EVER want to do that. That being said these songs are a collection, and they are (bar one on the LP) almost unanimously using this (now broken) relationship as a grounding. Of course I have not written them all during the break-come-breakup and some of them have been put together whilst we were together, and I really think this will give a great arch of a relationship, from middle to end anyway. If you want the 'start' I would strongly suggest you listen to the very FIRST EP, particularly 4am, where distance and time were keeping us apart.


I would stress by the way that this is not a vengeful work I am looking at producing, I want to show just how some of my emotions flared, how late nights turned into all night writing, and how regret can mar otherwise happy memories.


In recording it, Declan and I have had some really good chats about where we want this to go. We don't want 'basic' and this is certainly going to be the biggest Chase the River product since the project began (there will be cellos, fiddles, real old pianos, a double bass, and then some more) but we also want vintage. We want this to be an LP that people can reminisce over, can take and hear and have it resonate within them. We are getting some seriously vintage pics, instruments, and making it as warm as we can and I am truly the most excited I have ever been to get this ready for you.


There will be loads of updates and photos and everything as the journey progresses but in the meantime, take care and we will speak before long.

Opening up about Mental health 

Ok so a little bit off the normal theme of the page. 
I have been seeing a lot of posts recently regarding mental health in people these days, in particular around handling depression and anxiety and I have decided now is a tip-top time to share a wee bit about me. 

Over the past 5 years I have been diagnosed and treated for depression and ridiculous amount of anxiety, from panic attacks upwards and I wanted to share a little bit about what that actually has been like to live with, and dealing with it on a day to day basis as I thin it is an incredibly unknown issue amongst young people today, and a growing issue, if my experience or thoughts on the subject help one person than this has been a worthwhile thing to have done. 

Firstly I want to talk about what people ‘view’ depression as being. There is this Hollywood picture of it as being ‘withdrawn’ and unable to socialise normally, and crying whilst looking out a window watching the rainfall on a lonely night. Now I am not saying that these things do NOT happen, but that is not the reality that the majority of people I know, or I, have faced whilst dealing with our own depression. Some people call what I have as ‘highly functional depression’ or ‘normalised anxiety’ and I think this is something a lot of people deal with. 

For starters I rarely cry…. When I was diagnosed I had been fighting for years with a lot of issues, the death of my father, difficult relationships at home, a divorce, but I was also doing my day job, every day, without fail. Many of my friends view me as the joker in the room, the real energy that could lighten up a room, and I loved that… But it was not strictly true. 

My highly functional anxiety took the form of a little voice, we all have them (hopefully not just me) who forms your internal dialogue… Mine was, and is still, a vicious little bastard who gets in the way of everything I tried to do. 

It is a constant dialogue in your head, circling round and round telling you that “You are worthless, you are not good enough, you are a bad friend, why would anybody love you?, you are pathetic, whatever you do will be terrible, so why try….” The list is fairly endless, and the above is some of the nicer ones… 

Now you have to understand what this dialogue does to your day to day life… Simple things, like really basic, easy things, become impossible. You keep yourself eternally busy to not have to deal with things and in the end get nothing done. You fill your day with anything, running, training, writing, showering, tv, you lie to yourself and tell yourself it is for fun, it is for productivity, it is what you want. The saddest reality is that it is nothing more than an itinerary designed out of desperation to distract your brain from the noise in your head, the 200mph never ending noise.  

And on the outside, I am calm, nobody else hears it. 

These are 24 hour panic attacks, hidden so well behind smiles. Anyone close to me who you spoke to would describe me as busy, so busy working towards my dreams. And yes, to a point that is true, but a lot of it is merely misdirection. 

Whilst I am busy I also avoid so much, so many basic things. Emails, easy friendly ones, can take weeks, and to this day I do not know why, I just sometimes can’t deal with them. I rarely answer my phone, very rarely actually, even if I am sitting on the sofa, don’t get me wrong, I will phone you back, but when I am ready, 30 minutes later. I will let things pile up rather than reach out for help. 

Part of it is a fear to say the wrong thing, and I do occasionally, I think we all do. The problem is when I do, it wrecks my head for days, weeks, years. Now my father died 12 years ago this year, and I can still vividly recall arguments, things I said etc which still feel as raw as when he had only passed 6 months before. When I am in conflict with something, work, a friend, family member, I play out the worst case scenario over and over and over again until I can feel my heart pounding in my chest…. It is relentless. 

So how do I deal with this? 

I don’t all the time.  

Sometimes, like whilst I am writing this, it is hell, a genuine hell. The difference is that I sought the help required to help me deal with it. I have control mechanisms in place to help me through things and if anything, I have learned to channel it and retieve a sense of normality in my life. 

For those of you who are not ready seek ‘professional’ help or don’t think it would help in any case, let me break down a few of the lessons I have learned, hopefully it will help. 

You need to admit, if only to yourself what you have depression or anxiety, call it out for what it is, there is absolutely no shame in it, none, nada, you will find out soo many more people you know have struggled with it, or indeed are stuggling with it. It is the validation of your feelings that will prove to be a massive help. You may not feel you are enough, or will ever be enough, admitting you need help doesn’t confirm the inner voices opinion of you, if anything it strengthens you to shout back at them that YOU ARE worth it. 

I know that one of my biggest struggles is social media. Everywhere I look, everyone has it together, doing brilliantly, better than me anyway, their shit is locked up tight and I know I am a blubbering mess… I want you to realise though that is the futility of Facebook, of Social media. Everything we read is a projected persona of a reality we want to convey. Instagram filters hide the spots, holiday photos and inspiring quotes are not peoples deepest, darkest secrets, it is not the voices. God knows I do it all the time, because ‘why the hell would anyone else want to hear about how I feel today’. 

We can get out and talk about this, and speak to friends, family, and you will be amazed how far you can come out of this. 

Depression and Anxiety are silent killers, they ruin lives. The “bad” news is that it is rarely a fight you are ever ‘done’ with, anxiety is not the flu, it takes willpower, it takes daily fighting, however when you give it it’s real name, and find a place for it in your existence, and stop letting it ride rough shot over your life, it can get awesome… 

I do hope that this is relatable to at least one person, please leave a comment or share it for other people to read, you just never know who you might help by doing it.Thanks for reading. Feel free to message me here and I will be happy to have a chat.

#recycleyourregrets  

So what has been happening? Well I am really getting very excited! Not just by this news but just generally in life. The last few months have seen things really start to go well, I have been blessed to meet some amazing new people, people who have given me both perspective and drive and focus. As such I have assembled the best songs I have written over the last year or so and am incredible excited to announce that I will be back in the studio recording a new LP called "Recycle your regrets. It has been a difficult decision what to focus on with this record. But I will do my best to explain, without naming names to those who would not appreciate it.

This album is focusing a lot on some of my biggest regrets, failed relationships and broken plans. Also touches on some family stuff and the difficult situations I have found myself in. To summarise for those of you not in the loop I have managed to totally f**k up a lot of good things in my life, a marriage, some long term relationships, some more recently than I care to talk about. And I have decided rather than to closet these things away to harness these experiences, the good bits and the bad bits, and come to a point of introspection. Now before you think this is gonna be some kind of absolutely depressing piece of 'Oh my God have you ever smiled' sort of release I promise it isn't. I am just using the experience to give what is going to be probably the most honest collection of songs I have ever done. In every album or EP I have ever put out there has always been a certain song or songs that have held a really deep meaning to me, but in this case it is start, middle and ending. 

 

Excited to be back in the studio with Declan Legge at Big space studios, but there is also going to be a change to the style of how we record and indeed the players. First off I have a collection of some of the finest musicians in Northern Ireland on this, with Keith Conway on Drums, Aran Glover doing Keys, with Cello, Double bass and fiddle all making an appearance. It is going to be a big, organic, natural sound and something I am already too excited about.

We got the guide tracks down on Tuesday night which is where we got this little shot taken. It is the first time I have heard these tracks 'together' and I can already see too many places I want to take this record. Now it is going to be released (pencil the date) in around April/May 2017 and there are going to be loads of updates to follow as we all go through this journey, together.

For now though I would like to share the (provisional) cover with you, I think it is a fair summary of how this is going to sound, in the form of a picture... of a teddy bear.

Speak soon guys

The Copenhagen Songwriters Adventure 

So a few months ago I was asked to perform at the Copenhagen Songwriters festival, a great privilege and one of these things that filled me with a certain amount of dread. I did the usual thing, looked through the guys playing, the artists etc and quickly realised I was playing with the big boys now.

Anyway I travelled down to Dublin to fly out the day before the gig, and meet my host for the 2 nights I was staying, Jon. What a lovely guy, a greenpeace activist and we really hit it off. Had a few of the local delicacies (beers) and a meal before calling it an early night. During the day of the festival my strong wanderlust kicked in as I adventured, map free, around Copenhagen for 4-5 hours to clear my head. Firstly what a beautiful city, too many places could have stolen my attention for hours but as I walked around, taking in the sights of the city, it was something else that came over me.

That thing was a massive wave of gratitude and happiness at the world. I have not had the easiest couple of years, months, or even weeks leading up to the festival, with a lot of personal things in absolute turmoil, the failing of a relationship, arguments with friends, long hours and late nights, I travelled in one of the worst moods and places emotionally I had been in a long time. But looking around I realised just how blessed I truly was. I write songs, plain and simple, and I LOVE doing that.... and in doing that, I get to see new parts of the world and do my thing, Chase the River is that thing and it humbles me the experiences my life has had through that, and the experiences I have gotten to share with people on my travels.

Anyway, lost in the Botanical gardens I finally make my way back to the festival, ready to setup and perform. Before the show I get a beer and sit down and am instantly approached by the Norwegian band Myrull, and what an absolutely class bunch of people they were, so open, warm and friendly. We were joined by Elona Planmann who was playing after me on the same stage. Elona has been on tour for 3 years and the stories and general laughter we had was just really uplifting.

As I went onto the stage I have this mental idea to change the whole set list, to really throw some of the newer tunes in here and there, no risk, no reward right? The crowd were awesome, so appreciative of the music I was playing and I had an absolute blast. Afterwards I got speaking to loads of people who really were so kind and generous with their comments.

Afterwards, Myrull, Jon, Elona and I sat and had a few beers, listened to LOADS of class sets before calling it a night.

The next morning I travelled back to Dublin, whilst agreeing to take a gig that night whilst in Copenhagen Airport, made it with 10 minutes to spare, hungover, tired, but ready to have a blast.

The whole trip was really such a blessing. I have made new friends and will see them again as I really have the hunger now to go out and get more of the world seen on the back of playing a guitar and singing. Now we are back in the 'real' world there are loads of exciting projects about to kick off and the gigs are coming in thick and fast, gonna be a class 2016, gonna make sure of it.

SPG TV 

Strange thing the internet.....

A few months ago I got a present in the form of a Nessie USB Mic from Blue. Being the eternal tinkerer that I am I decided to have some fun with it and record a slightly offbeat cover. Fast forward and Joe.ie pick up on it and share it out, 5,000 views later and I get an email from the Student Pocket Guide, a fairly large YouTube Channel. They asked me to perform on their show 2 songs, a cover and an original.

So off I trot to Big Space Studios, a favourite hideout of mine, to get the takes done.

And so here the cover is. the original is going through video editing as we speak and will be up soon, so keep checking back on that.

And enjoy!
 

#Save the sunflower awareness night 

So on the 23rd of January (last Saturday) we were delighted to be involved in the awareness night for saving the sunflower.

The night kicked off with the wonderful David McCann. David normally is to be found with the Sandrunners but donned his acoustic hat and gave us a lovely show, with the audience standing up and taking notice.

Robb Murphy continued with his band in support and again, just awesome. Then ourselves and Tony Villiers rounded out the night. We have a good crowd and more people signing the petition to keep this bar alive. It is one of the cultural hubs within belfast for music and it would be a disgrace to see it disappear.

One of our lovely fans sent us through this video from the night which we thought we would share with you in case you were not through the doors.
 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfTOWqPlt9Y&feature=youtu.be

Merry Christmas everyone 

So here we are! Christmas 2015, and what a year it has been. This is gonna be really short and sweet, just a quick Merry Christmas and thank you to you all for your support, your kind wishes and wishing you and yours a great Christmas and 2016!

Have a good one

A quick Break, now back to work 

Christmas is looming..... I think it is ok to say that now, with only a couple of weeks to go....

So what have we been doing? Not a lot is the short answer. Stuart has had a few gigs in bars as this is the season for work dos and parties.

Besides, the week before in the studio really was a tiring time and it was a good time to take stock and reflect. This has become a most welcome practice for us and something, watching the world, we could all learn a thing or two from. Sometimes Chase the River just need to Chill outIn this modern day in age, you can keep yourself so busy that you can quickly burn out. This is a grossly overuse phrase, normally referring to when you go out for a night out with work the next day. Yeah ok, you will be tired, but this is something deeper, and a lot harder to shake.

As working musicians the struggle is real. Both Lizzie and Stuart work during the day and gig, practice and write, record, everything, during their spare time. So quickly you have no spare time.... ever.....

Stuart in particular took 5 days off this week to spend time with his partner who was graduating, and her family over from Holland. Coming into this break he worked EVERY DAY for over a month, between gigs, the studio, writing, editing, and his day job. Now he is back, and things are going to ramp straight back up to busy. We have got the tracks back from the studio, ready for the final day, so planning out the new tracking to be done and putting the final touches to the whole thing, ready for the release in March.

And of course, loads more gigs, a few parties before Christmas and enjoying this time of year.

Remember in the meantime we are giving away tunes for free in the lead in to all this so why not grab a copy and start getting excited for the new tunes coming very VERY soon.

Chase The River plus Special guest Robb Murphy

Belfast Baege, Lanyon Quay, Belfast

After a monster year with 3 new singles and an Irish tour, plays on Q Radio, iHeart Radio, BBC Radio Ulster to name a few, Chase the River are playing a final show for the year at the Beflast Barge.

Supporting them will be Robb Murphy and his full band, fresh of recent European tours and the Copenhagen Songwriters Festival, this will be a great night of music.

18+ BYOB

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