Tag Archives: Los Angeles

The astrid story so far….

The Isle of Lewis

The Isle of Lewis

Find yourself on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides and you’ll find the deep roots of a band called astrid. It started in 1990 when an 11-year-old boy called Willie Campbell met a 10-year-old boy called Charlie Clark and they bonded over a shared fanaticism of comic books, movies and music. Soon after, the pair began to experiment with playing various instruments in barns, garages and sheds throughout the island their only audience the flora, fauna and possibly livestock of the Isle of Lewis.

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Four years later Willie moved to Glasgow and Charlie started playing cover songs on the local bar circuit with school chum and bassist Gareth Russell this duos audience had grown to include people.

Following Willie’s lead in 1996, Charlie and Gareth moved to Glasgow and formed astrid with drummer Gary Thom. A mutual love of 60’s pop, psychedelia and tight harmonies brought Willie into astrid and their lineup and sound were finally realized.

ASTRID

ASTRID

In the beginning the boys of astrid spent their days writing songs and working flower stalls. At night they donned their finest charity shop threads to play astrid’s complete catalogue of seven songs at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, The 13th Note and Nice & Sleazy’s. Stop by the Halt Bar on Woodlands Rd. any Saturday afternoon and the boys of astrid could likely be found playing the open stage or spending their giros at the bar, even more likely, doing both. It was here Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian heard astrid and asked the boys along for the first UK Belle & Sebastian tour. astrid accepted; their audience was quickly becoming their fans.

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

It was on this tour after a show at The Union Chapel in London that the boys of astrid met managers and founders of Fantastic Plastic Records, Darrin and Julie Robson. astrid signed to Fantastic Plastic in 1998 and all was right with the world.

Edwyn Collins

Edwyn Collins

Produced by Scottish Indie legend Edwyn Collins, astrid’s debut album, ‘Strange Weather Lately’ would go on to sell 10,000 copies and solidify astrid as 1999’s darlings of radio as they garnered support from the likes of John Peel, Steve Lamaq and Mark and Lard. The aforementioned setting in motion tours and shows in 2000 with acts from The Go-Betweens, Ben Lee and Sean Lennon to Lou Barlow, The Pernice Brothers and fellow indie circuit players, Snow Patrol.

THE REINDEER SECTION

THE REINDEER SECTION

In 2001 Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody asked astrid (with then drummer Neil Payne) to join and ultimately become the core band for his Scottish indie supergroup, The Reindeer Section. Among others, the ambitious project included members of Arab Strap, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and Idlewild. Spanning a three year period, The Section went on to release two albums and toured frequently, including a rather memorable trip to Japan for Summer Sonic 2003.

astrid 2002

astrid 2002

astrid released nine singles, three albums and three EPs before disbanding in 2004.

Willie and Charlie remained friends throughout the years. They still shared a fanaticism of comic books, movies and music and never lost their mutual love of 60’s pop, psychedelia and tight harmonies, but they stopped making music together. Willie made his home and family in Lewis while Charlie did the same in Los Angeles.

July 2015, Willie Campbell and Charlie Clark met on the Isle of Lewis and took a stroll along the beach in Gress, the two men fell into a chat about the idea of writing a few songs together. Four months later the pair found themselves in a studio in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles recording the fourth astrid album ‘Fall, Stand, Dance’.

Fueled with the same buoyant energy that made astrid such an endearing live band, ‘Fall, Stand, Dance’ radiates the familiar pop sensibilities, irresistible melodies and soulful harmonies of astrid’s early days infused with a more mature and robust songwriting style; their audience, stronger than ever.

Summer 2016

Summer 2016

‘Fall, Stand, Dance’ will be released Spring 2017.

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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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Broken Arrow: Hotel Cafe Residency June 11th

Broken Arrow_hotel cafe_june11

It’s just after noon on the 15th of May, it’s 100 degrees outside (so I’m not leaving the house today) and it’s the day after the first Hotel Cafe Residency show for Broken Arrow. It was such a great night, Lou Barlow was magnificent as were Gold Star and Tara Fox not to mention the fact we were pretty happy with how we performed also. We were a little nervous as Brandi and I had just finished writing 5 of these songs 2 weeks ago in our little cave in Silverlake. It all turned out fine in the end. Take a look at my post for the May 28th show at Hotel Cafe which is followed by an Indie 103 session on the May 29th. I am now super excited to announce the line up for our final show on June 11th.

Ben Lee

Ben Lee

I first met Ben Lee when I was a young whipper snapper playing in a band called ‘astrid’. Our first European tour was with Ben when he released his ‘Breathing Tornados’ album in 1998. It was a pretty amazing tour and that record was never off the tour bus for a long time after that. A few years ago, after I moved to LA, I met Ben at my regular Yoga class (yes, this is very LA) and it was really nice to reconnect with him after all these years! He is an incredible talent and a true gentleman so we are all really excited about Ben jumping on the bill for the big Hotel Cafe Finale!

Jason Keary

Jason Keary

Jason Keary is a songwriter from Nashville. His self produced “Another Bird Here Has Flown” EP came out last year and was mixed by Clay Jones (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello and Counting Crows). Jason contacted me earlier this year and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I’m really looking forward to finally meeting him and hearing the songs I love from his EP. We will also be doing a song together so that’ll be fun too!

Skin & Bones is a folk/blues duo with hints of alt country and bluegrass. This cocktail of genres makes for an explosive live performance. I was recently turned on to these young lads by Silvia Ryder from Sugarplum Fairies and I loved what I heard. The duo consists of Taylor Borsuk and Peter Blackwelder. I recently had them come play at my Monday night at Harvard & Stone and they blew the room away! Really looking forward to seeing Skin & Bones play again!

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