‘Alpha Dogs EP’

After completing the debut Lowly Man EP in February, we received a lot of positive feedback. So we were spurned on to launch straight into a follow-up. Andy had a couple of ideas lined up, and I had a couple of riffs looking for a home too.

Alpha Dogs EP

Andy read an article on male personality types, categorised by Greek letters. It inspired him to write lyrics about past experiences with these personalities. I was ready to dive back into recording, after learning lots of tricks on the first EP. And I had a few ideas of my own about giving each track its own character.

So, only 11 weeks after the first EP was finished, we had a second EP ready for release. This was also made available on Bandcamp, using a old photograph of Andy, illustrating the subject of the song Alpha Dogs.

Listen to Alpha Dogs EP on bandcamp


‘Lowly Man EP’

Six months ago, Andy Bell said to me, “if I send you my Standing in Shafts of Moonlight backing track, could you put a lead on it?” I said yes, and he sent me a short guitar piece, recorded on his smartphone. Last weekend we finished our fouth track together, named ourselves Lowly Man, and released the songs as a 4-track Lowly Man EP on Bandcamp.

Lowly Man EP, by Lowly Man

Listen to Lowly Man EP on bandcamp

We are quite pleased with ourselves, considering that this just started out as a bit of lockdown fun, and we plan to carry on making songs. We didn’t know this would be such a productive collaboration, and we never realised that Andy was a singer.

The tracks started with Andy providing a recording on acoustic guitar or piano. I then deconstructed the performance, built up an arrangement, and overdubbed electric guitars and sampled instruments. When the second track was almost finished, Andy decided to have a go at singing over the mix, and it sounded great.

Once we had started recording full-length songs, we averaged one every five weeks. If we carry on at this rate, we should have an album out in time for Christmas 2021.

We recorded this EP during a pandemic lockdown. Andy and I live 80 miles and 2 hours’ drive apart. When we started, Andy had to record his guitar and vocals using a phone, but I persuaded him to invest in some decent gear!

Please, visit the Lowly Man Bandcamp page. You can listen to each track up to 3 times for free. Please, let me know what you think. I love constructive feedback, positive and negative.


Limbering Up for Recording

During lockdown, I traded in my old effects box for a Helix LT amp/effects modeller, from PMT in Salford. As I got to grips with it, I played a couple of well known song parts with the Looper, and I found myself creating new riffs on the guitar.

Ready to record again - Orion Pro and Adam A7X monitors

Recording with a phone, the quality is only good enough to share with friends. So, I gathered together my old music software and gear, and acquired a pair of studio monitors in anticipation of my first writing and recording for 15 years.

Once it was all set up, I had to check that I could still work the software. So I recorded a short riff and melody I’d knocked up. It came back to me after a while, and I was pleased with the result, although it was only a short piece of unfinished music.

After showing some friends what I’d done, two of them sent a couple of pieces of unfinished music. Firstly, I was asked to add guitar to a jazzy bass backing track. I went full-Santana over it. Then, I was sent a short free-played acoustic guitar piece, with no brief. I was a bit more ambitious with this, adding full multi-tracked backing.

Most recently, I started a collaboration with an old bandmate from my Liverpool days — an anthology of an imaginary band — starting with a punk debut EP.