Wednesday 15 March 2017

Now my moogs are in the loft (again)

After a flurry of activity when I re-launched the Saloon website as this blog, it has been fairly quiet on here for a while. The reason has really been because of too much musical activity in our lives rather than too little.

Matt and Alison’s projects go from strength to strength. Matt’s band The Leaf Library have released three albums in two years and Alison and her husband mark, as well as a flood of activity with The Left Outsides, have also a new band The Trimdon Grange Explosion. Make sure to look them up on social media.

I am going to talk about myself now though (Matt, Alison – as ever, do send me stuff and I will post it up).

It has been just over two years since I released the Rodney Cromwell album ‘Age of Anxiety’ on Happy Robots Records. When I last posted about it in April 2015, I was pretty downhearted. Although at that stage it had received some radio play I was struggling to get anyone to write about it. But, following its very slow start, with barely a tweet from anyone on the day it came out, the album ended up being surprisingly well received.

In the end I took on a press agent Shameless Promotion (PR) from Canada and between us we were able to get great coverage in NME, Huffington Post, the Electricity Club, Electronic Sounds Magazine, Record Collector, Louder Thank War, Impose Magazine, SoundsXP, Overblown and loads more. It also had a lot of ‘grassroots’ coverage and I ended up doing more interviews than I had ever done in my career. It was particularly great to get positive feedback from a few synth ‘legends’ with Mal Holmes from OMD saying nice words and Rusty Egan from Visage / Rich Kids saying great things and playing the record loads on his shows.

I also got a load of terrific radio play from the likes of Gideon Coe and Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music and on several shows on RNE3 in Spain. And it hasn’t stopped; the album and its singles are still getting constant play on specialist indie and synthpop shows and stations. I did a few radio sessions too – the highlight perhaps being a session with Julio Ruiz on RNE3 in Madrid. Julio previously interviewed Saloon back in 2002 when we played in Contempopranea Festival, so it was lovely to meet him again and play some songs on the show. 

If I posted links to all the radio sessions, interviews and reviews is would take me all day, but – if you care – all the links are available on the Happy Robots Records website

I also never thought I would play live again – in fact I sold much of my gear in 2014 at a boot fair. But by Summer 2015 I was playing my first shows for five years. Almost every gig we played was great. There were almost too many highlights to mention but clearly playing with the bands Marsheaux, Death and Vanilla, and Snookerstar DJ Steve Davis, plus the festivals Indietracks and Madrid Popfest, have to be near top of the list.  It was great organising another Happy Robots gig in November 2016 and really great that some of the old faces who used to come and watch Saloon came out to show their support.  The call of the Travelodge, terrible service stations and tiny back room venues will always be there for me. I can’t ever see that going away. 

It is impossible to thank everyone who has helped me out, but many thanks must go out to those who played in the heavily rotating Rodney Cromwell band over the last year and half – Adrian Taylor (from Controllers) and Matt Saloon / Leaf Library all deserve a massive thank you! A slightly bigger thank you should also go out to Alice (Martha of Arthur & Martha fame plus Cosines, Mass Datura and more) and Richard Salt (also Controllers) who played the lion's-share of gigs. We spent many enjoyable hours in our rehearsal rooms talking about guitar pedals, synths and how shit Brexit is, as well as practicing occasionally. 

And to the point of this lengthy post, well after a most enjoyable trip to Spain, where Matt from Saloon joined us on guitar, I feel things have come full circle and I’ve achieved  all I wanted to accomplish in terms of promoting ‘Age of Anxiety’. It's time to put the synths back in the metaphorical loft and let my ears recover. It feels like a good time to think about future projects but also to spend a bit more time with my incredibly supportive wife Alison and our two kids, who have had to endure me being away for many weekends.

This is not to say there won’t be any gigs or releases in the future. Rod Cromwell will be appearing on a couple of great compilations soon, and in terms of gigs I am always up for offers. I just won’t be actively looking for opportunities. I do hope to play at least one more London gig in 2017 (and you know where I am if you need me.)

But I want to spend a bit more time with the family while concentrating on the label, probably arguing with strangers about politics on twitter and, maybe even, writing some new songs.  I also have a couple of great new releases out this year on Happy Robots Records, so do stick with us, follow us on Facebook and sign up to the Happy Robots Mailng List if you haven’t done so already.

Right – off to write that new album I keep promising you.


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