Friday, 19 December 2008


Well, what can I say?  A year of steady, consistent steps forward and probably the first year I've ever felt like a grown-up ;-)  It's been INTENSELY creative.  I have missed people, and I have found people.  Oooooh...the nostalgia of Christmas (tears and tinsel).
I don't think even I realised how creative I was, until 2008! 
Here are some of my highlights, in no particular order:
Being cooked for, alot
My new pad 
Horses noses
Mama Mia!
Going MAD with Andy Gilbert on my birthday
Performing at the EY bash
Seeing aliens
San Diego
Singing with Tara again
The kebab place on the way home
Rain, Las Vegas
The service station on the way home (!)
Our dinner party, cooking for six
The Curve
...and there's still a bit of the year left, yeah!!
I will look into my crystal ball and make some predictions for 2009.
night x

Monday, 15 December 2008


We have been struggling with one of the songs for the album, "Where to from here" was one of the first tracks we recorded earlier in the year. I now have around 5 different versions of this none of which I'm completely happy with, if you remember listening to the Podcast we did earlier in the year we previewed this song.

The original vocal was good but I felt the whole track lacked energy, normally I would re-write the track around the recorded vocal however I really like the original backing idea that I wrote. So this was shelved for a while. Sarah thought that coming back to it would perhaps give us some new direction but alas we still feel it lacks something. So after a few hours on Saturday of not really progressing with this song we decided stop and do something else.

Sarah had a melody for another song in her head so we decided to have a go at that instead. This is not normally the way we work but I gave Sarah a click track and she quickly sang a few lines, she also had an idea for a keyboard melody that she played for me. Within a few minutes we had the basic structure for one of the strongest tracks for the album. It's working title is "Who are you". I thought after the ditched session for "Where to from here" I would have been a bit fed-up but the new track has made me positively chipper.

I went to see Stereophonics on Saturday, not really my cup of tea but the tickets were a present for my wife. It did make me think that I do have to see more live bands next year. I suppose DM at the O2 is a good start.


Thursday, 11 December 2008


We really are recording the very last lot of vocals at the weekend, so fingers crossed if I'm not too drunk over the Christmas period the album will be finished by New Years eve.


Monday, 1 December 2008


As a pre Christmas treat you can download Tears & Tinsel from our website, click here to download the album version here.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


We got together last night to review the album so far, in general we are really happy with everything however we have decided to re-record vocals on three tracks. These songs were written and recorded fairly early on and I think the overall quality and attention to detail has improved so we therefore felt it was best to redo these vocals, this final session will take place next weekend.

In no particular order the final tracks are...


The album is still has no title although there are a few names floating around. The release will be via iTunes, our own download store and a physical CD. We are also having 500 ltd edition CD's with a 32 page booklet and outer slip case, these will be individually signed.

The album is due to be mastered in the first week of January which will enable us to release it in February


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

PTM 211008

One great thing about technology and in particular software is the power it gives the artist/producer.

We recorded the vocals for Pleasurely That Machine at the weekend, personally I think will be one of the highlights of the new album, anyway as usual the idea given to Sarah was fairly raw although one of the most completed ideas. The process I take once the vocals are recorded is clean the audio files up and composite the various takes together, I also tend to strip silence into the audio files rather than use a gate to cutout any in between the phrases. On this album we have created a dedicated space for vocals and purchased the SE Electronics reflexion filter which deadens the sound around the mic which really helps. A few weeks ago I purchased a piece of software called Melodyne following a couple of recommendations. Not that Sarah's vocals need a great deal of tuning, the main reason for getting this software was the help me fit together the double tracked vocals. Rather than creating a double tracked effect we always record the verses and choruses twice, we find this creates quite a nice vocal sound. The problem with this however is that the phrases sometimes don't always match up. What Melodyne helps me do is fit these takes together perfectly, you can also pitch correct and change the timing of phrases using this software. It's a great tool and I wished I had bought it at the start of recording this album as it would have saved me hours or re-recording Sarah's vocals.

Next week we will be recording the next Podcast, following some of your questions I will be giving you a quick tour of set-up and showing off the tools we use.


Monday, 20 October 2008

PTM 181008

Down, Down, Down
Round, Round, Round
Take me down
Got to be blown away
I need to want to stay
I'm crazed, unphased to see
What shouldn't ever be
Pleasurely that Machine
Deeper, Deeper now
Pleasurely that Machine
Lost and Found
There's a place
I am found
Take me there
Take me down
Got to be blown away
I need to want to stay
I'm crazed, amazed to see
What's coming over me
LOVE this track - very excited!
1 more song to go!!!!  And watch this space for news on our Christmas track Tears and Tinsel.
(Lyrics copyright Sarah Heeley, Northern Kind Oct 2008)

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Friday, 17 October 2008


Well, I've had nice break in the USofA.  Had some brilliant experiences, met amazing and inspirational people.  Learnt to surf in California (for those of you hooked up to me on Facebook, you may just get to see the video of this soon which I'm sure you'll find suitably hysterical).
The waves were HUGE (honest) and I had to dodge the bloody stingrays as I went.  I had the pleasure of clubbing with Paul Oakenfold at the Palms, Las Vegas.  He ROCKED, quite dark and electro'ey and was set against a backdrop of robots, flame-throwing industrial type equipment and Cirque de Soleil artists dressed as aliens.  I couldn't help but think the wrong half of NK was in attendance.
I also fulfilled a childhood dream of going to San Diego zoo :-)

So now it's head down to the finishing line for the album - tomorrow we are back in the studio recording Pleasurely That Machine and adding the finishing touches to a few other bits and bobs.
I miss gigging!!
The album's taking longer than anticipated.  But I promise, it is worth the wait.
Sarah x

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Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Well the DM press conference came and went and as usual I can't help but feel a sense of excitement. I trawled the web last night to find the pre conference clips with the new songs. The obvious searches on Youtube bring you to files that DM have sanctioned as copyright infringement, but if you search with less obvious keywords you'll find them. This is still up for don't know how long for

As mentioned in the conference Martin has been investing in old analogue gear, the clips I heard of "Wrong" & "Peace" certainly are very analogue sounding and "Peace" sounds amazing, I just hope hope they don't go back down the processed to death sounds as they did on PTA.

I was really encouraged after hearing "Precious" but was disappointed with the PTA in general. Depeche Mode in my opinion need another "Violator", it certainly sounds like they have quite a few songs written. The Violator period not only spawned their greatest album but also the b-sides to many of the songs were also some of their best songs so clearly a very productive period.

Like most people I am a little bit disappointed with the one show at the o2, of course I will be going but I did get to see them in Manchester, Birmingham & London on the last tour. I guess it will make this gig more special.


Friday, 3 October 2008


Sarah is away now for two weeks on a road trip from Las Vegas to San Diego, we had a brief meeting before she left to review the tracks so far. We still feel there is a small amount of work to do with a couple of the tracks vocally, I have been working on these for a while but they aren't really happening yet. We have decided to revisit these when she is back and possibly change the vocal melodies and lyrics.

I'd like to write a couple of new ideas to give us options for the final album, currently we are at 11 songs and ideally I'd like to have 12.

A few readers of this blog informed me of some sites that were linking to a download of our album, Lee from kindly removed his link but the other sites didn't bother, fortunately I contacted Rapidshare who were hosting the file and they have now removed our album.

As Dave Gahan apparently once said, if your not being bootlegged, your not happening.
We didn't get a chance to record the Podcast as mentioned, so this is top of the list for when Sarah is back. Lots to talk about.


Thursday, 25 September 2008


The main problem with using software is that you loose the tactile control over the parameters of synths and obviously a mixing desk. With a mouse you can only control one element at a time and the arrangements and mixes on the new album are far more complex than the last. Some songs have up to 50 tracks each with EQ, Compression & plug-ins for the actual synths so controlling everything gets very tedious.

So I decided to invest in a new tool for mixing and general control of the various bits of software I use. There are quite a few control surfaces out there but I chose the Euphonix MC Control. The beauty of this device over others is the flexibility you have of assigning it's faders and knobs to anything, it also has a cool touch screen which can be configured to control anything within the software.

Although it only has 4 main faders you can bank through a project, you can also assign a group of tracks to one fader which is really useful. Needless to say I've spent most of this evening buried in the user manual, it's a really powerful control surface but hopefully it's gonna help with mixing the new album.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Please submit any questions you have for our next Podcast, this will be a video and recorded at the end of September.

We will be talking about progress on the album and our recent gigs.

Send them to



Sunday, 14 September 2008


Had a great time last night, brilliant crowd and very receptive to us.

I think the highlight was when I was chatting to Dr Robert after the gig, a pretty drunk girl came up to him and said "I came to see you but their set pissed all over yours" - he politely smiled and said "Thanks" - I just burst out laughing and gave her an album.

I thought he did really well, just a guitar and his voice but really entertaining, at one point Sarah said she was mesmerized by him, I guess that is what the "X-Factor" is.

Thanks to Wout for the photos.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Will be featuring our song DIRTY YOUTH tomorrow evening as track of the week.

The show is hosted by Alex Zane, tune in from 7pm Thursday 10th September.

Click here to visit the page

Almost makes me want to go and buy some chocolate... or is that the point?


Monday, 8 September 2008


Following his performance at Retrofest Dr Robert of 'The Blow Monkeys' will be making a rare appearance in Leicester this Saturday to promote his new album.

We have been asked to support him at The Donkey, Welford Road, Leicester. We will be on stage at 8.45.

Hope those of you local can make it.


Wednesday, 3 September 2008


...kind of summed up Retrofest - although I have to say that, despite the shocking organisation ('What's a bloody bar token?', 'where the hell do we park???', 'Do I really have to push the buggy on a main road?') and having to compete with Boney M during our set, I had a really good time :-)!!

It was funny hearing 'Ra Ra Rasputin', between our songs.
The atmosphere was good, Bjorn Again ROCKED and I loved our groovy, solar-panelled, purple stage.  The feeling of singing al-fresco, through the dry-ice into the darkness, was brilliant and suited our moody-electro vibe.  I now completely have the festival bug - Glastonbury here we come!
Thanks to everyone who braved the rain to watch us.
Sarah x

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Thursday, 28 August 2008


I am working on a soundtrack for a commercial presentation video, the graphics have been produced by Un.titled for a company called Sheridan&Co. Hopefully post the completed video sometime next week. MIxed in with some street noise in the early scenes is Dirty Youth. The rest of the music has William Orbit type of feel.


Wednesday, 27 August 2008


We are planning the marketing activity for the next album and we have been keen to see where the little money we spent on promoting 53 D N has worked. We contacted some recent purchasers of our album to see how they found our about us. I was pleasantly surprised to have been recommended to someone by Midge Ure. I can only guess Midge was checking out who else was playing at Retrofest and downloaded the free MP3s from our site, the person who kindly responded said he had been given a couple of our MP3s by Mr Ure O.B.E. Thanks Midge!

Monday, 25 August 2008


We have played at some strange evenings before but Sunday has to be the most mis-matched one so far. Phenol were on first, a band we had played with before and I have also done a remix for them. They can boast about having worked with the legendary Martin Rushent and also have some great stories surrounding that experience. The next two bands were very much from the darker side of the synth world, Global Citizen and Non Indigenous.

I think we have been a little spoilt with our last few gigs having pretty much a captive audience. Hopefully Retrofest will bring us a more sympathetic audience, really looking forward to playing and seeing some of my 80's favs. Lets hope the weather holds out.

So to the album... Well we have let let slip our end of August deadline and now we have taken the attitude of lets just get it right rather than rush it. Sarah has the last track and we should be recording this in the next two weeks, it's then down to me to finishing mixing the tracks. We are still planing to release the album in 2008 and hopefully arrange a launch party with a live performance.

More updates coming soon.


Friday, 15 August 2008


We are now headlining the Club Noir warm-up show at The Purple Turtle on bank holiday Sunday 24th August. Gary Numan will be DJ'ing.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Firstly - compliments to the chef for last night's Thai banquet (you know who you are!)  khob-kun-Ka :)
We recorded some STONKING music yesterday, and also filmed ourselves in action Wehey!  Keep your eyes on this blog for video footage, coming soon.
The second half of 'Tranquil Eyes' is in the bag, and 'Automatic' is also coming along very nicely.  Yes, Mel & Kim eat yer heart out.
I'm now writing another new track, called 'Pleasurely That Machine' which is about half done.  I think this might be the last sprint to the finishing line...but saying that, I'm so chuffed with what we're producing at the moment, I kind of don't want it to end!!
Sarah X
 p.s. News about our warm-up for Gary Newman this coming bank hol weekend, will be posted shortly.

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Thursday, 31 July 2008


Another remix we have recently done... If you recognise the sounds it's because it's all based on the same sound set for "Dirty Youth"

Click here to have a listen, in-fact right click and you can download it, it's free, have it, no really have it I'm feeling generous today. I've made it sound too much like Erasure apparently!


Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Sorry for the lack of posts recently, it's been pretty hot in the studio so progress in the last few weeks has been slow with the album. I think we are still on course for an Autumn release probably late October early November so at the most a month later than we planned.

We are at that stage where we can see the shape of the album and we are now trying to balance it out. I think we need a couple of stomping tracks to complete a really well rounded record. For me the tracks are all pretty fresh, they define our sound yet capture what we hope was the appeal for people who loved 53 D.

In August we will be doing another big vocal recording session, our next podcast and headlining the new acts stage at Retrofest so quite a bit to look forward to.

blog soon.

Matt x


A big thank you to everyone who came to our gig at the Orwell Bar in Islington last weekend.
It was HOT!  I had a right dab on' (as they say in Sheffield).
I thought the Orwell Bar was pretty cool, and Bedsitland has the makings of a very successful night.  It was edgy and gothic, but a lot of fun.  The audience were more like a 'cast' with loads of people dressed up in authentic, 80's fashion (think Joy Division, rather than Agadoo). Apparently, many of them were extras in the TV series 'Ashes to Ashes'...
But i wouldn't describe it as a strictly retro night, as loads of contemporary electro / dance choons were played.
There was also some interesting original artwork displayed around the place - some of which was on display at the Royal Academy recently.


So anyway - thanks for comin'!  It ROCKED :-)

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Friday, 25 July 2008


This time last year I had the pleasure of visiting the Xenomania HQ, Xenomania is the production company formed by Brian Higgins a writer a producer who made his name with the Cher song "Do you believe", not holding that against him he went on to write and produce for Dannii Minogue and more recently written most of the hits for Girls Aloud.

One of his new projects is a Norwegian artist called Annie, her first single "Chewing Gum" was pretty pants but I have to say her new single "I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me" is proper electro pop and the Soul Seekerz remix is great.

Check her out on myspace.


We are playing at Bedsitland - The Orwell Bar, Essex Road, Isslington, London

I think we are going on at 10.30, hopefully see you there.


Monday, 21 July 2008


Me in a shirt and jacket


OMG - I've been in my new pad for nearly a month and I still have no internet!  Aaaagggghhhhhhh!!!!!
Fabulous living in a brand-new place, but then you have to set up all your services from scratch which is WELL annoying.


Ok, step back, deep breath....worse things have happened at sea ;-)


Should be another week or so before BT can sort me out.  I really wonder what we all did before the www.
I actually feel quite isolated without it - how freaky is that?!


So anyway, our Matt has jetted off to Pad-Stein in Cornwall.  I look forward to sampling SOME seafood delights, on his return (HINT).
And there's a strange 'celebrity chef' theme running through our lives, as I was at a cocktail bar called 'The Runaway Girl' in Sheffield on Saturday night and they were filming 'Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares'.
So watch out for me in the background, drinking black Russians and being a bit, shall we say, animated (!)


SO - hands up who's coming to the Orwell Bar on Friday?  Can't wait :-)


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Sunday, 20 July 2008


I'm away for a few days in Cornwall treating myself to a cooking course at Rick Steins. Sarah has been pretty quiet because she currently has no Internet access. We have a gig in London on Friday 25th at a new night called Bedsitland, hopefully see some of you there.


Friday, 11 July 2008


Found this knocking around on my HD so I thought I would share it with you.

It was a remix I did yonks ago for a band called Phenol

The Contract


Continuing on the non-related-to-music, food theme (Matt and I are both Cancerians, so are obsessed with our stomachs), thought I'd share with you a nice new restaurant.
If you're near to the Rugby area, and like your food hot and interesting, check out 'La Casa Loco'  Fab restaurant, and has it's own off-shoot coffee and cocktail bar called 'Choco Loco'.  So it all feels a bit like being on your holidays!
Really enjoyed my meal there last night, I tried:

  • Anchoa con Olivio Picante
  • Mussels
  • Muchos Nachos
  • Pan Fried Fillet of Yellow Tailed Catfish
  • some kind of waffle-y desert with butterscotch
    - all bloomin' lovely.

Back to music; we signed off the press release for Retrofest 2008 yesterday, so watch out for us coming to a newspaper near you.


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Thursday, 10 July 2008


We have often talked about making our songs more literal to perhaps get them included in a commercial or film, but this is just ridiculous.

I'm now demonstrating how Gareth Hunt would shake those beans.


Monday, 7 July 2008


A recording update for you:


We had a short, but sweet NK attic session on Saturday afternoon :-)
Finished some last little bits for 'Goodbye'  which is sounding fabulous - a real pop smasher.
This track is sounding very Northern Kind, but with influences of Annie Lennox / Erasure and even Coldplay.
Think you're gonna LOVE it.

We had our first proper bash at 'Where to from Here', this was the first time Matt had properly heard my ideas for this. This track for me, is dark and eerie, and I want the vocals to reflect the de-humanised vibe of the lyrics.  I'm very intrigued to see which direction this takes, v exciting!

I'm also working on a collaboration *TOP SECRET* - and spreading a bit of the ol' Heeley magic around. I'll tell you more soon.


Oh yeah - and 10/10 for Matt's curry cooking skills.  Nom nom nom.....


Sarah x

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Thursday, 3 July 2008


Starting the final push for completing the album now, this weekend we will be adding vocals to 'Where to from here', 'Goodbye' and recording the main vocals for 'Automatic'. I have written lyrics for a track that was previously called Yes/No, I have sung a guide version of these but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to let Sarah hear it. I might just write the lyrics down for her and play the vocal melody using a panpipe sound.

I have been lent by Focusright the ISA One This is a dedicated mic pre-amp that has the potential of opening the vocal sound of our mic and changing its characteristic hopefully to improve the sound we get.


Friday, 27 June 2008


Matt wants us to cover 'a certain Softcell track' for our upcoming gig at Bedsitland.


Having listened to the track, I can only surmise that this is because his chosen track can be easily played with one finger.

I think if we are going to go down the rocky-road of cover versions, we should look to cover tracks that stretch us and stimulate us on a personal and artistic level.


Sarah x


Wednesday, 25 June 2008


I sometimes find working on my own quite un-inspring, my studio was previously quite accessible but following the addition to our household I now work in a semi-converted loft space. Therefore feedback on the progress of tracks as I'm working hardly ever happens. Sometimes it would be 'oh I don't like that sound' or 'that sounds weird' would often mean I would re-evaluate the track and often improve it.

I think the songs definitely reflect the mood of the environment and I actually quite like that, I think this album will have a darker feel which is something we both discussed and agreed upon at the start of writing.

Sarah generally trusts my judgement regarding the production and I have previously left her to write about subjects that are personal to her. There has been some reversal of roles recently as with one of the tracks I felt the vocals weren't working, I offered to write some lyrics as there was a subject I really wanted to get off my chest, I thought this would be the easier option rather than getting Sarah to write something different to an existing idea, not sure it went down that well though. I have never written a complete song so we'll see what happens.


Tuesday, 24 June 2008


The Presets - Apocalypso

I first of heard of these guys a while after seeing a video of 'The Girl & The Sea', I really liked that track and thought Damon Albarn was the vocalist, but he wasn't. The material I heard around that time seemed very disjointed so I didn't buy any albums.

This album is by a long way the best thing they have done.

Tracks like 'This Boy's In Love' , 'A New Sky', 'Yippiyo-Ay' & 'If I Know You' are really great songs so make it worth buying the complete album.

Parts of it reminds me of Underworld, The Knife, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem, Nitzer Ebb and even Blancmange especially the retro drum and synth sounds.

The vocals range between very melodic and chant like with perhaps even a tint of John Lydon in places.

You should have a listen here

Monday, 23 June 2008


...We do like to be beside the seaside!

Just got back from a sunny, long weekend in Norfolk with my GORGEOUS family.

Fish and chips on the seafront, fresh crab and ice-cream (not all at once).  Bliss.


Brilliant news about Retrofest 2008.  Can't wait - but now have the usual dilemma of what to wear.  Is it possible to buy electro-wellies?  Could spray some silver I guess.


Oh, and a very happy birthday to our' Matt. He doesn't look bad for 40!


;-) x x



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Friday, 20 June 2008


We have been invited to play at this years Retrofest in Scotland on August 31st. Last year Retrofest featured The Human League & ABC and this year the line-up is equally as exciting. Boy George, Howard Jones, Paul Young, Midge Ure, China Crisis, Kajagoogoo, Boney M, Blow Monkeys, The Christians, Kim Wilde, The Bangles, Peter Andre plus many more.

Obviously making a weekend of it so we get to enjoy the bands on the Saturday before our slot on the Sunday.

Click here to visit the Retrofest site.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


Had a very good night in London, meeting up with the EY crowd, discussing all things electro and topped off by meeting the legendary producer Gareth Jones just minutes before seeing Yazoo for the first time (and probably the last).

I gifted Gareth our album on iTunes last year and he sent a very nice email back, although no mention of listening to the album :-( However he did remember when we spoke yesterday evening. Gareth has been diagnosed with a minor (his words) cancer and is therefore taking time off. He is writing a very inspirational and candid blog that can be found here Needless to say I will be now regularly reading his journal and of course wishing him a speedy recovery.

More updates coming today and some exciting live news.


This is the EY gang with Gareth Jones. I really wasn't drunk although it looks like I'm doing a good impression.

Monday, 16 June 2008


First day back and I have to say I'm not enjoying it. It's been great catching up on emails and the Podcast seems to have gone down really well.

I spent a blissful week on top of a mountain in southern Spain wishing I could relocate my studio there. My next holiday will be after the album is finished, so I better get cracking.

Looking forward to Yazoo on Wednesday :-)


Sunday, 15 June 2008


Breaking news! 

We are in talks with Leicester Sound about playing a one-off gig in Leicester City Centre this summer, in aid of Happy Health 2008.  This will be a Saturday day-time shindig - and there's even talk of an exclusive NK radio jingle to promote the event! 

Watch this space for further details.............I'll dust off my nurses outfit in the meantime ;-)

(Sarah) x

Sunday, 8 June 2008


OK, Just completed editing out first podcast.

General answering of questions and additional chit chat, plus a several tracks.

Track 1 - MINITHIN - Between Love & Hate
Track 2 - NORTHERN KIND - Original idea for Dirty Youth
Track 3 - NORTHERN KIND - Original idea for Into the blue
Track 4 - NORTHERN KIND - Snippet of Goodbye
Track 5 - NORTHERN KIND - Snippet of Where to from here

Hope you enjoy it.

Oh and the link is here

I'm off on holiday now for a week, over to Sarah...


Thursday, 5 June 2008


Ahhhh...a bit of sunshine at last! 

I'm haunted by memories of Sheffield last summer where I think it rained every day for about 3 months.  And that is no exaggeration.  I was walking home one afternoon, with Sea King helicopters zooming around overhead, it was like living on the set of The Day After Tomorrow!

So this burst of sunshine got me thinking about summer songs - and all the things I love about British summertime.

My definitive summer songs:

'Holiday' Madonna - 1983, on holiday somewhere in Cornwall with my family.  I have a feeling that it was on this holiday, that I sang in public for the first time, in some kind of talent competition

'Come into my Life' Joyce Simms, 1988, in Leicester it was all about snogging boys, smoking fags and staying at the funfair till after 9pm!

'Step On' The Happy Mondays, 1990 (what a decade!!)  this was the start of things to come and a tune that never fails to make me smile.  This was the summer of the house party - which for the record, was all Tara Simms' fault...(sorry about the Black Maria mum)

'Come Home' James - 1990, on holiday with Debbie in North Devon - freedom!

'Screamadelica' Primal Scream - 1994, this whole album reminds me of an awesome summer and an amazing beach party in Norfolk for my birthday, that was nearly big enough to be classed as a rave

'Killing Me Softly' The Fugees - 1996, happy happy times at DeMontfort University, devising theatre shows that the general public didn't have a hope-in-hell of understanding

I HEART Summer!!!


Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Right so, our first Podcast has been recorded. We managed to waffle on for an hour and that's without the music so it's gonna take some editing. I will have it online for the weekend though and hopefully condense it down to maybe 30 minutes.

We answered questions from Jens in Germany, Robby in Brussels, Gary in Manchester, Michael in Sweden & Rob in Glasgow.

We will playing a pre NK track that myself and Sarah did when Sarah was in Minithin, the first versions of "Into the blue" & "Dirty Youth" plus a couple of snippets from "Where to from here" and "Goodbye" new tracks from our forthcoming album.


Monday, 2 June 2008


Thanks to everyone so far that has sent questions in for our podcast, we now have more than enough to be going on with so some of them might have to be in the next one.

Hopefully have it ready to post by the weekend.

Thanks, Matt

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I'm getting so slack at posting here, good sign though I suppose as it means I'm working on the album, and indeed I am :-)

'Where to from here' has now got a kind of Hot Chip feel about it, mostly generated by some cool sounds coming off the JP8v. Not really been that impressed with this version. I think they messed around with it too much by adding the modulation and effects matrix. Most of the presets have effects added which puts me off when I'm trying to write parts, YES I generally start with presets because I usually have a sound in my head that I am hoping to achieve so presets always offer the quickest route. But I always tweak the hell of them. I have tended to use the ES1 & ES2 as I can work with those fairly quickly but having purchased the V collection I really want to start using other synths a lot more.

WIth all the Yazoo excitement I have found myself dreaming about owning a Pro-One again, Mooger has one and I'm pretty jealous. I just hope someone produces a virtual software version. Most of Upstairs at Erics was done using a Pro-One. 'Step Back' on 53ºN was all done just using the ES1 synth in Logic.

We are planning a Podcast pretty soon and will play some of the new tracks along with waffling on about what we are up to. Not sure it will be that interesting but if you have any questions let us know.


Sunday, 25 May 2008


Right that's quite enough reference to Eurovision....did anyone actually watch that?  I think NK should represent Britain next year.
Much more important events yesterday - the recording of another new track for album number2, called 'Where to from Here'.  I've just been chatting to the fabulous Mr Blue over on my myspace page - as follows:
I'm soooo excited about the new NK material - it's real quality, progressive pop music. I'm having a lot of fun with the vocals, and encouraging Matt to contribute some lyrics of his own too which is interesting.
I'd say Dirty Youth and Into the Blue are pretty good indicators of what's to come. I would say that our second album is less 'of it's type' (pure electro-pop) and has moved more towards a Madonna / Goldfrapp-y kind of vibe.
The NK style hasn't been diluted in any way though...we're almost a year on from 53 degrees North and have really put our stamp on to the latest material.

About physical copies of Xerotic - there have been some hold-ups in the production line. I agree, you can't beat a 'real' cd and we will do our best to get these out there asap. Thanks for bearing with us.
So I'm off out into the rain now, to inspect my mum's new chickens.  Tadar tweacle x

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Tuesday, 20 May 2008


We have added the EP online as a free download, scroll down to the right of this page to get the high quality DRM free MP3s.

Matt & Sarah x


I quite like this, it sounds really old but it's quite cool

Friday, 16 May 2008


of Yazoo on Jonathon Ross... erm

It's typical of synth music really, I thought it sounded pretty weak. Compared to The Tings Tings last week who did sound great I think they could have made more of the live sound. It really just sounded to me like a live feed from Vince's set-up and Alison going through effects with some audience noise thrown over the top. Obviously the Reel 2 Reel was just for show.

The mix and version of Don't Go was pretty faithful, I just really want to hear it LOUD man.

Still, I will wack it up as video online tomorrow at some point.


1.1 OCD

Phew!  It's really been annoying me, that all the blog titles are in upper case apart from my thread called 'thank you', which (in a moment of madness) I typed in lower case.
Now, it is done.  We have knocked the offending title off the visible list of blog threads.
Now let that be an end to it.

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1.0 OCD

I'll explain this in a minute.
Sarah x

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Thursday, 15 May 2008


I'm in that "Desperate for inspiration" zone at the minute and searching for music to help me steer the album along. I'm glad to say that most of the stuff that is flicking my switch is new. In particular these three songs are on the top of the list.

The Presets - This Boy's in Love
Ladytron - Runaway
Cut Copy - Out There On the Ice

Also looking forward to the full albums from The Presets, Ladytron & not forgetting Melnyk. His new single "Revolutions" was posted onto myspace today.

This is my take on music that inspires. At certain points during my life my spirits have been lifted and my mood changed for the better by music, I'm not a gloomy sort of person and I would like to think I have a relatively stable mood however when I come across certain tracks and get a definite feeling of elation when hearing them I get a buzz/high or whatever it is, it lifts my spirits and makes me feel much better. I'm not sure that music has the same effect on everyone but for me once I experienced such changes in mood it becomes like a drug and I constantly search for music like this.

These are some of the memorable tracks that have lifted my spirits, I have tried to put them in some kind of chronological order.

The Beach Boys - God only knows
Roxy Music - Dance Away
Abba - On and On and On
The Buggles - Video Killed the Radio Star
Joy Division - Atmosphere
Depeche Mode - New Life
Kraftwerk - Computer Love
Altered Images - I Could be Happy
Soft Cell -Besitter
Altered Images - See Those Eyes
OMD - Souvenir
Soft Cell -Torch
Thomas Dolby - One of our submarines
Thompson Twins - Doctor Doctor
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
Eurythmics - Here comes the Rain Again
Kajagoogoo - Hang on Now
Blancmange - Don't Tell Me
Pet Shop Boys - Loves come quickly
Pet Shop Boys - I Want to wake up
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - The Power Of Love
Grace Jones - I've Seen that Face Before
Propaganda - The Chase
The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
ABC - Be Near Me
Hard Corps - Je Suis Passee
Brother Beyond - Be my Twin
Duran Duran - Come Undone
Radiohead - High & Dry (ok this should be Radiohead)
Keane - Sunshine
I AM X - Simple Girl
Coldplay - Square One
The Knife - We share our Mothers Health

OK I have realised I have started something now, because I find these songs so difficult to ignore I have ended up listening to them whilst compiling this list. So for now this is it. It's most definitely going to grow! As you will see, not much DM, Yazoo or Erasure. I guess it's because they are so engrained in me that their songs span more than one concentrate time period, I'm sure I will add them. But for now as it's late this is my list... more to follow.

Monday, 12 May 2008


Rob, Robert, Chi, Mooger, Wout, Ann, Jonathan, Paul, Ringo, Kirstie, Tom, Julian, Jonathan, Martin, Alan, Cordu, Ben, Sarah Schmoof, Baz, Ruth, Charlie, Noush and EVERYONE who came to the Electronically Yours bash, a big thank you!  We had a lorra-lorra fun.

For me, it was especially a treat to sing some of the new stuff and try out the delectable mega-mix.  Love it!  Well done to Orac for a splendid night, and I look forward to the next one!
Now we're gonna push on to the next album - oddly enough, I just stumbled across an email from last year, with Matt's album title ideas:
  • Made in England
  • Surviving the nightlife
  • Safe Inside
  • Cold light of day
  • Sexy Beast!
  • Dance Away
  • 53 Degrees North
    (Longitude for Sheffield)
Also - it occured to me today, that we have not applied to play at the Summer Sundae musical festival in Leicester, which is madness!  We're going to submit a very late application tomorrow, but if anyone knows anyone who can pull a few strings, lemme know!  Alternatively, we could start a myspace petition to get us on (
Lovelyjubbly! Sarah x
*Thanks to Mr Blue for the pic*

Saturday, 10 May 2008


We were both buzzing after we performed last Friday night and it was great to get so much positive feedback. Thanks to everyone that came and said hello and even better sang along to the songs.

I started to write this post Saturday, finish it on Sunday and now it's Monday - I decided to drive and therefore didn't get home until 4.00am, still feeling pretty tired to I'm off to bed to watch AVP2 :-)

Going to start updating this a little more often as I will be back on the new tracks as from tomorrow.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Less that 48hrs to the EY VOL 1.0 Launch, whilst much has gone in to the preparation for this night I don't think we will be playing live until our new album is finished. I haven't really spent anytime during the past few weeks on anything new as I have been concentrating on getting the older material freshened up. As an older threaded stated I upgraded my system a little after 53 D and during that process patches and some samples were lost. I tend to use synths to generate the kick, snare & percussion sounds but to lessen the load on the CPU I often sample them and create a drum patch within the ESX-24 sampler in Logic.

So when opening up logic files for the old songs many of the sounds were not playing within the ESX, I think Apple had changed the location of the sample files between Logic 7 & 8 and in tidy mode I must have deleted them. Because I wanted to change the arrangements working with the old backing tracks would have been messy so I have used the arrangement files but have created most of the sounds from scratch. A ball ache but nonetheless worthwhile in the end.

For those of you attending the night on Friday I hope you enjoy our set and don't forget to say hello.


P.S I was checking up on a band I discovered a little while ago called The Presets, I featured one of their songs "The Girl & The Sea" on my music non-suck podcast. Anyway they have posted a track from their new album. It's out in Australia but isn't released until June 23rd, my Birthday :-) in the UK

Check them out, I really like them

Monday, 5 May 2008


First off, Zurich is in Switzerland not Germany so no sausage to be had, I did have a nice bit of schwienerschnitzel though. Considering Switzerland is the home of classical graphic design I was quite surprised by the lack of noticeable national identity.

Anyway I have been rather busy working on the mixes for the EY gig next Friday, we had a quick rehearsal today and everything sounded OK'ish. It was rather hot in the studio, loft, attic... OK dimly lit, poor ventilated, inadequately insulated hell hole.

I'm not a fan of the name BAD ADDICT either, regardless of the rock connotation it just doesn't roll of the tongue. I chose the last name so the title for the next album is Sarah's choice, as long as I like it :-)

OK so I'm off back to the attic to get cracking with the knacking.


Sunday, 4 May 2008


Well, I've had a hectic bank holiday so far - and I'm now limbering up for some hot, dirty, electro attic-action at Matt's house tomorrow.  Nothing untoward - just a nice bit of recording to keep us going!  Going to have a bash at Tranquil Eyes and Where to from Here, very exciting!!  I'm really looking forward to hearing the progress of Goodbye - and the mega mix for our live show on Friday.
Will report back soon.
I still like the name BAD ADDICT for our forthcoming album - what does anyone think?
BTW - I've uploaded all our lyrics to my myspace page (sarahheeleyuk) if you fancy a read.  I know that some of you are into that sort of thing ;-)
Trying to encourage Matt to step out of his geek comfort zone and write us some lyrics....i just know there's a budding Morrissey in there somewhere.
I haven't really heard much from Matt, since his jolly to the German sausage factory (!) 

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Monday, 28 April 2008


is the latest song to be completed for the album.

Of course it's very electronic, but it doesn't remind me of anything so I guess it's distinctly NK.

Also started the new live arrangements for the EY event, previously the songs in our live set where pretty similar to the album versions but through boredom we decided to revamp them. As Sarah puts it, give them the "Jive Bunny" touch, don't let that put you off though.

I was asked last week what do I play on stage, that night the answer to the questions was nothing, because of a technical hitch, I had taken the wrong laptop to a gig and therefore no software was installed. Fortunately I had a copy of the backing tracks in iTunes as I burnt a CD for Sarah to rehearse to. I therefore mimed the whole thing whilst loosing a stone in sweat.

The NK live set-up consists of Logic with a stereo backing track consisting usually of the percussion and bass sounds plus any difficult sequences or arpeggiated lines. We usually keep some of Sarahs backing vocals or harmonies in to add a fuller vocal sound. I then have tracks prepared with the various sounds that I play live, I use my controller keyboard to select the tracks which have the relevant AU software plug-in loaded. I can then tweak the sounds using the controllers on my keyboard. I also use my Korg MS20 controller with the stand alone software application running separately on another machine. This is just like having an polyphonic MS20 synth. The main Mac connects through to a MOTU 828 MKIII interface, along with the vocal Mic and the output from the MS20 software. These are mixed live with FX added to Sarahs vocal.

Goodbye is a fitting title for this post a I'm now off to Zurich for a few days, Goodbye! Matt

Thursday, 24 April 2008


I'm constantly looking, searching, listening for new music and occasionally I stumble across something that stands out. A month ago I noticed a video posted up on a design forum I visit. It was for a track called "Divebomb" from a band called "The Whip"

I've had the album for a few weeks now and I must say it's pretty good.

It's a mixture of LCD Soundsystem, New Order, Gus Gus, Ladytron, Chemical Brothers. Perhaps on the outer edges of electro but still a great album.

Standout tracks - "Trash", "Frustration", "Fire", "Divebomb" & "Sister Siam" These were all previewed on iTunes before making the purchase. Five tracks out of ten made buying the full album a better choice.

I started thinking about how I use to discover music back in the days before the internet, I guess it was reading NME, Melody Maker & Smash Hits. Obviously you couldn't really hear any tracks before buying something so more often than not I would end up buying something that I hated. However because I had spent hard earned cash from paper rounds or glass collecting at the local working mens club I would end up playing the music to death in any sort of attempt to make myself like it. I think this broadened my horizons somewhat and I'm glad of it.

The only downside of discovering music via the internet now is that you get to hear the music before making a purchase. I know this sounds completely mad but there was something nice about buying a whole album before hearing it and then discovering something wonderful.

Take for example the new Ladytron album, Rob from EY has been telling me it's great and he can't stop listening to it. I want it now, I don't want to hear poor quality versions on Myspace, if I listen to them too much I might not buy the album when it comes out in June.

I'm not sure what to do about letting people hear our new stuff, In a way I want people to buy the album and listen to it from start to finish. Mmmmm what to do?


Monday, 21 April 2008


Buy your ticket NOW!


1980 - The Spinners
1982 - Duran Duran
1983 - Depeche Mode
1983 - Kajagoogoo
1984 - Depeche Mode
1986 - Erasure
1986 - OMD
1986 - Depeche Mode
1987 - Human League
1988 - Erasure
1988 - Depeche Mode
1988 - Bronski Beat
1990 - Kraftwerk
1990 - Nitzer Ebb
1990 - The Who
1990 - The Shamen
1990 - Depeche Mode
1991 - Caberet Voltaire
1992 - Madonna
1993 - Depeche Mode
1993 - Erasure
1993 - Kraftwerk
1996 - Erasure
1997 - The Lightning Seeds
1998 - Lighthouse Family ( I can't believe that!)
2001 - Depeche Mode
2001 - Goldfrapp
2003 - Pet Shop Boys
2003 - The Human League
2003 - Goldfrapp
2004 - Duran Duran
2004 - Erasure
2004 - Goldfrapp
2004 - Karl Bartos
2005 - Depeche Mode
2006 - The Prodigy
2006 - Client
2007 - Matinee Club
2007 - Marsheaux
2008 - I AM X
2008 - The Human League


P.S When Depeche Mode play, I generally see them on all of their UK dates


I really enjoyed the Human League gig in Sheffers last night, was very interesting to see Phil doing his thang.  The 'girls' made me chuckle too, very glam...
I would definitely add this gig to those filed under 'Not a true fan, but I'm glad I can say that I saw them'.  Along with Jacko, and Iggy Pop.
I thought the new Carling Academy venue scrubbed up well, and I like the fact that the League referenced the infamous Roxy nightclub, the venue's original use.  Lovely grubby Sheffield heritage, a bit like the egg box building.
It was great to hear them do Love Action, as we do a mean cover of this track.  If you get a chance to see us live soon, you will hear this one (guest vocals courtesy of Winny-Winston).
Ooh - I forgot Chromeo and Bonde do Role on my gig list.  A hazy but enjoyable memory from The Plug last summer.
Happy Monday!
Sarah x

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Friday, 18 April 2008


With our recent spate of seeing live bands, and having drunk a very large glass of wine, I thought it would be a nice random excercise to see if I can think of all the live bands I've ever seen.  The list is in some sort of loose chronological order.  So here goes;
The Wonderstuff
Pop Will Eat Itself
Neds Atomic Dustbin
Bon Jovi
Primal Scream
Michael Jackson
Jesus Jones
Queen (minus Freddie)
Iggy Pop
The Charlatans
Robbie Williams
The Verve
James Brown
Macy Gray
Ocean Colour Scene
Jools Holland
Sam Brown
The Darkness
Scissor Sisters
Hayseed Dixie
Justin Timberlake (Annie's fault)
Lamar (Jennie's fault)
Bands I would LIKE to see include;
Hot Chip
Paul McCartney
Fat Boy Slim
Happy Mondays
Of course there's loads more too.
There was quite a large chunk of my life (1994-97) when I was far too busy raving to go and see 'proper bands'.  This was though a significant musical period for me, from what I can remember...I went to a lot of clubs and Renaissance events, i think (?)
Sarah x

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and we are going to see The Human League on Sunday, so I though I would post our instrumental version of 'Love Action'. We have yet to finish the vocals for this. I actually think this is better than HLs live version, but then I would say that. :-)

UPDATE, I removed the link as it was annoying me, if you want to hear Love Action follow this

Tuesday, 15 April 2008



Finally been diagnosed with an inner ear infection. I was beginning to worry I had permanent damage as I have tried every decongestant and earwax softening treatment going. Sarah also advised on a Hopi ear candling session that I was booked for this weekend but finally after a good poke around the Dr said it's an infection.

So hopefully within the next few days when the antibiotics kick in mixing can start again, just in time for my ears to be buggered from the Human League gig. Yey!

Rob from EY has asked for a editorial for the site so gonna be working on that tonight!


Monday, 14 April 2008


Embarrassingly, my favourite Human League song was 'Temptation' - that is until someone recently corrected me that this was actually Heaven 17 :-(
Oh dear...but then I have met Pink Floyd, Lemmie out of Motorhead, Fletch out of DM and Jimmy Page (on different occasions)  and didn't have a clue who they were either.  Welcome to Sarah's world.
I've also regularly danced around Tom Jones while he ate his dinner - but ask me about this some other time.
And yes, I knew Phil Oakey in a professional capacity - funny how things work out!  He was always extremely pleasant and seemed like quite a gentle, un-assuming kind of guy (quite the opposite of Sid Owen - RICKAAAAYYYYY).  Mr Oakey always had a twinkle in his eye, and liked a nice cup of coffee.  Although I should add, I wasn't all that sure of who he was at first, naturally.
x x

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Well I have been pretty shit for updating this for a few weeks, sorry!

Getting the balance right between work, family and NK is sometimes difficult and the past few weeks have seen NK suffer. Not feeling particularly well has also not helped as the studio space basically has the ambient temperature of the outside. The last few weeks has been pretty cold so working in that space is not that appealing, if you think about the scene in Blade Runner where the guy works on the eyes, well that's how it feels.

So this Sunday we are going to see HL in Sheffield. Sarah has never seen them before but knows Mr Oakey in a former professional capacity so it will be interesting to see what she thinks. I have drawn the short straw of driving, in fact I'm taking Sarah, Baz from Electrobelle and Dave Smith the DJ from HFM and his wife.

I thought I would write about my thoughts on HL and how they have influenced me.

Embarrassingly the first record I owned of HLs was the 12" for Keep Feeling - Fascination. Of course I had heard the singles from Dare but for some odd reason I was never really drawn to them. I was a real Mute head in the early 80's and didn't really get into anything outside of the Mute label.

However, that changed on a holiday to Jersey in 1983. At the airport I saw the Dare album on cassette and having had a Walkman for my Birthday I persuaded my mum to buy me the album. I must say that pretty much stayed on my ears for the whole two weeks and I was slightly annoyed that I hadn't bothered with it before then. From then I have bought pretty much everything they have done.

I think HL suffered from the success of Dare which is understandable considering their age. They famously binned off Martin Rushent thinking they knew best!

Hysteria seemed so stark in relation to Dare, much of this was caused by the learning behind the technology. They decided to use the Synclavier system, something that Daniel Miller and Depeche also decided upon. I think however the missing ingredient was someone who knew how to operate that vast machine. DM had Gareth Jones who had become an expert with that system. Whilst HL should have been evolving their sound I think personally they struggled to achieve anything like the highs of Dare.

Crash I thought was a good album with some really nice tracks, however they hardly had any influence in the production and for them it was a lifeline with Virgin, without the success of that album I don't think HL would have survived. It clearly catapulted them to bigger things but Romantic I have to say was pants. Octopus and Secrets I think are both great albums but for a band of their age I would have liked them to have released more original albums.

Apart from Dare I find it difficult to pinpoint any particular identity in terms of sound for HL. It's clear that they still trade off the success of Dare which is fine as it was such a landmark album, but I think in the grand scheme of things they could have achieved so much more.

That said I think HL are probably third on my list of influences and I look forward to any new material.


Monday, 7 April 2008


Yes I was struck down with the flu so apologies for the lack of updates recently. Progress with the tracks in the past week has also been non existent. So I thought I would give you a quick update with the state of the new tracks.

Dirty Youth
Into The Blue
(You should have now heard as they are on myspace)

At the moment this has a "Close to the edit" vibe the Art of Noise track, not sure what direction this is going in but I think it will be a stomper.

Quite close to the original idea, could be a main track for the album but quite a bit to do on this.

I'm loving this one, quite a complex sequence and of parts happening and it's nearly there but needs a few more tweaks.

Deadpan vocals, very Client like but I think this will develop into quite a strong track.

Probably the most commercial sounding idea, Sarah is experimenting with the timing and phrasing of the vocals but again I hope to do this real justice when it comes to the final arrangement and mix

This is very Kraftwerk like at the minute, not sure which way this will end up but I'd to keep it that way. Probably the first track of the album.

There are also another two new tracks on the way however these have not ben recorded yet and to be honest I haven't heard what Sarah has done with them yet. Don't want to create a production bottle neck so it's going to be a few weeks before these get recorded.

I'm quite encouraged by what we have so far though, the idea that became Dirty Youth I though initially was pants, but I finally managed to take that somewhere I'm fairly pleased with. We will also be putting a new version of Tears & Tinsel on the album.



Watch out for those tumble-weeds!
A quiet week for us;  Matt's been laid up with the flu and I have been in the middle of moving house, so things are a bit subdued at the moment!  We are gearing up for our next gigs, and really looking forward to them. Although - WHAT TO WEAR??  I need a dress to rival Matt's Michelin man outfit, a proper glow in the dark jobby.  Any ideas?
There's a second London date in the pipeline - will let you know the details as soon as they are confirmed.
ttfn x

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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Thank You

Just wanted to quickly swing by and thank everyone for the amazing feedback on the two new Xerotic EP tracks.  A big thank you to everyone who is posting reviews and comments - keep them coming!
All of your comments are totally inspiring and make all the 'hard work' (hah!) worthwhile ;-)
If you like the Xerotic tracks, you're going to LOVE our new album.  Really exciting stuff!
Have a nice day,
Love Sarah x

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Tuesday, 1 April 2008


...from the XEROTIC-EP have been posted up to myspace.

DIrty Youth & Into The Blue.

Hope you like them.

Sunday, 30 March 2008


After the I AM X gig my hearing was shot so I've a had a rest this weekend. I'm also feeling pretty uninspired at the minute so I need to get back into the "zone".

The EY VOL 1 Launch party has been announced, can't wait, we haven't played live for a while. I'm going to revamp the older tracks and beef them up a little.

Big report on the tracks so far very soon.


Thursday, 27 March 2008

I AM X = E

Seriously I have never enjoyed a gig so much. I'm never one for
joining in at the front, I'm much more the type to stand at the back
tapping my foot.

But they had so much energy on stage, no wonder they are so thin. What
I particuarly love about them is the way they adapt their songs for
live, stripped down to the bare basics of kick, snare and bass. The
drum kit was simply kick, snare and cymbals.

I'm feeling quite inspired yet again by I AM X

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

LYRICS: 260308/DY

Dirty Youth
She sees a cute boy in the corner
She wants to be his date tonight
He licks his lips and thinks he oughta
Buy her a drink
Tell her what he thinks
Treat her right
The lights are low
Anything goes
Meet at the disco
I'll be smoking, while I'm waiting
Dirty Youth
Meet at the disco
Dirty Youth
She's dizzy at the thought of dancing
Her head is spinning round and round
He's stood at the bar sideways-glancing
Danger, danger
Gonna hit the ground

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LYRICS: 260308/ITB

Into the Blue
Don't let go
Dark and deep
See you reaching out
We are falling
Into the blue
Last year
it seemed so clear
now i disappear in waves
Hold the thought of me
Hold your dreams
You will shine
See you reaching out
We are falling
Into the blue
It's clear
it feels so weird
to be out here all alone
Hold the thought of me

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Tuesday, 25 March 2008


NK HQ is basically my house so when my daughter was born the spare room became the nursery, fortunately my studio has it's own dedicated space, now when Sarah comes over to record she gets the camp bed. We lost a vital plug for last camp bed so Zoé went and bought a really cool integrated sleeping bag/air bed, it looked so comfy and cosy I really wanted to have a go, I can't really explain what it is about sleeping bags but I think I have some kind of twisted fetish for them, nothing pervy though.

stay with me...

In 1990 ish I was walking by the local Waterstones and noticed a long queue of people, I realised there was a celebrity doing a book signing, so I joined the queue. It was Brian Blessed signing his then new book The Turquoise Mountain, about his attempt ( albeit failed) to climb Everest. When I got to the front of the queue it was my turn to meet him. I vaguely knew who he was but up until that point had no interest in him or his book. Anyway he said in his big bellowing voice, "are you interested in climbing", I replied "no I want to be a popstar" so anyway he wrote "Follow your own dreams" in the book. I read the book and became obsessed with the thought of camping and climbing, so I bought a sleeping bag and slept in it for about two months. Since then I have always wanted to go camping but Zoë hates the idea of not being able to plug her hair straighteners in.

So anyway this week I am stopping over at Sarah's after the IAMX gig in Sheffers and guess what!, I'm taking the ReadyBed™

This obviously has nothing to do with making music, so to add - The first two tracks to be released from our new album have been sent off to get mastered, these will become the Xerotic EP, I can't wait to hear the results.

INTO THE BLUE - is very different for us. Think of Goldfrapp (Felt Mountain) mixed with a little Depeche (Music for the Masses) - Currently my favorite track to emerge so far. I think this is quite a personal song Sarah.

DIRTY YOUTH - a pumping track, very NK, I can't say it reminds me of anything in particular.

Big day tomorrow, mega pitch in London so I'm off to bed early, fortunately the Lost Boys is on - What a great film and soundtrack, the 80's were great.


Sunday, 23 March 2008


Snow?  At Easter??  What is the world coming to...
Still looking on the bright side, I've got loads of choc and am having a nice, relaxing Easter time.  Wrote another track yesterday, with the working title tranquil eyes.  I love it - and can't wait to get cracking (soz - Easter pun). 
Ciao for now, Sarah x


Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Well, I have finally recovered from the game of cock or ball that Matt subjected me to last weekend, in between recording our new tracks.  So I thought I'd make a quick blog-stop.
The new tunes are really exciting - I'm very intrigued to hear how they sit together as they all feel very individual at the moment.  We're nearly there for album number 2!!  Bonza!
Just read Matt's notes about his aspirations for NK and wanted to give my take on it too.
NK facilitates singing, writing and performing for me - my very own holy trinity!  The stuff that I can't live without!!  Even though I didn't start out a die-hard electro fan, electro music actually provides a perfect backdrop for my vocal style and lyrics.  So while ever Matt's up for it, I'll just keep doing what I do with NK and keep on loving it.
Three albums would be the minimum I'd want us to produce - and that I feel would leave a sufficient footprint on the music world.  I would LOVE for this to be my sole occupation! 
I would also love to:
  • Perform our songs in the major dance clubs in Ibiza
  • Do a northern kind unplugged tour of our songs, with just me and an acoustic guitar accompaniment ;-)  (this works - I've already tried it with Tara Simms, the greatest guitarist on planet earth!!)
  • Sing guest vocals with The Editors, Hot Chip, The Happy Mondays and all my other favourite bands
  • Hear the Arctic Monkeys cover Dirty Youth
  • Write tracks for other amazing artists
  • Have Vivienne Westwood design my stage outfits
So that's my starter for ten.
I'm looking forward to I am X next week - not really heard a lot of their stuff, so should be good.  I'll check in again soon.
Laters taters x

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Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Going to see them in Sheffield next Thursday with Sarah. I AM X if you don't know is the brain child of Chris Corner from The Sneaker Pimps. His first album "Kiss and Swallow" was the catalyst for starting Northern Kind and was responsible for even naming NK albeit from a mis-heard song lyric.

"Simple Girl" from "Kiss & Swallow" is one of my favorite songs with a really lovely arpeggiated intro line, I played it to death on a trip to Florence a few years back and now it imprints such a vivid image of that time whenever I hear it.

If you get a chance buy Kiss and Swallow and The Alternative, both very good albums.


Monday, 17 March 2008


OK we are talking about the things that dreams are made of in this post.

Someone asked me the other day what was my ambitions for Northern Kind. A fair question I suppose but one that I hadn't ever really thought about. With the industry supposedly on it's arse commercial success is something we aren't looking for or expect. We do it because we love it, without Northern Kind my music wouldn't see the light of day. If NK pays for itself and allows me to indulge in buying equipment and software then I am happy. It also keeps me out of trouble!

My day job also consumes a lot of time and engery but they both feed each other. (I'm sure there is an earlier post about this)

However, the profile of NK is definiately growing and I find myself answering emails from peope in Europe, Japan, Australia and the US. I read a really interesing article the other day on niches within music and only the need to have 1000 loyal fans.

I guess that makes us micro celebraties :-)

Seriously though I want us to complete our second album which should see us releasing two albums within a year, which is pretty good going I think. The 3rd difficult album might be a while coming but there is definiately scope for another.

OK back to dreamland. I'd love NK to become a critics favorite and raise the profile of me as a producer and myself and Sarah as song writters. Writing for others is something we have been appraoched to do, at the minute however NK takes priority though. But my absolute dream job would be to produce a Depeche or an Erasure album. Personally I would prefere the DM job and ideally their final studio album. I genuinnly think I could do a great job with Martin & Daves songs and give all of their fans something to really cherish. I think what Tim Simmenon did with Ultra was fairly good considering the state of the band and after loosing Alan Wilder. Whilst the songs on Exciter and PTA were good I'm fairly critical of the production and think it could have been much better.

I would love to produce some other bands, the remix I have done I enjoyed but it's still quite a solitary way of working, producing a band I think would be much more enjoyable.

And back to reality.

We recorded a couple of great tracks at the weekend and will be recording a couple more over Easter. So that pretty much wraps up the songs for the 2nd album, with perhaps one more idea as yet unwritten. All that is needed now is to finanlise the arrangements and mixes. Quite a daunting task but I guess that's what I do best. We have really tried to do some new things with this album and hopefully that will become evident. I still thinks it's pop but perhaps with a darker edge, and definitely alot less Vince Clarke like.


Goodbye and POP were recorded this weekend, really pleased with them.

Also finished the final tweaks on Dirty Youth and Into The Blue ready
for the Xerotic EP.

Big update tomorrow.


Thursday, 13 March 2008


Just when I was started to become content with my set-up of hardware and software people started emailing about bits of gear. The first that got my attention was for some mental auto tune software. Melodyne has been around for a while but to be honest we have never really had to use any autotune software. Sarah always prefers to get the vocals right during the recording. What's new about this is a new feature name Celemony. This allows you to edit a complex polyphonic waveform by it's constituent parts. For example a recorded guitar chord can be edited in such a way that you can edit the individual notes within the chord, changig their pitch, length and even timing. Truly amazing stuff. Definitely on my wish list.

I'm also wanting to make my studio more aesthetically pleasing. I use a couple of 19" LCDs on my G5, these are great. However, the new version of logic now works in within one main window, whilst this is great it does mean the aspect ratio of the main window makes it more suitable for a widescreen. My square LCDs just won't do. We had one of the latest Apple displays delivered today at work, I now need one. It will make me a better person!

Recording at the weekend, can't wait. Also Easter the week after so hopefully lots of progress will be made.


Sunday, 9 March 2008


We've had some flirtation with management recently, this has opened up some avenues that are interesting for NK, however it's not stopping us plow forward with our album. The 2nd round of vocal recording is next weekend. Sarah is stopping over so we are gonna cram as much in as possible. This should see us with around seven complete songs with just the mixing and final arrangements to tweak.

So this weekend I had some time to work on a remix for one of "the managements" artists. This artist has some pedigree and also chart success, hopefully the fruits of my labour will make it on to their forthcoming single.

The original track was 115bpm, my version is 125bpm and uses the sound set for one of our new songs. This has given it the NK branded feel. The track has been completely reworked with only the vocals surviving. The vocals were treated with Logics' in built time stretch engine so I could get them working at the new bpm without altering the pitch. I remember the first hardware Sampler I had that could do that the Akai S1100, I think it could only manage around 32 seconds though and you ended up with something quite robotic sounding. The Akai samplers also had a really cool feature that would allow you to shorten a sample loop on the fly. I used that effect loads back in my first band. I also showed Bon from Nitzer Ebb that feature and low and behold it ended up on a remix they did of their track called "Captivate" :-)

Think I'm gonna buy myself a Little Fatty, the Moog analogue stage synth. Normally for live, the parts I play come from soft synths triggered within Logic but the new stuff is pretty complicated and I'm noticing a small amount of latency. Plus I'm always on the edge when it comes to using Logic live. I might have to render parts to audio stems for the next gigs and disable all of the AU soft synths.

OK so it's Sunday evening and one of my favorite non sci-fi flms is on, Crash.


Friday, 7 March 2008


Just making my daily visit to our blog and it occurred to me - where are all the girls??  I'm definitely a woman's woman (though must stress that I do NOT wear sensible shoes) and it would be nice to hear from any ladies that are into what we're doing, or any thoughts / comments really.  No offence fellas ;-)
Other than that, I'm looking forward to a quiet, relaxing weekend of writing. Got a fair bit to crack on with. I'll write soon with my progress.
toodleloo x

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Wednesday, 5 March 2008


We spoke about doing a video last year and I have been giving serious thought to doing one again. I know my way around FinaCut Pro but AfterEffects would require a steep learning curve. Therefore doing anything creative with graphics mixed with live footage is gonna take me ages. I hate the thought of not being able to do something but throwing myself into something at this stage will be a distraction from the music.

So if you know anyone that is cheap and good with AfterEffects let us know.


Bring it on! Can't wait to hear the progress of The Y/N song. I really like this track and enjoyed writing the initial lyrics and melody to go with it, which I felt should be quite robotic and dark. It will be good to develop it further.

I was intrigued to see this poster ad for Art Sheffield 08, which seemed freakily related to our idea for Y/N. Do you think artists all key into the same idea at the same time and the idea manifests in its different forms?

I'm sure Matt and I discussed this ages ago, thinking that it was wierd that we'd have an idea for, say a video or a song and then the next minute we would see it on MTV and be miffed that someone else had got there first. Maybe we should get new jobs as those people that forsee trends.......

anyhoo - better go and cook my tea (veggie spag bol) x

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Are now working on the main site. My hosting company doesn't allow Crossdomain XML feeds and runs PHP in safe mode. I guess this is understandable. So I moved the site to another server, the domain now re-directs to the .net address.

Thanks to the people who emailed suggestions :-)

YES / NO was cracked tonight. This was an idea written back in October 2007 and was the first presented to Sarah for the new album. It's remained pretty similar to the idea I supplied however I have had to change the bassline and bass sound a little. It's actually got the feel of HLs' "The Lebanon" about it. One of the great new plug-ins in Logic 8 is the Delay Designer. The bassline now has some creative delay added to it and it really works well. I'm usually not one for adding effects to bass sounds as they then tend to dominate the bottom end of a track, I've solved that by filtering the low end frequencies out on the delayed parts. This is definitely a beat driven track. I think Sarah will need to write more parts for it though as it's a bit sparse and doesn't follow a proper song structure yet.