Tag Archives: Mighty Sieben

The halfway point of LOCKDOWN SIEBEN

Well, it’s five months since what started as ‘make a little video of a couple of songs’ turned into a project that aims to make 100 videos (55 so far), 10 albums reworking the best of my back catalogue (Volume 6 release this Friday, with the concert in the evening), re-learn 105 songs (92 so far), and make 105 index cards!

Friday sees the release of Volume 6, and just over the halfway point, I guess. I made a video of what’s happened so far:

It’s been amazing, demanding, and intense throughout, made brilliant by your support and enthusiasm. Despite 2020 absolutely falling apart at the start of the year, for all of us, this really has sustained me, and been an island of sanity. An odd but fitting way to celebrate the 20th year of doing my Sieben project. A weird and wonderful unification of my work past and present has taken place, in part led my the army that is Kev, (my kevlar 5 string violin) but for the most part, by you 🙂 I look forward immensely to another five months of giving it my best to entertain you and amuse you. And give you a little island of sanity, too, hopefully.

Matt Howden- Sept 2020

2020 VISION CDs, US TIME SPECIAL concert, Ogham music stands

Hi all, hope life in Lockdown, stuck at home, stuck at home working (me) or god forbid leaving the house and working, is treating you okay!

Some news, then…

2020 VISION CDs have arrived and are now for sale in my shop. If you’d prefer to order from Bandcamp (you get the files too) I’ll be adding it there in a day or so- please feel free to do so, if Bandcamp is more convenient. Also remember you can bank transfer or paypal to me if you don’t like shoddy looking home-made WordPress sites like mine! (I do the best I can!) If you have bought the digital but want the CD, feel free to guilt-free downloading of some LOCKDOWN SIEBEN material as recompense 🙂

I shall be online each Friday EVERY week, it seems, for LOCKDOWN SIEBEN live in concert – with all the gang, Kev, The Upstairs Hoover, Apple, Amber and Ogham Stand. This week Surprise Frenchman pops in for a visit! What will happen next in the ongoing saga at Sieben Towers? Probably a gig, with a touch of added silliness. And the warm and lovely vibe you’re all bringing to these online 🙂 All this stuff is archived regularly on my Youtube channel.

To that end, I’ve started a Facebook group called LOCKDOWN SIEBEN which you are most welcome to come and join, should you wish. It’s lovely to see the pics from your end, chat, get requests, interactions 🙂

LOCKDOWN SIEBEN VOLUME 1 & 2 are now on my Bandcamp, Pay What You Like. I’ve been busy learning things that take my fancy, material old and new, for this- and to vary the live concerts as much as is humanly possible. At the minute I’ve managed to learn, map, and loop 51 Sieben songs and 7 covers. And have 22 older songs yet to re-learn. So LOCKDOWN SIEBEN may well be an eight-album CD boxset when all this is over. I’m just looking into that now.

Thank you all so much for your generosity: of spirit, with your mails, interactions with myself and each other at and around the concerts; and financially, purchasing the albums online or physical, over-paying, simply leaving a tip – it is most appreciated.

Finally, there will be a US TIME SPECIAL concert on Saturday/Sunday 21st June, as well as the normal (ha ha, normal!) Friday concert. For everyone, of course, but to accommodate the different time zone, or those of you who are near me, but are night-birds! It’ll be Sunday, 1am GMT. And all my neighbours will be asleep 😉 I’ll add it to my gig list after the weekend.

Hope to see you on a Friday! 🙂

Matt

 

The LOCKDOWN SIEBEN SERIES

Hi all 🙂 Well, what started as a quick online video of a couple of Sieben songs has swelled slightly!

LOCKDOWN SIEBEN now sees a LIVE ONLINE CONCERT each Friday, 8PM GMT, from Sieben Central (my home studio), and is evolving into something of a soap opera, featuring The Upstairs Hoover, George the cat, Kev, and Amber’s antics. (coming soon- Garden Cam featuring my first remote-but-in-person audience member). Catch it on my SIEBEN Facebook LIVE tab.

LOCKDOWN SIEBEN VIDEOS can be seen on my VIDEO tab, or on my YOUTUBE channel. There are currently 19 – 14 individual videos of songs, and the five live concerts that have taken place under Lockdown.

LOCKDOWN SIEBEN VOLUMES 1-7 are now underway; LIVE ALBUMS, with sets matching the live concerts. They’re live and raw, and possibly the best versions of the songs I’ve ever produced. Who’d have thought just plugging in and playing would sound best? Doh. That’s twenty five years and thousands of hours of studio time put to shame in the space of seven weeks. Hey ho, couldn’t have got here without them, though 😉 They’re all initially on my Sieben BANDCAMP, but will go on to iTunes etc shortly. But they’ll always be ‘pay what you like’ on my Bandcamp. So do, even if that’s just downloading it for free. Times are hard in many cases, and my aim is to entertain you, and myself, during lockdown and beyond. This isn’t going away for a while yet, and neither am I 😉 This may eventually go to a 7 CD boxset, as some of you asked for that. Just the small matter of getting 2020 VISION on CD before that, and getting enough sold to make it possible 😉 But your generosity with merch purchases post-concert have been incredibly heart-warming (and useful!), with people using the LS albums as a tip jar, a concert ticket, or paying even more than an album would cost- all most generous, and very much appreciated.

VOLUME 1 IS OUT NOW! VOLUME 2 releases this Friday: https://sieben.bandcamp.com/

So, feel free to download my LS VOLUMES, and I hope to see you at my online concerts on Friday. This week the set is chosen by you- there’s a poll on the fb event page, so feel free to chip and hear the songs you’d most like to hear 🙂

Keep well, all,

Matt – June 2020

 

Friday’s the day!

Hi all, hope lockdown is treating you all okay. Lots to tell. And Friday really is the day! For me, at least:

2020 VISION releases on Friday, exclusively on my Bandcamp – two weeks before official world-wide digital release, when it’ll be on all major platforms, and Spotify etc. The Bandcamp-first thing gives me a little better share of the sale, so helps to recoup costs of making the album –  but feel free to buy from anywhere. And if you’re on my mailing list and can’t afford the album (for whatever reason) you simply have to send me a mail and I will send you the album for free. I WOULD RATHER YOU HAVE IT THAN NOT 🙂

Also on Friday, I play my first online gig- be sure to tune in 😉 Its on my Sieben page over at that there Facebook Live. Link is here, and you can set a reminder to start watching, should you wish. It’ll be 8pm UK (GMT) time, and 9pm in CET time. I’ll be at home, in my socks and playing and singing live for you.

I’m hoping 2020 VISION will eventually make it to CD, but just can’t afford to pay out for manufacture currently. I had all sorts of physical release plans, including limited edition 2x 10″ clear vinyl copies with leather sleeves…Oh, and on the 15th May, Kickstart the Empire will also release world-wide, so be on all major platforms.

I’ve also started to create a series of videos from home, playing live called LOCKDOWN SIEBEN. You’ll find them on my Youtube channel, and here’s the first test one. You’ll also find the wonderful new video made by Joao Paulo Simoes from Frontier Media, here. So kind of him to make me this fabulous video.

Hopefully see some you on Friday 🙂 keep well, and hope you enjoy my LOCKDOWN SIEBEN sessions. I’m planning to do quite a few online gigs now I’ve sorted a good sound, so look out for them on Youtube. Or email me and request one, I’ll beam into your house and come and play for you. You have to buy my new album, though 😉

Matt

2020 VISION releases 1st May

So 2020 Vision releases 1st May 2020 – With the current CV situation, I just couldn’t wait. An unfortunate knock-on of ‘no concerts to pay for physical product manufacture’ for this album, so currently its a digital release only. I’d like to do CDs, and possibly limited edition clear vinyl, but am unsure if this will be possible. If I do, and you’ve bought the digital I can work out some discount scheme if it’s the physical product you really wanted. Also, on release, 2020 VISION is free for anyone that can’t afford it. Would be great if you can, because then I may be able to do CDs etc, but if you can’t, just email me and I’ll send you a free download code for the album 🙂 I’d honestly rather you have the music than I have your money- things are tough currently, for so many of us, and if my music can spread a little upbeat apocalyptic joy, or at least distraction, then so be it 🙂

Here’s Enzosonbenzos, from 2020 VISION:

You can now PRE-ORDER 2020 VISION FROM MY BANDCAMP should you wish to.

Keep well, all – and see you on the other side 🙂

Matt – April 2020

 

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 🙂 ) 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? 😉

Keep well and be nice,

Matt – March 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 🙂

Matt – October 2019

 

 

Video woodcut vinyl

Hello! 🙂

Plans taking shape for Kickstart The Empire!

The vinyl has sold out. Thank you all 🙂 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 🙂

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 😉 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 😉

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

We all need a good plunder now and then…

The Kickstart vinyl has now sold out. Thanks to all those of you who ordered. I’ve emailed most of you with your digital codes, just got the last few orders to do that on. And bags are being filled, with Empire seeds (grow your own Empire! What could go wrong?), and swarf, ready to send out with the vinyl when I get them back from the Sheffield sweat-shop 😉

The digital EP is now available for pre-order, release 27 June 2019.

Some last tickets left for the launch concert for Kickstart The Empire! here. A one-off to see me with the band that recorded the Kickstart band versions. And a one-off to see me with a band, at all 😉

Also announced on my concerts page are gigs in Louth, in Manchester, and Bonn (DE) later in the year. Looking forward to playing those 🙂

Matt

next Sieben gigs

Just had lovely gigs in Croydon and London. Two quite different nights, for sure. Croydon was lovely and rowdy, one where you fight for attention. London was hushed and reverent. I’m up for both, but the second of these is far more rewarding in terms of being able to play soft, hang on a note, and play the dynamics of the room. However, having ‘Crumbs’ up my sleeve certainly helps with the former: The more up-front, up-tempo and beats-based nature of the material lends itself to being ‘banged out’ to an enthusiastic crowd that aren’t either still, or afraid to let themselves be heard. Either way, its people who come and support live music, and they are the lifeblood of any scene, for any artist. More often these days artists are surviving from the merch they drag along with them. Having an audience is what drives us, and what we survive from, as independent artists.

Next up, I have two concerts at opposite sides of Germany, Freiburg and Zwickau, both in November. And both sure to be brilliant nights. After 1,600 or so concerts I’m as enthusiastic as I ever was, about playing live. But without the nerves 😉 Find details of both these shows in my concerts page.

My last gig of 2018 is a secret little affair, that is just word of mouth, and for those of you on my mailing list. I’ll play two sets, a set of my older material, and a set of Crumbs, in the beautiful Dorothy Pax bar, down at Victoria Quays, the canalside basin in the centre of Sheffield. Sat 22nd Dec. Limited to 50 tickets only. £10. Tickets from my shop. I’ll be handing out seasonal gifts, snacks and some music for all of you. Will be an intimate and lovely night, and a perfect way for me to finish my musical year.

Again, thanks to all of you who come along to the live shows, and hope to see you all again. Keep music live, go see local bands, find some new music. Find venues and promoters where you like what they’re doing, go along, share their posts, spread their word. There’s nothing wrong with open mic nights or covers bands, but that might be all you’re left with if the live scene, and independent artists, promoters and venues aren’t supported 🙂

Matt Howden – Oct 2018

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