Right then...I've begun the 3rd album (the follow-up to 'Speak For Yourself'). I'm going to write a more frequent blog as I did with the last one so you can keep an eye on me and make sure I'm not slacking! I wonder how it's gonna turn out? How exciting! You're very welcome to comment but please don't ask me questions on here or i'll never get any work done. You can email me with any questions you have and every month we'll pick 20 from the virtual 'hat' and post them. Send your questions to: email@example.com
Much much more to come! Love, fluv x i x Wheeeeee!!!
Click here and here to see 360s of my cosy studio in London where I wrote and recorded the last album "Speak for Yourself" xxx
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Flight BA 183 – 22nd Aug ‘09
“I feel like now’s a good time to start writing a diary” – were my exact thoughts the moment our plane lifted, magically, majestically, magnificently, off of Heathrow’s latest, most controversial runway and up into this beautiful cloud streaked, multi tonal evening sky… 5 minutes ago. Usually at that moment I have my blindfold on, earplugs in and am blissfully ready for sleep to take a hold of me. It works every time without fail. Today however, has been one of those “green light days” and I didn’t want it to end yet. As if the day has been performing a ballet around my every move and thought. I’m inspired from it’s flow and the cogs are cheerfully clunking.
I made a call on the way to the airport from the cab I’d been putting off for a while, that of course turned out, after worrying about it for ages, to be fine. Invariably I find the mind’s projected outcome is 10 times worse than the actual reality. This is good to know as then you hopefully stop worrying about whatever it is and just get on with it for crying out loud. I got upgraded to club class ‘cause the plane was full in economy. In over hundreds of flights, that has happened to me only once before. I got my first choice of window seat. There was no queue for security. The waiter at the restaurant gave us (me and my manager Mark, who was also upgraded) “the best table in the house” he announced proudly while pulling my chair out from under the table for me to sit on, continuing with “Sting and David Beckham have both sat here” – I said that they were now, with us, in good table sharing company. I decided to stop worrying about Letterman and just accept that whatever happens, happens and that I can only do so much, a philosophy that I’m beginning to put into action more and more, that is actually a lot harder to do that it seems! So today is a good day that actually now just got 5 hours longer as I set my iPhone to eastern standard time.
I’m bound for NY. For Letterman. For general promo during release week of my latest and most beloved album (for the meantime) “Ellipse”. I’ve never before thought about publishing a book or thoughts or anything but literally just now, that opening line “I feel like now’s a good time to start writing a diary” - looking along the line of the artfully flexing left wing – came to my mind and it then evolved swiftly into something that wanted to exist, not just in my mind but out there with you.
I couldn’t write this down yet though because as you know, laptops and all other electrical devices aren’t permitted for use until the seatbelt sign is switched off. Meanwhile my musings went into a cold panic at the thought of something that could quite possibly take me another 4 years before it sees the light of day. So I decided, in order to get around this, why not write short entries and then release them at different points over the course of a few years? So a book written more in the fashion of a medium I’m very comfortable with– a blog. A mixture of spoken, written and filmed entries. I don’t know where it’s going to end up but it feels right and I do love to have this company along the way as I did when coaxing out Ellipse from the stubborn recesses of my brain. It would, if nothing else, prohibit me from going back and forth, constantly re-writing it as it‘d essentially be published as it was being written. Once it feels like it’s reached some sort of conclusion, or natural end – I’d like it to read as one body of work. So I’m going to write the entries as if they were chapters. I’ve never written a book so I may be terrible at it. This could be the worst read of your life and it promises to be the possibly the longest too. It’s your risk. Perhaps just in doing it I’ll actually get good at it and what we’ll experience is not only a real time writing of a book but also a study of a real time learning and hopefully improving writer along the way. One wishes. I like to think the more we air our wishes… the more likely they are to happen. Even though they are just wishes still, they are slightly more real just in having put them into words.
I really want to start living my life more in this “real time”. In the moment, rather than waiting for things to materialize or function after months of toiling over and talking about it. It just feels wrong to exist like that in these exceptionally creative, increasingly socially connected, open, interactive times we’ve lucked out and found ourselves in.
I want to write my next album in the same way - writing and releasing songs as I go. Album cycles are 3-4 years with me, so after writing and releasing 4 songs a year, I will have enough work to then compile a physical release (with one “bonus” track for good measure). I will of course get stuck into other projects in the meantime. One being this book. Trickling out songs takes the (worst kind – self imposed) pressure off me creatively. I always have more fun with “b-sides” or one off songs written for films. When I hole myself away for a year to make an album my life goes on hold. Everything else takes a back seat. Goes into stasis for this monster that I wrestle with and try to tame. Including my personal and (sadly) horizontally physical growth, as I’m not interacting with life outside the studio. I have tried but I just can’t seem to do it. The 12-13 songs I’m juggling in my head during the album recording period completely consume me and leave me paralyzed to do anything else. I don’t want to do be like that and I quite often, strangely, don’t enjoy it either. At the same time I HAVE to get these songs out of me. To create something, to give birth to something. A nutshell of me at that point in my life. That I’ll get to look back on, fondly, like old photographs of me with old friends in the old clothes I used to wear.
This next phase of my life I intend to try to get to grips with what fuels me - and how to get more of that into my life. My list so far contains –
- more inspired conversation - which would firstly involve socializing more. - Collaborate creatively often. - Plan less, do more, - Find my dream team and delegate. - Fold my days around one form of exercise. So could be a walk, a swim, rock climbing. Who knows. - find sustainable love. To share all these nice times I’m going to have with. - READ more and learn to read quicker and better. I always HATED reading as a kid and just found out about a month ago when talking to my dad about it that he and mum had terrible trouble trying to teach me. Give me a piano, a pad to draw on, something to make or build and you could leave me for hours. I had no interest in reading whatsoever. It hurt my eyes. It was too hard. It annoyed me. I had nothing but what remained in my head to show for it. If it wasn’t for my dad forcing me read word for word, slowly, I would maybe have been dyslexic. That’s what he says anyway. Up until now I was deeply embarrassed about it. I feel a lot better knowing the full picture. Thing is I so crave information and have a desperate need of trying to make sense of everything. Like we all do. That’s what drives us. To know how stuff works. Why are we here? What’s the point of all this anyway? If I’m single I read an hour every night before bed if I can stay awake. If I can’t, I read until I can. I’m currently single, reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and recommend it. I feel another little piece of the puzzle just clicked into place. - Find another word for more. - Other stuff I haven’t thought of yet.
As I’m shaping this book up it’ll be shaping me. If I don’t do stuff to write about it’ll be pretty vacuous in content. - In a micro everyday way, perhaps “tweeting” does that? - So therefore, I’ll have to do interesting things to get me to want to muse, hopefully insightfully upon them. This will also double up as a record for the tax man when detailing the reasons of some of my yearly account’s expenditure.
“Flight into outer space” - £1,000,000 – Research for book on chapter 8 – “A quest to better understand humanity’s cause, effect and role on earth and within the parallel, multi, holographic or just plain old Universe.” Perhaps a more succinct title, if that does indeed end up being a chapter would be good.
I’ve just had my first club class meal and I have to say it was significantly tastier than what I’m used to in economy! As I was masticating my chicken ceasar, a thought occurred to me. Most of the interesting happenings in my life involve other people and I’ll want and need to protect their privacy in the process. So I’ve decided that in the same sense as when I’m writing a song, the lines between fact and fiction blur somewhat, creative license and all that, I will sometimes write my entries in this way too. So if you are going to embark on this flight with me, please take into account, not everything you read here may have happened exactly as I write it and with whom I experienced it with. Equally, some things that seem totally out of character may indeed be true! You decide.
That may put you off but that’s ok. You don’t have to carry on reading! You will be investing your time in something that may turn out to be a big waste of time. I may stop writing in 3 months, I may never stop. I just don’t know. I do feel certainly compelled to do it now though. A new project.
One of the other things I love about blogging if that you feel like you have to follow up what you said you were going to do. So if I say, I’m going to write a song about that moment when you’re in bed with someone and time warps around you. Beautiful together, in just being close. I then felt compelled to carry on my idea because you (or maybe not you) were expecting it of me. I wrote Between Sheets. As I work on my own mostly and don’t have a partner to egg me on, I need the impulsive excitable side of me to drive it’s dreadfully, debilitating, procrastinating equal to get anything finished.
So what shall I say I’m going to do? Well… I think I should start with love. I want to love someone or many but certainly someone and soon. A woman has needs! Actually, I am mostly always, hopelessly obsessing over somebody. I have a plan for Wednesday night and he’s very cute indeed. He has also been almost impossible to pin down for a dinner date. No less that eight months! I guess that’s what’s been intriguing me too. Perhaps he knows that, is ridiculously busy or he’s not interested and just meeting me to get me off his back. Anyway… I’m very much looking forward to it. Going out to eat at a good eatery accompanied by a handsome, smart and slightly curious man… is for me one of life’s great joys and I intend to do a lot more of that.
So there we have it. Chapter One. Are you going to stick around for the next? I don’t know when it’ll be but there’s no hurry to this book of mine. Let’s see what happens….
Last few hours in beautiful Maui. I wish I didn't have to go back. The thought of finishing this album is filling me with dread. I haven't done what I'd hoped to do while I was here. I do have another 12 hours before my flight though so maybe I still might plus the 20 hour flight back home!
This last song, "Between Sheets" is going to be the missing piece. I've got the essence of the song, musical direction and feel, melody and about half the lyrics. I really felt the album needed this one calm space. A little breather about half way through. It'll be nice to have something fresh on there for me as I've been living with some of these songs for 2 years. I think in hindsight, Maui was not the best place to come for 6 days. I've neither finished the song nor really gone out and explored either but spent the time being frustrated about not doing both very well. Another week would probably do it but I really really have to get this darned album finished or I am going to implode. Then, perhaps once it's done, artwork done, single artwork and b-side done, video for canvas and the first single done, the 18 minute live set for the TED Global conference in July...then.... and only then... can I go on a little much needed holiday!!!
So... at 8am Hawaii time today I'm going to play this (now slightly out of tune from the heat) piano for the last time here http://www.ustream.tv/imogenheap. In those minutes... I'm going to get my head free of all this worry about what I need to do. There's nothing like noodling about on the ivories for clearing the head. It's worked for me for years. It's as close as I get to meditation. So, please join me if you read this in time and send me some strength and good luck through the internet while I'm playing. I need all the help I can get! I'm going to be doing everything I can to make sure that when I land in London I'm positive, with this song ready to record and just go for it for the 20 days I have left to finish.
As usual... it is just my self imposed deadline. This time It's official though. The album is coming out 3rd week of August. It's going out in my press release this week. It's time to let this baby go!
Lots of love to you all. Thank you all so much for all your encouragement. I can't tell you how much it's kept me going.
Hello... a right old rambling of me trying to get across various things and actually looking back on it not playing you very much music er... anyway...I mostly re-visited Tidal and I absolutely love it now. Swoon sneak peak.. and whizzy BBD thing... I did a lot more than that.. but yeah. Got the beginnings of a new track down. It's gonna be all a cappella (apart from a few birds and possible fire cracklings). Listen to Mic Check for reference on type of vocal sounds... this is super rough, thrown down in a couple of hours. Now lyrics to write... couldn't sleep last night and so sat up laptop on duvet cover and typed some bits. Something about being in the moment. What it takes to get there. What sets it up. Pain, water, a kiss, longing... threading something together and hopefully get that down so I can play you more before long.
If you're hungry for more updates from me then sign up for that. it's a micro version of this. Day to day sometimes hour to hour. Want some others to follow? I like these guy's music. Miloshmusic and DavidSugar (just started .. please encourage!) Also Calvin Harris and Stephen Fry super active and fun.
Twitter related : Going to release those vocal files for whoever wants to put music to it too by 12th Feb as something for Twestival. It was a song Idea I came up with for an animation that never happened... music was going to be done by someone else... but now that person is you! The song that never was... but will once some of you have a go of it.
Mostly feeling good about stuff... you know how it goes though...after the big highs come the big old lows. life would be pretty dull without these waves though eh?
Lots of love fluv to you all and thanks again for following. yours Heap x
It's 7pm on Christmas day. I was hoping I'd get a nice vblog up for you but no chance! I'm amazed I managed to get all the pressies bought and wrapped amongst everything else. Just so happy to be, calmer now with my crazy family. Anyway... we're all here and I'm gonna get back to it... but I just wanted to say, hope you're all having a great day and thank you for a fantastic year. In the run up to christmas I managed to get tons done with a 40 hour awake session in the studio! Got all 9 songs to a really happy state. Just need a day or so mixing and the odd bit here and there. If I'm really together I'll get Swoon up there with the rest of them by new year's then I can PARTY. Come new year I'm really looking forward to discovering what the two missing songs links are gonna be.
We were trying to get together the animation of you/me up for christmas but I think I was being a tad optimistic! It's looking good though and actually It'll work for anytime of the year so all's good.
Also... first thing in New Year I'll get those vocals up for you for that song that never ended up in the film. Dying to hear what those of you do with it.
And... my mate Levi (who fixes my computers/ sorts out faulty gear for me) played me a remix that he did of Hide and Seek 4 years ago and it's great!!!! A reggae mix! Can't wait for you to hear it. WIll put it up soon.
Love fluv to you all. Be in touch come the new year.
Hello my lovelies... Thank you all for your birthday wishes left in all the various places. I've just had a very healthy fancy fruit salad for a very late breakfast then ate all the round toffee ones from a pack of chocolates someone gave me. I know this is cliche but BOY this year has flown by! What the?? Quite scary! I barely had time to get used to 30 and now I'm 31. That had better not keep happening or i'll be 105 before I know it! Thank goodness Justine's been filming as I've been going along so I can remember what I got up to in this blur.
If you haven't watched the new vBlog, watch it now... warning... major plot spoiler after this full stop.
That's right.. you probably guessed it. Little Miss Heap didn't make the finish line for her birthday this year (moves onto long rectangular chocolate coated toffee ones)...This album has taken me by surprise so many times. I really feel like I'm taking this huge strong dog out for an endless walk and it's running about it all directions...sniffing over there, chasing that rabbit, running into bushes and ponds . I've just had to go with it. Also like a dog.. you can't leave it for too long or it gets the hump with you. If I could just somehow shut everything else off for 6 months I could have finished it by now but with PopTech!, Nitin Sawhney gigs and song, Jeff Beck gigs, silent movie accompaniment, a jaw harp appearance, weddings, birthdays, laundry, accounts, the Mika song, Little Spirit (or not as the case may be), IAMX remix, vblogs! Japanese classes, getting my driving license, trying to get/keep fit, building a studio from scratch, feeding everyone who was working on building it, taking on the family home and all this whilst filming the whole process with Justine behind the camera... It's not been easy to find time to get on with it! Now there's christmas getting in the way godammit!
I love that you're all on this trip with me. I can't tell you how helpful it is to have you all here egging me on. Not having a boyfriend this time around has been quite a different experience. There's no-one to shake and wake up to tell them all the exciting news from the latest goings on in the studio. That's why I'm digging more than ever blogging and more recently using Twitter. I think I'm developing a twitter twitch.
So the big question, I can hear you all ask from my kitchen table already, before you've even read this... WHEN IS IT COMING OUT HEAP?? Well... some of you may think that when it's done.. it's out in the shops/ ready to download the next day. Sadly (for you and me both)... that's not the case. I want to give this album a great set up, you know? To give it a really cracking chance of a good life. So I want to do videos, get some great artwork (I have a plan... you're gonna like it) together, photos, b-sides, interviews about the album, a few warm up gigs, some TV and radio, hopefully a sync (when the music gets put into movies/tv) or two to help spread the word... it goes on and on. And... another big thing... is I want the DVD to come out with the album and that's going to take a while to edit. Maybe this is all to depressing for those of you who are just clawing the walls for it to come out now? You still want to know exactly when right? Oh GOD! OK... but don't kill me, ok? I never said the actual album would be OUT on 9th Dec... just that It would be finished by then (which it isn't but I'm a month away from that now). So.. ok ok... here it goes. April/May. arghhhhhhhh..I'm sorry! I want you to have it right now really... I dooooo! (there are sooo many chocolate wrappers by my laptop now it's not even funny).
If it's any consolation... I will put out a song or two before the release. So you can have those to keep you going? and er... i did a remix for IAMX... you can hear that.... and erm... I will be vblogging still all the way... (ugh I just at an orange cream thinking it was a toffee one...ew, WATER!) Maybe because no-one's really blogged the whole process before to some of you this may come as a shock? How long it takes, why it can't just come out straight away and all that? This is quite normal. I'm not being difficult I promise! The thing which does take longer though is that there's no-one to fix a section, bass line, lyric, mix etc. There's no nice programmer who can spend a few days on something while I go off and do all the other stuff I gotta do... It's all done by yours truly and there's only one of me! Though my manager could do with about 5 more.
OK... I feel slightly better now that it's all out in the open... though slightly sick from all the chocolates I ate in the process of writing this.
So... where I'm at presently. I've got Tidal and Polyfilla all parts done. Just need to mix them (two days max each). I'm not far off with the other 8 that I've written and hope to get these all to pretty much done by end of the year. Then I need to finish writing and producing/mixing the remaining two. THEN .. i'll be done!
I'm going to get dressed and get down in the studio now until 8pm when I'm gonna pop my head out the basement for some dinner here by the fire with a few friends. WIll be in touch one more time before the end of the year hopefully...
Hello you! Getting there with the album... another blog in about a week. Thanks for all support and encouragement along the way. Really really helping me out there!
So..Yesterday morning I had an idea... does anyone fancy helping me out in creating a little webtoy/game thing? If so..can you have a read below and see if you're still up for it? It's a mammoth task in the time we've got (xmas deadline). If not... don't read on or it'll spoil the surprise! (I bet a lot of you read on anyway)
What I'd like to do is to get some kind of webpage up where people can upload photo's of their faces, voice and text into the space. Plan is... basically, it's me dancing (very sillily!) about to one of the tracks off my new album either on stage/in garden or studio... but you can put your face on my animated body (slightly elf yourself with a few twists). While I'm dancing the user presses a button to tell animated immi what to do. I guess In the same way that if you were playing a drum loop and you hit a "fill" key (not that I would ever actually use anything like that in my music!).. the loop at the right moment would go into that drum fill then after a bar or two would go back into the original main loop.
So...User gets 1/2/3 scene choices (see what time permits!)
Studio Stage Garden
and occasionally Abigale (my 1950's motor!) will drive by in the background.
Choice of 3 outfits...
Something girly Something DIY something sporty
Choice of accessories that I do various things with.
keytar/broom/mop/guitar - I just go fetch these and dance silly. megaphone - I go get the megaphone and out comes the user's spoken audio. e.g. Happy christmas Jennie, Love you! or happy new year, love jack. Effected so it sounds like it's coming through a megaphone. sparkler - the text the user types in become a message written by me as a sparker trail. Scene becomes dark while light from the sparkler creates illuminated message.
My mate Nick Stewart just came over this morning and filmed me doing all kinds of silly moves. He's going to start getting images together so they can be animated. What we need is a genius programmer (you??) to build the environment for all this to work in. Here's his showreel so you can see what he does.
We've worked together before. He lives in London.
Obviously this will all take time (and may be impossible in the short time we have) and some of you reading may do this as a job. I'm not expecting anyone to do this for free so if it feels right to choose you, we'll talk cash!
Please send all links to relevant, previous works created to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also... if this works out... i'm looking for someone more permanent to work with me on the new album campaign on various ideas from iphone apps to new website.