Farrah

Blog

Progress is slow

It’s no wonder we take so long to make records. We’re *very* picky about songs and none of us can agree on which ones to use. And we waste way too much time messing about with mobile phones…

acx

Big Bottom

Hi all, greetings from the studio on a sultry Monday night. Michelle has come in to track some bass on the songs we did drums for. Unfortunately for me, Michelle is Australian and used to sweltering heat so has banned the use of the Aircon while she’s laying down her parts. It’s about a hundred degrees in here but she’s barely breaking into a sweat- even on the really funky bits.

Video to follow…

All the best

Jez

studio news

Hello all of you out there. Here’s the latest news from the studio. Me and Andy have been here all day tracking guitars for the first songs from the new record. It’s funny to be recording our fourth album. I didn’t have any idea when we recorded the first one that we’d be lucky enough to carry on making music for so long! Me and Andrew are producing the record again which is a role we’re getting more and more used to. So who knows how long we’ll be holed up in Jimmy K’s amazing Diversion Studios? The last record took a long time to make but me and Andy were learning how to use the equipment as we went along. Our ethos for this album is to try and keep things as fresh as possible. Dana nailed his drums first take last night so pressure is on for all of us to do the same!

So, it’s a beautiful evening outside and we’re taking a break. Hope you’re having a good weekend. If you like the video blog let us know by leaving us a message

all the best

jez

Studio Video Diary

ooooh we’ve got all techy and decided to try our hand a “vlogging”.

more soon!

x

Glasto highlights

Hi all! I just thought I’d mention that Glastonbury was a blast this year. I haven’t been for a few years (and avoided trenchfoot in the process)but the sun shone as did some of the bands.

The highlight had to be Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze fame) And The Fluffers. with a back catalogue to make most songwriters blush, Tilbrook and co charged through an incredible set of old and new tunes. The band was brilliant but the star of the show was Glen’s voice. Inspirational.

The other highlight was Leonard Cohen on Sunday night. To hear 80000 people singing hallelulja was really moving (perhaps the many pints of somerset cider aided the experience)

I had such a good time I’m definitely going back next year.

all the best

Jezx

Boston Legal

Beat Scratch Magazine

I’ve only just discovered Boston Legal. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a US TV series about an ‘unconventional’ law firm, and it stars James Spader, William Shatner and Candice Bergen, along with midgets, cross dressers and a lawyer with Aspergers. My mum says she doesn’t like it because it’s full of washed up old has beens, but it’s actually a genius show. Andy loves it because Captain Kirk is in it, and I love it because of James Spader – who knew that all these years after he was creepy-hot in Pretty In Pink that he would again become creepy-hot in a completely inappropriate way to an entirely new generation of fans. If you haven’t watched it, do so.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is because I have all four series to watch, and I can’t because we’ve been so busy doing band stuff. I’m not complaining, as making an album is one of the best and most fun things you can do. I just hope I don’t have to wait until season five before I get to watch the 60-odd episodes waiting for my attention – and that the pay off is you get a new Farrah album (or at least a new track!) before the cold weather sets in. Oh, it already has…

Right, I’m off back to the studio.

Michelle xx

PS – As we’re talking telly, being an Australian, I urge you all to watch Summer Heights High. It’s my school experience to a T…

Japan Tour Managers Blog – Part 5

Live

Dana

We were sorry to leave Okayama and the guys from Comatose helped with getting our gear to the station. What a marvellous bunch they are. Little did we know we would be seeing them later…

After a very short train ride to Shin-Kobe station we were met by the promoter and taken to his amazing club, Zink, which was about a 30 minute van ride away. This place has to be seen to be believed – it’s near the docks and is a converted warehouse with a skate ramp, basketball hoops, pool tables, and various nooks and crannies for the band and punters to relax in. It’s certainly one of the most spectacular places we’ve ever played. This being Show 4 ( in a row ), everyone was feeling the strain ( hardly any bands do 4 shows in a row if it can be avoided ) but once again the soundcheck was seamless and helped by the usual highly efficient engineers.

We then piled back into the van along with the promoter’s lovely assistant Totti ( so named because she wears a Totti football shirt when she plays ) who was there to help translate, and headed back into Kobe to HMV for the instore. This one was potentially a bit dodgy as the store’s PA was somewhat basic – but like the 7th Cavalry a couple of the guys from Comatose turned up and generally mucked in and got the PA sorted out, and also brought a snare drum for Dana to play. An appreciative crowd turned up and sang along, followed by the usual signing session. People had brought some amazing ancient Farrah artefacts, which is quite common in Japan – for example, unopened copies of the vinyl of “Terry” – for the band to sign. We then met up with Nobu who was enjoying cruising round in the promoter’s very cool van and got dropped at the hotel.

Kobe being the famed “Beef Capital Of The World”, clearly my focus was on consuming as much cow-based food as possible, until I saw that a steak cost £60! I went for a £2.50 plateful of curry with Andrew instead ( Later that evening, for some reason, Nobu insisted on pointing out 4 or 5 excellent Kobe beef restaurants, all of which were shut ). We were back at Zink by 8-ish to see the end of the set by Riddim Saunter, who were very good, and then Farrah blitzed through another high-energy show assisted by 2 wonderful girls at the front who danced constantly to such an extent that Jez tried to get them up on stage for the encores. Shyness set in at that point, however, and the ladies declined. Considering that we have never played in Kobe before, we were pleased that people showed up, not least because the club is way out of town.

After the show, an impromptu table tennis competition was held, involving me getting rinsed by Dana, along with the bass player from Comatose, but then Michelle and Jez revealing themselves to be secret ping pong Illuminati. A long, long trudge through the streets of Kobe ( you never know how far the walk will be, Dana has sensibly taken to bailing out of it’s more than 3 minutes from the hotel ) ended at another great restaurant where – as usual – all the bands celebrated the show together. After this, I gave up and cabbed it back to the hotel as tour fatigue had truly set in and I was hallucinating ( possibly about giant sizzling cows ).

The next morning we headed off – minus Jez, who was staying for a holiday for a week or so – back to Tokyo and, from the train, got a fantastic view of Mt. Fuji. It really is an awesome sight, especially when the snow-covered upper half is a fairly similar colour to a slightly overcast sky – at first you seem to be looking at a brown flat-topped mountain and then suddenly you see the snowy peak going far higher than you imagine it to be. You then think – “that’s a volcano”.

Dana and I headed off to the airport next morning laden down with luggage including the bass case, which I loathe and detest more than any inanimate object in the Universe, due mainly to its weight, general unwieldliness ( is that a word? ) and its ability to slide off any known luggage trolley, crashing to the ground with tremendous force and terrifying small Japanese children, and the fact that it does not belong to me but to certain other people who were blithely heading off on holiday to Australia without being encumbered by anything so pesky as their own instrument. I entrusted it to Virgin Atlantic, praying silently that they would lose it or at the very least set it on fire. I sat glumly on the plane after hearing that London was 8 degrees and rainy, and for the whole 11 hours had a “sniffing bloke” next to me. I should explain. Japanese people don’t really blow their noses in public. Apparently it is less undignified to sniff every 23 seconds for 11 hours. Which is about 2000 sniffs. Not that I became obsessed with it or anything.

On returning to London, it was 8 degrees, rainy, my cab was an hour late, cost too much, and everyone I met was a complete and utter bastard. The End.

Japan Tour Managers Blog – Part 4

Soundcheck in Kobe

Instore

Racked Out!

After piling on to the Shinkansen at Osaka we were at Okayama incredibly quickly – but by this time we had got the train exit strategy down pat. I am sure one of these days we will turn round and realise we have left some vital equipment on a bullet train that is heading out of the station but touch wood it hasn’t yet. In fact, like an idiot, I left my Blackberry on the train which terminated in Tokyo at the end of the tour. The train cleaners – legions of small women clad in pink who I have been rather rudely referring to as “Oompa Loompas” – luckily found it and it was returned to me minutes later with Nori’s help. No further Wonka-related jibes from me I think.

Anyway, the guys from support band Comatose met us off the train and helped with the gear, and we walked to the nearby Tower Records for an instore, which was great. Not many people seemed to have seen the video for “Can’t Kick The Habit” which is a bit frustrating as it was a major effort pulling it all together. After the instore, we split into 2 groups – Meat, and Veggie – and went off in search of lunch. As I am a fully developed carnivore, I took command of the Meat team as Yo and the Comatose boys seemed to have lost all track of time and we were in danger of missing soundcheck. We ended up ina 20th Floor Chinese buffet with great views across Okayama to the Asahi river and mountains beyond. It’s a big industrial city with around 2.5 million people there, and home to some great fans of the band.

Soundcheck passed off smoothly – Desperado is a great club with a big stage and good PA – and we then killed a couple of hours hunting down some espresso before getting back to the club to watch Comatose’s set. This band supported us in 2007 at Image in Okayama and were good but a little rough around the edges. They have a new bass player and they have really come a long way – they were absolutely great. I predict big things for them. Good songs, great vocals from Yo – in fact all the guys played brilliantly. Many beers were had afterwards.

For me, this was the “gig of the tour”. Farrah played brilliantly and the crowd were fantastic, bopping around and singing along. It was non-stop energy including a version of “Tongue Tied” so fast that it was almost speed metal – overall, it’s one of the best Farrah shows I’ve ever seen. There are reports that I was seen pogoing briefly, which may explain the small tsunami near Okinawa later that evening. Afterwards we headed off – together with all the bands who had played and the wonderful girls who had been selling merchandise on the night – to a restaurant very near the hotel where I had some amazing Buta No Kakuni – simmered pork, and fried chicken, before calling it a night. Thanks Okayama and particularly to the Comatose boys for a brilliant night – we will be back.

Japan Tour Managers Blog – Part 3

Friday April 25th signalled the start of our foray out of Tokyo. I for one was glad to leave the mayhem behind and, after schlepping across town via taxis and on a local train to the main Tokyo station, we settled down in the comfortable seats of the Shinkansen for the 3 hour trip to Osaka. I never tire of going on the Shinkansen, once the mad scramble of getting all the gear and bags on board in about 2 minutes flat is over. There is loads of room, and trolleys coming by selling great food and drink. It’s an obsession in Japan to try as many new things as possible – I have long since got over the amusement of drinks called “Pocari Sweat” and have graduated to more exotic ones, my current favourite beinga mixture of Yuzu berries and lemon.

Once at Osaka, we piled into one of the few minibus-taxis still operating ( most Japanese cabbies are very accommodating in dealing with a band and their gear by the way ) and legged it to the club – Sunsui, where we played on the 2007 “Cut Out & Keep” tour. I went on an espresso run for various people ( a vital part of the manager’s day ) whilst the band set up, and the soundcheck was smoothness itself. Luckily the hotel was a few minutes walk up the street, and I noted they had something called the “Viking Breakfast” which I earmarked for investigation the following morning. A few hours kip was needed as the night before in Tokyo had been a 3 am job in the end, but I awoke refreshed and ready to walk down to the show with Jez. The club was already quite full and the support band 8 Otto – complete with singing drummer – were warming up the punters with some rock and roll which was clearly madness itself, involving a final jazz-rock jam with a lot of bellowing to finish the set.

I had a premonition that someone would break a string and faffed about a bit at the side of the stage working out what to do if one actually broke. Luckily the show passed off without incident and the crowd were great as usual – fantastic sound and lights once again. A couple of songs were dropped – the slower ones mainly – and we all felt the set was a lot tighter. Afterwards, the band hung out in the bar and once again met up with Michiko, and also our friend Yuka who is famed for having come to the very strange gig the band played at Stripes Bar in Brentford ( know as the “reality check gig” as it was the first one back from the first Japanese tour ) a few years ago. She now works at Tower Records in Osaka and as well as being very nice is also very useful. Michiko also gave me a present of some breath mints. I don’t know what that means. We wandered the streets and found a great restaurant that served pots of stew and Udon noodles, and some very welcome lager. The great thing about restaurants like this is that it is all very casual. You tell them how much you want to spend and they tell you when to stop ordering!

The next morning I emerged from the hotel’s breakfast room having had a cold boiled egg, some toast and margarine. In a classic “Japanese moment”, I had failed to spot that the much-advertised “Viking Breakfast” was served on a completely different floor. Ho hum. Cabs arrived, and it was off to the station for the short trip to one of our favourite towns, Okayama. I spent most of the cab journey in one of my favourite pastimes, which is “goading the midget vegetarian bass player”. How I enjoy a lively debate at the start of the day with someone unable to resist rising to the bait – and of course, any form of rising is to be encouraged in Michelle’s case.

Japanese tour

On Stage In Okayama

The Mighty Comatose head for Oblivion

Dana Onstage In Kobe

Onstage In Kobe

Glasses

HMV in Kobe

Beautiful Girls on The merch stall in Okayama

Terry in Farrah hat at Hub aftershow

Tower records in Okayama

Day one Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the cities we know best in Japan as we often fly in to Narita and have days off here. Japan’s capital is a technicolour assault on the senses- vendors with megaphones outside camera shops, the pungent smell of fried octopus balls, tranquil temples and tasty tempura, Harajuku’s sea of people and the quiet back streets of Daikanyama.

After a day to acclimatize, the first port of call was HMV in Shibuya for an instore acoustic show. We played; Fear Of Flying, Can’t Kick The Habit, Peter Waits, No Reason Why, I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend and Do You Ever Think Of Me. A lot of punters turned up and then stayed after to have stuff signed. We were under strict instructions not to take too long which was a shame as there were a few familiar faces there.

The Feeling had been on the same flight as us and had kindly invited us to their show that night but by the time the instore had finished, so had their show. Instead we went out to a great restaurant and then on to a bar with fantastic views for a nightcap or three.

Day 2 Tokyo

Oh dear, my voice is a bit croaky and I’m regretting the final few Asahi’s last night

The venue is called Shelter and it’s a cool venue with a great crew and sound system. We’re the only band so we have the luxury of a long soundcheck. It’s a long set- 23 songs, so I’m nervous to how my voice will hold out, luckily the gig is packed, great fun and the audience are fantastic. We’ve all decided to wear suits and skinny ties like the ‘Can’t Kick The Habit’ video. It’s a cool and (unfortunately) hot look!

It was great to see Michiko at the show who gave us all lovely presents.

The aftershow at Hub (a rather strange British style pub with DJs) was a blast. We saw lots of old friends and sang Happy Birthday to Nori (who works tirelessly for our label). Another late night. A few strepsils in the morning I guess….

More to follow……