With the approach of the last Transit of Venus in our lifetime, we’re looking forward to releasing a commemorative album. It’s not far off finished, but these things take time, (especially when done on a $0 budget – we’re having to do everything ourselves). Join up to the mailing list in the side-bar and be among the first to know when the album is available for free download.
We released this track in January, you can have a listen (and download for free if you like). [Pardon the temporary my-little-pony artwork.]
The song has been used on this educational video, check it out to learn more about the Transit of Venus.
It’s two days since the Auckland show, and a week out from the first Wellington show.
I watched the video of the show, I was really pleased with how it went. A very different show from the last one (2009), and everyone who’d seen both preferred this one so I think that’s a good forward step.
We started sometime between 8am and 9am, going to pick up all our gear from the studio. Then we were at the venue at 9, a group of us moving all the seating and rostra around for just over an hour. We were really grateful to our team of volunteers who came to help with the heavy lifting, it would have been a much longer job without them. Next thing to do was to set up the sound system, the projector screen, and the projector. I think this took us through lunch, I remember there was sushi brought by our fantastic photographer, which we ate as we worked. There was a last minute file delivery from our video-wrangler, saving the day and enabling us to show a good quality projection of the movie. Then we had lights, instruments, microphones, set pieces to sort out. Our soundie arrived mid afternoon and we ran through the show to make sure everything technical was going to go smoothly. Everything did, and by then it was time to brief the ushers, down a kebab, have a cold shower and wash my face with shampoo (because I forgot to bring soap or face-wash) and then get into costume.
In costume, back stage, peeking as the audience comes in… we are waiting for our cue to come out, suddenly a cast members nose starts bleeding. ’Stall the show’. We stall. We wait. The audience is looking at their phones, fidgeting in their seats, we are panicking, tissues and toilet paper, worried there might be fainting on stage if we go on… Wondering if we should call a doctor… we wait and wait… the bleeding doesn’t stop, the brave cast member says he is ok to go on, and so we do. Toilet paper up the nose, swallowing blood, he still does an amazing job!
After the show we chat with friends, have a drink, relax finally. The feedback is fantastic, the compliments make me blush and feel a little uncomfortable but I try to accept them. We’ve worked hard and we deserve them.
10:30 is our scheduled pack-down time. We change out of costume, close the doors to the theatre and start packing everything up and loading the cars. Luckily we don’t have to move all of the seats and rostra around again. As it is, I think it’s midnight before we leave. And then home, and then the unloading of the cars, the avocado on toast, and the picking apart of the show and watching the video to spot any mistakes.
Next morning we make pancakes and waffles for cast and crew. Half of the cast can’t make it, but some of our helpers are there, and it’s nice to relax, drink tea, eat brunch. And then later it’s back to real life, work, all of that.
Now preparing for the Wellington show. It’s going to be fun!
As some of you may or may not know, I’ve been writing a concept album about the actual Transit of Venus. The one that this project is named after.
If this requires a bit of back-story, here it is in brief. A transit of Venus is the astronomical term for when Venus passes directly between the Earth and the Sun, a little black dot of an eclipse. (This is an ASTRONOMY thing not an astrology thing. You’ve got no idea how often I hear “You don’t believe in astrology? But your band is called Transit of Venus!” An easy mistake to make I guess haha) Venus transits occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The last Transit of Venus was in 2004 and the next one will be this year in June.
You may be wondering “Is this at all interesting and why would anyone care?” so I’ll tell you why the transit of venus is interesting to me. I can’t promise it will also be interesting to you, but thats ok, you can go read your horoscope instead.
I first heard about the Transit of Venus when I was sitting in a lecture room, Auckland Uni, Physics 107 – Planets, Stars and Galaxies. We had this certain lecturer who could sing you to sleep with his monotonous dreary rumble, no matter how interesting the subject matter was I’d find my head nodding and my breath slowing and I’d have to fight to keep my eyes open as I stared at the whiteboard. He was talking about the Transit of Venus one particular day, we had an assignment where we had to replicate the calculations required to determine the distance from the Earth to the Sun. He told the story of Captain James Cook. Growing up, I’d only heard the primary-school version of the legend where a somewhat vilified Captain Cook lands in New Zealand and starts shooting people. I’d never heard the backstory of the amazing journey of scientific discovery. These explorers were our olden time astronauts, risking their lives for new knowledge. The Endeavour had a botanist and an astronomer on board, their trip was about more than traveling to new countries with guns to stir up trouble. And it annoyed me that I’d never been told about this at school.
Anyway, there’s a lot more depth to the story of the observations of the Transit of Venus (which were necessary to calculate the distance of the earth to the sun, which itself was necessary to calculate the relative distances of everything in the solar system*) the whole of it IS quite interesting, and I’m not really a writer so I won’t blah blah blah about it too much, and will in fact wind up my little story by saying that back in 2005 I named my recording project Transit of Venus, I got an A- in that paper, and then later I dropped out of Uni because I wanted to spend more time on my main band Amperzahn and work in a music store. /Backstory
I’ve been writing a collection of songs inspired by stories related to the Transit of Venus, for a concept album I wish to release before or around June. It’s going to be bookended by two instrumental pieces, first Evening Star, and it will end on a piece called Morning Star. Now life being what it is, the last song on the album is the first one ready, and here it is…
If you like it please do share it around.
In this song I was trying to capture a feeling of wonder, trepidation, but then adventure excitement and discovery, as well as a nostalgia or sadness that this coming Transit will be the last within our lifetime. I felt morally obliged to include twinkly sounds because everyone knows stars (and yes, planets) make a twinkling noise when they sparkle***.
Adam played Drums and Bass and that instrument that is called a Brazilian Viola but looks neither Brazilian nor like a Viola. I played Piano/Keyboards and Guitar and the thing that makes a sparkly noise which I often call a marimba though it’s definitely not one.
We recorded at The Rock Factory Studio, which is always the best of fun! We finished the whole song in a day by prioritising feel over perfection. We had a picnic in a tree at the domain, which is something of a tradition now. We ate Burger Fuel, I had a Beatnik Burger. A bug flew into my mouth while I was eating it. (We should get free burgers for that plug right? Someone tell them to sponsor our band…)
And that is part of the story of the song Morning Star. I missed out the bit about planetariums but I’ll tell you that sooooooonish haha!
Bye for now,
*Some may argue that ‘necessary’ is the wrong word and that they’ve lived their lives quite happily without ever needing to know this information, but I’d argue that all past knowledge is relevant to present and future knowledge so while you might not specifically need to know the distance from the earth to the sun, your TV** needs satellites, and satellites need space travel and space travel needs a half decent knowledge of at least the close bits of space, am I right? Do you like your TV?
** Unless you just use it for DVD’s, like the one at my place. In which case substitute Google Earth, or GPS or whatever it is you fancy that needs satellites.
***True fact, you read it here first, on the best place for all true facts; the internet.
Once again, all to soon, it’s that time where I look back through my blogs to see what my goals for the year were, then make up some different ones in hindsight, based on what I actually achieved.
According to my Jan 2011 blog my plans were…
1. Finish building the GUITAR OF DOOM
2. Play some mean shows
3. Finish an acoustic album/EP.
4. Overcome my dentistry phobia and get my damn wisdom teeth out.
5. Try to be less awful with money.
I’d give myself a 1.5/5 for achievement here. I did play some mean shows, and I was slightly less awful with money than usual. I got some work done on the Guitar of Doom, but not nearly as much as I’d have liked to. I recorded acoustic demos, but never took it further than that.
What my goals for 2011 should have been is…
1. Play piano/guitar/ukulele for a theatre company
2. Play some mean shows with ToV, especially fun out of town shows
3. Do something fun like the 48 hour film festival
4. Be in Moe and Sashis music video in Malaysia
5. Get swept off my feet by unexpected Handsome Disney Prince
6. Record a bunch of acoustic demos, and track some songs with the band that I haven’t yet had mixed because I’m useless
7. Record, mix and release this song in a day, in the gap between Christmas and New Years http://transitofvenusproject.bandcamp.com/track/morning-star
8. Go to the gym semi-regularly when I can be bothered and haven’t had a late night
9. Play ‘keyboard’ in a band (as a ‘piano’ player, I’ve never really done this before!)
10. Be Happy
There, 10/10 ;D I win at awesome!
I daren’t write down any goals for 2012. I know what I’m working towards, but I never know what will get thrown my way.
Here is some stuffs from 2011 for you to watch/listen…
Happy New Year!
<3 Kristie xxx
Trying to remember what actually happened in September… a glance at my calendar indicates that it was spent rehearsing for a theatre production of Hairy Maclary (which is now being performed at The Pumphouse), recording exam pieces for a school, and rehearsing some other things for some other secret things. Not so much secret, as just I’m not gonna go blah blah blah about them until I’m really sure it’s all happening.
Apparently I haven’t been to the gym in seventeen yonks, nor have I managed to play netball or build anymore of my guitar. I have two songs in partially completed states of recording… and I’m a bit mad at myself for not getting more done!
I did play a little acoustic gig at Juice Bar a couple of weekends ago with Adam, our acoustic duo Herbacious Pepperonicle basically is sounding like a Transit-of-Venus/Amperzahn covers band at the moment.
Oh yes, and here are a couple of pics from our gig with Miss Plum at Whammy Bar late August. It was a really fun night and I was stoked to catch up with so many people I hadn’t seen in ages!
Thank you for taking the time to read my irregular monthly updates <3 <3 <3
[posted by Kristie]
It’s August again, this happens every year apparently. I’ve been back in New Zealand for almost a year… Except when I popped over to Malaysia for a couple of weeks in May. While I was there my friends Moe and Sashi had the idea of recording a music video for a song I played session guitar on last year, Bintang. This weekend the video was released online, so here it is…
I also have some pictures to share with you from last months trip to Napier where we played at The Cabana. Pictures are by Melissa Thorburn
We have a gig coming up in Auckland, on August 19th we’re playing for Miss Plum Green to celebrate a digital download release. This is happening at Whammy Bar on K’rd (downstairs in St Kevins Arcade). Keep an eye on our gigs page for details of upcoming shows http://transitofvenusproject.com/gigs/
In other news, slowly chipping away at recordings. I have a habit of trying to complete numerous projects at once, which sometimes makes things take forever. But I’d like to think I never really abandon ideas, I just stretch them out over the years. Speaking of which, I’ve been doing more work on my Guitar of Doom… Have a look here http://transitofvenusproject.com/building-a-guitar-of-doom/
I’m sure I have more to report… I mean, I know I do. But some of it I can’t blog about yet… So I hope that’s enough news for you at the moment. Those of you who read this, thanks a ton for your support. It means a lot to me
<3 K xxx
Realised the year has been racing by. Pretty busy lately and I’ve been super slack at updating the ‘latest news’ page. Thank goodness for facebook eh? www.facebook.com/transit.of.venus.music usually gets updated regularly with gigs, pics, info etc.
The Band and I have been playing around a little, you could almost call it a nation-wide-tour but that might be pushing it. Over the last fortnight we’ve gigged in Auckland, Raglan, and Napier. It’s been pretty fun!
Here’s a video from the Napier gig that Ninja Monkeys were kind enough to put on youtube…
And here’s a bunch of random road trip and random gig pics…
In other news… I’ve been playing piano for a ‘Tim Bray Productions’ show that starts next week at The Pumphouse Theatre in Takapuna, Auckland. The show is called The Lion In The Meadow and is based on stories by Margaret Mahey. It’s aimed at kids but I definitely think adults would enjoy it too. I certainly love it! Tickets available from here…. https://www.patronbase.com/_PH/Productions/0407/Performances
Well, it’s been a while (AGAIN) since I’ve updated. Lots of stuff has been happening, most of it good
On Friday I played out with my new line-up. A gig at the Kings Arms organised by Invader Cain and Mystique promotions with all proceeds going to Red Cross.
Nikolas (drums) and Dan (bass) kicked ass and I consider our first show together to be a sucess. Was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who came along, and big ups to everyone who came and said hi to me after the show. Lovely to meet people who enjoy my music!
The other bands who played were my good friends Mile High (who have recently been in the studio with me at The Rock Factory and I really need to get my A into G and sort out the mixing of that epic song…) Invader Cain (watch the video for their song ‘Shonky’, tis cool!), The Dirty Sweets, Doppler and Benny Profane. Take the time to check all these guys out if you can.
I hate the way I can’t embed facebook vids into blogs. Damn internet. But if you go to the link below you should be able to see the vid my drummer Nikolas took of his drumming during our set. If anyone else has any pics or vids from the show feel free to send them my way email@example.com
I’ve been super busy lately, working for epic legendary workplace The Rock Factory and rehearsing for a play called The Lighthouse Keepers Lunch with Time Bray Productions which is due to start on Monday at The Pumphouse Theater in Takapuna.
About a fortnight ago I managed to get thrown in a pool for a quick photoshoot with Jacki Jane Photography. My fav two pics are here (I may get thrown in a pool again as punishment for posting unprocessed pics, but I just happen to like the randomness of them!)
Also did a photoshoot a few months back with Anthony Corban who is my kinda ‘label boss’ type person with Black Doris Music and runs the rehearsal space I practice in called The Manor. My fav pic from that ‘shoot’…
If you haven’t seen, I’ve been posting up a few acoustic demos on my bandcamp page, they’re pretty rough but sometimes people like to hear them at this stage, so go download them if ya like. http://transitofvenusproject.bandcamp.com/album/acoustic-demos-summer-2010-2011
Well, thats about it from me. My brain is asleep so I’m gonna go get some exercise hopefully in the form of walking from my car to the fish n chip shop. Om nom nom!
Catchya soon! Don’t forget to add yourself to the mailing list*, I send out a email not more than once a month with news/gigs.
<3 K xxx
*The thingee has disappeared down the bottom of the page for some reason. I should probably fix that… er…
Hello hello, I know, long time no blog. Lucky we have facebook, twitter and real life or you’d all think I was dead right?
Often at the start of the year, I like to write about what my new years resolutions for the previous year should have been (though scrolling back I see I haven’t really done this properly since 2007, busy past few years? According to my blog, kinda. LOL).
So 2010 my new years resolutions with the benefit of hindsight were…
1. Visit two previously unvisited countries (Thailand and Singapore)
2. Play some music overseas (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia baby)
3. Get bitten by a snake
4. Learn to swear in another language.
5. Read more than 100 books (Classics mostly, old stuff out of copyright that are free as e-books)
6. RIDE AN ELEPHANT! (lifelong dream!!!)
7. Learn to like beer (this was a New Years Resolution I really truly made at the start of the year and not just made up at the end. There is a story behind it but it’s one that is probably more interesting if I don’t tell it at all.)
8. Discover the joys of hanging out at a mamak at 3am with good friends. Many of my dearest memories of Malaysia seem to involve this
9. Get the worlds most awesome job ever on returning to New Zealand! I’m dead serious, I really like my new job working for recording studio and event production company The Rock Factory
10. Don’t fall apart when everything around me falls apart. I don’t know if I kept this all year long but in the end when push came to shove I’ve managed to swim rather than sink. So far.
So what does 2011 hold? Lets hazard a guess, though really I’m usually so wrong with these.
1. Finish building the GUITAR OF DOOM I really really want to do this! (yes it’s really not finished after all these years, most of you probably don’t even know what I’m talking about…)
2. Play some mean shows (I’m already hearing rumours I’ve put a new band together for Transit of Venus and that the first NZ gig is booked in March…?)
3. Finish an acoustic album/EP.
4. Overcome my dentistry phobia and get my damn wisdom teeth out.
5. Try to be less awful with money.
There ya go. Hope to catch you at a show this year my darlings! xx <3 K