January 2016 Blog – New Website
Hello, and welcome to the first of a new blog on a brand new harrisonwood.com website
Firstly, a massive belated happy new year, I hope everyone had a fabulous 2015 Christmas and new year and it is with great pleasure that after many years of meaning to, a million and one people telling me to update it and pure embarrassment I have FINALLY managed to get a new website done! I must say firstly many thanks to the guys at Split.co.uk who’ve done a fantastic job! Check their website out … Www.split.co.uk for more information.
A huge welcome and thank you so much for checking out the site and this blog post! As this is the first of what is going to become a ‘monthly blog’ featuring lots of subjects such as gigs I’ve been doing, new practice routines and techniques, gear that I’ve got my hands on and a whole host of other interesting topics (all bass related of course)!!’ and with the fact that I’ve been out of the world of social interaction through my website for the last billion years I thought I’d start by giving you a little update on some of the gigs, gear and general bass shenanigans that I’ve been up to in 2015 and possibly earlier, all before getting onto this year!!!
I’ve been extremely lucky the last few years to make a good living doing what I love, playing the bass! I spent the first couple of weeks of 2015 in Dublin with the world premier production of ‘Elf the musical’! I was very fortunate to get the gig as I was currently on a year contract with ‘Top Hat’ which I consequently went back to for the remaining 6 months, but luckily had 7 weeks of ‘Elf’ing’ in the middle which was a fantastic change, but I guess the most fortunate thing was that it lead to me getting my first ever West End contract as we found out it was transferring for a Christmas 2015/16 season at the Dominion Theatre (London West End)… So rather lucky ey?!
After finishing my year contract in August 2015 with Top Hat I got offered a 6 week run of a new show called ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’, Like all the band I knew nothing about it and I had no idea what on earth was round the corner….! After an amazing 6 week season at Theatre Royal Bath, we found out that the show was also transferring to the West End and would start in February 2016 (Now)!!! So in the space of 6 months I’d landed 2 West End gigs!!!!!
I feel I’ve been exceptionally lucky and privileged to have had solid work for the last 2 years but especially getting to London’s West End and having my own gig has created endless openings for me and I am extremely great full!
Working on the various musicals also lead me to move more into the session world and have consequently worked in various London studios including the world famous Abbey Road and others including Angel Studios.
With all this going on I thought it was about time I did something about my ever dating website and unbelievably old promo photos, so after many years I finally decided it was about time to sort things. On a rainy Friday in December 2015 I got the fabulous Tina Korhonen to come along to the Dominion Theatre where we had a full day of photo taking! Anyone who knows me will know I hate having my photo taken but luckily Tina worked her magic and the results are rather brilliant! If you want to take a look, head to the gallery for the final images
I think I’ve blabbed on enough about what’s been happening the last couple of years so I’ll bring you up to date with the first instalment of the new 2016 monthly blog!
2015/16 New Year was brought in exactly the way I hope the rest of the year goes…. Playing my bass on a gig :)! I played my last matinee on Elf at the Dominion before a mad dash up the M6 for a New Years gig with a really good mate of mine Russel Shaun (check his website out here www.russellshaun.co.uk)!
2016 couldn’t have started better, I spent the first week in the studio (Angel Studios) recording the original cast recording of ‘Mrs Henderson Presents. I then went back to do one of my favourite gigs I use to do up north, UCLAN’s musical theatre show for the fabulous Mark Goggins. This years show was called ‘I love you, you’re perfect, now change’. It’s always an enjoyable week up there and a pleasure to be back.
After over a year on the road and constantly working I thought January was a good time to have a couple of weeks down time, a holiday and some nice recuperation time with the family before the madness begins in February.
So I spent the two weeks wisely, a) practicing and b) buying gear…. No joke!!!
Here’s the lowdown…
I always enjoy getting new material to practice whether it’s just personal technique and intonation practice or whether it’s preparation for an audition or recital, and equally whether it’s electric or double bass.
I found a new book that I’ve been working on called….. It’s really helped my left hand bass technique as well as my knowledge of chords, I would recommend it highly.
I’ve also been doing plenty of orchestral excerpt practice and have chosen a couple of fantastic Concertos to go along with it which hopefully I’ll be recording and putting online in the next few months.
I’ll be writing a separate blog on lots of topics to do with practice so please keep an eye out for that on the news page!
I’m always looking at extending my range of gear to either improve my sound or make a gig easier in some way.
Visual Volume Pedal – I’ve been using the same old Ernie Ball volume pedal for some time now and even though it’s been a good work horse I thought it was time to upgrade! After some research and a few colleagues advice I chose the Visual Volume pedal. A massive advantage is that it’s digital and therefore has a light system that indicates the volume you’re playing at. This is highly valuable when in a show situation for deps as you can mark your pad up with specific volume requirements, similar to what a keyboard player would do. It’s also got a tuner out that allows you to tune when the volume pedal is completely off which is extremely handy when you’re on a gig and need to be silent tuning.
Here is a spec on the Visual Volume Pedal…http://truetone.com/specialty-pedals/visual-volume/
I also purchased the TC Electronic Bodyrez Acoustic Enhancer at the same time. This is much more of a ‘toy to test’ than something I particularly needed, however the results are really rather good and it’s made it into my rig.
Here is a spec on the TC Electronic Bodyrez Acoustic Enhancer… http://www.tcelectronic.com/bodyrez/
My personal life …
As well as a mega busy playing schedule, my personal life was equally as busy! After a long awaited proposal, I finally built up the courage to ask my lovely better half if she would marry me?!!!! You’ll be all glad to know she said yes, after some thought haha!!! The ever so romantic Harrison did it overlooking the whole of Manhattan from Brooklyn whilst on a little get away to New York :)!
Whilst I’m on the subject of New York, of course it was mainly a trip to propose etc etc but really it was a cover up so I could go and take a visit to David Gage’s Bass shop :))))
What can I say about the shop…. Mind blowing! Ben Blumgart who works there was ever so kind to spend a good while with me showing me all their products and basses. To be honest I didn’t want to leave, I have ordered the new Realist Lifeline pickup as I think it’s upgrade from the old one is tremendous. Hopefully that will arrive in February and I’ll keep you posted!
I do hope to plan another trip out there and spend a couple of days playing all his basses and gear as it really is inspiring!
Whilst we were in New York we also saw a couple of show which featured a 16 piece live orchestra. It was a real refresher for me watching a gig on Broadway and realising how lucky I am to have a gig here in London’s West End.
Another significant occasion happened in January. My little boy turned 3!!!!! I just don’t know where the time has gone. We had a lovely few days on holiday in Centre Parks (Cumbria one) where we did a wide range of activities and drank far to much coffee. Can’t tell you all how proud we are of our little man, he’s our little miracle :).
So there you go, my life in a few paragraphs! I’ll be keeping you posted with lots of new news about gear, reviews and plenty more but until the February 2016 blog I’d like to thank each and everyone of you who have taken the time to visit my site and read this blog!
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page if you have any questions as I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time!
P.s. I have uploaded a couple of pics from my trip to New York in the David Gage shop and also the ‘Mrs Henderson Present’s’ Cast album recording at Angel Studios UK