It’s A Wrap Folks! #astrid2016

Last Thursday (11/12) the fourth astrid album was wrapped at Canyon Hut Studios in Los Angeles and is ready to be sent over to Tony Doogan back in Glasgow for mixing. It took 5 days, 2 pounds of premium coffee and some god awful studio banter to complete.

The album was mainly recorded live, certainly all backing tracks are live as are Willie’s lead vocals. The closing song for the album, “Give Yourself Away” was recorded entirely live with acoustic guitars, upright bass, makeshift drums and 3 part harmonies. We also tried the Motown vibe for recording our harmonies on this record, 3 of us round one mic and finding our spots.

It was pretty much straight to business the day after Willie and his lovely wife Michelle arrived in Los Angeles. We got up first thing in the morning and did a 10 hour day of pre-production at my house. We set up acoustically so we could figure out the songs clearly. For this album we enlisted the help of Dash Hutton from HAIM to play drums and sing harmonies, the studio is also at Dash’s house in Laurel Canyon which once belonged to Alice Cooper believe it or not! Eric McCann was producing this record as well as playing bass guides till Gareth adds his parts back in Scotland.

Eric produced ‘Feel Something’ for me a few years back and we’ve worked together on every musical endeavor since so I knew Dash and Eric would be the guys to call when you’re against the clock! Our friend Alex Kinnan shot photos and video throughout the whole session.

Here’s a little look at us figuring out ‘Sad Magnets’ at my house. Please forgive the fact I did not get out of my pyjamas that day!

We literally went round to Canyon Hut the following day and knocked out 7 of the 10 backing tracks as Dash had to leave town for the weekend so then we could concentrate on the overdubs. Dash’s brother, Tim Hutton, was looking after us at the studio in his absence.

Once Dash came back we recorded the final backing tracks and it was straight to my vocals, harmonies and guitars after that. The track listing we chose for the album is as follows –

Poison Reaction
Chainsmoking Cigarettes
Chuck Amuck
Some Doors
Over The Hill
A Little Understanding
Sad Magnets
Danger Signals
Give Yourself Away

Even though it’s been 11 years since we worked together it did not feel like that at all. Willie and I had so much fun with everyone making, in all honesty, what we feel is the best astrid record yet. It was so easy to do and we just had fun the whole time so hopefully that shows on these songs.

The record is a definite return to the 60’s inspired West Coast sound the band had in the beginning so no better place to record it than in L.A, right? We’re really looking forward to everyone hearing these songs and want to thank everyone who helped make this album go so smoothly. The two Michelle’s we love you and thanks for putting up with us both on a mission! Tim, Dash and Momsy Hutton, thank you for taking us into your family home and looking after us with such warmth, generosity and kindness. Eric McCann, you’re the rock that held this all together and made shit happen, love you brother! Lou Marron Paige, manager extraordinaire and Alex Kinnan for snapping and shooting the action (keeping us mildly entertained also). We could not have done this without the help of Hi-Arts funding so big shout out to Alex Smith for making that happen! Now it’s over to Glasgow to Gareth and Tony for the next phase!

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Astrid & The Canyon Hut

In 15 days astrid will start recording our new album at Canyon Hut Studios in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California. Willie and I have been bouncing demos back and forth across the pond since July and have written over 30 songs for this record. Later this week we’ll pick our favorite 10 to concentrate on. We’re also going to try and write together before starting the recording.


Recording in Laurel canyon will be a bit of a trip for Willie and I since most of the music we listened to growing up came out of The Canyon. We used to listen to CSN, The Byrds and The Doors constantly when we were little kids and I feel like those bands were hugely influential to the early astrid sound. It will be nice to soak up such rich musical history and hopefully that will reflect on these recordings.


For this part of the process we will be joined on drums by Dash Hutton (pictured above) from Haim who also played and sang on the Majestic 12 record I released earlier this Summer.

Eric McCann

Gareth will be laying down his bass parts later this year when we get the guts of the record done here in L.A but in the meantime bass player/producer Eric McCann will be joining us also to help keep us right and get an idea of how it should all sound. Eric has played on and produced my solo records, the Majestic 12 releases and also plays bass in Broken Arrow with me.


We’ll probably get in the studio and jam out the songs for a day or so and then just get straight into recording. Once we get everything done here the record will then be sent to Glasgow where Gareth can lay down his parts. This record will be mixed by Tony Doogan (pictured above) who produced Play Dead and both Reindeer Section albums, Willie’s ODR records not to mention every incredible record that has come out of Scotland in the last 20 years. We’re very happy Tony has come on board this project and look forward to hearing some final mixes.


Finally we will have some news to announce in November to coincide with re-releasing ‘One In Four’ later in the month. This will be the first time the 3rd astrid album will have been available digitally and it will be released on Indiscretion Records. Stay tuned to our FB page for more news on that as we will be doing something special to celebrate the record coming out.

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Sleepwalking, Indiscretion & Nitin Vadukul


‘Sleepwalking’, the next single from Charlie Clark and The Majestic 12 will be released later this month and the first release on my own imprint called ‘Indiscretion’ distributed through Manimal Vinyl. I’m extremely honored and excited to announce that the video for this single will be a collaboration with visual artist and photographer Nitin Vadukul.


Nitin’s bio speaks for itself. Nitin Vadukul is one of modern photography’s visionaries. He is noted for his portraiture and surreal art photography. He emerged in the 1990s as one of the lead photographers for James Truman’s Details and The Source Magazine. He has also worked for Rolling Stone, The Face, International editions of Vogue, Tina Brown’s Tatler, and Newsweek, where he photographed President Obama’s first cover for the magazine.


He started working for Details in 1994 along with David La Chapelle, Albert Watson, and Anton Corbjin, shooting an average of almost ten assignments a month for the magazine over four years. Portraits included Tim Roth, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, Rick Rubin, Damien Hirst, Jim Jarmusch, Charles Barkley, John Malkovitch, Donald Sutherland, Blondie and Patrick Stewart.


He has also photographed His Holiness The Dali Lama, Jennifer Connelly, Wes Bentley, Liev Schreiber, David Byrne, Depeche Mode, Paul Simon, Phillip Glass, Brian Eno and The Black Eyed Peas.


His relationship with The Source began in 1997 and he went on the shoot almost 20 covers for the magazine. In this role he photographed many hip-hop legends, including Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Eminem, Jay-Z, the Wu-Tang Clan, Puff Daddy, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Missy Elliot and Wyclef Jean. Vadukul’s imaginative style has long appealed to artists, and over the years he has photographed album covers and art for Ozzy Osbourne, Beck, Korn, Moby, Herbie Hancock, DMX, Mudvayne, Luna, Eve, Kronos Quartet, 50 Cent and the Secret Machines.


He has also shot ad campaigns for IBM, Reebok, Adidas, Nike, and Air Jordan, creating images of athletes such as Derek Jeter, Ray Allen, Roy Jones Jr., Randy Moss, Danica Patrick, and Ichiro Suzuki. His photography has also been featured in solo and group exhibitions in the USA, the UK, Japan, France, Germany and Russia. Recently, his 1993 black and white portrait of Radiohead (originally taken for Rolling Stone) was featured at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the Who Shot Rock book and traveling exhibition.


Nitin and I became friends earlier this year when he moved from NY to L.A and we would meet up and talk about art, films, music and chocolate. He had sent me some of the short films he had made over the years and I instantly fell in love with one in particular called ‘Kawa – World of Skin’ which would eventually become the ‘Sleepwalking’ promo video. We had a lot of fun editing this video with my old friend Chris Patridge who worked on all my promo videos for the ‘Feel Something’ Ep.


Nitin has also directed the art for the new Broken Arrow record and shot all our publicity pics, art and directed a promo video which we just wrapped shooting in Joshua Tree this past weekend.



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Last week saw astrid launch our FB page and kind of make things a bit more official. Between the first announcement last month and the page going live last week we’ve been really overwhelmed by the reaction we’ve had from the news. It makes us feel really good about having decided to make this new record. Seriously unexpected!


Gareth was in L.A a couple of weeks ago and I got the chance to hang out with him for a bit but we really spent more time catching up than talking shop. We’ll get to all that shop talk soon enough but for right now we know that most of the recording will take place here in Los Angeles this November somewhere around the 2nd – 16th.


Another two demos were handed in this last week also, ‘Something That You Need’ and ‘Over The Hill’ which is taking us to just over 20 new tracks. Willie and I decided just to keep turning them out till November. I’m really excited by a lot of these new songs and see the album taking shape already. The majority of songs sit somewhere between ‘Strange Weather Lately’ and the ‘Modes of Transport’ EP.

ASTRID cherry-cherry-CD

Our management are starting to look at putting things in place for next year and a lot of our old friends and team are back on board to help out. It’s safe to say at this point that there will be a run of UK dates somewhere closer to next Summer. Thank you so much to everyone who has messaged us, posted and shared any astrid related info. It’s a really exciting time right now and it’s been so nice to reconnect with old friends and fans who share our excitement, the updates will keep coming as they unfold.


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Devil’s Pulpit Video Premiere

Today the video for ‘The Devil’s Pulpit’ from my side project Charlie Clark & The Majestic 12 got it’s premiere on The video was shot and directed by Xia Magnus and art directed by my wife, Michelle Mondragon who made the lovely assortment of cakes you see getting destroyed.

This single is out now on Manimal Vinyl and is available on itunes with limited edition 7″ vinyl and follow up single coming out very soon!

MJ12_Devils Pulpit_Digital Cover

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After an 11 year hiatus, lots of therapy and one mystical walk along Gress beach in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, I’m happy to announce that astrid will be reforming later this year to record a new full length album. Willie, Gareth and I have been in talks trying to figure out all the logistics but recording will start this November here in Los Angeles.


So far Willie and I have sent each other around 6 songs each and we’ll continue to write until recording starts. All I can say so far is fans of our early EP’s and first record (Strange Weather Lately) won’t be disappointed. We certainly were never big enough to cash in on any reunion so we’re doing this because the songs are good and it feels like the right time to do this. I’m hoping that recording it here in L.A will sprinkle some sunshine on new songs like ‘Poison Reaction’ and ‘A Little Understanding’.


We hope to follow this up with a handful of UK shows next year so more news on this as it develops but I for one couldn’t be happier that this is moving forward.

Charlie x


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Release News

MJ12_Devils Pulpit_Digital Cover

‘The Devil’s Pulpit’ will be released digitally June 26th on Manimal Vinyl. The MJ12 and I will follow that with another release the following month, ‘Sleepwalking’ and 7″ vinyl of both tracks will hit the stores shortly after that.

Photography by Sharlene Durfey

Photography by Sharlene Durfey

You can pre-order the single on itunes by clicking itunes pre-order.

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Broken Arrow News

After handing everything over for the MJ-12 release on Manimal this Summer it was time to get back to working on Broken Arrow with Brandi Emma. We’ve been meeting up with Paul Wilson (Producer/Guitar) and now have 3 songs nearly complete, we tracked all the rest of the songs with Eric McCann and now just need to add vocals and other sounds to the remaining songs. It’s only taken a year! It’s been a long process with Broken Arrow but Brandi and I have definitely figured out how we want this project to sound and we wanted our song choices for this record to be solid and cohesive so we actually wrote some new material as we went along on this journey. It’s been a trip, Brandi and I have developed a strong writing partnership and we’re both really excited for people to hear what we’ve spent the last year working on.

We dipped our toe back into the live scene recently with a show at Bar Lubitsch with friends The Out Of Towners and old friend and Broken Arrow collaborator Matt Van Winkle. We followed that with a spot on the Lady Low residency at 3 of Clubs in Hollywood last week (5/12). One of our oldest friends Ryan Fuller aka Fort King also shared this bill and an incredible night was had by all. We’ve been playing out as a trio with Eric McCann on upright bass and Brandi switching between guitar and harmonium. We both felt like this was a really good way to convey the new material with folks. It’s certainly not what to expect on the record as Pablo has given us a very full sound on these recordings but it’s an intimate way to hear these songs. Next up is The Hotel Cafe on June 9th at 9pm. Line up to be announced soon as well as links for tickets.

Last month we got together with filmmaker Xia Magnus to shoot the first Broken Arrow video for ‘Warning Signs’. We shot the majority of this video in Harvard & Stone and a fairly sleazy motel next to it on Hollywood Blvd. We also got some nice footage whilst roaming the streets of Hollywood on a Friday night. We ended up going for a really simplistic vibe for this video.

I’ve been working on several projects this year but I have to say that Broken Arrow has always remained the priority. Brandi and I have worked so hard on the material we’ve written but somewhere along the way the songs took on a life of their own and became something else. It’s partly down to the people we’re working with but it’s also down to the fact we took our time and let the sound develop organically. We both felt so good about the show we played the other night and now feel like it’s the right time to really move forward with Broken Arrow.


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The Majestic 12, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S.Truman to facilitate recovery, investigation of alien spacecraft and the development of sonic soundscapes for the masses. Charlie Clark and The Majestic 12 are led by Scottish indie veteran and cat whisperer, Charlie Clark (Astrid, Reindeer Section)

Charlie Clark by Sharlene Durfey

Charlie Clark by Sharlene Durfey

with drummer/singer and undefeated national pie eating champion, Dash Hutton (HAIM)

Dash Hutton by Sharlene Durfey

Dash Hutton by Sharlene Durfey

and bassist/producer and wicker duck enthusiast, Eric McCann (The New Amsterdams).

Eric McCann by Sharlene Durfey

Eric McCann by Sharlene Durfey

Charlie Clark and The Majestic 12 will release their debut single, The Devil’s Pulpit/Sleepwalking on Manimal Vinyl June 26th 2015.

MJ12_Devils Pulpit_Digital Cover

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The Devil’s Pulpit & Sleepwalking

This Summer, Manimal Vinyl will release the first single of a new project I started this year called Charlie Clark and the Majestic 12. It was all a happy, messy, sugar coated accident that happened a little over a month ago…..

Earlier this year I was doing a lot of recording with Broken Arrow, Sugarplum Fairies and I’d finished writing my next solo EP. I had a bunch of new songs that I’d written and demoed up that just didn’t seem to fit anything I was doing but I really dug them and I wanted to get them recorded properly. At some point in January I’d mentioned this to my buddy Dash Hutton who plays drums with HAIM and is also a great singer/songwriter. I wanted to go into the studio with Eric McCann producing and playing bass, so, between the 3 of us I thought we could cover all points. My vibe for these songs was The Byrds meets My Bloody Valentine and to make a record that didn’t break the bank and was pretty spontaneous. I sent Dash the demos and we went in the studio to record a few days later at my friend Miles Senzaki’s place in K-Town, LA, Grandma’s Dojo.

We tracked all the drums and bass for 2 songs at Grandma’s Dojo and then went over to Sugarplum Fairies HQ to start on guitars, organ, vocals and general noise.

Whilst we were in the middle of doing all of this I had reached out to director and filmmaker Xia Magnus who had shot a video for ‘Moment of Fame’ by Sugarplum Fairies. My wife, Michelle Mondragon, had a cool concept for one of these songs and I had a basic concept for the other so I thought we could maybe shoot a video for both these songs.

It was now the middle of February so we’d finished tracking all the instruments. Dash and I had put down all our vocals and harmonies so we had some rough mixes to help shoot the videos. The first song we tackled was ‘Sleepwalking’. We shot some footage at my apartment where we all met up then went into Harvard & Stone in Hollywood (where I work) and shot the rest there. I wanted something really simple and felt somewhat Californian for this video.

A few days later we got together again with Xia and shot ‘The Devil’s Pulpit’. This was a really fun shoot and I have to give everyone who helped out huge props. My wife did an incredible job of art directing this shoot and put everything together for the set design, basically she took care of this whole shoot. My neighbor Sharlene Durfey snapped the whole shoot and my manager, Lou, was also on set to help out. I won’t give too much away but I will say, it got messy and a little stupid.

copyright Sharlene Durfey

copyright Sharlene Durfey

So, all in all this project went from farm to table in just over a month and The Majestic 12 and I are pretty pleased with how it all turned out. We’re also very excited that our good friends at Manimal Vinyl are working this release and look forward to sharing it with you all. More news soon and actual release date. Stay tuned!


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