Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: A brief review

The start of 2014 was nice and tranquil. A detox retreat in the North Wales countryside involving plenty of raw food, clean water,  deep sleep, and meditation was just what was needed after a very damaging 2013. After getting the all-clear from the hospital I decided to take a few months out in Mexico to relax and put my feet up. Things didn't quite go to plan there though as I was left to sort out everything for the Alternative 4 album 'The Obscurants' on my own. So my Mexican siesta was disrupted by impending deadlines, finding hotels with fast computers, people with decent audio set-ups to listen to the masters (thanks Oscar!!), and so on, but I got things finished just in time for the deadline. 
My old bandmates from Anathema had offered us the support slot for the opening gigs of their European tour. So the plan was to have the album released in September, just in time for the gigs, which would be ideal promotion for it. Flights and hotels were booked, session players taught the setlist and that. A lot of planning and money went into it. More about that later.

After returning from Mexico I was invited to appear on prime time Irish TV by my good friends from the band Cronin. I had played numerous gigs with them before when they were called The Aftermath and they needed a Hammond player for the show. Why not?

Harry Potter was there as well, and they had free wine and an impressive cheese board backstage. Fame and fortune at last.

Look at them collars

As I was conversing with Danny Cavanagh (Anathema) about the September gigs he came out with the suggestion of doing some kind of Anathema reunion gigs in 2015 and wondered if Darren White and myself would be up for it. Everyone seemed to be into the idea for the right reasons, and in my mind this is our last opportunity to do something like this, so I got enthusiastic about it and I'm glad that it's all going ahead in April 2015. There are a few dates confirmed at the moment, headlining Roadburn Festival on the Sunday is an experience I'm looking forward to. And for the first time in many many years I can simply enjoy playing the music, without having all the other responsibilities on my shoulders. Accusations of "selling out" and doing it for the money couldn't be further from the truth, but that was always going to come our way. This is all in good spirit and that's stronger than anything. Hopefully more confirmed dates will be announced very soon.

Back to Alternative 4 now and it's time to come clean about the situation. Prior to the Anathema gigs (and the album release) I received mails from vocalist Simon Flatley stating he was concerned about playing live. I tried to make things easier for him by simplifying his parts and giving him all the encouragement that I could. Then, after a period of silence, I received another mail saying that he was quitting music for good. This was on the eve of the album release and the gig dates. And we subsequently had to cancel the gigs. Since then he hasn't replied to any emails or phone calls. It resulted in me losing a lot of money on flights and hotels, and also let down a lot of people involved. Plus it took the shine off the album release for us, and it has been difficult to keep quiet about it while trying to promote the album, but this is the situation we were left in. Im sorry that it wasn't mentioned earlier but we really had our hands tied, with a brand new album to promote.
At the moment the band is on a hiatus until we get a working line-up together. I'm sick and tired of working with amateurs and opportunists, which has been a consistent theme in my projects. I've been a soft touch for far too long. Time to change the record now.

After all that disappointment I decided to channel my energy into something positive and get my orchestral work into full swing. As I mentioned in 2013, I have been working on orchestral arrangements of picks from my discography. These have been divided into a trilogy of albums, each with a set theme. First up is The Eternity Suite which will contain tracks from the Anathema 'Eternity' album plus similar themes that I have composed over the years. There is also a brand new piece called Into Infinity which fits nicely on the tracklist. For this project I opted to start a PledgeMusic campaign to fund the recordings rather than go through a record label. So far the campaign has been a great success, reaching the target much much quicker than I imagined. As we speak it stands at 121% and there's still time to pre-order the cd and/or go for one of the exclusives that won't be available once the album is released. Check here for details

So a positive end to a year with its ups and downs, and a lot of things to look forward to in 2015. Thanks to everyone who has shown support again this year. And best wishes for the New Year!

Duncan Patterson

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

100% and beyond

We did it! The PledgeMusic campaign for The Eternity Suite reached 100% on Monday. Way quicker than I ever imagined when launching this project. There are still some exclusives left on offer that won't be available when the album is released. So you can still be a part of this.

Thanks to everyone who has pledged for making this thing happen!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Eternity Suite 92%

The Eternity Suite PledgeMusic campaign is now at 92% and we're hoping to hit the target this week! Theres plenty of time to pre-order the digipak though, or you can go for one of the exclusives while you still can. Thanks a million to everyone who has supported this project.