Davey Hal – Materials Logic

It would be fair to say that our little seaside town is not short of talent. That’s why I was pleased to see that one of the most prominent voices on the local scene, Davey Hal, was working on his first solo album, and enthralled when he asked me to give Materials Logic an exclusive listen.

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From the piano run on Soothe The Grey, the opener, you are invited into Hal’s world, a heady mix of late night love stories in a cocktail lounge. The harmonies present are ethereal, almost medieval in tone, grand. It’s strong without ever being overstated. The piano accompanies and underpins lyrics on royalty and death. This is immediately followed by Night Walking, a song with so much jazz club funk to its bassline that it forces a waltz quickstep into your feet as you attempt to move to the beat. It’s here that Hal’s voice is given the chance to sour, on a chorus that has been stuck in my head for at least the last fortnight.  The song that was played on TIME107.5FM last week, finally bridging the gap between those who love Materials Logic and those who are yet to hear it. It has a In The Wee Small Hours.

White Walls sounds closer to the Davey Hal you might have seen at one of the many performances he blesses upon our town. A simple guitar track, with a strange likeness to something High Flying Birds would produce. It’s a song of attempted escape, an ode to love. The album takes a moment to recover with the instrumental track, Berdou, before Davey can pick up his guitar again and ask you to Run With Me. It’s the first real pop song of the album. It sounds like an instant classic, something beautiful and familiar. There’s a Paul Simon influence in there at times and yet another chorus worthy of being sung back by thousands of voices. Album title track Materials Logic slows matters down considerably, like a villain’s exposition in a performance, Hal’s voice starting out in a low chatter that sounds like it’s creeping before he soars, showcasing his range, crying out for an answer. The key change into the final refrain is particularly chilling.

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“Head up, left foot against a wall” he begins on Fingertips before listing attributes of a lover in a seaside town. It’s equal parts affectionate and scathing, figuring that the subject is human anyway and does her hair while he’s asleep. Your Stone is close in tone to the title track, again going through the trials of some mystery woman Hal is observing and inspired by. Up Into Her Clouds is a straight-up love song, drawing on weather in the way only an Englishman can in order to explain his amore for anyone. The jaunty piano solo in the middle is reminiscent of something on Rubber Soul before Hal reveals that his admiration proved too much and turns the mood sour in the way love often does.

Dear Mary creeps in like another performance piece, sung in the early hours and utilising everything Hal has to explain the situation to his Mary to the point of his own frustration. My Senses ambles in after her, the final thoughts of a man who has given everything of his own over eleven tracks and 42 minutes. It is close to Turner’s Submarine EP in production, nothing to overcomplicate and draw from the raw talent that is Davey Hal and the showcase of this that is Materials Logic.

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Materials Logic by Davey Hal is available on iTunes now.

Blue Monday.

This week in my bizarre little double life, I have been lucky enough to stay up through the night working on re-drafts of a script, drunk whiskey in Ving Rhames’ favourite London pub and talked about guns, opera and the most effective way to simulate brain matter with a university lecturer.

We are still hard at work on the Delectably Dead project which has its opening night in about three weeks. Scott and I sat up all night playing around with the script and doing silly voices. We then read it to George and were all happy with what we had. Then I slept for the longest time.

When I came round, I caught up with one of my best friends at the OKH in London Bridge before heading to GBK and eating my weight in sweet potato fries. I have since become addicted to abbreviations. Over the course of our catch up we talked about love, money and zombies, the key topics which had changed since we last spoke. There’s something daunting about the idea of turning 30 so it was good to try and hash out some kind of plan for that with one of my nearest and dearest.

On my night off I hit the gym and then spent an hour on the phone to my dad explaining what a zombie dinner show is. Despite the fact he gets scared when Zombie Pete comes out of the shower curtain in Shaun Of The Dead he has agreed to come and see the show. I am so excited about it that I could vomit. In fact, I did, just last night, but that was because I got a little overzealous with the tongue scraper.

Scott, George and I met with a special effects director, fight choreographer and all round awesome guy who works locally and agreed to give us some pointers for the show. Without seeming pious in any way, shape or form he provided a list of things we needed to work towards pulling off as well as pulling out some of the most incredible anecdotes for us to enjoy. He has even said he is interested in coming to see the show and giving us lessons in stage combat. I’m a lover, not a fighter, but that is not to be missed.

With enough juice down us to satisfy our five a day we headed back to the unit and prepped some of the additional work required for the play. We want the project to be as immersive as possible so there are all kinds of tricks and games going on behind the scenes. I don’t want to give anything away but at midnight I was running around a car park with a Nerf gun, pretending to be a girl from above the Watford gap.

As I have mentioned recently, I am really enjoying where I am at currently. It’s sometimes surreal, often tiring, but I would not give it up for anything. Scott says you have to throw enough shit at a wall for something to stick. I’m trying to throw enough Schiernecker.

#1 – Write a screenplay.

It has to be accepted among “creative people” that it is very rare to finish up the projects we start. I have lost count of the amount of times I have excitedly started something, only to lose the passion for it somewhere along the way. Some of those things will remain unfinished forever, and I have to be cool with that as an idea. We all have to be cool with that as an idea. I have started a number of things that I will never get around to finishing for one reason or another.
I suppose it was for that reason that when my dear friend Scott asked if I wanted to write a play with him that I assumed it was going to be one of many projects that never really comes to fruition. If the percentage of things I start and finish on my own is low, then the number of things I start and finish as part of a collaboration is even lower.
The maths is quite interesting. You take the chance of you ever finishing anything and times it by the chance of the other person ever finishing anything and then do some maths and the odds are pretty low. I’m not even going to complete that equation. It’s just another unfinished thing.

Now the cool thing about Scott is that he co-owns Hide and Shriek with his friend George. The pair of them are like the odd couple. George needs numbers and calm. He works well on his own and very much speaks his mind. He’s like a cat I guess. Scott on the other hand is like a dog. He is silly and he loves people and he will do almost anything to get a cuddle. Somehow, the pair of them work together very well. George counts the beans and Scott watches YouTube videos and screams Sum 41 lyrics. Maybe that was more my influence than anything else.

The show they wanted me to help with was a dinner show. Dinner shows are popular at our local theatre, but they are mainly aimed at a British sitcom nostalgia audience. Things like Fawlty Towers and Father Ted are put on over the course of a three course meal. Hide and Shriek were contacted by the second largest theatre company in the UK to put together a zombie dinner show. I just happened to wander into their unit in Southend when Scott was putting ideas together for it. And the rest, as they say, is history. Scott told me about this before Christmas and it wasn’t really something that either of us picked up until into the New Year. It was then he told me that the first date for the show was 7th February 2017. I pretended that was absolutely fine.

In the last two weeks we have put together a script. We have redrafted and rewritten. We have spent entire days locked up in their tiny office with just electric storage heaters and a borrowed coffee machine for company. We went insane, we slept among rats and set pieces when we could. We watched a lot of YouTube videos. We danced to Avril Lavigne. We tried to work out if we fancied Josh Homme or Brody Dalle-Homme more. George would come in and poke us with a stick to make sure we were still alive, and then throw us a pack of NikNaks in the hopes it would give us enough energy to carry on.

We have held auditions, shot promo shots and a video, met with people from the theatre and considered dropping it all to write a drag show. It has been an incredible experience and we are now in a position where we not only have an amazing script and a brilliant opportunity but also an amazing cast who all immediately shone. I feel so excited to be a part of something that I truly believe in. There were tough days but I wouldn’t change it for anything else and am so grateful that I get to be involved with something that is gathering so much interest.

On top of that, Scott and George let me be the central focus of the promotional stuff. They even photoshopped my teeth.
Thanks guys.

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