It’s been a week or weeks or more (depending when I finish writing this) since I returned from a tour of Scandinavia with So We Are & Supersmall (solo). I’d always wanted to visit this region and it was amazing to do so as a musician (which means I can drink while I work). If you didn’t know already, So We Are (Dr.Joseph LeDoux and myself) are an acoustic duo that plays stripped down versions of songs by The Amygdaloids. It’s music of a genre called HeavyMental, as the only band in this category it really raises the chances of us getting a Grammy at some point. If you read that last sentence and didn’t see the humor, you should probably not read any further.
One of the great perks of this trip was that I got to fly around in first class. That experience alone is worth a long, obnoxious, detail-soaked blog entry about how the food is amazing, drinks are free and you get your own footwear/gifts and almost feel like a human being while flying and blah blah blah…honestly, it ruined me. I can never fly coach again, I mean I have to, but it will now be an experience worse than death. On the flight to Iceland I met Ryan, a nice guy who started a little known blog back in the day called Pitchfork . David Fricke sat behind me. A very strange flight indeed. Yes I blabbed about the bands I play in.
I arrived in Uppsala, Sweden on Wednesday afternoon. The flight had been delayed so I missed some early day formal introductions but was able to grab dinner at Domtrappkällaren that night. Afterwards as Joe and the rest retired to the hotel I walked around the town in the light rain and found Williams Pub, we would be playing a show there two nights later so I grabbed a few beers by myself to feel it out. They had a great Dutch IPA, the name I forget but I found myself going back to their Brooklyn IPA. Weird, Norway had this on tap also.
Thursday Morning I made my way to The Gronwall Hall (Grönwallsalen) where the plenary talk and musical performance was to take place. It was close to the hotel so I got to sleep in a little. I was having trouble with the jet lag, i’m not a good sleeper on a good day/night. Thankfully my doctor gave me some sleeping pills before I left which came in handy. I’ve excepted that insomnia is going to follow me around for the rest of my life and that medication will have to also. Damn they feel good. Two beers and a pill, heaven. The show went really well, although when I later seen the photographs & video they took I went back on the diet again and made more time for exercise. Oof! Later that night I hit Williams Pub (that diet lasted long) and made a spectacle of myself by bursting into tears laughing while reading Everyday Was overcast by Paul Kwiatkowski. I left early for the hotel but if you get a chance, you should read it.
Friday I arrived early at Williams Pub and met Thomas who would be our sound guy. After setting up the PA and doing a quick soundcheck we got talking music. Thomas was an electronic musician and producer, he was also a big fan of all the electronic bands I listened to 99% of the time. Cut a long story short, I sent him all of Supersmall’s library from both our producers for him to draw on for remixes. I’m excited to hear what he comes up with, I’ve really enjoyed his work he has sent me in the meantime. This is typical of the touring experience, meeting like-minded folk ands getting out of your well-trodden bubble in the city that you live in.
The show went really well and Joe and I retired to the hotel afterwards for an early night. That was the plan I suppose, I ended up hitting the hotel bar which is a strange experience as the bartender is also the receptionist. It’s also so insanely expensive to drink in Sweden (and Norway) that people show genuine concern when you insist upon even the smallest amounts.
Saturday we flew to Oslo (nice airport) and then on to Stavanger, Norway where we had shows at the Scandic Forum and a downtown Café. The Scandic Hotel where we stayed had an incredible view of Mosvatnet Lake which I walked around in my pathetic attempt at exercise. I try, I really do. It rained pretty much on and off the whole time I was there which got no complaints from me as I’m a weirdo that likes, no wait, loves rain. There were some clear skies though. The town itself was great and I found a great coffee/beer/book shop called Books & Beer which I stopped into on more than one occasion.
I quit writing this blog post here weeks ago and failed to finish it several times since because there was a lot of cool and fun stuff that happened but required me to go through my calendar and I just didn’t/don’t have the time to write anymore here. I’m also lay. Just ask me about it if you see me. All I can say is that I loved Norway. The shows went great and since I got back to NYC I’ve been very busy and am closing in on finishing writing the third Supersmall record.
So here is a summary:
Sunday to Tuesday: Tourist Stuff. Lots of writing in my hotel room and wandering around town and chatting to strangers. Also, took photos. Fish for breakfast everyday – winning!
Wednesday: A very early show in front of a 1000+ crowd & then a very late intimate show at Sting Cafe which was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever had as So We Are. Joe sounded great.
Thursday: I flew home first class which was wasted on me as I had come down with the flue. I was miserable. I relined my seat until it was a bed, turned on the massage function, but all I wished was to feel better again and be home in a real bed. When I arrived late at JFK my guitar arrived in two pieces and I’m still trying to get compensated by the airline. I refuse to let this dampen an otherwise wonderful musical adventure.
(1977) Directed by: Woody Allen
Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Christopher Walken, Carol Kane
Comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) examines the rise and fall of his relationship with struggling nightclub singer Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). Speaking directly to the audience in front of a bare background, Singer reflects briefly on his childhood and his early adult years before settling in to tell the story of how he and Annie met, fell in love, and struggled with the obstacles of modern romance, mixing surreal fantasy sequences with small moments of emotional drama. Special music performance by Supersmall before the movie.
Well this was fun — we even dressed up as Annie Hall. It made sense for this show but when I drove over to Brooklyn for a show right after with Ruby Rae at C’Mon Everybody, it didn’t make all that much sense anymore. Due to audience feed back though, Supersmall will be donning the waist coats for every other gig now. Judging by the photo above, if Wes Anderson had a band, it would be Supersmnall.
Photo by Ruby Rae — Colin, Daniela & Al.
I was recently asked (and honored) to sing two songs at You Don’t Know How It Feels: A benefit show for Hurricane Maria. The event raised well over Four Thousand Dollars for the Puerto Rico disaster relief. All funds were donated to the Hispanic Federation. On top of all that, it was an incredibly fun show.
I knew most of the musicians from the local music scene and Hifi Records, a record store that not only kindly sells and supports Supersmall’s music but promotes a bunch of local artists also. It was great to see the community come together and do something like this.
To donate directly to the Hispanic Federation visit their website, www.hispanicfederation.org
It was an incredible night due to event organizer Chris Pizzolo, Singlecut Brewery, Hifi Records & Cafe, Bareburger, The Bonnie Rocco’s Brick Oven, local musicians and everyone that drank, danced and sang along. I was very happy to be apart of it.
Here are some pics of the night. The professional looking B&W photos are by Patrick Merino of Objectsinmirrorarecloserthantheyappear.
P.S. Some nice promotional press HERE.
Supersmall is now working with a publishing company to get our music in TV & Film. Our song “Free From Harm” was recently submitted for the film Dina. Even though we were not successful, they really liked the song and I thought it went very well with the trailer. It was Daniela that insisted on the stops in the song. I disagreed and we had a bit of a back and forth over it. In the end she convinced me and that’s how we recorded it. It’s funny to see it being utilized in the scene where Scott nearly gets hit by the bike.
I am also working with them with my new solo project The Last Campfire . I’ll be writing electronic music for submission to TV & Film and also releasing singles when and where I please. It is at the very early stages so I can’t say anymore about it right now.
Enjoy the trailer for Dina below.
Fun show at Quinn’s, Beacon, NY last night. Yours truly on bass for Ruby Rae. The venue is worth checking out if you are in the area. The show ran late so I stayed in a nearby hotel which always makes me feel like I’m on vacation even though I’m working. I played without my lucky bandana wrapped around the headstock and the world didn’t end. I guess I’ll have to revisit some of my core beliefs and drop this silly superstition.