The Pisces Rising at Summer In The City

I am delighted to announce that I’ll be playing percussion in a live orchestral performance for The Pisces Rising – a popular YouTube channel which re-orchestrates well-known theme tunes into large, epic-sounding masterpieces – at this year’s Summer In The City YouTube festival at the ExCel in London.

The performance will be on the main stage at half-past-five this Saturday, 11th August.

Lack of updates…

I don’t generally make ‘New Years resolutions’ – but one thing I did want to do as of the start of this year was to update this page more, and be more active here. So far, not so good…!

So what has been going on? Lots of work with Sistema in various local schools, which I am still enjoying and finding really rewarding. And lots of gigs with Ultra ’90s – in all it’s various flavours (Original, Fresh and Jam), both on drums/percussion and as a keys player and MD.

And in between all of that, we have had the eleventh annual Keyboard Camp this year, just one week ago. (More on that in a later post…) And I have been trying to get my studio setup and fully functional at my new house!

Beginnings of the new studio
Beginnings of the new studio

Having moved house at the end of summer last year, it has taken a little while to move all my gear across and start to get myself familiar with the new studio space. The big plan for this year is to get my recording work properly up-and-running, so I am going to try and start pushing that online a little more as I get everything finalised. Expect pictures and sound clips from the new studio sometime later this year!

Soundtrack recording session on marimba
Soundtrack recording session on marimba

There are also a few other exciting gigs and other opportunities coming up soon, which I shall be writing more about due course. I am currently writing this in a Costa just off the M5, on my way to another run of gigs in Devon on drums with Ultra ’90s – I’ll be home on Thursday night for a day or so, before heading straight back out on the road.

And as the year goes on, I hope that I’ll be able to stick to my ‘non-resolution’ of writing here more – and uploading ‘on-the-go’ a bit more! And, most importantly, that I’ll keep playing, keep teaching, and keep learning.

Digital release: Jamie Roe Band – Reach For The Tide

It may have been made eighteen months ago… But the inaugural Jamie Roe Band EP – ‘Reach For The Tide’ – is finally available online!

The four track EP showcases some of the early songwriting work of the band, and was recorded at Tide’s Reach Studios in Lowestoft.

I am contributing piano, organs and backing vocals on all four songs.

Click here to buy ‘Reach For The Tide’ on iTunes. Or listen to the tracks on Spotify, below:

Ultra ’90s Jam launches Saturday 6th May

Ultra '90s Jam
Ultra ’90s Jam

It has been a pleasure to play drums and percussion for Ultra ’90s – the hugely popular, one-of-a-kind ’90s dance tribute show show from PX Productions – for several years now; and when the show expanded in 2015 to include two lineups, I was delighted to be included as the original percussionist for the new incarnation of the show, Ultra ’90s Fresh.

Now, with demand for a good, healthy dose of old-fashioned ’90s dance music still outstripping supply, PXP are expanding the lineups once again…

As well as continuing to gig on drums with Ultra ’90s, and on percussion with Ultra ’90s Fresh, I am proud to say I shall be taking on the running of the third new lineup – which has been dubbed Ultra ’90s Jam – as the musical director, keys player and male vocalist.

Ready to Jam!
Ready to Jam!

I am very excited to have the opportunity to further expand my work with such a highly professional and well-regarded outfit as PXP – and I am always grateful for the chance to develop new skills (such as learning to program DMX lighting in ChamSys MagicQ), to learn to work with new equipment in different environments, and to push myself further as a performer.

It is an honour for me to have been trusted with this important role, and to continue to be such a central part of the ongoing success of Ultra ’90s.

Patching lighting in ChamSys MagicQ
Patching lighting in ChamSys MagicQ

I am looking forward to the first show under the Ultra ’90s Jam banner, at Hopton Holiday Village on Saturday 6th May – and to many more successful gigs beyond that… As ever, keep an eye on the Calendar for gig dates, so you can catch Ultra ’90s Jam at a venue near you.

Keys rig wth Ultra '90s Jam
Keys rig wth Ultra ’90s Jam

Keyboard Camp 2017 a huge success!

10 Years Of Keyboard Camp! (Photo: Will Jones)
10 Years Of Keyboard Camp! (Photo: Will Jones)

The first time I’ve got ’round to sitting down to write about it, even though it was now three weeks ago… (After Keyboard Camp finished, it was straight into four gigs over three days that weekend; an exhausting four-day studio refit; another weekend of gigs right down in the toes of Cornwall; and a day of PA system setup in readiness for new ventures this summer… More on all of that soon enough!) But I am delighted that the tenth anniversary of the (by now) famous NKO Keyboard Camp was such a success!

With music drawn from the material we have learnt as an orchestra over the previous nine residentials (plus some new music thrown in especially for this year) – as well as party games, birthday cake, a nostalgic photo slideshows from Keyboard Camps gone by – and culminating in an evening performance showcasing all the hard work and preparation over the past four days, the tenth Keyboard Camp was a true celebration of what makes it special, and exciting.

Sectional rehearsals in The Big Room at How Hill
Sectional rehearsals in The Big Room at How Hill

I have always been proud to be associated with a residential music course which is always evolving and improving, and where the students keep coming back year after year (for nine years in a row, in some cases!), and still want more…

As well as sectional and full orchestral rehearsals covering a wide range of musical styles, students at Keyboard Camp are treated to workshops which allow them to be more creative, and work with music in other formats; this year’s Keyboard Camp workshops touched on arranging music and songwriting techniques – and, for the most advanced students, a technology-rich session on creating a remix of a hit song.

Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)
Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)

Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)
Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)

Non-keyboard based musical activities have formed a larger and larger part of Keyboard Camp as the years have gone, and this year saw us attempt some of our most ambitious projects yet – our ‘Tin Can Orchestra’, taking on the Heinz Can Song Challenge, and our ‘Rain Choir’ singing in four-part harmony – with great success.

It is the ever-increasing focus on providing this well-rounded musical experience which helps to make Keyboard Camp unique; giving our students the opportunities to express themselves and make music in different ways ensures that they are not only developing their keyboard skills over the four days they are with us, but also their overall musicianship, cooperation and ensemble skills, and general understanding of what being a musician is really all about.

'Tin Can Orchestra' rehearsals
‘Tin Can Orchestra’ rehearsals

And of course, no Keyboard Camp would be complete without the team Quiz, and our world-famous Talent Show (which, this year, saw the Staff team enter a cover of The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, to universal acclaim).

Quiz night at Keyboard Camp
Quiz night at Keyboard Camp

Since the course ended, we have had all kinds of lovely feedback from the students who attended this year’s Keyboard Camp – showing once again what an incredible difference this yearly event in music education, and what a positive impact it can have on the students who come back time and time again.

Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)
Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)

And it is never too early to register your interest for next year’s Keyboard Camp! In 2018, we will return to How Hill for the sixth time (it will be the eleventh Keyboard Camp, in total) for more musical fun (on keyboards and off them!); more games; more whacky talent show entries; more late-night hot chocolate; and more opportunities to enjoy learning about music, and progressing as a musician alongside other like-minded young keyboard and piano students.

Conducting the Keyboard Camp 'Rain Choir' performance, outdoors in the sunshine! (Photo: Will Jones)
Conducting the Keyboard Camp ‘Rain Choir’ performance, outdoors in the sunshine! (Photo: Will Jones)