2022 in review

Legend William Orbit

Another fab year!

Loads of library tracks released…..including lots of songs: something I wanted to do more of this year and I did. They (obviously) take way longer than the instrumental stuff, but songs are generally much more rewarding. I’ve written lots solo, and lots with co writers, too..some of them newbies.

Here’s one I wrote in a batch after being obsessed with Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’..I wrote about 8 or 10 backing tracks in the winter of 2020 and finished this one earlier this year. Lovely vocal from Michael Vickers

I had my music used all over the world..one song was used on last years Christmas episodes of both Coronation Street and Neighbours, and I love it when tracks turn up in bizarre places….I had a dark moody synth track used both on a documentary about porn and a high brow BBC show about the CND! I must have over 500 tracks out there working by now, and every PRS day is a bit of a joy to read the statements.

Arms reached its 61st release with a second single by one of the fake bands I use to release under, ‘Crystal Lips

It’s taken until now to clear the backlog of releases for Arms, so am entering 2023 with pretty much a clean slate.

I did do loads of instrumental tracks, too, and for a couple of new-to-me labels as well as some longer term labels I worked for.

I can’t remember if this was out last year, or this, but I enjoyed doing it….all analogue hardware, no soft synths, and I shared the album with two other established great composers, John Rushton and Chris Lewis

Confetti’s been a whirlwind again. I’ve steered a batch of new Masters and Undergrad degrees being written and validated, and got to meet some legends both in person and online:

For Industry Week we had contemporary composer Anna Meredith, songwriting giant Linda Perry, the man responsible for producing ‘Vauxhall and I’, Steve Lillywhite, pop prancer Becky Hill (and her lovely manager Alex), general dude Don Letts, modern industry disrupter Merck Mercuriadis, label icons Chris Briggs and Joe Kentish (among lots of others)…most talks were professionally steered by legend of all things good about the world, Dean Jackson

Becky, Alex and Dean
William Orbit
Anna Meredith

Outside of Industry Week, we welcomed a couple of legends in the form of Chris Kimsey (The Stones for heavens sake!) and Adrian Bushby (Muse and Foo Fighters) who did production masterclasses with our Music Performance students being produced by the Chris or Adrian , with Music Tech students ably assisting. Sounds like a dream day to me.

Chris Kimsey
Adrian Bushby

In July, Splendour festival was over 2 days and again had Confetti as a stage sponsor, with students staffing the Courtyard stage (beautifully and professionally) doing a whole host of roles such as sound, lights, video, filming…really is such a great thing for students to get to do.

Louise from Sleeper at Splendour 2022

In September, I went to an SSL event at lovely studio Ayriel near Whitby to see legend Ken Scott give a talk…..was ace..met lots of really great people

Confetti’s due to open a London campus in September 2023: pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity to support a capital city campus in an incredibly competitive environment, but we’ll make sure it’s amazing for sure. I honestly feel so lucky to be part of it….I really think London will be great and will make Nottingham’s provision even stronger..together, Confetti will be even more unique.

Art mock up of Confetti London

For those we lost

In July, the world lost one of the biggest influences in my life, Andy Wright . He gave me a job behind the bar at legendary venue the Princess Charlotte when I moved to Leicester in the 90s, then my first avenue into live sound there. I rented his house for a while, and for a period of time, Andy and the team he built around him really were like family to me. He supported my transition into professional music and being part of a music scene. I also met my wife at the Charlotte, so it holds a special place for me. The funeral was so moving. Lots of old faces showed up with an overwhelming outpouring of grief, but also wonderful memories. I’ll never hear ‘Sunday Morningagain without a tear in my eye.

Mixing

I did a bunch of mixing and mastering projects for various people. I really love the mini album One Cure For Man did. ‘The World In Autumn Sun’ really is a doozy…nominated for an Ivor Novello of all things! That boy has a work ethic and a vision.

I also did a bunch of mixing for the everyones favourite 80s King: James Burt: some of which came out this year, and lots in the can for 2023

Long time friend, Hannah Brine, released a batch of tracks I mixed and mastered, too. Trance on one hand and Pop/Folk on the other, Some really beautiful songs

Gigs of the year

Well, I get choosier with age, and I went to 4 this year: all of them corkers though. I took my kids to see Billie Eilish in July: expected not much and got a whole lot: amazing live production packed with great tunes.

In October, I tootled off to Doncaster for, I think, my 20th Morrissey gig. No politics, just a great set from the Smiths up to some unreleased stuff. He was in fine voice..better with age…now if he could just stop saying things, we’d all go back to loving him a lot more.

Matt Maltese at Metronome was great. I saw him twice in 2018, and since then, his audience seem to have become 18 year old girls….not sure how or why, but there’s no denying that song-craft.

Then, a couple of weeks back, the Cure! Also ace….Bobbles can still sing like the lovely goth he is, and when they did ‘Pictures of You’ , that really did take me right back to 1989. The Cure had a pretty unbelievable run until ‘Disintegration’ and it started to go a bit crap from ‘Wish’ onwards.

Albums of the year

Father John Misty remains the most consistently brilliant artists of the last decade for me. I watched the album launch at the Barbican (on stream) , and it was so good!

The Hot Chip album is great and accompanied me laying a garden path this Autumn, fact fans

The Jockstrap album is very weird, but full of inventive ideas

Angel Olson….yummy album

Sharon Van Etten…also yummy

Taylor Swift…..ever since ‘Folklore’ I’m a total convert. This is a pop gem and no mistake

Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler’s album was a winner. Loved them on Jools

Songs of the year!

I do a playlist every month of new stuff that tickles my fancy, but there’s a couple of songs I really rinsed on repeat this year.

The David Holmes one was co written with Noel Gallagher and shows what an ace production can do to an OK song. Love it

Am in no way a Monkeys fan..I like the odd bit they do, but really loved the production on this tune. I can’t find anything else on the album it’s from in the same ball park of quality, but the album’s in loads of top ten album of the years lists so maybe I need to give it another try.

Plug Ins Of The Year!

I remain a convert to the SSL suite. I tested them last Christmas and loved them so subscribed.

I bought a few Spitfire libraries…they do amazing discounts for educators, but even without, the LABS libraries are just amazing for 0 pounds! Next step up are the Originals and those are a really good value way of upping the quality of your sound sources.

TV!

I always tell people I don’t watch much, but I guess it’s all relative, but when you list it, it looks like I’m a regular on Gogglebox. Shows I loved were Better Call Saul (pretty much perfect final season), Handmaids Tale (back to being good), Ozark, Ghosts, Peaky Blinders, Married at First Sight (Yes, I know, I know), The Bear, The Watcher, Night Coppers, The Green Planet, and I’ve just started Bad Sisters which I’m loving. I enjoyed ‘Pistol’ once I got into it, too. Late to ‘The Traitors’ party, but that’s great. McCartney 3,2,1 really is a gem (out last year, I only saw it this)

Podcasts!

Same as the last few years, but I’d add ‘Oh Brotherin the mix this year..it’s a podcast about the Fall. My very favourite things have been the Alan Partridge ‘From The Oasthouse series. Total top of his game and very surreal….you get to hear Alan’s take on Joy Division .

Books!

I’ve got a total backlog here…got to catch up with a few, but I loved ‘The Big Midweek , and I got Trevor Horn’s autobiography as an audio book and that was brilliant. My friend Dave sent me a copy of the Bono book which I started despite being pretty non plussed with Bono over the years….never owned any U2 stuff….and am pleasantly surprised at how good it is…especially when he speaks about his wife…genuinely loving.

Other things!

I’ve been an External Examiner for Point Blank in London, and Waterbear in Brighton, External Examiner and Quality Advisor for RSL. I also continued being a Collaborative Academic Lead on Confetti’s behalf for the Commercial Songwriting and Production Masters at Tileyard Education and soon, for it’s sibling centre in Wakefield: all of that feeds right into my Confetti role and general development.

Next!

2023 brings the tenth year of Arms Production Music and I plan to not keep material in the vault for ages and get those releases out quicker. Am not really fussed about hitting a release a month….could be more, could be less. I also want to get more student involvement..after all, library music is often the first step into earning money from music so would love to bring students in the fold.

I’ve got a new One Cure For Man album to mix and lots more library releases in progress….those tracks in that ‘Ideas’ folder need finishing!

I’m 50 in 2023, and mentally still struggling to move past being 25, but it probably means I have less years working ahead of me now than I’ve already got behind me, so it’s more and more important to me to make every year count.

Bring it on!

Sending love to you and yours.

Be nice

x

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