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The Idioms: A Year in the Life

October 16, 2016

 

Jamie Parkes let's the cat out of the bag

 

 

 

As I approach the end of the first year of being a part of “The Idioms” and stare down the barrel of the future, I thought I’d give my take on the experience and why it’s been so much fun for me so far.

 

Working with Gillie and Gary, rehearsing, playing live and getting to know how other musicians tick, their foibles, aspirations and creativity, has been a great experience. Despite my youthfulness (yes I know I look about 16!) I have lots of live experience and have seen first-hand how a gigging band deals with pressure and the exhilaration and disappointment (sometimes) of live work.

 

We mostly rehearse at Gillie’s house. The atmosphere she creates is a great backdrop for inspiration -instruments hanging from the walls, incense burning and home baked flap- jacks for when energy levels start to drop. This is how it is, a good sharing atmosphere with food worthy of the “wow” accolade.

 

We work and rework all of our songs to oblivion, the harmonies, arrangements and the instrumentation. Being classically trained I’ve often used written notation to help this process but as things have moved on I’ve found myself moving away from this method, allowing the process to ebb and flow, which is most liberating.

 

Each performance has been a new and fresh experience, and cliché though it is, no two performances are the same. Being the “lead guitar” of the band means I am free to improvise more than Gillie and Gary. Feeding off the energy they create and the atmosphere in the room is what gives a performance that can’t be replicated.

 

We haven’t been able to record for a few months but are anxious to get back in to the studio. Working in the studio is enormous fun for me and probably the place where things go in yet another direction. It is also the place where we really are under the microscope more than ever. The “mirror” of a recording never lies… If the violin is out of tune I cannot argue with everyone to make them change their minds! Both Gary and Gillie have been very supportive of my playing and I theirs but what has been crucial to me is our decisions about what parts remain and what parts are left out…was it Mozart that said music is in the silences? Our desire to create something really well crafted in performance and recorded form is essential to us. We want the historians who discover an old hard drive with our music on to be impressed!

 

Lastly for me it is such a privilege to work with two really superb songwriters. I hate them actually. Not only are they great singers and musicians they can also write brilliant music with lyrics! We go on all sorts of journeys, back in time forward in time, love lost, death, pain and redemption, we veer from traditional folk through to obscure jazz to trance like delay pedal infused dream status. Roll on year two!

 

Live, we promise to give your ears a feast.

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