Depression - Gaaaaaah!
Alex here, hope you're well :)
This is not a TMD update, but it is something that I feel is pertinent to all of you.
I questioned whether to write and share this, mostly for reasons of self-preservation; preservation of ego that is! I have friends, even best friends who I have never spoken to about depression; mainly because our friendships are predicated on joy but also because there is an element of shame in admitting to my depression to male friends with whom I have always shared the importance of a tough guy value system! But seeing as these lows are just as potent as any joy I have experienced with those friends and are still largely a tacit problem among most sufferers, I figured that there are more benefits than disadvantages to sharing my experiences. Plus, I'm still, in my mind, a pretty tough guy!
Most of my friends would be greatly surprised to hear me talking of depression. I'm the crazy, overly gregarious dude who cracks inappropriate jokes and loves to be the centre of attention... that, though, is when I can leave the flat, when I have the energy to get dressed, when I feel that life is worth living.
Depression is debilitating; it is not something you can just snap out of - I have suffered for five years, including periods of months in which I have been suicidal 50% of the time (sounds harsh - and it is - but probably more common than we think). So no one can say with any conviction that I am not justified in writing this - not for myself but for the showing of empathy to others. It is a crushing weight, a black, toxic cloud that suffocates, your head is filled with rocks, your body feels five times as heavy as usual, you feel like you have lead in your veins and these are entirely separate issues to the self-loathing, worthlessness and thoughts on the pointlessness of existence. It's an all-encompassing bastard!
However, I don't see my depression as part of me, I see it as an evil entity that I am doing battle with - it's an external force. That is the first thought I've had that makes me comfortable to post this, it's a thought that allows me to say to those who know me 'I'm still the same dude that made you dig me, I'm not an attention seeking sad arse; I just have this c*** that I'm doing battle with!'.
As an analogy, if I was to equate depression to a physical fight, I'd say that sadness is the equivalent of being hit hard resulting in a broken nose, jaw or rib - things you can fight on with. Profound depression is like having had the shit beaten out of you, resulting in both arms, legs and every rib being broken. Those lowest points are periods when there is no fighting, all there is, is the comfort blanket of numbness and the need to close the curtains, lay in bed and hopefully sleep all day. For me, these episodes can last anywhere from two days to a week; after which I can feel myself crawling out of them - from 0% to 10% to 20% and so on.
I've had a crazy, aggressively dark and anomalous ten years - which culminated in circumstances in which I had no choice but to break up the band soon after we released 'New Waves of Hope', an album that had we toured on could have brought us great success. I'm not sure how much of my depression and anxiety is attributable to that and how much is a result of a chemical imbalance. I used to think that depression was not in my DNA, that I was the guy who could walk through fire; but I feel that my psyche has been eroded in this period of tribulation. That's not to say that there needs to be a catalyst for depression - and that is the fundamental differentiator with sadness which is usually the result of a life event - besides the magnitude of feelings, that is.
Coming round to something relevant to TMD: At points my depression has precluded any productivity, development and life progress and for this reason, I'd say that we've released maybe 20% of the music I would have liked over the last five years. That is notwithstanding the fact that my work life (yes, bands at our level have to undertake gainful employment!) has been deeply affected; meaning that the money hasn't been there to pay for producing new music.
Every night I have promised myself that tomorrow will be the day I get my shit together and do my potential justice; but when you're in a black hole for three days a week, this is pretty hard. And this is where things become self-serving - weekly or even daily 'failures' (inverted commas to denote that I've been told this is not the right word!') only exacerbate and perpetuate the feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness and a crippling cycle is formed.
I have learnt that the best thing to do is not take any shame in writing a day, or week off and kill it in the knowledge that I will come out of this and feel like myself again. The next step - which I've yet to take! - is to take advantage of those strong moments, to be productive when I feel good and not just go up the pub, local dive bar or house party and try to get as much attention as possible.
Writing this, I'm not looking for sympathy (yuck!) I'm only looking to let you all know - especially those of you suffering from depression - that even this crazy nutbag (not my words) has another side - or a beast to battle - and that finally I've made peace with the notion that there is no shame in sharing that. I think this is a strong step and already feel somewhat liberated, just from typing this. If that can inspire one of you to do the same, mission accomplished.
Love you squillions,
Goings on! 05/04/17
Hey! Alex here, I hope you're all well :)
I've been quiet again; mainly because things have been going on behind the scenes and I'm not keen to report on stuff until it is finalised.
We have a new single! While I had a significant well of songs to choose from, I decided to write something new; both to challenge myself and because I wanted something that was kick arse heavy and catchy with a bit of grandiosity and hot AF guitar textures! The result was 'Get Darker' (linked) - the first three and a half minutes of which are suitable for radio and the second three and a half minutes are what can be expected of TMD, sprawling and in some people's words 'indulgent'... which I don't see as a pejorative!
Get Darker, along with its b-side 'Trick parade' can be bought here: for 75p (or more). Also at Bandcamp, our critically acclaimed debut album is at pay what you want and all pre-NWOH EP's and singles are free. We are feeling super generous; You can get 40 songs for 75p! We'd rather you paid a little more, but the offer is there!
The Microdance is a band! Welcome (back) Paul Grant - guitar, Lzi Hayes - bass and vocals and John Ganner - drums. This is a super duper killer line up; both John and paul can be heard on 'Get Darker'. Lzi will be a bonafide member from June. For this reason, I played bass on the recording and Cheryl Pinero sang backing vocals - which turned out beautifully.
'Get Darker' was engineered and co-produced by Blair Jollands . Drums were tracked and engineered by Nikolaj Bjerre.
We're hoping to be gig-ready in July.
Long Overdue Update: The Split/The Future/Crowdfunding.
Hey, I hope you're all well - I say 'I' because The Microdance is no longer a band; we'll get to that later! It's been a somewhat eventful 13 months or so; unfortunately not much of that eventfulness has revolved around band activity or music - with the only two things of note being the filming of an eight song, semi-acoustic set and the release of 'The Ride Today'; both of which I have added to the media section.
y don't know exactly how I'm going to do it: currentlThe following is not a moan, it is an accurate account of the last 13 months - which I feel necessary, if only to let y'all know that our inertia has not been through lack of desire or effort; and I will preface it by saying that all is now good. With tribulation comes learning and I feel ready to unfurl an exciting future for TMD - even if I
We released 'New Waves of Hope' on October the 21st, 2015. The album went on to receive critical acclaim way beyond what we could have imagined or hoped for (see press page). So things were looking good: a much loved album, a great sounding live band and plenty of interest in us as touring partners from bands who we admire.
The thing is, one week after the album's launch at The Macbeth in Hoxton, I was arrested for a crime that I was not guilty of. The CPS imposed bail conditions stipulating that I stay at my place every night, they also confiscated my passport. This precluded touring on the album; but not only that, it pretty much meant the end of TMD as a live band - given that we couldn't play London every week and we couldn't run the risk of being stranded in another city - until the court case was done with. So, there we were with our debut album receiving widespread positivity but with our ability to get ourselves in front of people greatly diminished. To rub salt into the wound, all of this coincided with a large personal upheaval for me... so all in all, I was feeling a little worn down!
This is where I have to give huge kudos to Gavin and Cheryl who both stuck around during a frustrating period in which productivity had ground to a halt... and there was a very good chance that I would go to prison for up to four years! With no guaranteed future and not much of a present, they both continued to give their all to the cause and this is testament to their excellent characters. Cheryl was getting busy with other projects though - including touring with The Go Team and starting her own band, the Ravens - and in May she amicably left the band. After seven months, my court case was concluded in June and I was a free man and felt galvanised and ready for RAWK action!
single 'The Ride Today'. This was a frustratingly slow recording process - due to someone (not a band member) for who the word 'flake' would be flattery - slowing the process so much that it took three months to finish the song (we recorded all 70 minutes of 'NWoH' in two weeks!)! All instruments were recorded in follow up Hayes, who in her short tenure with us gave us hope that we had a killer replacement. Meanwhile, we had started to record NWOH's LziCheryl was quickly replaced by a different locations; including me recording three guitar solos - heard concurrently - on an acoustic guitar with distortion on the mic at home and the live drums being tracked on a single condenser mic! Lzi's wonderful vox were her only recorded contribution to TMD. 'The Ride Today' went on to receive similar acclaim to NWoH and things were looking up!
In August, we launched 'The Ride Today' in Dalston, East London. This was without doubt the worst gig I have ever played (and there have been some BAD ones!); in fact, it was an abortion. The sound was unmanageable, I acted like an idiot on stage, we played neither 'The Ride Today' or 'NWoH's 'Come Back to Me My Lover in the Sky' (the second song of the double a-side) and Ric (that month's drummer!) left the band on the night. To be fair to him, there were other reasons for his departure; this debacle just lubricated things!
So, that was that, Gav and I'd had enough - after a year in which we had five drummers, couldn't tour on our debut album, were nowhere near to making our money back from the recording of 'NWoH' and were all getting older (this is obvious, sorry!), we just couldn't justify the emotional, physical and financial expenditure any more. Initially, it felt like a relief, like a huge weight of my shoulders; although I greatly miss certain aspects of being in a band: the camaraderie, that zen moment when everything comes together and the song becomes a magical spell, and of course the buzz inducing crowd reaction after a barnburner of a gig!
So, as it stands, I am The Microdance. I have more music than I know what to do with and I'm very excited about a musical path through which I can continue to expand my horizons as both a songwriter and musician. From the nearly 200 songs I have to choose from, I have decided that the next release will be a five track semi-acoustic (mellow but with atmospheric flourishes and hopefully quite beautiful) EP called 'Urgency in Dead Air'.
I am crowdfunding for this release here:
As it stands, after such a tumultuous year, this is currently the only viable avenue to record new music for me. For those of you not familiar with crowdfunding, it is not charity. In fact it is quite the opposite - donations start from £3.50 for the EP and any donation for a perk beyond that will get you a copy of the EP too (so, a kinda 2-4-1 deal!); for instance, you can get 'NWoH' and 'Urgency in Dead Air for £5'!
Love ya xxx
FEB 26, 2016 ACOUSTIC SESSION
We're excited to announce that in the coming weeks we will be filming - in high definition - an acoustic performance, of some songs that (we hope) you already know, plus a couple of newbies. The idea is to show a different sonic side to The Microdance, by finding a new energy in songs that were nailed, in permanence, to a particular aesthetic in the studio. Many of our songs were composed on an acoustic guitar and we'd like to explore that territory a little more - and in doing so, imagine that they remained in their formative state and were never given over to the rock gods to imbue with distorted violence!
We don't have a date fixed yet for the filming of this performance, but we hope to have it live within a month.
We are seeing this as a bona fide release, as opposed to an incidental recording of a live performance, and so we will be offering the audio of the recordings (for free) independent of the video.
In other news, our next blog entry will be a Q&A in which we'll be answering questions about the making of 'New Waves of Hope'. So, have a think about what you'd like to see while peeping through the keyhole into our world - anything goes!
Use the contact form on this site to submit your questions. The deadline for submissions is the seventh of March.
Ciao for now,
We love ya!
Tour dates coming soon!
OCT 21, 2015 NEW WAVES OF HOPE
We are delighted to have released our debut album 'New Waves of Hope' to widespread critical acclaim. NWOH is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon and on CD.
For those who prefer streaming, head over to Spotify.
The album was recorded over two weeks in LA with producer Frankie Siragusa and features guests Nicole Fiorentino (Smashing Pumpkins, The Cold & Lovely, Veruca Salt) on vocals and Eric Gardner (Iggy Pop, Morrissey, Tegan & Sara, Tom Morello, Cypress Hill) on drums.
New Waves Of Hope is a sonic powerhouse of psychedelic tones, drenched in an uplifting pop-rock daze. Over its 14 tracks The Microdance deliver an album of dreamscapes and mood-beams opening with the firing anthem ‘We Meet In Dreams’; the perfect marriage of classy pop and new wave edge.
‘Come Back To Me My Lover In The Sky’ is fizzing with dynamic melody and 80’s pop undertones paving the way to the ballad ‘The City Was Cruel To Our Love’ which mixes elegiac passion with harrowing guitars and ethereal vocals. ‘Smithereens’ finds The Microdance exploring their metallic influences, turning it up with pounding drums and epic choruses, before the delicate and beautiful ‘This Malaise Is Over’ brings the album to a close with its dreamy echoing trance.
The Microdance are the brainchild of Alex Keevill who says, "New Waves Of Hope is an old fashioned kind of album, in that it's a varied opus designed to be listened to in full. We focused on picking a cohesive collection of songs; meaning that while the album is still rich and expansive, there is a strong aesthetic and emotional thread that binds it as a body of work. We had the pleasure of working with some fantastic people who all brought the album to another level with their unique assets.”
Elevating choruses and anthemic guitars are blended seamlessly together, showcasing the fact that British music is ever-evolving into new and exciting forms. And whilst blurring the lines of genre and preconception, The Microdance meticulously and effortlessly meld Shoegaze, New Wave, Goth Pop and Heavy Metal into an atmospheric explosion.