Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A Negative Narrative

Look-ee here for a photo interview I did for http://anegativenarrative.com/


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sunday Times

Thank you Sunday Times Culture. If you haven’t heard this “hottest download” get it from http://catherinead.bandcamp.com.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Better Than Love (HURTS cover)

<a href="http://catherinead.bandcamp.com/track/better-than-love-hurts-cover">Better Than Love (HURTS cover) by Catherine A.D.</a>

So You Want To Be A Writer

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was. 
Charles Bukowski

"...don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission"

Sunday, 30 May 2010

You wouldn't have come here....

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Friday, 28 May 2010

Lauren Laverne 6music, Hype Machine & derring-do

Nearly time for the release of the Skeleton Songs EP. Lots of people have been really supportive and the lovely Ms Lauren Laverne made 'Missiveh' the track of the day on Wednesday on her 6music shows. You can download the whole week's MPFree EP (including tracks by The Like & Twilight Sad) from http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/laurenlaverne/2010/05/mpfree-ep-28th-may-2010.shtml
Also, we made it to no.2 in the hype machine last week:

Thank you to anyone who tweeted, retweeted, blogged, reblogged or listened!

Last but not least, I took a break from tying ribbons to fluff my way through "word of the day" for Wordia.com on Monday as I got to do one of my favourite things - talk about words and pretend to be a schoolteacher... silence at the back please...

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Word of the day: derring-do

The first installment of my guest spot on Wordia.com

Friday, 21 May 2010

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town

Insomnia... 'A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things'

Dreaded insomnia strikes again. Anyone who romanticizes it and tells you that it's linked to being 'creative' is just lying. I have to be up in four hours for a  rehearsal but even on those nights that I'm not it's hard not to wake up the neighbours with your 3am sudden writing epiphanies and there is nothing creative about a brain dead feeling, eye twitch and zero attention span.

I never used to have problems with sleep but now it feels like the dread of being the lone soul awake as the birds start tweeping at 5am happens more and more often. It's a self fulfilling prophecy perhaps, as the more you worry about not sleeping, the more likely you are to stay awake. I get really bad hallucinations if I get too sleep deprived so there's an added fear factor for me too. I'm not a fan of the black dancing shadows and tides creeping out from under the radiators...

The first hour lying in the dark can be productive - don't get me wrong. It is a great space for unravelling lyrics and trying out metres and patterns in your head as you unleash an imaginary torrent of kick ass payback to all those people who needed a great comeback at the time but it wasn't quite there in the moment. In this hour they all get their verbal tirade and it's the best rehearsal you never did for the all the things you wish you'd ever said.

I wish I could sleep like a normal human being. Any tips or suggestions? These sleeping pills are eating a hole in my brain....

Sunday, 11 April 2010



 1. Missiveh
2. Over and Over
3. Populah-la
4. Carry Your Heart (organ version)
5. The Heart Wants To Be A Hammer

After a month of patient neighbours, turning my tights & a coat hanger into a makeshift pop-shield, and a little bit of pleading with my MacBook not to die just yet... you can now pre-order your copy of my next release, Skeleton Songs, exclusively from my Bandcamp store; a great new initiative that means the artist sees every penny - bar paypal fees - from the music that they sell: 

The  limited edition 5-track CD will arrive on your doorstep clad in a ribbon-wrapped limited edition package with original artwork by Corinne Noble. The first fifty orders will also include a limited skeleton-key keepsake for those quick off the mark...  

The limited CD costs a minimum donation of £6 and we ship worldwide. 

For those not of the physical world, there will also be a full digital release via my own OUTSIDERHOOD label on 7th June 2010 (iTunes, Amazon, eMusic etc.) All you lovely people on the mailing list will also be offered access to buy the digital download a week before its official release as a little thank you...watch this space! 

Catherine xox
"Shorn of hair, skin, muscles and internal organs, Skeletons Songs is a collection of musical sketches from Catherine AD. These recordings creep not from a plush studio via a boardroom but crawl into your ears from a bedroom with creaky floorboards and the gentle lull of passing traffic.

The idea was simple: go back to the source. Using the bare bones of the original demo recording of each song, nothing was re-recorded and every mistake, hesitation and human error was preserved. Some songs were layered up with virtual one-man-band choirs, while others remain in their raw form, sung quietly into corners so as not to wake up the neighbours..."

Sunday, 14 February 2010

You Don't Know What Love Is

A sneak peak of something that sums up my feelings about Valentine's day...

Inspired by 'Winter Spring' by Richard Wilbur:

This too-soon spring will pass
Perhaps tonight,
And doubtless it is dangerous to love
This somersault of seasons;
But I am weary of
The winter way of loving things for reasons.


<a href="http://catherinead.bandcamp.com/track/you-dont-know-what-love-is">You Don't Know What Love Is by Catherine A.D.</a>

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Instrumental Asylum

After watching the rather excellent Arena documentary on Friday about Brian Eno I got to thinking about instrumental music and the power of removing words from song. I guess it's a bit like the relationship between poetry and the novel - some might argue it forces you to distill down to the very best stuff you can conjure, others that it takes a different kind of skill. Not only great for writing university essays to (less distraction) and avoiding puking on pendalino trains (thanks to Eno for getting me through a 3 hour journey with Virgin trains) I think sometimes you need a bit of a palette cleanser when you listen to music as much as I do. A bit of a place for your mind and ears to go to as a kind of asylum from the constant onslaught... Although I always get more of an urge to dance to instrumental pieces because it tricks my brain into thinking i'm back in a ballet class or something....

I first really got into Brian Eno after coming up to London to hear Bang On A Can perform Music For Airports in the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. I don't normally have a high attention threshold for classical music but this was really incredible and we got to lie down in the middle section of the hall and look up at the amazing parachute ceiling (or whatever it is they have up there... ) The Eno piece I've chosen here -  2/1 - actually uses only "voices" (so I'm not sure it counts strictly as an instrumental! It intermingle four "ahhh" notes which repeat and loop back on themselves, interacting with one another.

I often use instrumentals as warm-ups as I don't like doing scales or playing other people's music so I've ended up composing little bits over the past few years that have grown into pieces of their own. Sometimes they develop so much that they get lyrics and melodies and grow up to be real life songs, others stay as Pinocchio wannabee little children and some them suggest segues between songs or get spoken words (like instrumental #21 that some of you have heard). I might post one up in a few days once my finger heals from picking up a hot metal spoon that I stupidly left in a saucepan full of soup...

So, here's my playlist of instrumental stuff I've been listening to recently (there's a bit of a cinematic theme going on here and I couldn't chose between the Cave/Ellis soundtracks so you get both).

Any suggestions of more things to listen to would be greatly received!

Just click on the red link below and it will open in your Spotify player:

1. Brian Eno – 2/1
2. Philip Glass – Opening - Instrumental
3. Ólafur Arnalds – 0040
4. Hauschka – Blue Bicycle
5. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – The Road
6. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Proposition #3
7. Yann Tiersen – Comptine D'un Autre Été, L'après-Midi
8. Alexandre Desplat – New Moon
9. Michael Nyman – The Heart Asks Pleasure First/The Promise
10. Nico Mühly – Mothertongue: Pt. 1
11. Jon Brion – Theme
12. Jon Brion – Punch Drunk Melody

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Wolves + my harmony playlist

<a href="http://catherinead.bandcamp.com/track/the-wolves-bon-iver-cover">The Wolves (Bon Iver Cover) by Catherine A.D.</a>

Being snow-bound sometimes has its upsides like actually getting some work done and eating lots of hot soup and having an excuse not to go for a run for fear of breaking bones ; )

So yesterday I took a bath in some reverb and knocked up a home-made version of one of my recent obsessions,  Bon Iver. I didn't really take the time to 'get' him (apart from 'Skinny Love') when everyone else was going gaga for the album but then I heard the 'Rosyln' track he did for the Twilight soundtrack with St Vincent and literally played it on repeat for a week (which is kind of how I consume music - I once listened to the string section in Kate Bush's 'Houdini' about 100 times in one day...).
I think it's the harmonies that really get me. There's something that always gets the hairs standing up on my neck about voices weaving into each other. I must have spent a good deal too much of my last few year's at school huddled up in stairwells harmonising with my best friend and harassing any boy with a guitar so they'd let me sing with them. Car journeys in my family were me and my sister competing against each other hollering out Carpenters songs (a masterclass in harmony) and I once spent a week dissecting the harmonies for the Beach Boys' 'Good Vibrations' just to figure out how it all fitted together.

There's a simplicity to just layering voices against one instrument - you've got nowhere to hide and it's only the song itself that will stand or fall. It's also really good practice for the horrible aural exam part of grade exams where they ask you to sing intervals and sight read which, even though I 'apparently' have perfect pitch, I always used to dread because I didn't play the piano at the time and had to learn it all by ear rather than theory.

Well enough geekery. Here's a selection of great harmony songs that I randomly remembered liking... you can hear them all on Spotify by clicking on the playlist title.

1. Alison Krauss – Down To The River To Pray - Soundtrack Version (O Brother Where Art Thou?)
2. Carpenters – We've Only Just Begun
3. The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
4. Gram Parsons – In My Hour Of Darkness
5. Panda Bear – Bro's
6. St. Vincent – The Strangers
7. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping
8. Ryan Adams – When The Stars Go Blue
9. Bon Iver & St. Vincent – Rosyln
10. The Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love
11.Imogen Heap – Hide And Seek
12.10cc – I'm Not In Love
13. Grizzly Bear – On a Neck, On a Spit