To coincide with two new You-Tube videos I would like to talk a little bit about Henry Spencer Project (HSP) this week. The two videos can be seen
here and they are acoustic versions of Henry Spencer Project’s two most popular songs.
HSP was never intended to be a band as such as it is difficult enough running one band (I also write for/play guitar for/help to run Lunar Rising). Getting the right people with the right style of playing and way of thinking is hard enough and getting them all to be in the same place at the same time is harder; finding people that are committed is harder still! So with HSP I wanted another outlet for my ideas but not wanting to wade into another band I kept it as a recording project.
The first incarnation of these ideas involved a singer named Jacqueline Rolston and we called our duo ‘Ephemeral’. We worked quite well together but had to split due to her copyright worries. After that I spent time coming up with music that followed on from this early project and was influenced by funk and acid jazz. Well, loosely anyway… Really eager to get some kind of music project out of the songs I approached Dominique Allan of Lunar Rising. We worked on three or four songs but before long she decided that she didnt have enough time for the project; with the band and various personal responsibilities taking up much of her time. So HSP came to a halt for a bit. Later on during 2009, I found I had more time; taking on various projects always means that your concentration shifts with their needs. So… I carried on with the usual internet advertising trying to find a singer. ..
Pia Berg was the first to contact me, and she did this very gingerly saying that she hadn’t really sung outside of the shower for ten years and hadn’t really tried to write a song before. Always open, I thought I’d ask her to work on an idea that I sent her and bring it along. Having never heard her sing, her caution rubbed off on me and wanting to avoid an awkward X-Factor moment I let her know that we couldn’t be sure if her voice would be right but would very much like to meet her as I really did value her interest in my oddball tunes! Naturally, she was worried that her efforts would be wasted so I suggested that she just bring along a basic idea…. when she did this and started to sing during this ‘audition’ I couldn’t believe my luck…
So, that is how HSP formed. The name of our little musical escapade is usually something that people ask me about too. With much of the rhythmic influence coming from New Orleans funk and soul of the 1960s I wanted to give the name an almost retro feel and to do this I thought a jazz-esque name would be perfect. Therefore, it had to be ‘something’ trio, something ‘project’ etc, etc. The latter seemed the coolest but I still needed a name to go with it… For the name I took influence from a film that I’m very fond of called ‘Eraserhead’. This is typical David Lynch weirdness but to me, the main character Henry Spencer is a (comparatively…) normal guy caught up in a weird world and a weird situation that he never asked for or wanted. This really hit home with my distaste for the the world of corporate work, uninteresting jobs and offices etc that I felt forced into. I’ve always had a gripe with not being able to easily do what I wanted with my life (although I am trying!). People always have an answer for me when I say that but that debate is beyond this post…
So that’s it really… A short introduction into Henry Spencer Project…. I wont say much about the sound of our music as that’s for you to decide really. But what I did want is rhythmic excitement coupled with a soul feel and the occasional use of some nice, dirty guitar… Follow the link in the first paragraph for a listen…. The videos can be seen there or here on my ‘Videos’ page.