You wait patiently for one apocalypse, then two come along at once…

Unprecedented times. With that in mind, and all my European dates wiped off the map for the next few months and with who knows what disruption later in the year, I’ve had to change some plans.

Having just finished the new Sieben album 2020 VISION, I’d planned to sit back for a bit, send it off to manufacture, get CD copies back, send them to press, all in time for European dates and tour with a September release. With things they way they are, I’ve decided to push the album release forward to May 1st. No point it being upstaged by an actual apocalypse, I guess.

I’m planning on adding it to my Bandcamp, and then Spotify, iTunes etc if I can make the deadline. Some videos are in commission already.

I know this is of little consequence with what’s going on in the world currently, but to me its my livelihood and sanity! So, I will carry on. With us all possibly in self-isolation for the foreseeable future, I thought I’d add the album as “pay what you like” – so if you have no money you can still have the full album. (*NOTE: I tried this, but it wouldn’t let me do this with pre-orders, so will be offering free download codes to those with no money – simply email me if that’s any of you πŸ™‚ ) And I have you as a captive audience! Had planned to do CDs, but for now this will have to suffice. Without the gigs I have no money to make the CDs

Keep well out (in) there, and see you on the other side. My ray of hope is that many people may question the nature of the modern way of living our lives, the rat race, the pace, the “endless more” of the society we inhabit. Or they may talk about loo roll. Either way, I’m going to try and add some content online when I can, in an effort to keep people’s spirits up. 2020 VISION may be my most apocalyptic work, but its upbeat and chirpy, irreverent and bouncy – we’re not counting the lyrics, here, right? πŸ˜‰

Keep well and be nice,

Matt – March 2020

2020 VISION album now complete

So, it’s all in motion now. That odd period for an artist between being consumed with writing an album, then having to wait endlessly until it’s out and you get to hear it. You’re supposed to ‘shut up’ at this point and get on with preparing for concerts to play the material, but I’m still on the high of having worked my ears to the bone (if that’s possible) to the point of ear-blindness, a well-known ailment of the self-mixing musician.

Anyway, its done, and its a new chapter in what that Sieben-sound truly is. I know Kev has mightily improved the oomph of those beats, and the fastness of the bass sound. But he also appears on the album in conversation with me. and then it gets more bizarre.

Release in Sept 2020 – but if you’re signed up here, or coming to my live DVD recording concerts announced earlier today, then you’ll get the chance to have it a lot sooner than that, as you are my faithful flock. I’m also toying with the idea of several layers of tiered release, for instance; just the CD (with government information sheet on how to poke your own eyes out, and with cut-out 3D specs with no lenses, of course) or CD and limited edition lathe-cut vinyl single; 2 x 10″ clear, lathe-cut vinyl; Sieben leather violin bag etc – We shall see…

The track listing for the album is as follows:

1 We’re All Fucked’ Kev / 2 Enzosonbenzos / 3 Reckoning Beckoning / 4 Death Tape Updated For 2020 / 5 Shirt Of The Apocalypse / 6 Berylsinperil / 7 Vision / 8 The Darkness You Have Drawn / 9 You, My Cult Of Blight / 10 Come And Ride In The Cult Of Light / (bonus track) 11 Can’t Get You

And here’s a sneak preview of the not quite finished cover for the album:

Hope to see many of you on the road in the next few months, zombieCoronaVirusApocalypse-not withstanding. Or at my Live DVD recordings in June. The tickets for are now in my shop and for sale! If you’re coming from further afield and want help with accommodation, getting to Sheffield from airport, or good food and drink in Sheffield then just email me and I will help πŸ™‚ I’m planning on doing two sets on each of the two nights, so covering material pretty much from the dawn-of-time Sieben to Apocalyptic-end Sieben and albums in between. Only 70 spaces per night, these will be special and bespoke evenings πŸ™‚

Releases Sept 2020

Matt – Β March 2020

Kevlar Kev, Enzosonbenzos, and Beryls In Peril…

Work is now firmly underway for next Sieben album 2020 Vision. I am firmly engrossed (if not obsessed) by it, with tunnel vision for it in any free time I have.

I’m aiming for 2020 Vision to be released in September 2020, ready for my tour support with Goethes Erben, and other gigs and festivals. Those of you signed up to my mailing list will be offered copies before that, of course, as usual πŸ˜‰

So far the following tracks are ‘about finished’:

Kevlar Kev Β – Β or “Kev, we’re All Fucked” – I’m still undecided on the track name for this album opener. It also includes me talking my way into the start of the album for the first time ever – and a talking violin called Kev! Possibly the daftest (and fastest) Sieben song to date, out of all my albums. At the end Kev shouts “Maciek time!” and all hell will break loose with a synth solo from my friend (and fellow 7JK-er) Maciek Frett.

The Darkness You Have Drawn – almost finished, though I have written the bass line three times now, mixing it each time, and being unsatisfied. And think that string top line will have to be replaced, when I get home tonight. Definitely a full-throttle one on the album.

Enzosonbenzos – the first track I wrote for the album, and now definitely feeling like the crummiest mix, currently, despite my best efforts. And I’ve mixed it 8 times already. Hey ho, will get there. That’s how these things work. I’ve surpassed it with other songs, and learnt stuff along the way that will feed back into this one. Β Got a good groove to it, bedded into a 6/4 beat. And this track (and this album) has become quite focussed on two-bar simple bass lines that roll round and hold firm while the music moves from under them.

Shirt Of The Apocalypse – A Sieben track with swing to it, finally πŸ˜‰ Featuring the beautiful vocal talents of Conor Nutt, (he of Winston Macabre and other projects) singing, and contributing some fabulous words to this track. Perhaps the mellowest track on the album, by a long way. And an absolute pleasure to have Conor on this track- I love the ‘powder and glistening’ nature of his voice, and the thoughtful nature of his lyrics.

Beryls In Peril – A track that starts quite dubbily, and then bursts out. It has the new dissonant, atonal, elements I’m after in the ‘top lines’ of this album. I always push to break new ground of my own, with each release. Even more so with 2020 Vision, as with Crumbs, breaking the mould of what I ‘usually’ do. Where Crumbs tried to reason with the world, 2020 Vision tells it to take a hike, and raises a mocking, comic finger to the greed and ignorance that is pulling our world and species into extinction.

Reckoning Beckoning – a re-work of Hellfires track Anubis- Director Of Weights. (1999). I used this to set the production style and tone for 2020 Vision. (Because I don’t have to think about the writing and arrangement of the piece). This is somewhat souped up from the original, and (like the rest of this album) much more grounded in the bass and beats than previous Sieben works – mainly because I can, Kev the Kevlar five-string violin has massively influenced the sounds I can get now. The beats are sounding more electronic and compact, in a great way. Earlier albums of mine are also very much heavier in their use of top lines and intertwining violin melodies than this one. And Reckoning Beckoning gets this treatment, with an added ‘stutter’ effect I’m using, that sounds very ‘synthy’.

Can’t Get you – a little cover version to lighten the mood, a little.

Death Tape Updated for 2020 – Just finished this, so have no perspective on it. But it has some weight – in the words I have ‘sequestered’ from two other sources to mash together, and the other worldly vibe of old-Sieben combined with a chill factor I have never achieved as yet on a Sieben record. Sourcing this has haunted me.

Vision – Not quite finished, but the central pivot of the album, thematically. quite rocky beats (all violin, of course), bass and guitar (again, all violin) but some close-harmony and dissonant hummed and sung vocals that take it to another place.

2020 Is The Start Of The End Of The World – Nothing more than a title, currently, along with a vague notion to start with a very heavy list and ‘sieve’ down ’til I see what’s what.

I’ll add some content, and teasers, nearer the date, but have been trying to keep this under wraps as September seems a long way off, currently. I’m cracking on with the album, and making good ground presently. There are plans for some limited tiered-release for 2020 Vision; possibly with 10 leather Sieben bags, limited edition 10 copies of lathe-cut vinyl, and cinema specs you can look through and see the apocalypse happening live. There are no lenses in the specs, of course. You just have to look around.

Matt Howden – Jan 28th 2020

 

2020 Vision

Happy New Year, all! And congratulations on making it to a date that’s straight from a Dystopian sci-fi novel. Not unlike the current world we find ourselves in. To that end, I’m working on my next Sieben album. It’ll be called 2020 Vision, so I’d better get on and finish it ready for release in 2020. September is the plan, along with a Live DVD that I’ll be recording somewhere intimate in my hometown of Sheffield. Never released a live DVD before, and as 2020 sees 20 years of me doing Sieben, it seemed somehow appropriate. The DVD recording may possibly be 2 concerts on consecutive nights, with a small audience in somewhere special. More details when I’ve got something concrete to tell.

I’m excited to have a lot of gigs booked already for 2020, including a tour support for Goethes Erben on their German tour. Lovely of them to ask me along πŸ™‚ I’ll also be playing other concerts in Germany, so around 12 booked already. And Slovakia for the first time, as well as Portugal, Austria and France once again. Those that are confirmed are already on my concerts page.

2020 Vision will be on CD, woodcut, and possibly vinyl. Collectors editions may include specs through which you can see the apocalypse. Simply pop them on and look around, there are no lenses in them. And that’s kind of the vibe of the album, really πŸ˜‰

Really looking forward to getting out there on the road, armed with Kev the Kevlar violin, and showing you my new sounds. Wishing you all a lovely 2020, and hope to catch up with you at some point in the year πŸ™‚

Matt – Jan 2020

 

All things Kev

So, as you may have heard me ‘banging on about’ on social media, and in person, I have a new violin. He’s called Kev. Rest assured my original violin and I have been through significant counselling, and many honest talks. 1,700 gigs under my belt with only ever my original acoustic violin, so its a bit of a change. Especially as Kev also has five strings, is made of Kevlar, and I’ve changed my looper to accommodate some other changes. Gulp. Pleased to report that I’m over the moon with Kev, who I bought from his lovely makers Bridge Violins, in Sleaford, Lincs. They were very happy to tweak Kev to my bespoke wishes, which turned out to be keeping it exactly as they had designed it.

It all sounds much more like it does in my head, when looped and layered, now. I am so excited about getting out there live with Kev, and capturing all the new sounds I can create with new songs, on the next album. Already planning that in my head, but holding off until I have the looper and new violin sound sorted live. It seems I can remember more songs, for live, and perform more per show with the new set up, which is also a bonus.

Secret and not-so-secret gigs have already taken place in Sheffield and The Lakes, and next up is Lobau (DE), Lisbon (PT) and Bonn (DE), to show off Kev and my new groovy sound! Last up in the year is my “Kev’s First Christmas” (Sieben Secret Santa yearly show) to round off the year. I play two sets, I give you crap presents, I host it like a cheap gameshow host on speed. What’s not to like? Tickets on sale for that shortly from my shop πŸ™‚

Matt – October 2019

 

 

Introducing the new band member of SIEBEN

This will be a real new development in the Sieben sound, believe me.

See for yourself, if you’re in the area, as you are cordially invited to my

FREE SECRET GIG TO LAUNCH β€˜KEV’ new band member of SIEBEN- my new kevlar five-string electric violin, new looper (*now with added loopiness and vocal mic).

He needs a first road test. You are invited πŸ™‚
Sunday 22nd September – 4-6pm – The Dorothy Pax, Canal Basin, Sheffield.
STRAPLINE FOR THE EVENT: “DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!”

Kickstart vinyl off in the post to you!

I’ve sent out all the Kickstart vinyls, they are on their way to you πŸ™‚

The original woodcuts are now all sold out. I’m getting a different design sorted, for any of you who’d still like a Kickstart woodcut with Empire Seeds! Be careful what you grow.

Got lovely gigs under my belt this year, and more of the same in the next few months, including Louth, Cumbria, Manchester, Bonn and Lobau in Germany, and a Lisbon date to be announced soon.

And something new is forming in my mind, I can feel it.

You’ll be the first to know πŸ™‚

Thanks for your interest, as always,

Matt – August 2019

vinyl apologies!

Hi all! Many vinyl apologies for those of you who ordered it. Good news is its on its way to being finished, as the machine is now being tested ready to cut copies once more. I shall email each and every one of you as soon as I’ve posted your copy. Thanks for your patience- and hope you are at least enjoying the Extended Digital EP already πŸ™‚

Tramlines in Sheffield was brilliant- so many great gigs throughout the city- and was really feeling the love at my two gigs, which were immense. Thanks to everyone who came to those, and especially those of you who travelled some distance – impressive and much appreciated! Next week, Germany and a mini-farm-much-fun-festival, the week after in the company of Rosa Crux at their delightful festival in Northern France.

After that I’m in Louth at The Priory, and very much looking forward to playing and staying there. Which will bring me to September and a gig in Cumbria for Barry The Astonishing himself… I’m also looking for concerts for the night before/after, in the area, so if anyone near Preston/Clitheroe/Lancs/Cumbria has any suggestions, or better still wants to book myself and Andy Whitehouse then drop me a line πŸ™‚

Have a lovely summer.

Matt Howden – July 2019

vinyl apologies!

Dear all, my sincerest apologies that the Kickstart vinyl will be delayed. As Jon started the first lathe-cut of the single, his lathe started playing up! He’s currently waiting on a replacement. Estimated send-out time is now the start of August. I am currently writing addresses on envelopes, and the little extras are bagged and ready to go. I will keep you informed, but my apologies once more πŸ™‚

Hopefully each of you who ordered the vinyl now all have your download code for the Kickstart Extended EP? (My apologies, Vincent, you were on a separate list πŸ˜‰ And those of you who were in the video, too? And those of you who purchased the woodcut? πŸ˜‰

If anyone can’t fathom how to get their download, let me know and I will send you the files! And if you’ve downloaded before all 9 tracks were added, you can simply download again and get all the tracks. I was just waiting on getting the remixes back- all in, now- and all wonderful. 3 young up-and-coming producers have given it their own take on tracks from the Kickstart EP. I like Bandcamp for many reasons, both as an artist and a punter. One major reason being I can download a full-bandwidth version of any album I’ve bought, for listening in my studio, and download another, mp3 version, for listening on my mp3 player whilst travelling or walking to work.

And those of you who have pre-ordered the digital EP should already have 2 tracks, but will get all 9 when I “release the pre-release” tomorrow afternoon πŸ˜‰ Of course I shall yell and proclaim ” Release The Pre-Release” as I press the button!

Can’t tell you how excited I am to play the launch of this on Thursday. (Last few tickets still left, but should be sold out on the night). Mostly because I can’t wait to unleash my new band on you! They’re students of mine, and all really ‘on it’ – no pet project, this, they are all in it because they’re really good. They absolutely ‘rock’. For the looping set after I’ve delved into my back catalogue, and re-learned how to play We Wait For Them and Donald.

Then its concerts in Norway, Tramlines in Sheffield, Germany, France, and Louth πŸ™‚ Hope to see some of you at those. Thanks, as always, for the support with what I do.

Matt – June 2019

Video woodcut vinyl

Hello! πŸ™‚

Plans taking shape for Kickstart The Empire!

The vinyl has sold out. Thank you all πŸ™‚ You should all have codes, as I’ve emailed each of you. Vinyl should be with me soon, and I’ll email again to tell you its in the post. As an added bonus I’ve added an extra download code, which you are welcome to give to a friend, leave at a bus stop, give to a kind stranger, as you wish πŸ™‚

I’m busy filling each of the baggies that come with the vinyls and woodcuts. The ‘Empire seeds’ were going to be sand, but when I filled a little baggie last night with some, its reddish-brown builder’s sand hue looked way too hardcore, too Breaking Bad and dodgy to send through the post, so I’ve opted for two different things for the vinyl and woodcuts. If you’ve ordered them you’ll find out what πŸ˜‰ Both are suitable metaphors for growing an Empire…

The woodcuts are now up for sale in my shop. I was going to make it a “live shows only” thing, but have such supportive people all over who simply can’t go to shows because I don’t play near there! So, ever-grateful as I am that people indulge me with what I do, I’ve added them to my shop.

The Kickstart video is now released! SEE IT NOW! Immeasurable thanks to Adam Ryan who has made this video, and the wonderful people who showed up on a Saturday morning to act silly and dance. I’ve emailed you all with Kickstart download codes as a thank you. It’ll be on here first, shortly before I start begging you all like a weeping Instagram Influencer, to share it for me πŸ˜‰

One note on the EP, sat on my Bandcamp. If you’ve bought something physical from me you should already have 6 of the nine tracks. The other 3, the remixes, are all being completed as I type. Thank you, Sidney Dawson, Charlie Eades and JG Stockton. I’ll be adding these soon, and you’ll then get all 9 next time you visit the site.

The launch for all this is in 2 weeks time, at The Dorothy Pax in Sheffield, some tickets still left. This will be the only show with the full band playing the Kickstart tracks and a full set, and once again its been an absolute pleasure to rehearse and record with some of my students: Estelle Varley on drums, Jamie Rupik on bass, fellow tutor Sean Ryan on guitar, Will Sandbach on synth, and Jake Austin on keys. They rock! These are never ‘pet projects’ (“ah, hope them young ‘uns do well, bless ’em” etc) They’re all in it because they’re good enough, and nice to be in a band with. And they certainly are.

Thanks, as always for the continued support for what I do, and indulging my musical whims. I absolutely appreciate it.

Matt – June 2019

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