The Great Electric – EP1

Artist: The Great Electric
Title: EP1
Cat No. : Van 276
Release date: October 27th

The Great Electric was formed in the winter of 2012 by Malcolm Doherty (Guitars, FX), Rob Hyde (Drums), Darren Hayman (Synth), Duncan Hemphill (Tones, Drones and FX) and Pete Gofton (Bass/Production).

Alumni of bands as diverse as Hefner, Kenickie, GoKart Mozart & Mum and Dad, the band was united by a love of the classic German electronic and progressive acts of the 1970s coupled with the pop music sensibilities, hooks and production of 90s bands such as Stereolab, Quickspace and Electric Sound of Joy.

EP1, self-recorded and released on Static Caravan is the Great Electric’s first release and showcases the band’s love of combining a hypnotic heaviness with accessibility – thickly layering melody onto bedrock of driving bass and drums, often lending the songs an almost pop patina.

Opener ‘Matter of Time’ sets off at a breakneck motorik pace, introducing layered analogue melodies and a metronomic bassline before giving way to a chorus that sits somewhere in the middle ground between Focus and Fantomas. The track fades into a fug of Gilmour-inspired guitars, analogue electronics and found sounds.

Jump Over The House is a triumphant, energised hybrid of 60’s Detroit soul and a locked, motorik pulse, overlaid with a subtle vocodered line straight out of millennium-era Trans Am. If you booked The Great Electric for your birthday party, they’d open with this song.

The EP’s lead track, Music and Colour establishes a rigid bass motif from the off and builds into the embodiment of perfect space age pop – constructed from layer upon layer of repetition, hypnotic drones and heavy washes of analogue melodies and counter-melodies.

The EP closes with M.O.P.E.. Building over 9 minutes, the track is a dichotomy of ‘Animals’-era Pink Floyd atmospherics and Sir Lord Baltimore barbarian rock. The song gathers pace before the wheels come off entirely and it rattles into Blue Cheer covering Yes’ ‘Heart of the Sunrise’.

2014 will see the band finish a debut LP ahead of organising a small number of live dates later in the year.

300 edition 12” vinyl Red Vinyl pressing

Buy The Great Electric – EP1 from Darren (inc P+P)


Chants for Socialists – Darren Hayman

wiaiwya – 2 February 2015 – CD/LP/DL

Darren Hayman is a thoughtful, concise and detailed songwriter. He eschews the big, the bright and the loud for the small, twisted and lost. For 15 years, and over 14 albums, Hayman has taken a singular and erratic route through England’s tired and heartbroken underbelly.

He returns with a powerful new collection of songs based based on William Morris’s Chants for Socialists.  The album is due for release on wiaiwya on 2 February and was recorded at three of Morris’s homes; The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (with a choir of left-leaning locals), Kelmscott House in Hammersmith (where volunteers hand printed the record sleeves on the Albion press used by Morris) and Kelmscott Manor in Gloucestershire, (where Hayman played Morris’s own piano).

The result is a beautifully crafted album, lovingly produced with a team of enthusiastic helpers, made available for everyone to pay what they can afford or what they think it’s worth. Chants for Socialists is an album of 19th century chants made relevant to the 21st century while staying true to many of William Morris’s ideals

Darren explains the process below:

In 2012, I found a photocopied leaflet in the William Morris Gallery, in Walthamstow, called ‘Chants for Socialists’. It struck me as a bold and divisive title. Not one you would be likely to find on a record or CD today.

There are very few of my contemporaries that sing political songs and I understand why. Today’s politics can be very nuanced and personal. The way we discuss today’s problems can be hard to reduce to a song or short poem. Political songs can be gauche and hectoring. I struggle myself, and can only really claim to have written a handful of overtly political songs over a 15-album career.

William Morris wrote these lyrics in the late 19th century; they were to be sung to the popular tunes of the times. In only two cases did he specify a particular melody. I saw these as ‘emergency’ protest songs, something to draw on in times of strife. I think we are in troubled times. I regard these as useful lyrics.

Morris grouped these songs under a banner of socialism and I class myself as a socialist, but these songs, to me, are more about simple kindness and hope. I acknowledge the naivety and rhetoric in these words. They offer few practical solutions for today, but I love their simplicity. They make me feel young again. They remind of the hope I had in the Red Wedge movement, and how politicised I was around the 1984 miner’s strike.

Adapting the lyrics was not easy. In places I have edited hard and tried to contemporise the syntax. Elsewhere, I have been more faithful to Morris’s elliptical and florid prose. Similarly with the music, I have tried to build a bridge between the 19th and 21st centuries. I have dressed the songs with a simple, urban folk sound. Warm, fuzzy guitar distortion sits alongside broken pianos and dented brass.

I offer these songs as political, historical curiosities and as something to comfort aging lefties like myself. They are uplifting, songs to be sung in communities.

A communal approach was taken in the recording of this album. The group vocals were recorded at two of Morris’s former homes: the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow and Kelmscott House in Hammersmith. Singers were invited indiscriminately from the local area. Morris’s own letterpress was used to hand print the limited vinyl edition of the record, and I also travelled to another of Morris’s homes, Kelmscott Manor, to record his piano.

The record is being released in a number of ways. There is a CD version and hand letter-pressed vinyl edition as well as a deluxe version with an extra ‘dub’ version of the album.

Most importantly to us, however, the digital version will be free or ‘pay what you feel’; the idea being that people should only contribute that which is within their means. Hopefully this is a just means of exchange to match my wildly naïve, utopian dreams.

You can track the album’s progress via this blog: http://chantsforsocialists.blogspot.co.uk

Learn more about Darren Hayman here: www.hefnet.com

For press info please contact Lucy Hurst at butilikeyouPR | lucy@butilikeyou.co.uk

All prices include Postage and Packing.

The CD version of the latest Darren Hayman album: With lyric and essay booklet


I have sold out of the red vinyl edition and the double red and green one (with extra dub version). The red vinyl is still available from WIAIWYA records and record shops.
 DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE HERE. PAY WHATEVER YOU WANT! ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need’

Dog E.P.

I hand-painted 20 covers for 20 CD EPs for the Independent Label Market on Saturday 12th July 2014 at Spitalfields. I’ll be on the WIAIWYA stall.

The EP features four new recordings of dog songs including one cover and one new composition.

I’ve also made the EP available for download from Bandcamp below. You get high quality scans of all the paintings with the download.

Buy from Bandcamp.

Darren Hayman Vibrato Pedal

People who have been following me on Twitter will know that I’ve been collaborating with both Sleeping Dog FX and Made By Mike Pedals to design some unique, custom guitar pedals. These have been mostly for my own use but with this latest Vibrato pedal we thought someone else might want to own one.

It’s customized with artwork by me, a drawing of my favourite train in fact! A first generation Diesel Multiple Unit.

There is only one of these! Buy directly from Sleeping Dog FX here.

Here is a video of me demoing a non custom version of the pedal.

Maybe it is so unique that it’s only meant for one person. Me. But I thought maybe someone else would like it.

When ordering, make a note saying you want the Darren Hayman version of the pedal.

 

Blue House EP by Darren Hayman

Card gatefold sleeve. Numbered and limtied to 500.

 

I like collections of five or six songs, seven even. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have a proper name for them; Mini LPs? Maxi EPs?

 

I write when I travel, when I’m disengaged. I write when I’m on holiday. I wrote three of these songs in a blue house on the Suffolk coast. There was a piano in the blue house and I bought my baritone ukulele. I tasted every beer from the local brewery and rated them in a table in my notebook.

 

Leaves and Stars is about the cycle of wedding, christening, divorce, wedding. At the age of 42, too many of my friends are on the third stage. Nothing stays the same. It’s a song about acquiescence and letting go, accepting change and letting it wash over you.

 

Words change too, or at least their popularity does. Remember when words like ‘blackleg’, ‘scab’, ‘picket line’ and ‘strike’ were more common? They were barbed, sharp, violent words. They were necessary. Blackleg is a song about collaborating with the enemy.

 

When the School Sold Its Fields is about trying to remember when it first went wrong, or at least when I first noticed things going awry. When I was ten or eleven I remember my school selling its playing fields for a housing estate. Soon all the schools sold part of their fields. Many schools now have housing estates where the kids used to play. The song also concerns a memory I have of me being dressed up by my parents as a ‘China man’ for the PTA International Dinner. Mrs Morgan, our head teacher, had passed away. They held a silence and it was the first time my mind had confronted death. I cried.

 

Kurhaus Blues was written on an earlier holiday in Semmering, Austria. In fact I have a whole album of instrumentals on the subject of Semmering. We walked around a ruined Kurhaus, lost amongst the mountains and trees. I imagined it when it was new. I do this a lot; imagine old things new.

 

Loose Change was written by my friend Valentine Leys. She sang one of mine, so I sang one of hers’. Valentine’s is better.

 

Blue House was made especially for Indie Label Market 29 November 2013. It will also be available directly from www.hefnet.com and a few select record shops.

 

Darren Hayman, December 2013

 

Buy the Blue House EP CD Direct from Darren

Blue House comes in a neat card gatefold slip case. Numbered and limited to 500.


Or buy downloads from Bandcamp here.