WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
NOVEMBER 27th, 2013
Well, you may have noticed I've been quiet with the gigs this year. This is mainly because my other 'thing', film-making, has been taking up a lot of my time.
In the meantime, if you're interested in checking out the film - it's called 'A Summer Hamlet', and it's a real-life road trip following a group of actors touring 'Hamlet' around the UK and Europe. We've been doing film festivals this year, and next year hopefully it'll be in cinemas.
This is the blurb:
"In April 2011, eight actors, two stage managers and one wardrobe manager set out to tour a production of Hamlet around the UK and Europe.
A Summer Hamlet follows the company and their director, Dominic Dromgoole (Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe) as they tour the production from opening night at the Theatre Royal, Margate to their final performance at Hamlet’s own home of Elsinore Castle, Denmark. Remaining backstage with the cast for every performance, this first feature by director Helen Lawson offers a rare insight behind the scenes of the production. We glimpse into rehearsal room mayhem, pre-show high jinks and backstage nerves as the team battle with the elements and a temperamental Ford Escort.
Revealing the creativity, laughter and unfolding friendships that develop throughout the tour, A Summer Hamlet offers a hilarious insight into acting, touring and the highs and lows of life on the road."
You can see the trailer here: A Summer Hamlet - Trailer
If you'd like to see me witter about the film, and see some exclusive extracts, you can do so here: A Summer Hamlet - Director's Interview
And if you're only interested in my music, and not the films, then apologies, and there will be more music soon!
Thanks and love
HOPE FOR THE PHILIPPINES - GIG THIS THURSDAY
NOVEMBER 27th, 2013
It's been all quiet on the music front for some time, but I'm coming out of hibernation for a special gig tomorrow night.
The show will raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, with all proceeds going to the typhoon relief efforts via the Cebu Chamber of Commerce, where food packages are being prepared and distributed on a daily basis.
The ticket price equals 3 days' worth of food and water for a family of 7.
I've come on board at the last minute, but this is going to be a great night with sets from Shibuya Crossings, Ooberfuse and The Fireworks. There's also a magician, and an amazing raffle with prizes like bottles of champagne, restaurant meals and a hotel stay.
The music starts at 7pm at The Rhythm Factory, 16-18 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1EW.
I'll be on stage at 9pm.
Or £10 on the door.Yeah it's late notice, but come along if you can, it's a great cause and you might win good stuff!
2011! DON'T GO! WE WERE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS...
DECEMBER 16th, 2011
Cripes, late December already? I'm not sure I'm ready for 2011 to end. Can I get an extension please?
The album got put back to next year because I got slightly distracted directing a documentary film for the Globe Theatre. I was following their touring company of 'Hamlet' on the road round the UK and Europe. I'd say 'swanning' or 'galivanting' but it's hard to swan with your own bodyweight in camera equipment.
Anyway, I'm back now and have shed the incongruous biceps. They didn't suit me. Nearly finished the edit and am looking forward to getting the music head back on... Might even write the title track for the film, because obviously I'm a giant narcissist.
So now I'm getting back into the album. Tonight I have just finished the second recording session with Brett Shaw in his marvellous studio. We've done a lovely mix of 'Enough', which is a sparse but slinky one about battening down the hatches. The brilliant Steve Durand had provided me with a wonderfully addled-sounding backing vocal but I realised halfway through the session that he'd reinterpreted one of the lyrics as "that's enough of constant beating". Hmmm. I wouldn't put it past me, but that's not quite it...
Brett and I will be gradually working our way through the remaining songs for the album over the coming months, fun times a-coming. Will post some new tunes as soon as I've decided which ones to release into the wild before the full album.
Merry Christmas one and all, have a sherry on me.
BACK AT THE OQH, AND A SESSION COMING UP
NOVEMBER 16th, 2011
Thanks everyone for coming down to the Old Queen's Head on Monday night!
Was smashing to be back in one of my top London venues. Should have taken a photo of the light fittings made from old gramophones, they're my new favourite.
I was quite dazed and confused having just risen like Lazarus from the grip of Lurgy (did Lazarus have lurgy? Perhaps not.) Whisky and adrenalin is quite a heady combo though, saw me through. And I played the new song that I wrote whilst sick in bed last week - Crow Song. It's slightly unsettling (thankyou Night Nurse) but it seemed to go down well. That's the next one to record, I reckon...
Got a session coming up with Brett Shaw who produced the Kyla La Grange record. We're going to work on finishing off The Family Jewels... Onwards.
KNEES-UP ROUND THE OLD JOANNA
OCTOBER 7th, 2010
It was a lovely gig last night at the Comedy Pub - thanks to everyone who came! Points docked for those who accidentally went into the Comedy Store up the road. Extra points docked for those who watched comedians for 10 minutes before deciding I probably wouldn't be coming on next...
Such a lovely audience you all were.
I rounded the evening off at the Coach and Horses with a jolly good singalong - thanks Matt G for introducing us to that one. We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know wheeeeen. Knees up, Mother Brown. Bit hoarse this morning.
I love playing at the Com Dy...
Knees bend, arms stretch, ra ra ra.
GIGS - 23RD SEPT AND 6TH OCT - GET THEE THERE!
SEPTEMBER 20th, 2010
I hope you're well and September is treating you pleasantly.
I've got a couple of gigs coming up and it'd be lovely to see you at one or both... Although since one is in Berkshire and the other in Central London, it's perhaps unlikely that anyone will make it to both.
A massive prize to anyone who does.
23rd September - Folking Live at the Cellar Bar - South Hill Park, Bracknell, RG12 7PA
6th October - The Comedy, nr Leicester Square, 7 Oxenden Street, London SW1y 4EE.
Bring along this flyer to enter for £4. Or it's just £5 without. Bring all your friends - they'll thankyou for it and will probably buy you a tasty dinner out of sheer gratitude.
There's some great other acts playing on both nights, so stick them in the calendar now. See you there.
OLD QUEEN'S HEAD & BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE TRAILER...
JUNE 15th, 2010
Thanks to everyone who came down to the Old Queen's Head last night and helped make it such a lovely gig. It's really such a beautiful venue and it was brilliant to have so many of you there to share the night.
There'll be another gig there on the 16th August for anyone who missed out this time.
Don't forget, if you'd like to sign up to the mailing list, you can get a free download of 'This Town' - visit music.helenlawson.co.uk, click to download the track and enter your address.
Of course, you can also always buy the entire single or EP, to help fund future recordings!
Now, if you're interested to hear what else I've been up to lately, have a look at
this trailer my film-making buddies Dusthouse have just made for the One on One festival at Battersea Arts Centre. Recognise the warbling?
Hope you enjoy!
GIGS, AND OTHER STORIES
APRIL 9th, 2010
It's almost time for another gig! I'll be playing next Wednesday at the Cobden Club, it should be a good one. There's a couple of other dates on the gigs page - pop them in the diaries now, it'd be marvellous to see you at one or all.
You can also go to iTunes if you secretly really quite like The Man.
What else. Oh I know. This is how I put extra cake on the table - by making videos for other musicians / theatre companies / other people who need videos. Have a look at
this latest one I edited for Yoav from the footage from his Danish trip. It's a good'un.
Cheerio for now, see you next Wednesday at the Cobden!
$1 PER CD GOING TO HAITI
FEBRUARY 4th, 2010
Currently $1 from every CD sold at is going to help Haiti. There's some great music there, including Crossing the Bridge, and if you want to make an extra donation at the same time as buying some music, this is a way.
Alternatively, maybe you're not after any new music at the moment, in which case you can send even more cash directly to Haiti.
BACK IN THE U OF K
FEBRUARY 4th, 2010
I'm back in London again. Hurrah, I hear you chorus. Unless that was just the distant hoot of the overground.
Here are a couple of gigs - get one in the diary... One is next week, the first time I've gigged in donkeys, as I didn't do much of that while in LA.
Weds 10th Feb, 8pm Elixir 162 Eversholt Street, London NW1 1BL
Weds 14th April, 8.30pm Cobden Club 170 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BN
It would be brilliant to see you at one or both of them - there's a few new songs that have never been heard live in the UK before. Treats.
LA was wonderful in myriad ways, but all good things come to an end and home again I came.
And now there are bass, cello and clarinet sessions for the album all coming up in the next few weeks, which will be ace. In other news - to make the wait for the album all the sweeter, the two songs from the Sunny Levine session are now available as a single on iTunes - so get thee to and feast yourselves on those.
At the moment, also, $1 from every copy of the EP sold at CDbaby will be going to Haiti.
Cheerio for now, hope to see you at a gig soon.
OCTOBER 16th, 2009
This is what happens when you spin on a chair when your photographer friend is in the room. He makes you spin again. And again. And then you fall on the floor.
CONGRATS TO BASSPLAYER LIRAN ON HIS MERCURY NOMINATION!
JULY 24th, 2009
Congratulations to Liran Donin, who played double bass on the Crossing The Bridge EP - his band Led Bib have just been nominated for the Mercury Prize! Brilliant stuff.
See their nomination interview here!
VIDEO FROM THE SUNNY SESSION, PLUS WHO STOLE MY BIKE?
JULY 23rd, 2009
The footage from the studio session the other week is ready, have a look on the video page, I'm playing, singing, and demonstrating essential snacks.
In other news, it was my birthday this week, and as a special treat my bike got stolen. To whoever did it, with their big nasty lock cutters, I hope you enjoy it, you git. Bring back my basket bracket if you have a heart.
On a brighter note, I got balloons, badges, and beverages, so quite frankly who needs a bike.
SONGS FROM THE SUNNY SESSION
JULY 5th, 2009
Just a quickie to say the mixes from my session with Sunny Levine the other week are now on the music player - have a listen! The first is a new recording of 'This Town' which some of you will know from gigs and the old demo. The other song is 'Coins Hit The Water' - fresh out of the box.
I'll be posting video footage from the session as soon as I've finished editing it! Manic week in Venice CA this week - Band of Skulls played the Hammer on Thursday, plus the Duke Spirit were in town so late nights all round.
Am also getting into the Cali spirit of things and going to a yoga class. It seems I have curiously unbendy calf muscles. 4th July fireworks over the marina were pretty special last night.
I'd write more about it, but I am recovering from yet another kitchen-related accident. It takes a special kind of skill to drop a large soup pan on one's head, I assure you.
Cheers for now, enjoy the new songs.
4TH DAY IN THE STUDIO
JUNE 19th, 2009
Just called it a night for tonight. It's a misty old night in Venice CA. Seemed to really come together today - Amya came back and did some more great violin, we spent the afternoon doing a little mixing and then Stuart Levine came by tonight and recorded clarinet parts. All sounding beautiful.
I'd only heard the parts in midi as I'd written them, so it's very exciting when they come alive on proper real life instruments! I particularly enjoy waving my arms and eyebrows about to communicate parts to the players. I should have been an air traffic controller. Stuart said the clarinet part was quite Debussy, which was intriguing...
One more day to go on this session. Mainly tweaks tomorrow. Tired now. This week I have mostly been eating soup.
This is the possum that got made his home at the studio - he had to go, so we've sent him to a nice new life in the woods. Cheerio possum.
FIRST DAY IN THE STUDIO
JUNE 15th, 2009
Just back from the first day in the studio with Sunny. Great fun so far - have recorded all the guitars for both the tracks we're going to do this week. Plus a bit of piano and wotnot. We're doing a new version of 'This Town' and a new song, 'Coins Hit The Water'. Sore fingers now.
Doing vocals tomorrow, so will no doubt get through absurd amounts of ginger. I like ginger when singing. Ah, sweet ginger.
I'll try to record a little bit of video while I'm in the studio - I'll keep you posted...
A PICTURE OF 'SILVER PURSE'
JUNE 8th, 2009
Long time no blog. Have been getting on with recording and writing new stuff. I wrote a new song last week called The Family Jewels, which is a stomper featuring a wayward farmer's boy, a dancer, a sickly mother, a stolen guitar, a necromancer and a ghastly accident with a pair of shears. It's a bit of a departure. In a good way, one hopes...
Anyway, this week's been a busy one as I'm going into the studio with producer Sunny Levine next week to work on a few songs. I can't wait for that, hopefully we'll get some good stuff happening in there.
Anyway, some news on an old favourite - this made my day a few days ago. Jolyon Gray, an old chum from the acoustic circuit in London, who has long since moved back to Oz, sent it to me.
It's a painting he did named 'Silver Purse', inspired by my song of the same name. It's been making me smile daily ever since.
I'll let you know how things go in the studio.
FLYING AGAIN SOON
MARCH 6th, 2009
I am flying again soon. Been in the UK for a few weeks, went to the studio straight from the airport, where Band of Skulls were finishing off mixes for their album which comes out in a mere week or so. A tremendous album it is too, go and have a good listen to them when you get the chance...
I was making a film for them, so had to go and be the annoying person with a video camera for a little while. Turned out nice though, and it will probably be up on a website somewhere before long. Since then I have managed to lock myself in a room for the second time this year (broken doorhandle), but escaped being in there for 12 hours by using a cunningly bent coathanger. Thank heavens for opposable thumbs.
Back in LA next week and I'll be doing lots of work for Yoav, plus getting a few new songs together and gradually inching towards the album... Ta very much to everyone who's bought the EP so far - it's much appreciated, and to those who haven't, get yerselves a copy at the shop, or go straight to CDbaby or iTunes. Just a small plug...
Anyway, can't wait to get back into my little LA studio complete with inflatable mattress soundproofing - I'll keep you posted as to what I come up with! Before then I have to get back on a plane. I'm not so keen on planes.
Last time I flew out there was an emergency announcement and half the oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. It was just a system error, but it was a wee bit alarming. My head nearly exploded with the adrenalin. Which was relaxing. Fingers crossed it's a bit more chilled this time around...
CHARITy:WATER - GET 'THIS TOWN' FOR A DONATION
FEBRUARY 10th, 2009
'This Town' is currently available for download at Twestival.com.
Twestival.com is an online jukebox filled with tracks donated by artists to help raise a target of $20,000 by the 19th February. All the tracks there are available for download until the 19th, in return for a donation.
It would be wonderful if you would download 'This Town' and donate (see the 'make a donation here' link above the jukebox for those not using Twitter). 'This Town' is number 234 on the list of donated tracks - though it may shift slightly as I believe they're adding song in vaguely alphabetical order! I hope you find lots of other brilliant songs there to download too!
Thanks very much in advance.
CYCLING IN A MONSOON FOR THE MUSIC
FEBRUARY 8th, 2009
Ok so it wasn't a monsoon so much as a deluge. But it was very wet. More of that later... It's been ages! Happy new year. Hope it is treating you splendidly so far.
Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Stern.de end of year competition! I was coming second until the final hour, when I suddenly plummeted to 6th place! I think maybe I came under assault from the fans of another contender. It's a cruel world! I didn't mind too much, 6th is quite respectable. Thanks for all the voting, it was much appreciated.
So I landed in LA on the 7th January and have been gradually getting used to it. It took me a week to stop falling asleep in my dinner at 8.30pm, and a month to get used to the heat. We're having a rainy few days right now so I feel quite at home, but I believe that when the heat starts up again and we head towards summer, there will be a very real and present danger of spontaneous combustion. I am not known for my tolerance of temperature extremes.
I'm here working on video projects for Yoav, but I am cunningly taking advantage of being here to start recording the album. I feel a little at sea because I'm no longer recording in my London kitchen, but it is a very real joy not to have to pack everything away before making a sandwich. Wildlife count so far: many many pelicans and dolphins, the odd seal, a hummingbird, a raccoon, and a possum. A POSSUM! I miss London's foxes and robins, but come on, a possum!
The other day I shrewdly chose to cycle up to Santa Monica promenade just as the skies were darkening and getting ready for a storm. I think I knew I was going to get rained on, but I was really desperate to pick up my new speakers to monitor my recording on, so I told myself the clouds were heading the other way. The speakers are only little, but I still had to take them out of the box to fit them in my rucksack. I'd just done that and was 25 minutes from home by bike when the skies opened. There was more water than air. I don't mind getting wet, but I was a bit worried about the speakers. The last mile before home was an actual lake. They don't build roads to deal with rain here. They have to send out a lorry with a huge tank and snorkel to suck up the lakes like a thirsty motorised Aloysius Snuffleuphagus from Sesame Street. Anyway, I cycled as fast as the currents would allow, didn't drown and neither did the speakers. Hurrah! Everyone loves a happy ending.
Right, I'm off to work on a new song. My computer's been away being fixed. I had separation anxiety. But now it's back, mended, and there should be a new song up to hear soon! Will keep you posted. Have fun Februaries.
ps I just got Twitter. It's good.
UH OH, IT'S THE RED DOTS AGAIN!
DECEMBER 23rd, 2008
I know I already sent my 'merry christmas' email, but here's another one... I just found out that the Stern competition I was in earlier in the year has entered its final round of voting. Anyone who has been a 'winner of the week' can win...
So, if you need a break from the turkey at any point over Christmas, please go to
this link and give me 6 red dots all over again! They're over on the right and they turn red as you float your mouse over them.
It was brilliant to get so much support in the first round! I'd be massively grateful for any votes this time round, as it would be lovely to be in the top 3! Voting carries on until the 8th January.
Anyway, once again, enjoy the festivities and have a nice eggnog on me.
6MUSIC PODCAST, AND A YULETIDE TIP
DECEMBER 15th, 2008
I hope all's well and that December is turning out merry.
Today I found out that 'This Town' (the same kitchen demo that ended up on KCRW about 5 minutes after I recorded it) was played by Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music at the weekend! Sorry to not have warned anyone in advance so that you could huddle around your radios for it... The 'Listen Again' feature appears not to work this week, but gladly the song also made it onto the weekly 6 Music Introducing podcast, so if you'd like to hear me introduced, you can find it at the iTunes store (free download) or go here and follow 'How to Download' on the righthand side. It'll only be there this week I think, until the next podcast... He plays 'This Town' 36 minutes in, and then says that a man called Dave Allen recommended it after seeing one of my gigs. Mr Allen, if you are out there, thankyou very much indeed.
So anyway, that was nice. I also found out that he was playing 'Slipping' back in August, and I never knew, which was both mysterious and pleasing. In Other News, I'm back in the UK doing various bits of recording until January, when my edit moonlighting (moonlit editing?) takes me back off to LA. I'll be staying in a flat with a bigger kitchen than my old one, so more recording will get done and with any luck the album will be done before too long.
In the meantime, it's nearly Christmas and I'm feeling festive, so I offer you this top tip - a perfect stocking filler for your loved ones: Helen Lawson - Crossing the Bridge EP is available in the store and iTunes and CDbaby.
These people say it's quite good.
The other day I took a train to a studio in the countryside, and had been told I'd be picked up 'at the back end of the station'. I got to the station and couldn't work out which end was which. So I made my way to one end and said to the man on the turnstiles 'Excuse me, is this what you'd describe as the back end?' To which he replied, 'Of the universe, yes.' Made me laugh.
Anyway, if I don't see you between now and then, have a lovely time over the holidays and a figgy pudding on me.
ONE MORE GIG, THEN I'M OFF FOR A BIT
OCTOBER 21st, 2008
So it looks like I'm off to the States for a bit. I'm going to be in LA for video editing work for a while, and will get cracking on recording the album while I'm out there. I'm out there for November, back for most of December for festivities, and then out again next year, for an as yet undecided number of moons. I've got one last* gig booked before I go - tomorrow night, Wednesday, at the Cobden Club near Ladbroke Grove (address below), at 8.30pm. Come along to see me off! It will be splendid.
'THIS TOWN' ON KCRW
OCTOBER 9th, 2008
It's been a rather exciting week all told.
After the gig at the 12 Bar Club I decided to finish the kitchen demo of 'This Town'. I wasn't entirely sure I'd got it finished, but emailed it to Nic Harcourt at KCRW (massive radio station in California), on the offchance he'd like it, as I'm going out to LA later this year for some video editing work. He happened to be looking at his email, and eight minutes later, he was playing 'This Town' on air on the Morning Becomes Eclectic show! I nearly fell out of my chair.
A few people have asked me whether it might have set a new speed record from studio to air...
Anyway, he's since played it a couple of times which is ace. If you'd like to hear the track it's on the player at Myspace.
In gig-related news, I'm playing this Sunday afternoon at the Blackboys Inn in Sussex, so come along if you're in the area - the address is on the 'Gigs' page. It's part of the Second Sunday series of live music sessions, which are always splendid afternoons of excellent music, drinks, and eating. Feed your face and your ears for a fiver. That's quite snappy - maybe I'll let them use it in their adverts...
GIGS, A NEW GUITAR AND THE HUNGRY RABBIT
SEPTEMBER 29th, 2008
This week I will mostly be playing my new guitar. I got it on Saturday, and it is a stunner. Sadly it is not red like my other one, but it sounds about a billion times better, and after all, looks are not quite everything. It's a beauty anyway. I am dead pleased. Special thanks to Tim Eveleigh for giving me the push I needed to finally take the plunge (ie, the words "Your red guitar sounds really horrible")
Come and see the new guitar in action tomorrow night at the 12 Bar Club - it's nice and central (on Denmark Street, off Charing Cross Road) and I'll be on at 8.20 which is quite civilised.
If you can't make it, there's another couple of dates in the gigs section of this site, both of which will be splendid, and will feature the new guitar, which I may have mentioned.
In the meantime, here's my 'live montage' of the song This Town, which must now serve as a eulogy to the red guitar.
I've been told I do a face like a hungry rabbit when I play the guitar. See if you can spot it.
'SOMETHING IN THE WINE' ON BBC 6MUSIC
SEPTEMBER 9th, 2008
Just to let you know that Tom Robinson played 'Something in the Wine' on his BBC 6music show 'Introducing' on Sunday night (early Monday morning)... Like a divvie, I didn't post about it in time for you to listen live, but the show can be heard for the rest of this week at this link - go to the 'Listen Again' panel and click on Monday - it was about the 3rd song in, but listen to the whole show as it's ace!
Right, I've got a photo session tomorrow morning so I'm going to get some food and an early night! Rock on.
THE EP LAUNCH AT THE 12 BAR CLUB
JULY 22nd, 2008
The very talented Maddalena Branduardi accompanied me on cello on 3 songs - 'Something in the Wine', 'Crossing The Bridge' and 'The Future Is Coming'. And since we were filming the whole night, I was planning to put The Future Is Coming up here for its internet debut. Sadly, though, the camera-sound had cut out. Next time, Gadget, next time...
Christian of UK States did a splendid job of putting the night together - thankyou again Christian!
And ta to everyone who came - hope to see you again next time.
Thankyou very much also to Wears the Trousers Magazine for this lovely review.
THE EP HAS ARRIVED! & I AM THE GEWINNER! & I AM THE PLUMBER!
JUNE 27th, 2008
Crikey, it's been a bonkers one today! First off, my EPs arrived from the manufacturer! Hurray, ace and phew.
They sound lovely, look lovely, and I am dead chuffed, as evidenced in the below picture. Thankyou so much to everyone who's been involved and to everyone who's encouraged me to take the bull by the horns and finish it off (the CD, not the bull - I am not a matador.) I am looking forward to being able to say 'yes', when people at gigs ask me if there's a CD to buy.
In other news this week, I am the Gewinner! Yes, all your votes counted and helped me to become Gewinner of the Week in the German website vote. And if my score remains the highest by the end of the year I'll get that feature in the magazine, so fingers crossed. Thankyou to everyone who gave me 6 red dots!
And finally, I am the Plumber! Yes, it's not all glamour you know. As though deliberately timed to burst my EP / Gewinner-related bubble, the loo decided to break today, 5 minutes after the 'DIY-oriented person' of the household left on a plane for Canada. Seeing nothing else for it, I rolled up my sleeves and plunged in, and 20 minutes later the deluge was halted. I am a bit soggy, and I'm not sure that the screwdriver can really stay wedged in there forever, but I still feel quite accomplished.
Which surely warrants a reprise of Helen's Handy Hints: Never get stuck in with the screwdriver before you have stemmed the waterflow and can see what you're doing. You might stab yourself in the hand...
ANYBODY FANCY VOTING FOR ME AT STERN.DE?
JUNE 11th, 2008
Thanks to the strange and wonderful workings of the world wide web, I have found my way into a feature on independent musicians on the website for the German magazine 'Stern'. There are three featured artists weekly for the rest of this year, and at the end the musician who receives most votes in their featured week will get a big spread in the magazine. Which would obviously be ace.
If anyone fancies voting for me I'd be dead pleased. We've got until the 16th June!
Follow the below link, then click on 'Anhoren und Abstimmen' underneath my little profile, then you click on the right-most of the grey dots to the right of the video! Then if you press the back button, you can do it all again!
Thanks very much in advance for your clicks!
BEING A MERMAID, AND SINGING IN FRONT OF DINOSAURS. REALLY.
MAY 21st, 2008
Last week the film-maker Giada D asked me to be in her video for 'Spirit of Tolerance', a documentary about her performances at the Venice Biennale last year.
As I had contributed vocals to the film's soundtrack, 'Underwater Stars', she wanted me in the video...
'No problem', said I, and shortly found myself lying on a blue spangled cloth wearing a silver wig and pretending to be a mermaid...
Which, whilst unexpected, was no problem for someone with a well documented fondness for wigs.
A few days later there I was at the launch after the film was shown I performed in front of projections from the film...
I can attest it is hard to concentrate on singing with large yellow dinosaurs looming behind you:
APRIL 27th, 2008
The last few weeks have seen me mixing my EP with Eldad Guetta - it's really really nearly there, which is rather exciting. Soon it will be available for actual hearing. Crikey.
In the meantime, having been asked to take part in a feature on independent musicians for German magazine Stern, I've been busily trying to finish a video for Something in the Wine... Today this has involved heaving around lots of large heavy boxes and suitcases in order to build my set. My back hurts. My next video will be themed around feathers, ping pong balls, and newborn hamsters. Anything else weighing less than a few pounds will also be considered for inclusion. Alternatively I might in future enlist the help of a few burly strong people.
But this time, it was heavy things, and just the one pair of weedy arms... Of course, once I'd put it all together, I got to sit on the boxes and sing my song for About Eight Hours. From About 40 Different Angles. And then I realised the light had changed while I'd been at it, so I did all the early stuff again...
But now tis done, and I will be editing it this week...
WEEBLES WOBBLE BUT THEY DON'T FALL DOWN
FEBRUARY 10th, 2008
Gosh, it's been a while eh?
Gigs are going swimmingly. I'm told I have a habit of starting to sway from side to side the second I hit the chorus, which apparently gives me the effect of being either a) a weeble or b) a little bit 'special'. Well, I always loved a weeble. Not as much as a slinky, mind.
EP-making continues apace. In fact, I'm one song away from completion and have decided that I'll put a couple of songs here once they're all done, and then the whole thing will be on iTunes for Actual Purchasing. There'll also be some lovely CDs available to order. Woohoo. We'll get there soon-ish, hopefully only a few months behind my original target!
No, wait, my original target was about a hundred years ago. Ah well. I always admire people who just pop into a studio for an afternoon and whack out an EP. Speed-tastic, and very impressive. I'm from more of your 'muse-over-each-tiny-detail' school of record-making...
Anyhow, if anyone's interested in what I do with myself while trying to get my own music together, pop over to Yoav's myspace.
He's one of the artists I do videos for - his tour footage and the 'making ofs' on his page are some of the work I've done for him... Plus he's ace.
I've got all sorts of grand plans to make a bit of a video for 'Something in the Wine' soon, so I'll keep you posted on that...
Cheerio for now.
RECORDS, RABBITS AND WRIST INJURIES
AUGUST 13th, 2007
I'm just back from a week in the studio, working on a couple of tracks for my EP with Ian Davenport. I lived in the flat above the studio, working till daft o'clock in the morning and then staggering upstairs to pass out (making a nice change from the trek across London after gigs...)
We might have been able to finish up earlier had I not insisted on 'fun with percussion'. You'd be amazed the noises you can get out of a grandfather clock and a roll of gaffer tape. We worked on a slightly different version of Silver Purse, which I'm rather pleased with, especially as my new melodica got to make its first appearance.
The track is soft, strong, and very very long (might need an edit...) It otherwise bears no resemblance to Britains favourite loo-paper.
The other track we worked on was a new one - one you'll only know if you've seen me play live - 'Crossing the Bridge'. With any luck it'll be making its Myspace debut soon.
In one of my spare moments I went for a walk in the countryside, and made myself useful by rescuing a dopy rabbit from a speeding truck. Hurray. I don't think the rabbit will remember me though.
Anyway, on to the next thing, which is Wednesday's gig at the Hope and Anchor. In classic Helen style I have picked up an injury at the crucial moment, and will be playing the gig with a sprained left hand. I can't decide whether that's better or worse than a sprained right hand. Still, I reckon I can change a few chords and pull through like a good'un. That'll teach me to play basketball a few days before a gig...
If it wasn't one thing it was going to be another this weekend. Having sunk up to my knees in hungry mud while picking blackberries, I took it upon myself to risk life and limb to rescue a frisbee from high up in a tree. I'd just been telling friends about the oak tree up which I used to spend most of my time, so it would have been rude not to.
Anyhow, I live to fight another day.
Fingers (painfully) crossed for Wednesday.
THE ANTIATLAS ALBUM IS RELEASED, WITH SOME LOVELY REVIEWS!
AUGUST 1st, 2007
Well, as you might have seen on the main page, the AntiAtlas album 'Between Voices' was released yesterday on One Little Indian. It's been getting some great reviews, which is very nice indeed.
The Observer Music Mag said this: "'Between Voices' is superb: a lovely, meandering, wide-eyed work of wonder in which singers from every corner of the planet endow electronica with grandiosity."
The Sunday Times Culture said this: "Pop CD of the Week: A fuzzy, luscious, ambient haze - an album that will calm you down and lift your spirits."
And Entertainment Focus UK were kind enough to say this: "Broken Doll featuring Helen Lawson is the kind of track you'd get if you crossed Bjork with Mum. The track is beautifully haunting with Lawson's delicate vocals."
My song is the one called 'Broken Doll'. Is that the 3rd time I've said the name of the song? Gosh.
Bizarrely, the nice people at iTunes decided to use the instrumental interlude as the 30 second preview snippet, instead of the chorus. So if you'd rather try before you buy, you may do so at the AntiAtlas Myspace.
Hope you like it...
BEING BURGLED IS BAD.
JUNE 19th, 2007
Today I am still immensely peeved about having been burgled.
Truth be told, as burglaries go, it could have been worse. But they made mess and broke doors and took away nice things including my computer, and now I am unable to do any recording. Hence I am peeved.
I am also not a big fan of people rifling through my drawers, as it were. Huh. And booooo.
Doors have been replaced and fortifications made. But can anyone tell me how to build a moat? Or a portcullis, please? Ta.
A RELEASE DATE FOR THE ANTIATLAS ALBUM
JUNE 1st, 2007
I am now reliably informed that the AntiAtlas album Between Voices is out on the 30th July. Set your diary reminders now.
If you'd like a sneak preview - go and see My track is the one called 'Broken Doll'.
In other news, I'm just back from Montreal, which I can confirm is a very lovely place. They have their stairs on the outside of their houses, just for a giggle. And the mice there are very shiny and partial to chocolate.
Handy Hint of the day: If you are ever served a sizzling hot teriyaki dish, and the person serving it to you sees fit to hold it in front of your face, you must duck. Hot Teriyaki sauce spits, and having a thousand tiny burns on your face is not a good look. Also, be warned, such a person is also apt to tip icecold saki down your back later in the evening.
WIGS MAKE HOUSEWORK FUN
MAY 9th, 2007
Thankyou to my friend Liz for her magnificent Wig Party on Saturday. I have now embraced my inner ginger:
Also, whilst trying my wig on for size before the party, and hastily trying to get the washing up done, I made the following invaluable discovery: Wigs Make Housework Fun. Everyone should know - the world would be much cleaner for it.
Anyway, what else? Today I've been mostly trying to record a new song called 'Crossing The Bridge'. Sadly, what with the rain pelting and the wind whistling, I've not been able to record anything that didn't sound like a hundred angry aircraft were sharing the kitchen with me. Oh, for soundproofing...
'BROKEN DOLL' ON ANTIATLAS ALBUM, AND OTHER STORIES
APRIL 19th, 2007
Lordy, has it been so long? Verily I neglect my blogging.
The exciting news for today is that I have a track coming out on a soon-to-be-released album by producer duo AntiAtlas, on the One Little Indian label. The album is called 'Between Voices', and features different songwriters / vocalists on each track. The lovely Gemma Hayes also appears on the album, amongst others, and it's sounding beautiful. My track is called 'Broken Doll'.
I believe the album's out in August '07, but I'll post a definite release date as soon as I know it...
In other news, I'm working towards an EP release, getting some lovely strings involved, some cello and viola and other similarly mellow noises...
Handy hint of the day: Large glasses of wine in bars contain More Wine than small ones. Easily forgotten.
A NEW YEAR, A BONFIRE, AND FAREWELL TO A 'C'
JANUARY 8th, 2007
Happy New Year. May we Bond in 007. Ho ho. I feel thoroughly refreshed having spent new year's eve dancing with gay abandon around a large bonfire in a larger (fortunately) field. Shapes were thrown, marshmallows were toasted, and my cheeks are still slightly burnt, as evidenced here:
I have made the momentous decision to drop the 'C' in Helen C Lawson. It was originally adopted to differentiate myself from the villainess Helen Lawson in US camp classic novel and film, Valley of the Dolls. But there's probably worse namesakes. And the 'C' is all a bit '19th-Century novelist'...
May 2007 bring you warm toes, a full belly and any other of your pre-requisites for a happy time.
GIGGING, AND THE MANIFOLD HAZARDS OF SELF-DEFENCE
DECEMBER 7th, 2006
The moons just fly by, don't they. One minute we're edging towards the end of autumn, the next everyone's gone festive and we're dodging baubles and turkeys for dear life.
In the meantime Matthew and I have been braving the stages of London's cosiest venues, and rather enjoying it. We have won fans from all walks of life - from the old bloke in the corner with his own whisky supply, to his dog, and everyone in between. Thankyou to everyone who has seen us play and said nice things - that was very nice.
More gigs will follow in the new year (new year? another one? I only just got used to this one. Help!) I have been doing my best to avoid not only the reams of tinsel that assault me at every turn (at least until mid-December, at which point I will evict my inner Scrooge and party with appropriate glee), but also the Ever-Threatening Cold. At every sign of a sniffle I am devouring satsumas and slurping and squirting all manner of health-giving potions.
Which brings me neatly to the latest installment of Helen's Handy Hints: Never spray Vick's First Defence up your nose whilst hurrying to the train station. It will hit you squarely in the eye.
REHEARSALS, BOBBLE HATS AND SUNGLASSES
OCTOBER 7th, 2006
Today is one of those promising autumn days, my favourite kind of weather, when you can legitimately wear both sunglasses and a bobble hat without looking like a deluded minor celebrity. One of those days that makes you forget the harsh realities of winter - wet ankles and the like - and actually quite look forward to it.
Anyhow, the lovely Matthew Grist and I have been rehearsing a couple of 'numbers' with a view to venturing back out into the London live thing. Wish us luck...
I ALWAYS WONDERED HOW THEY WROTE THE FIRST DICTIONARY
AUGUST 19th, 2006
I remember wondering this as I ran down the garden holding a plastic shopping bag above my head, hoping to take off.
I never did succeed in taking off, but I eventually found out how they wrote the first Oxford English Dictionary. 'The Professor and the Madman' by Simon Winchester tells the story of that massive project. It's intriguing reading for anyone who likes words and wotnot.
I HAVE A LUCKY STONE, BUT I'M NOT SURE WHERE IT IS
AUGUST 16th, 2006
I picked it up in the back garden when I was about 14, it was smooth and round and pleasing to hold. It was immediately obvious to me that this was a lucky stone. It went with me to every scary event I ever went through - exams, interviews, gigs...
I just thought about it as I was looking at another stone, given to me recently by a friend. I think he nabbed it from an ornamental flowerbed.
I wonder where my lucky stone might be. I've a nasty feeling I have put it in a 'safe place'. Always calamitous.
BEWARE THE MOULDY CHERRY, FOR IT IS UNPLEASANT
AUGUST 16th, 2006
I have just been assaulted by a mouldy cherry. There it was, looking tasty in the bowl. But alas, when I chewed it, it was verily a bit gross. Certifiably a bad'un. I am disappointed.
In 'Other Fruit-related News': Never bend over to pick something up whilst eating an apple. Apple juice will come out of your nose.