Here at NFTW inc we’ve been pretty quiet for the last couple of years.
While we’ve been on a sort of unintentional hiatus there have been a few things going on behind the scenes. Firstly and most importantly we’re happy to announce that we’re back together and making music again. The ‘we’ in this case is Chazz, Jim, Andy and Chris, we’re really happy to be working with Chazz again after a 3 year gap, welcome back Captain!
We’ve been in the studio for the last couple of weeks working on new material, which is sounding far more refined than it ever has in the past. We’ll have more details soon, but suffice to say that we’re all very happy with the direction that the NFTW ship is heading.
Peace and Fucking!
Hello and welcome, folks, to another North For The Winter recording prolog! This one probably won’t be any more exciting than the last one, except that we guarantee that there’ll be 300% more pictures.
And it all starts with this one, an image of some inch thick MDF sheets.
Here it is semi assembled.
And here, with some rockwool padding (upholstered with Tesco’s finest double bed sheets) installed, complete with 2×10 and microphones.
For those of you not familiar with guitarDoucheBaggery of YouTube, this is a cabinet isolation box – a structure in which you place guitar and bass cabinets along with some microphones, route the speaker cable out to an amp head located outside the box, shut the door and turn the amp up to 11.
In our previous recordings sound isolation was always a serious problem; we haven’t been able to run our rigs very loudly and, as our neighbours are generally nice folk, on average we’d prefer not to upset them. So with this thing we’re hoping to achieve some better results.
Everyone knows that louder = better, and so with this equation in mind we’re looking forward to the next few days with much hope and vigour.
After over a year of waiting, it’s finally arrived, and isn’t she just gorgeous!?!!
I’m sorry folks, but I just can’t help myself from blogging about how amazing this new kit really is. For those of you that are wondering, it’s a Jobeky electronic (yes, electronic) custom-built drumset powered by a Roland TD-9 Drum Module, sporting a rather excellent Roland VH-11 hihat and a suite of modded top of the range Yamaha triple zone cymbals. This is literally as close as it gets to being an acoustic kit. So I’m sure you can forgive me for wanting to blab about it!
Each of the drums (besides the kick) operates in dual zone fashion which allows the player to sound a note on the rim as well as the head of the drum, and the sensitivity on these beasts is just unparalleled – even against the most tippy-top, overpriced products that current industry-leader Roland can provide. There are zero dead spots! And then there’s that stunning ‘bubinga fade’ finish that my appalling photography just doesn’t do justice to. What’s nice about this kit is the drums aren’t made of bouncy rubber the sizes of saucers like most electronic kits. They’re actually real drums in real sizes made with real wood, and skinned with dual-ply mesh heads. As such, they happily accept a proper walloping like only a rock drummer can give without losing an ounce of sensitivity. I’ve played on lots of electric kits both cheap and massively dear from many brands in the industry and I have to say there’s just nothing quite like these beauties.
That said, I find it’s actually the cymbals of an electronic kit that are the hardest thing for manufacturers to get right. Either you go for triggered metal cymbals like my old Alesis Surge cymbals (but they’re way too loud), or you take the traditional rubber route. Ruling out all the rubbish pizza-slice offerings that you see plaguing the lower spectrum of the market, this gives us basically two options: Roland and Yamaha. Roland cymbals are nice but they’re absurdly expensive. Yamaha cymbals offer the same level of sensitivity without the price tag, but they’re not 100% compatible with my Roland module – thus I had to break out the soldering iron to tweak the circuitry. A resistor here and a jack socket there and you’ve got yourself a triple zone cymbal: sporting inputs for bell, bow and edge, with full choking, for under £100 a pop! Brilliant! And I’m pleased to report they’re holding up extremely well considering I’m the last person on earth that you want to present with any kind of DIY tool.
At this point, not only has a non-insignificant amount of money been spent, but also a fair bit of time has elapsed. Now, you might reasonably ask, well this is all well and good but why go to this much effort when you could just have a real acoustic? The answer is: I do indeed have a wonderful acoustic kit, but unfortunately it’s in Wales and I’m in a flat in London. An acoustic kit just isn’t practical to play* anywhere I’ve lived so far, and in fact the impact noise from most electric kits (including my previous Traps kit) still renders them too loud to play regularly. This kit solves this problem – it’s extremely quiet, it doesn’t sound like someone is putting up shelves next door, and it acts and feels exactly the way my Pearl ELX does. That’s a massive win in my opinion.
Finally, what makes or breaks any musical instrument? It’s sound. The great thing about all electronic instruments is that you can make them sound however the hell you like! I’m a massive fan of software-based drums and have recorded using them for several years. This is the approach I’ve always taken for spatial, aural and financial reasons. I just can’t afford the proper environment to host regular drum sessions. So at the moment I’m using my new kit with Addictive Drums running on my laptop. I think XLN Audio are the closest the world has come to producing life-like, expressive and articulated acoustic drum sounds and no doubt they’ll feature on the next NFTW EP. Check it out: North For The Winter Drumsounds: Lively Snare Kit 1
If you’re at all interested in learning more, feel free to send me a message. I can’t recommend this package enough to other drummers that suffer the same issues that I do, and please do check out the Jobeky website: www.jobekydrums.com
Jim – NFTW
* (or store for that matter!)
So according to the Mayan’s, we’re all going to kick it in this year. What’s more, it’s due to happen on my bloody birthday! Fabulous. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include “the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth’s collision with a black hole, passing asteroid or a planet called Nibiru” according to Wikipedia. And as we all know, Wikipedia never lies so we shall be accepting this view as gospel. With this in mind, the band’s decided to split up.
I’m actually really optimistic about this year. This might have something to do with an impending drum kit delivery and the fact that 2012 marks the year when all band members complete their various educational commitments. You never know, we might actually start playing again…
Happy New Year.
Jim – NFTW
Sorry its been a long while since the last blog post. We don’t really have an iron-proof excuse; only that we’re still looking for a new singer, I’ve moved to the nation’s capital to start work, Chris is now ploughing ahead with his photography business and Andy is, well, still Andy…
I do have some good news though – while its been pretty quiet here at northforthewinter.com, I’ve been busy redesigning a website for the truly lovely Colin and Jane over at Jobeky Drums. I’ve placed an order with them for a shiny new (you wouldn’t know it) *electronic* drum kit which is due to arrive in the next few weeks. I’ll be writing a short review for anyone interested in getting one. These guys really do make blow-your-head-off great kits so I’m massively excited. More to follow soon…
So here’s to wishing you a very merry moose and a happy 2012 (wow – it really has been quiet around here for a very long time!).
Our new years resolution is to get playing and recording again – so if you’re a bandless singer who shares our vision, please please please get in touch!
All the best!
Jim – NFTW
Just discovered that remote blogging is now possible via these amazing new internet phones. Wow! Will keep you all posted marginally faster than before all thanks to HTC’s app store! Glorious!
Jim – NFTW
And sadly the band is in the market for a new singer again. This time, hopefully someone that will stick for a while.
If you, or anyone else you know are interested, please give us a heads up. We don’t have a gender preference, so long as you can sing to a high level and command a stage we’d be very happy. We can play the songs in different keys should they not suit your range. There’ll very likely be more new ones to come as well (that can be written for your range), song-writing influence is a plenty after the last 9 months!
Other possible plus points:
If you can sing and play guitar/keys/something, that’d be wicked as we were considering expanding our numbers, but its not essential.
In the meantime we’re putting Andy on lead vocals to scream our way into the charts.
Yes, it’s that time again!
We’re up in Coventry, playing the Kasbah’s sister venue “Rosie Malone’s” on the 23rd! We were due to be playing with our good friends, local punk rock band “Fly By Night”, but sadly they had to pull out. So instead I heard through the grapevines that we might be playing with another local Warwick band, “Such Modern Ways” – expect some killer vocals here! More details to follow as soon as we know them.
Sadly they have no recordings yet (hopefully that’ll change soon *wink*) but their myspace is very pretty!
Excellent! We get to play with Hannah’s flatmate’s band, “Sunlight Ascension” (who we think are awesome) and the pressie’s band “The Black Dogs” at the Golden Cross in Coventry, on Friday the 22nd of Jan! This’ll be really good, check out t’other bands:
More details to follow…