Northern Thorns

Dance Rock | Seattle

Horoya Band – Had the Wrong Name the Whole Time

I think I mentioned before on this blog, a while ago I was sent a 45RPM record that I hadn’t ordered in a package with one that I had. The bonus LP had no sleeve and was filthy, but when I cleaned it up and put it on I was taken quickly with it. Gorgeous guitar-driven rumba with a touch of north African mystery in the notes. All played by a very tight band.

Conde Demba Chanteur Horoya Band

Conde Demba Chanteur Horoya Band

I researched it a bit looking for more by the same group. Not knowing the intricacies of French, I assumed that the full name of the project was Conde Demba Chanteur Horoya Band, or perhaps the operative searchable words were Conde Demba. I didn’t find much, they had another LP under the same name that I tracked down and it’s just as good.

Months later I stumbled across Horoya Band, and realized I had no idea what I was searching for. Conde Demba was a guest vocalist for two records, it seems. I’ve since found a lot of amazing music from them, from several iterations and with a diverse quality of sounds and styles.

The Horoya Band was from Guinea (I had thought Ivory Coast for some reason), and they were a national treasure, to the extent that the state eventually nationalized them (whatever that means) and they became Horoya Band National.

I even tracked down a CD of theirs called Paya-Paya, on the Dakar Sound label. I love finding reissues of this stuff whenever possible, both because I like the opportunity to actually give the artists part of my purchase money and because it means that people are still listening to music that I like. Sometimes I feel like a lonely archeologist in Seattle with no peers who I can share this stuff with. Or at least no one who will care like I do.

Horoya Band Paya-Paya

Horoya Band Paya-Paya

Shout out to the worldservice blog, where I made this discovery.

Barboza 8/6

Poster for the new show:

Northern Thorns, Stella Crest, Brandon Krebs at Barboza August 6th 2017 8pm $8, 21+

Northern Thorns at Barboza Poster

Northern Thorns Stella Crest Brandon Krebs at Barboza August 6 Show Poster

New Show on the Calendar, Recording Updates Etc.

August 6th at Barboza, with Brandon Krebs and Stella Crest. It should be a great night playing with good friends and other supportive friends in the crowd.

Northern Thorns at Barboza

In other news, work continues on the full-length, with Bob Cheek at ExEx. It’s a fun way to make a record, passing the files back and forth in WAV format between ProTools and Logic. Lalo Bello came in and laid down some congas for a rumba-ish song that may end up as the final track. Now I get to edit them and give them back to Bob. Fun!

And we’re re-amping guitars. It’s great hearing them come alive and picking out pedals. A selection of what we’ve been using:

More on that soon! We hope to finish the re-amping this afternoon in fact.

Full Length In the Works!

Long time no bloggin’. It’s been a busy time, and no shows really either except one in mid-April. That’s because I’m making a record!

For the past couple months I’ve been doing pre-production for a full-length Northern Thorns release; finishing some new songs, re-tracking vocals and guitars and replacing some of the MIDI percussion and bass sounds with real instruments. I’ve been working with my existing Logic Pro X demo files, and the idea is basically to just upgrade them until they sound pro, instrument by instrument. It’s been a lot of fun, and it was also kind of stressful trying to get as much done as possible (structurally at least) before doing the drum tracking.

I finally did the drums at ExEx with my good friend Bob Cheek last weekend, and I’m really thrilled with how they came out. ExEx is a great overdubbing studio but they don’t have any kind of live room with a high ceiling, just a treated room that used to be an old bank vault a century ago. But it was perfect. I wanted an old school kind of 70’s drum sound anyway and it fit the bill. I mixed and matched a bunch of drums I own to get the sounds I was envisioning, and we did 11 songs over a 4-day period.

11 songs tracked

11 songs tracked

Usually I’m in the studio recording someone else’s record, and if I have a little flub or a weird drum fill, or if I just play something that’s not composed to my satisfaction, we move on anyway half the time because it’s expensive to be in the studio. Not this time. I’ve never dug so deeply into drum performances and I think the end result will be great because of this.

Bob and I went back and fixed every fill and groove until they were just what I was hearing in my head for the song. Because that was what I did with the MIDI drums originally after all, composing drum fills at my leisure. And my mental conception of this music is very precise at this point, especially since most of these songs have kicked around in my head for months or years.

Ian came in on Sunday and laid down some trumpet for a rumba song I’ve been putting the finishing touches on. Jared had played a guitar solo on said song a few weeks prior, which I had fun editing together from 20+ takes.

Ian playing trumpet on a new song

Ian playing trumpet on a new song

Next, I fix all the punch points in the bass and guitar tracks (finally learned how to crossfade effectively), and we re-amp those. We did just a single song to make sure it would work well.

 

Re-amping through the resident Orange bass amp

Re-amping through the resident Orange bass amp

Bonfire Video Up Now

Jared Borkowski, playing his first show with NT, was prescient and organized enough to throw his cell phone out in the crowd and record the latest Vermillion show on January 22. Thanks Jared! And Thanks also to Amy Billharz for the projections at this show.

I finally got around to chopping up his footage into individual songs and posting it to YouTube. Here’s Weight:

More to come shortly, I’ll probably post the whole 8-song set on my channel.

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