I was delighted to be invited onto one of my favourite podcasts recently – The James McMahon Music Podcast. It was nerve-wracking being on the other side of questions for once, but James made me feel comfortable enough to share some pretty personal stuff.
In this video, I talk about how moving all the time and being bullied at school knocked my confidence, but trying and trying again to make music helped me grow. I also share the reason I stopped making my podcast “Attention Engineer” and why I changed my artist name from She Makes War to Penfriend. Plus, get a sneaky glimpse of my new studio room!
Hands up if you find working from home with your loved ones a *little bit* tough! Two full years of sharing a wall with my darling husband has come to a grateful end – I’m leaving my beloved home studio The Launchpad for a bigger, quieter space.
In this video I discuss Joseph Campbell’s concept of a “Bliss Station” (via Austin Kleon) to help YOU get the creative time and space you deserve, plus I explain what led to this decision and give you a sneak peek of my new room…
On 23rd February 2022 I played an atmospheric acoustic online gig on my Luna Dolphin ukulele and Boss RC30 loop pedal.
I’ve chosen three songs to share in this mini gig experience, all from my She Makes War back catalogue: “Delete” (“Little Battles”), “The Best” (“Direction Of Travel”) and “Scared To Capsize” (“Disarm”).
To celebrate a decade of “Delete”, I commissioned artist Ben the Illustrator to give his brilliant cover version treatment to the artwork for both “Little Battles” and my debut album “Disarm”, and mastering whizz Katie Tavini spruced up the audio for the vinyl press.
Both albums are available to own on very limited edition (300!) coloured vinyl for the first time ever, there’s a short print run of CDs with the new artwork, a never-before-released demos and rarities collection for “Little Battles” and a reprint of the 10th Anniversary “Disarm” demos and rarities.
This is a pre-order – due to worldwide vinyl delays I ordered these beauties last autumn, and have been given a confirmed delivery date to Penfriend HQ of July 2022. I’ll send them out to you right after I get my hands on them.
If you just can’t wait for a vinyl copy, I have just three (3) super duper rare black vinyl test pressings of each album which will be signed and (optionally) personalised.
Described as one Bandcamper as “one of the most fabulous albums I’ve heard. It captured raw emotion beautifully. It makes me want to make better music, hell, it just makes me want to be better. Inspiring!” – “Little Battles” will always have a special place in my heart.
My debut album “Disarm” took shape gradually over a number of years, but the supposedly “difficult second album” flowed out of me in the space of a few short months. It’s a heartfelt piece of work with its own musical fingerprint: glittery, gloomy, intense, dreamy. Always honest.
The songs on this album took me on adventures I could never have dreamed of. Megaphone walkabouts, many raucous singalongs and Deutsche Bahn adventure tours. So many gigs! Tasmin Archer (yes, “Sleeping Satellite”!) sings backing vocals on one song, Chris T-T plays piano on another. Do stuff – stuff happens.
I’m always so touched when my work has an impact on other humans. That’s what music is for, but I don’t take it for granted.
PPS I’m feeling PRETTY awkward about the naming of both these albums and my old solo project given the events of this week in Ukraine – all I can say is this release date has been planned for months, my old artist name was supposed to be about pacifism / alternatives to violence, and I’m now extra happy to have ditched it at the end of 2019 and launched Penfriend in 2020. My thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and I’ve donated to the cause via this page.
I’ve been performing in rooms full of other humans since I was 7 years old, and touring since the age of 19. In this video I talk about how learning to be fully yourself (through years of practice) leads to the most rewarding human connections. In these dark times, I am so grateful for my freedom to express myself through music and videos, and so thankful to you for encouraging me to continue.
Showing up – again, and again and again – is the simple but surprisingly effective reason I am currently finishing off my sixth album, working from my home studio The Launchpad and somehow surviving as an independent artist in a pandemic. HUGE thanks to you for being part of this!
This week I read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, and in this video I share the three biggest concepts I’ll be taking away from the book: attaching habits to identity, the two-minute rule and habit stacking.
For the first time in 30 years of music making, Rat from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin shares exactly what gear he uses, from Gibson guitars to the Mesa Dual Rectifier amp to Roland/Boss, Rocktron and Jim Dunlop effects (including the exact signal chain that creates his signature sound).
Rat also plays through some of his biggest riffs from Ned’s hits “Kill Your Television” and “Happy” to Obey Robots tracks “Porcupine”, “Let It Snow” and “Not The Quiet Type”.
I have a mini gig for you – a giglet, if you will! Watch highlights from my 15th December 2021 online gig: two Penfriend songs “Black Car” and “Seashaken”, and “Slow Puncture” from my She Makes War days, performed live on my Reverend Double Agent OG electric guitar and my trusty ukulele.