Vocals

Last week the band had a group vocal lesson. It was a very valuable experience for us as we put a lot of effort into vocal arrangements and I know personally I needed better tools for warming my voice up and using it properly.

We though Hana Fahy was a very good teacher and would recommend her to anyone in the Dunedin area. Also, I’d recommend her album here!

Health

Our gig last night in support of Ash and the Matadors at their EP release was a shining example of just how healthy things are in Dunedin at the moment.

We often have a little whine about there being not enough places to play, but last night there were attractive gigs at Chicks, Refuel, Ombrellos, Swell, the Long Beach Hall, The Robbie and of course, upstairs at the Cook, where we were. In a town this size you could expect that we’d have had a small audience due to the split, but the place was bouncing. A testament, I think, to the wealth of talent about at the moment and the enthusiasm surrounding it. It’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes.

So thanks, Dunedin. And thanks to Ash and the Matadors for giving us access to your tremendous audience.

One down…

Many thanks to everybody who came out on Wednesday. Also thanks to Thundercub, Logan and Chris. We had a great time and what a fantastic crowd. I’ve managed to fix all the things that were broken, just in time for this week’s gig, at Chicks, with the mighty Operation Rolling Thunder and workhorses Idiot Prayer.

Here’s the thing on Facebook!

We’ll be on early, at 9:30, sharp, no lies bro. The Thunder like to go to bed early.

Behind the Scenes

Sometimes band practices can be fun. With a group of six busy members in a situation where nobody is being paid, it can be difficult to be regular about them. We were down a couple of members last night so we did things a little differently.

We started things off by choosing a setlist for our next show, using a modified single transferrable vote system. Here’s proof that we’re probably the most nerdy group in town at the moment:

As you can see, the first initials of the names of the people at practice, put together, spell “A PIE.”

As for the practice, that consisted of running parts of songs over and over to try and perfect our harmonies. It was nice, all of us gathered around a piano just like in the movies, only it was a synthesiser and I was only taking stills:

Iain was in a boy band back in the 90s.

Writing

I’m currently exploring new ways of writing. Or rather, new approaches to convincing my body to write. My aim is to have a good body of material ready to record the follow up to Apologiesat the end of the year. At the moment I have a few new numbers that the band have been playing, but we’re a wee way off the target as yet.

One approach I’ve taken is to sit down and record some ideas that have been floating around, or some very old songs that I’ve never recorded. Unfortunately I’m surprisingly private about this process so I tend to do it very quietly, very late at night, which colours the results somewhat. I hope to piece together bits of these and put them on the PoiseEP which I should have out somewhere in the middle of the year.

Another angle is to write or record or produce absolutely anything that comes out of me, with the idea that the process will foster writing for Sunley. As a result of that, the Yumbo project has been ressurected:

“Enough”, by Yumbo. There’s not much to this one, but I reckon if I’m having a boogie while tracking it there’s no real harm. Enjoy.

Anyway, these are a couple of approaches. Sometimes I just can’t bring myself to pick up a guitar and I really don’t know why. I’d love to hear if anybody else has any ideas on how to stimulate writing!

A Small Visit

I spent the weekend in Auckland. I had been waiting for 15 years to see Faith No More, and they didn’t disappoint. I’ll now do anything in my power to see them again. Genius.

While up there, I also caught up with Tono and opened a gig for him and Tiny Ruins at the Wine Cellar. Once again, a nice night at the Wine Cellar, which is one of my favourite bars in the country, and it was great to catch up with some of the Dunedin diaspora. I still don’t think I’ve got the hang of Auckland crowds though.

The year really kicks off for the band though in a little under a month. We have a good schedule coming together for the first half of the year with a solid band lineup and we’ll be testing out some new material. More about that soon!

New Review

I’m not sure how long this one will be up, but Tim at daggerzine.com says:

“Sunley is actually Evan Sunley James, a New Zealand resident who has created a fine little record here with some cracked Americana. What you hear is a busted banjo, shuffling drums, dusty acoustic guitars and on top is Sunley’s yearning vocals, not completely unlike a NZ-bred Will Oldham (minus the voice cracking). No crazed warbling here just good songs.”

I must admit I’m pretty happy about that one!

Read this and other reviews at the fine Daggerzine site!