Shake your lettuce! The heartwarming story behind the lead track of my new EP, out on May 17th

You might have noticed a banner appearing at the top of this website in recent days, and wondering what it’s all about. Well, it’s the title of my new two track EP, soon to be released on 3rd Way Recordings.

The first record is called “Shake Your Lettuce”. Why the weird name? Well, I’d made this track with a few rhodes chords and a big bassline on it, but wasn’t quite sure what to call it. Around the same time, my 4 year old son started saying “shake your lettuce” a lot. No idea why, but I recorded him saying it and stuck it on the track.

And if that’s not for you, the deeper alternative track will be. “Danny’s Analogous House” is a throwback to the olden days when that organ bass sound was everywhere – although I’m at pains to point out this is not the constantly recurring Korg M1 organ patch!

Track previews and preorder links are now on Traxsource, ahead of the May 17th release…

What’s going on in the world of Amateur At Play?

It’s been a few weeks since my last update. I still do music and stuff, you know!

  • Thanks to all of you who supported my recent release “Perfect Vacation” with Morris Revy. I’m pleased to say that it’s done pretty well and got a lot more radio support than I expected. Both mixes were slightly different to my usual fare, so the support is humbling.
  • My next release on 3rd Way Recordings is coming up on May 17th. It’s a two track EP called “Shake Your Lettuce”. Weird name? Definitely. But it’ll all make more sense nearer the time.
  • As you can see, this website has had a makeover recently. There’s still a few more things that need to be added, but they’ll all come along very soon.
  • The remix front has been busy of late, but is currently a little quiet. Simply click the Remix Requests button near the top of the page if you’re interested in getting the Amateur At Play sound added to your next release.
  • I’m currently investigating quite a few different things, not just the murky world of Derrick May. Some very surprising revelations are on their way in the next few weeks…

And that’s all for now!

Things don’t stop for the weekend here!

This blog doesn’t stop just because it’s Friday night. Definitely not! With Easter now more or less out of the way, normality resumes to these pages this weekend.

Tomorrow morning starts with a recap of the best from another busy week. That’s followed in the afternoon by the Six On Saturday column, reviewing the best tunes of the week.

And there’ll be plenty to read on Sunday too, as always. It’s a seven days a week operation I run here…

Confidence booster – the IQ Musique and Phie Claire effect?

Even someone like me has moments when they wonder whether something is going to be well received by people. I had such a moment a few months ago just after I’d finished a remix for IQ Musique and Phie Claire.

Here’s a clip before I continue.

Nice, eh?

Anyway, during 2020, I actually had quite a few times like this. I released music and it just didn’t seem to be hitting the mark in the way it normally did. Had I lost my touch? Was it the big bad Covid’s fault? I don’t know, but something just didn’t seem right to me.

Anyway, I accepted this remix project and I also accepted time was short. My wife was due to go in for a C-section to the hospital and I had to get this done before that. The prospect of trying to get this done afterwards – with two toddlers, a baby and a wife recovering after surgery – was not a pleasant thought!

You can read the full story behind the record here. But the short version is I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated as a result. I wasn’t especially happy with this dub, but dare not have said anything.

When it came out in January, it was extremely well received, much to the surprise of mainly myself. I even got a very kind message from Phie Claire herself telling me that she loved what I’d done with the song. Opinion amongst singers about dubs are mixed, so this was very nice to receive.

And when I checked on Traxsource and saw it was my most popular release….

…I was frankly over the moon. “Good Good Bad” is a track I still have a lot of time for, but I used to wonder if anything would knock it from the top slot. It had been there for around a year.

Currently on sale at the Amateur At Play bakery

Welcome to the Amateur At Play bakery! I’ve got three lovely new things fresh out of the oven for you at the moment. See what you think of each one.

Firstly, this is my remix contest winning entry for “Don’t Give Up”, a song by Dormidontov & Newzs Feat. Michael Balzer. [Hypeddit]

Secondly, this is one track of two off my latest EP. It’s called “Bring On The Love” and is out now on Traxsource.

Finally, this one is due to drop on the streaming sites in a few days. My moody dub of “When The Sun Goes Down” by Jerem A.

And if none of those takes your fancy, (seriously?) head to your site of choice and search under Amateur At Play!

What got me into making music?

It’s been a while since I’ve shared this story, and I know it’s not on this site yet. So I thought I’d tell you all about it.

Ultimately, the reason I’m doing is it 95 North. I was interested in production for many years, but I only took the plunge to actually do it in 2015. I spent years being intimidated by the fact I knew next to nothing about it. I knew nothing about DAWs and my knowledge of music theory was virtually zero.

All I had going in my favour was what I’d acquired from years of listening to music. I could usually spot pretty quickly what sounded right and what sounded wrong.

Back in 2015, I started compiling tracks for a 95 North tribute mix. There were several records that I simply couldn’t get hold of, so I reached out to the 95 North page directly to see if they could help. Richard Payton replied and was incredibly helpful. I ended up doing three mixes, including six hours of music.

The experience encouraged me to throw caution to the wind and start. I got a copy of Cockos Reaper, downloaded a couple of very basic VSTs, a few old sample packs with mostly one shot sounds and started trying to work out how to create something. If I got stuck, I watched a YouTube tutorial to help me out.

It’ll be six years of doing it in a few months from now, and I’m still doing it and hope to be for a long time.