Going On Stage Is One Of My Favourite Things To Do / by Mark Daman Thomas

I had a couple of Farm Hand gigs last weekend in Manchester and Talgarth. I must say I enjoyed them a lot. I feel like I am starting to hit my stride with it. I kind of started playing live before I was truly 'ready'. I started watching lots of solo performers on YouTube and got really into the craft of it and wanted to have a go myself. We had a Shape Records stage at Focus Wales 2016 and one of the acts we'd booked pulled out. I nervously asked the people who run Focus Wales if I could play. I had an enormous adrenalin rush when they said "Yes, ok then. Send us a biog and a press shot". I was like an overexcited teenager who had just started a band. I got more stressed about writing the biog than the music bit. The gig itself was fun but a bit odd and more people than I was expecting turned up. I was trying to be be fancy at the time and had a small mixing desk onstage mainly because I'd seen other people do that but in truth I didn't know what I was doing with the damn thing. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, sounds came out of the PA and was glad of the experience. I've done 12 more gigs since then and enjoy them more and more. 

One thing I have realised is: going on stage is one of my favourite things to do. I am compelled to do it and I need it. I'm hooked, I'm a lifer. I get in a funny mood if I have too long in-between gigs. Doing Islet gigs with my bezzies is such a massive high it is hard to replicate that on my tod but I am enjoying the challenge. 

I played with Thomas Truax in Manchester and he was highly inspirational as a solo performer. His show is really honed and he was extremely entertaining and captivating. He had a 'trueness' to his performance - I felt like I could be at any point in history watching him (other than the fact that I and everyone else was filming him constantly for our essential Instagram stories). The gig in I played in Talgarth was in a chapel. Felt odd to be performing loud music in a local chapel considering I grew up being very quiet and sitting very still whilst going to Sunday School in a local chapel. Performing in those days meant singing hymns and doing recitals. 

 

A tweet I sent out whilst in the dressing room in the Castle Hotel, Manchester. I was having a lot of fun really. 

A tweet I sent out whilst in the dressing room in the Castle Hotel, Manchester. I was having a lot of fun really. 

I've got some gigs coming up:

4th November - Spillers Records, Cardiff (album launch) 
4th November - Printhaus, Cardiff (Quodega album launch)
14th November - The Social, London (Huw Stephens Presents)
6th December - The Lexington, London (supporting Sweet Baboo) 

I put a video up the other week that was kindly premiered by Gold Flake Paint here. I would like to thank them for their kind words. I was asked to do a quote for the premiere which got edited a bit (for good reason!) but nevertheless, here is some more. 

"I shot this video on my phone on the road between Glascwm and Colva in Powys. Most of it was shot by me on my own on the way back from a conversational Welsh group (I’m a new learner) in Llandrindod Wells. Then some of it (the bit with the sheep) was shot with my brother JT driving after we’d just been to see our Uncle sing in his male voice choir on the showground in Builth. Best gig I’ve been to in quite some time, I must say.

The lyrics are simply ‘Precision, Solution’. I quite often repeat the phrase ‘precision, precision, be precise’ to myself to remind myself to be more precise in my day to day decision making as I can be hugely vague and woolly. I also repeat the word ‘solution’ to remind myself to find solutions to problems instead of just ignoring them. This song is a hybrid of those two inner monologues.

The music is all from one keyboard loop. I was lucky enough to be given a loop pedal for my 33rd birthday (I’m 34 now, precision, precision be precise) by Emms. I’d never had one before and was disproportionately blown away by how useful and exciting it was. I nicknamed it ‘The Enabler’ as it enabled me to write music really quickly. This was loop #17 and it appears exactly as it was recorded on the loop pedal itself with added beef as it progresses. I really like the compressed, crushed, digitally quality of it. Each to their own, I hear you say."

Thanks for reading. Here is the vid: