Tag Archives: music

Running Up That Hill

7 Feb

How is your Winter/Summer progressing? All is well in the Wasp Summer camp. We are working towards recording our second album, tentatively entitled Mitropa. I have to write a couple more songs but the ten we have are sounding really strong. You can hear four demos here.

Running Up That Hill compilation

Running Up That Hill; Kate Bush Covers for Reproductive Rights

compilation to fund reproductive rights organisations in the USA

Wasp Summer covered a Kate Bush B-side called Under The Ivy for a wonderful compilation called Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush Covers for Reproductive Rights that was launched on Bandcamp on February 4, 2014.

It is as it says on the box and sales support US-based pro-choice organisations, most located in politically conservative US states where women’s rights have been threatened. If you buy songs or the whole compilation from Bandcamp, you support the printing of download cards that are given free to the selected organisations who can then sell them to directly raise funds.

Artists including Nona Invie from Dark Dark Dark and Karl Blau have contributed tracks. Kate Bush (via her manager) has given her blessing.

Upcoming Gigs

We have a bunch of Berlin shows coming up over starting on February 20. Come along and hear the new songs. More news about European Summer tours, the single/album launch dates and other shows soon.

Wasp Summer
w/ Ryan O’Reilly (UK) + Redvers (UK)
Donnerstag 20. Februar
Marie Antoinette
Bogen 47, Holzmarktstr.15-18
10179 Berlin-Kreuzberg
20:00. 5€
Fb Event

Wasp Summer
w/ The Fever (US)
Freitag 21. März
Madam Claude
Lübbener Straße 19
10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
21:00. 3-7€

Wasp Summer
Freitag 11. April
w/ guests
Tiefgrund
Laskerstraße 5
10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
(nr. About.Blank/Ostbhf)
21:00. 3-7€

Wasp Summer (duo)
w/ Remarkable Shipwrecks + Eamon McGrath
Freitag 2. Mai
Ex-LG Security
Donaustr. 115
12043 Berlin-Neukölln
20:30. By donation.

Cheers,
Sam Wasp Summer

Lists: 2013 in Musical Review (Revue?)

30 Dec

Musically, 2013 has been about writing towards a new Wasp Summer album (which we’re thinking of calling Mitropa – listen to some demo tracks)  and booking shows for amazing acts through Sofa Salon and A Headful of Bees. 2014 will definitely be about recording and touring and much, much less about booking for other people.

In regards to concerts, it was a good year. I’ve seen great, moving small-scale shows this year. Look these artists up: Lindsay Phillips, Gillian Grassie, Roland Satterwhite, Elyas Khan, Ben Salter, Liz Stringer, Pinto, Kini Mod, PHIA, Bernhard Eder and Vincent Long, amongst others.

I saw great club, arena or festival shows from Oneida, The Re-Mains, The Knife, Brandt Brauer Frick, Hans Unstern, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Mudhoney and Everything Everything.

So to my list of my favourite songs of 2013, in no particular order, plus five songs that found their home in my head in 2013:
Dancing Suns – Tarnished
Ben Salter – The Prophetess
Dead Sentries – Nowhere is Home
Elyas Khan – Bells
Everything Everything – Cough Cough
FKA Twigs – Papi Pacify
Jimmy Tait – All My Friends
Lindsay Phillips – The Crossing
Neko Case – Where Did I Leave That Fire?
PHIA – Do You Ever?

Ainslie Wills – Fighting Kind
Brandt Brauer Frick – Skiffle It Up
HAIM  – Forever
Kat Frankie – Please Don’t Give Me What I Want
Jens Friebe – Neues Gesicht

Happy listening and a Guten Rutsch.

Cheers,
Samantha

March Wasp

20 Mar

With a head full of cottonwool, I send a million emails for myself and others whose music I adore to round up more work/money so we can continue on this picturesque clifftop gravel path of making music.

Since the last email, I have had a good long think about my direction as a a musician who needs to pay the rent. Thus, I am plowing my energy into three areas – rehearsing and writing for Wasp Summer, singing as often as I can in a variety of styles and booking shows in the A Headful of Bees Booking Agency.

As much fun as I’ve had touring since 2011, I really had the urge to stay closer to home this year, develop my ideas and get some sleep. You know, eight hours a night, every night. (It’s not always working. I binge-watched the new US TV series Nashville in five days). I play gigs, have after-singing drinks with my choir, go dancing to noise bands (Oneida! “You’ve got to step into the light light light light light light…”), try to experience the many joys and madnesses of Berlin. I figure if I ever have a baby, I’ll won’t resent the loss of sleep so much if I have some sleep now.

Really, I want to get to the end of 2013 knowing that I am in a kick-arse rock ‘n’ roll band. The guitar-work should sit nicely around the vocals. I’m doing tiny solos, getting lessons and learning how to play slide guitar. I will get a delay pedal. I might get a Big Muff fuzz pedal.

My songs want me to use the lower, sexier, more womanly voice I’m growing into as well as the showier parts of my range. I will eventually be as comfortable behind a guitar as I am with a microphone in my hand. I want people to think PJ Harvey and not Sheryl Crow when they see us play.

In fulfilling my aims, I have some shows coming up. I’m working with a lovely West Berliner called Tom Cunningham, a sweet and very interesting guy who’s been here since the early 70’s producing records and releasing albums. My dearest friend in Berlin, jazz singer Lena Tjäder invited me to work as a backing singer with Tom. We debut this Saturday night at Ufer Cafe (Nordufer 4, Wedding for the Berliners) with a mix of his, my and Lena’s originals and covers accompanied by guitarist Michel. 20:00.

Next month, I am working with Salonband, an amazing group of pro musicians who worked with my compadre Eric Eckhart on his DIT album. Once a month, they invite singers, learn their albums and back them at Kugelbahn, also in Berlin-Wedding. It’s my turn on April 11 and I’ll be doing some stuff off my record plus a couple of songs that influenced how I sing and write – Total Control, One Day I’ll Fly Away and Tobacco Road. This is going to be an amazing night.

Look out for some more Wasp Summer band gigs over the Summer. There’s big shows coming up for 48-Stunden Neukölln, Fete de la Musqiue and Berlin Music Week and smaller ones in great rock ‘n’ roll basements.

If you want to hear my album again, please check it out at
waspsummer.bandcamp.com, but I post new demos up at www.soundcloud.com/waspsummer.

Here’s hoping for the Spring to break. I need some suuuuuuuuuuuun.

Tour updates

2 Jun

Tour update #12: Spent a great Ghent night with new friends – singing in the car with Sam, dinner at Griet’s wonderful corner shop apartment, then a house concert at Dirk’s featuring Rianto Delrue and Bruno Deneckere. Today, sadly, no luck squirrel hunting at the Brussels flea market but I did find some nice scarves for my IndieGoGo CD sponsors. Tonight, my house show in Ixelles. Life is good, na?

Tour update #11: NO SQUIRRELS.

Tour update #10: I have NO luggage space, but apparently the famous flea market here in Brussels is absolutely loaded with taxidermied squirrels. Anyone who knows me knows how dangerous this is.

Tour update #9: *makes a note* Wait at the *front* of the station as the back of the station is the sex worker’s street and carrying a guitar and amp in public is no guarantee you won’t be asked if you’re offering sex.

Album Launch

13 Apr

Album News

cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

first look at full cover art for Close as a Slow Dance

I just got the artwork for the album back from my wonderful graphic designer, so I’m all set for getting the album pressed into shiny digipacks. There’s a preview. What do you think?

I’ve decided on two Berlin album launches – an intimate club show at Heroes Neukölln (Friedelstraße 49  12047) on International Star Wars Day, May the Fourth (be with you) and a Sofa Salon house concert for my birthday on May the Eleventh. Then I’m out on tour. Check the current dates below.

Please have this free Bandcamp download of debut rockabilly-flavoured single ‘Dancehall at Louse Point’ to help me celebrate the record’s release or just listen to the song.

Tour Dates

Apr 24, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Club der polnischen Versager – ANZAC Eve: Berlinerin Aussies & Kiwis w/ Sandra Serala & Lavender Drake & Kate Camp

Apr 26, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Ufer Cafe – Wasp Summer & Lena Tjäder w/ Lena Tjäder

May 4, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Heroes – Wasp Summer at Heroes

May 11, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ Sofa Salon – Wasp Summer Sofa Salon Album Launch and Sam’s Birthday

May 26, 2012 – Thionville, LOR (FR) @ le Nimby – Wasp Summer’s ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 6, 2012 – Paris, IDF (FR) @ Pop In – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 9, 2012 – Blaison-Gohier, PDL (FR) @ Eric’s House – House Concert for Eric’s Birthday

Jun 22, 2012 – Berlin, Ber (DE) @ PANDA Theatre – Berlin COMPASS: Summer Edition

Jun 29, 2012 – Hamburg, Ham (DE) @ Makrele – Wasp Summer ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ Tour

Jun 30, 2012 – Kiel, S-H (DE) @ Gaby’s House – Wasp Summer in Kiel

Pre-Order Thank Yous

20 Jan

Thank You from Wasp SummerThe Campaign

Wow! That was a heartening 55 days. In retrospect, it was probably madness to hold a fundraising campaign across Christmas and New Year, but I’m delighted to say you have helped me reach 62% funding for my project which covers the mixing and mastering costs. I thank you. I admit to being nervous about asking friends, fans, acquaintances and some complete strangers for money, but I was a train station busker for a year. I have no shame. I also figured I was offering a valuable and heartfelt exchange, Wasp Summer’s debut album ‘Close as a Slow Dance’ and the story of its strange and wonderful journey to you.

*Sam has a moment*

My god, I’m 36. I’ve been in bands for a million years. I am just about to send my first solo record into the world! Some of these songs are 10 years old and I’ve discovered I’m an Alt.Country writer, ably abetted by producer Henry Hugo and his vast array of stringed instruments. The album has a loose story-arc and is fairly writhing with dobro, banjo, mandolin, warm 60’s electric pianos and organs, 50’s Gretsch sounds and some lovely reverbs. Also, the comments people made on the funding website were so lovely and supportive, and probably my favourite part of the process. Yes, Willem, I do know where you live, and Aaron, it is new flesh but not in a Videodrome sense. As a kid, I did really want to be Debbie Harry, though.

The Stats

67% of funders came from Australia’s strong economy. 15% came from Germany. The rest of you come from Britain, America, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand. The average donation was $37. As a group, you still love the artifact-in-hand experience of music and you’re not so into digital downloads. Maybe this is because I appeal to a more mature audience? #firstworldproblems

The Story of Los Savonarolas!

This is a story of saying yes. I told Mark Steiner my goal for 2011 was to make a record. He came to Berlin and asked me to play a show. There, I met his friend Henry who liked my music and offered to produce my record. I sent production notes and demos. He organised the band and the location. We set a date. Lots of yes. Gleefully, this entailed two long drives over the Gotthard Pass in the Swiss Alps – brown goats, brown cows with actual cowbells, improbable mountain hut placement. Amazing!

The band tracked via mobile studio over midsummer in a hilarious 5-day session at a house in Castiglione Olona, Italy, which we could use in exchange for feeding the owners’ 15 cats. Fifteen. Cats. I had the pleasure of playing, cooking, drinking and laughing with Fabio (guitars) and Stefano (drums) from Milanese band Guignol, plus Henry, and Paolo (bass) whose house we borrowed. Trying to play bluegrass at 5am is treasured memory. Also, learning to make pasta by hand and Henry’s Van Damme impressions. We dubbed the band Los Savonarolas after a scene in the 1985 Roberto Benigni/Massimo Troisi film Non ci resta che piangere!

 

The vocals and much of the arrangement were completed over two sessions in Zürich, Switzerland in August and September, because I messed up my voice in the first session after all the fun in Italy. Friends such as Vicki Brown in Tuscon, Leigh Ivin in Tamworth, Julitha Ryan in Melbourne and Mark Steiner in Oslo added violin, vocals, pedal steel, cello, organ and guitar parts via email.

The Fulfilment Stage

It’s now at the final mix stage in Buenos Aires and will soon go to the masterer, also in Buenos Aires. Sadly, I don’t get to go to Buenos Aires. In the next week, people who pre-ordered CD packs will get their digital EP download code via email. When I have the final master, people who pre-ordered pre-release digital downloads will get their download codes via email. Hopefully late February.

The CDs will then be made and popped into pretty digipacks in a secret factory somewhere in Europe. Then I’ll send out the signed CDs, scarves, chapbooks and start on the postcards, Skype concerts and one special London house concert. That should be the start of March. I’ll let you know if the production schedule slips behind.

Again, thank you for helping me realise this album. I am blessed to be at this point with an album of good music to share and a Summer of touring to look forward to. I just have to set some bigger goals. I hope to see you in your city in 2012.

Love,

Sam Wareing/Wasp Summer

Music that moved me in 2011, Part One

18 Dec

2011 has been an intense and revealing year personally and politically. Fulfilling my promise to myself, I finally made a solo record and toured Europe this year. Companions on my journey were the intense and revealing visions of women like PJ Harvey (on Let England Shake), Kate Bush’s many voices (on 50 Words for Snow) and Kimbra (Gold Ring from Vows).

But I’ll highlight some of the underground music I’ve been exposed to for the first time in 2011. All of it has given me grist and inspiration. Click on the artist name for their website and the song name for a place you can listen, download and/or buy.

Sailor Days – Species Counterpoint from Sailor Days
Biddy came and played a Sofa Salon in Berlin for me this year, performing with Ned Collette. I had the pleasure of singing Laura Jean‘s vocal parts on three songs. This record is meditative, creatively textured and absolutely beautiful to hear. Probably the underrated album of 2011 for my money and something I hear often on my mental radio.

Jenny Hvalblood fight from Viscera
Jenny, from Oslo, is one of the genuine live-and-breathe explorational musicians, whom I met in Melbourne when she was with Folding For Air/ipanic. On tour, Matty B and I saw her at the Operahuset playing an hypnotic piece she’d composed for a dance performance. She’s moved way beyond sensual experiments in pop to blisteringly original heartsong driven by her inventive guitar and keening voice.

El MadrigalHow Can I Miss You from Statistics
So many songs to choose from on this bitey roots rock record. This year, I had the great pleasure of sharing a stage with El Madrigal twice in Stockholm and seeing them again in Berlin. Ola Karlsson played and wrote with Brisbane’s country rock stalwarts The Gin Club and retains his musical soul, intellect and authenticity here. He’s got an incredible ear as a lyricist, musician and singer and has added two great, empathetic co-writers and musicians in  Eric Lindstrom & Tomas Sundin.

The Unthanks – the Testimony of Patience (from 2009)
This Northumberland folk group inhabit an out-of-time musical space, mining bedrock sounds and stories and bringing them up to us without a hint of dust, fust or the creak of age. The song link is a Guardian video. Their new album celebrates Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons.

The Gypsy CurseMaydelle from Ten Years North
I spent a weirdly synchronous six weeks over Summer touring Northern Europe with Matty Barker from The Gypsy Curse in his solo guise as Water Music. Introduced online by Mark Steiner, we had both come a long way to be ready to play our music and were rewarded with kindness, time in twenty-two cities, incredible people, astonishing evenings and enough food for our souls to make what followed possible. What followed for him was getting married to the lovely Beth in New York, recording The Gyspy Curse album in a cabin in Sweden and a sabbatical in Texas. They’re playing in Australia now and Europe in 2012. You should really see them.