Over the years I have written about my experiences with mental illness, from psychosis and suicidal thoughts through to struggling with depression and anger issues. I’ve had quite a range in my adult life and still do.
This year’s theme is kindness and I have spent the last few days trying to write a post about kindness but I keep coming up against a brick wall and losing my train of thought. Lack of creativity seems to be hitting me quite a hit throughout lockdown.
My inability to write something started getting to me and I felt that I was putting pressure on myself and starting to be unkind. After all, no one will care if I write this or not and I don’t want to write just for the sake of it.
I want to write to help other people who are struggling at the moment because I have been there and know how hard it can be. Truth be told, I, like many people have been there over the last two months because the world we are currently living in is surreal and not normal.
We’ve been staying inside, not seeing friends and family and home schooling our kids.
We’ve not been going to gigs, festivals are cancelled and an unfathomable amount of people are losing their jobs and that is fucking scary.
Kindness is important, perhaps now more than ever.
Over the last year we have seen the effect being unkind can have on a vast amount of people. The suicide of Caroline Flack was, in part, due to the unkindness of random people she never met on social media and the press. We see it when someone is on TV and people don’t like them or think they look strange – well if you do feel that way, don’t share it, keep it to yourself and think – ‘how would I feel if someone said that about me’.
I have recently started calling social media ‘anti-social media’ as it has given people a soapbox to say things that they would never say to people’s faces. So, stop doing it online.
Kindness is about checking in on your friends and family, and I mean really checking in. Ask how people are, listen and although we are not meant to be hugging people at the moment, just let them know you are there.
There is another side to kindness which is often overlooked and I myself am incredibly guilty of this and that is, being kind to yourself.
Over the last year I have found that I often put too much pressure on myself and mentally beat myself up when things are not going the way I would like them to. This is both from a work and family perspective but also, I have noticed I do this a lot from a musician point of view.
Let me explain.
I have been making music for 20+ years and whilst being a full-time musician will never be my career I do want to move up the metaphorical ladder year on year.
Last year in particular was hard. I started releasing music again after a 5-year break and got lost in the desire to get my album reviewed, get songs playlisted and book gigs and festival slots.
It is relentless and when it’s just one of you, whilst juggling a full-time job and family along the way, it can be a real mental struggle. Don’t get me wrong, I love making music and performing but the promotion side is hard work. Be it promoters who don’t answer emails or radio stations that don’t play your songs or even your own self-doubt – it is hard and can lead to unkind mental thoughts.
As I say, I realised I have been impacted by this and rarely ‘be kind’ to myself.
I don’t give myself enough credit for the things I do achieve, or take solace in the little positives that happen and I want to change that.
I want to practice being kind to myself more which for me means – letting go of expectation and pressure, remember to have fun with making music and not get lost in the other side of it.
Take breaks and step away from social media, emails, and the news – this is something I really need to get better at.
And as I said at the start, I don’t want to write just for the sake of it. This post is kind of about me, but it is more about you.
You need to be kind to yourself because you are unique – there is only one of you and no matter who you are, you are special and deserve kindness. We all do.
So, start smiling at people, spread a little hope and happiness and let’s all make the world a kinder place.
Hello and Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all had a lovely festive period and are set for an exciting 2020.
This year my main focus is on getting out and playing as many shows as possible. I put a post up on FB / IG saying I am actively looking for gigs so if you are a promoter or booker and readying this – please do get in contact.
Alongside playing shows I will be working on new material. I have a few songs already finished but no clear plan yet as to how or when things will get released. By big push this year is to experiment more and challenge myself with the songs I am making.
For now though – I just wanted to wish you all the best for the year ahead and hope to see you at a show soon.
The end of a year is always a good time for reflection and thinking about aims for the future. Back in the day I used to always do an ‘end of year round up’ summarising what I had acheived during the year and now I am back up and running again I wanted to do the same for 2019.
Behind the scenes I was readying the return of ATP at the end of 2018 and the first part of the rebith plan was the release of ‘Begging Your Pardon (an introductory collection)’ which was released in March.
The main reason I wanted to release ‘Begging’ was to draw a line under the old ATP music that I had released before and it gave me a chance to revist and remaster some of the old songs to form a cohesive collection.
At the time I did some press / promo for the album but it didn’t really gain much traction, still, it was a start.
Next up for me was getting a new ATP:LIVE set ready so that I could play gigs again. I needed to work out which of the older tunes I wanted to keep in the set and also bring in some of the newer songs that I was working on.
In the 5 years that I wasn’t doing ATP I feel I learnt a lot about what it means to put on a show and this time round I wanted to whole show to be more upbeat and include ‘pigeon trivia’ between the songs.
I also wanted to find a way of being able to do ‘electro busking sets’. In 2018 I spent a lot of time going to festivals with my friends in ‘The Voodoo Tweed Cult of Your Mum’ – I really admired their ability to rock up and play anywhere. As an electo artist this is now so easy but I really wanted to find a way to do this.
So in June I did a few practice runs and got to a stage where the ‘ATP eco-electro’ shows were also ready. I was using a USB powerbank and MiniRig speakers and USB lights.
So by June – I had a new live show and the ‘eco-electro’ shows ready to go but no gigs booked. But I also had tickets for Glastonbury 2019 so spent the weeks before the festival contacting every stage, every person I knew to see if there were any slots left at all. The weekend before the festival I managed to secure a late night slot at ‘The Open Arms’ which is one of the bars opposite the GreenPeace Area. I also managed to get another small slot on the Green Fields Info Stage.
As far as comeback shows go – that week at Glastonbury was amazing. I got to play some excellent shows and the ‘eco-electro’ shows went down incredibly well.
I continued to play more of the ‘eco-electro’ shows during the summer at all the other festivals I went to. My plan for 2020 is to find ways to improve the set up and create more of an experience for the people watching. I need to get more speakers and lights too.
Then came the summer and in July I had the pleasure of supporting Moon Hooch at their Brighton and London shows.
Both of these were fun shows to do. The London one in particular stands out as one of my favourite shows that I have played. Omeara is such a beautiful little venue and the crowd were amazing.
The focus for me then was to finish off ATPLP3 and get all the promo for the new album ready. This is something that takes me ages to do. I have said a few times that I do everything on my own and that really is true. I don’t have a manager, press company or record label – I love making music and performing but the admin side of it seems to take up 50% of my time.
In the Autumn I did a couple more live shows; playing at LagoonFest in Hove and played a ‘Spirit of Gravity’ show in Brighton. Again, both of these were excellent shows and the ATP pigeon masks went down well.
Then came November and the release of ‘Those Stolen Moments’ – my third album as Amongst The Pigeons.
The response to the album has been excellent, I got some nice reviews and feel I reached a lot of new listeners.
For me personally, I am really proud of the album. It was fun to make and i feel I have been able to really refine the sound of Amongst The Pigeons. One of the reasons I stopped making music before was that I felt I had taken ATP as far as I could – maybe at the time that was true – but now I feel refreshed and ready to push myself and continue to explore how far things can go.
I also managed to fit in doing a remix for Tom / Fast Trains – this was the first remix I have done in ages and it turned out well. I’d like to do more remixes in 2020.
I ended the year doing a final show for The Big Sleep Out, again at Hove Lagoon. This show was to support awareness and raise money for Homeless charities.
So – I guess in summary – 2019 has been a very good year. I have described it to a few people as a ‘rebirth’ – this is the start of ATP2.0 and I haev a lot of plans for 2020.
I am already booking shows and festival slots for next year and over the last few months I have been working on new music. I am not 100% sure what form that will take yet – whether I will do a full album or an EP. There are two distinct directions the new music is going in, so my current thought is there might be two releases, both of which have a different feel and sound to them.
I also want to push the live shows and find ways to make them more interactive.
I wanted to end this by saying a MASSIVE thank you to anyone who has come to a show, carried my kit, danced, worn a pigeon mask, listened to my music, talked to me after a show, done a review / interview, given me a shout out, played me on the radio etc etc etc
It’s not long until my third album as ATP comes out and in the run up to it’s release I wanted to share a few personal thoughts and reflections.
I’ll start by saying that I never intended to resurrect ATP after stopping back in 2014 – it really did happen by accident. For those of you who knew about me back then you may remember I said I felt I had taken ATP as far as I could and I think that still stands true – but for that moment in time.
Over the last five years I have changed and developed as a human and a musician/producer. In part that is because of the music I made with my friend Ollie as Exactly Zero and also because my kids have grown up more and the concept of time and importance has changed for me.
This new album is a bit like releasing a debut album for me, it is a reset and a chance to move forward on fresh foundations. Many of the people who have listened to it so far have said it sounds fresh and exciting which is a massive compliment as there is so much good music out there at the moment and I have never tried to fit in with what the current trends are doing.
I make music before I enjoy the process of doing so, it is a cathartic release for me from the world and it is not over exaggeration to say it keeps me sane. I know there are a ton of musicians who make music and never release it and also those that release it in the hope it brings them fame and fortune. I release my music as I hope it gives enjoyment to the people listening to it and yes, selfishly, I like to know what people think and I do enjoy the compliments when they come.
I properly got into making Those Stolen Moments last Autumn and on the whole it came together quite quickly. I then had to mix it and do all the promo and such like that goes with releasing an album. I made the videos and adverts and well …. everything. There are times that can be exhausting but now it is all done and out the way it has given me a sense of achievement and I am excited to hear what you make of the album.
I was recently asked why my ambitions for the album are and having had time to reflect more on that I would say the following. I hope that the people who liked ATP before enjoy this new album, I hope any new people enjoy the album, I hope both groups of people tell other people about it and that it gets heard by fans of electronica and new music.
I don’t do this for money or fame but in order to keep progressing and getting noticed things like ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ seem to be important. So if you have read this and appreciate the effort I put into making and releasing music please can you like ATP on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and so on and also share the album with at least one other person who you feel would like to hear it.
That would mean the world to me.
I am already making good progress on the next ATP release(s) and have a lot of ideas for 2020 – but for now – find your own ‘Stolen Moment’ and listen to the album and let it take you on a little journey.
It’s been seven years since the last Amongst The Pigeons album, and five years since Daniel Parsons decided to call pest control and exterminate the ATP project. After a spell working in the duo Exactly Zero, Daniel found himself idling away the time in a local café and before he knew it he was donning his characteristic pigeon mask all over again, and Those Stolen Moments was the eventual result.
In this exclusive feature for Further., Daniel talks us through the nine new tracks on a record that is distinctively ATP but more acutely focussed on its creator’s own instincts rather than deploying guest vocalists. It is a record of continually-evolving electronic juxtapositions and thought-provoking contemplations on how we spend that most undervalued of commodities – our personal time.
The album opens with ‘Happy Beginnings’.
The track started out as an instrumental but it never felt finished and…