The Denzeity Blog


Read the latest posts from our 'news from within' or visit the full blog here.



Getting Social

(Posted: 23 April 2018 12:38)


As every musician knows, a very small proportion of the job is performing music and a disproportionately large time requirement is spent on promotional activities.

It has been time I got a few more social media channels happening for a while now and I have spent most of the weekend getting more of them sorted out.

So in addition to the website, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Reverb Nation and this blog the band can now be found in the following places:
To be fair the Youtube account already existed but I tend to use it for video storage and then link to videos from elsewhere. However I found out today I need 100 Youtube subscribers before they'll allow me to use https://www.youtube.com/channel/Denzeity as our URL. I've 15 already and don't really know how I managed that so if you want to help me get up to the magic 100, please click on this link and subscribe (if you are not one of the 15 pro-active legends having already done so...)!

Music glue has been offering a chance to play the Leeds festival so that was an important one to sort out and I've been meaning to do Bandcamp for a while. These are both actually pretty much full website applications specifically for musicians so when I say sorted them out, I really mean I've gone and practically created two new websites for the band.

So now you can find us in even more places...




Pic of the Bunch

(Posted: 22 April 2018 22:45)



I was very pleased recently to get a bunch of finished pictures back from Christina Jansen, the photographer who had been working on the next lot for me (see some of the previous ones here).

I guess photos for a photographer are a bit like songs for musician. In both cases we don't want anything of ours going out there that might spoil a good reputation - in other words we want our work to be the best it can be before it's made public. So for this reason Christina prefers to make sure the images are at their best before delivering them to the client.

The nice thing is she will often include a few different versions of each one with a few different effects tried out that she thinks might work in certain situations. I particularly like the starkness of this one on the right here for example.

I've certainly got a few I can work with now. I just need to get some of the whole band...







Unexpected Record Deal

(Posted: 16 April 2018 18:21)


A few weeks back Epic Micky messaged me to say a chap over in the US wants to release his dance version of History and wanted to make contact with me to get the necessary permission / forms signed etc. Shortly afterwards Matt, the owner of the record and distribution company Louis Capet XXVI messaged me about this as expected.

A few days later I received an email with a 9 page music contract which I needed to sign and return to him so he can get on and release the song. This admin stuff has to be done right to make sure there are no problems down the line, and so it was important to read it through properly and have one or two others advise me on it as well. There were a couple of small changes I wanted to make but overall it looks to be a good deal for all concerned.

As heady as all this sounds, it is not a recording contact as such. It is permission to release (a.k.a. distribute to music retail outlets) and promote Micky's dance version of History which of course features my vocal from the original song - which inspired Micky to come up with his part of the track and so is a collaborative effort. There is no money in advance but if the song does well then Micky and I will get an equal share of the artist's royalties which is a nice thought - regardless of how large or small they are likely to be! I'm not holding my breath mind you, but hey - you have to give these things a try and do what you can to make them as successful as you can...

Hopefully it's all a sign of things to come but either way I never considered that my first record deal would be for an electronic dance record!




Another Perspective

(Posted: 04 April 2018 21:38)


Joe WrightCareful observers will have noticed that the last keyboard playing incarnation didn't last very long. Joe did two rehearsals with us and one gig (not in that order) before realising that he couldn't commit to a serious band as he had his own serious band on the go and so had to step down.

Gary Cunningham playing with DenzeityOnce again the call went out for suitable keyboard players while I scoured the various musician websites. The search produced two very good keys players: Fabio Parisella and Gary Cunningham. Both loved the material, both were excellent players with bags of experience and both were really nice guys. Fabio was earning a living playing in over half a dozen cover and tribute bands while Gary had just finished a tour with The Signatures and was looking to settle down and return to a more 'normal life' of finishing his studies with occasional musical exterludes (yes I did make that word up).

This meant that whilst Fabio was busy most Friday and Saturday nights with other bands, Gary was available for a few gigs here and there when we needed him - as long as it wasn't too often. So by default Gary got the first gig - and thoroughly proved himself in the process. So until things get really hectic and he needs to pull back a bit, he'll likely have most of them...

But wait there's more...

There is something else that sets Gary apart from many other people I've worked with. Firstly and most obviously is the fact he is 19. Musicians with his level of competence, musical understanding and confidence don't normally exist below the age of 25 in my experience. What youth usually lacks is normally made up for in enthusiasm but in Gary's case it is not made up for, it is instead thickly spread over the top of his musical skills resulting in someone with a combination of both that you rarely see.

Gary also happens to be really good at social media with a great blog and video diaries. He has posted two videos re the band already: This one is of our first (and to date only) rehearsal as a full band:



And the other one here is Gary's take on our gig in Winchester on Saturday.

These are all available on Gary's Youtube page.

It's nice to enjoy someone else's perspective on all this for a change!




Changing Rainbows

(Posted: 02 April 2018 17:48)


As well as doing my own original material, Denzeity are also doing a couple of songs written by friends of mine which I recognize as being great tunes with huge potential. In an earlier post I mentioned one such song, Never, by my old mate Tristan  Baker and his band 'Scapegoat'.

KJ Hansen
One other is a song called Chasing Rainbows written by KJ Hansen, and old friend with whom I played in several bands (and make a point of finding time to jam with whenever I happen to be in Melbourne). This was a sad song written as an acoustic finger picking ballad and widely recognised by our extended circle of friends as a stand out song. It was such a melancholic piece that KJ routinely refers to it wryly as, "that old wrist-slasher"!

Whilst the arrangement evolved through various bands into a bit of a power ballad it was always rooted in the acoustic guitar arpeggio that was KJ's original vision.

Mike then, in his usual style, when I introduced the song to him, suggested it could work much better as a faster rock number. I was more reluctant to change Chasing Rainbows than even some of my own songs. I felt like the custodian of KJ's principal work being asked to hand it over to be butchered and reimagined like tearing up a Monet painting to stick crumpled bits of the canvas onto a wall as some modernist reinvention of painted art.

After continuous appeals from Mike and the other band members to give it a try however, I eventually reasoned with myself that a) It won't hurt to at least listen to the ideas, b) I had the final say in the end so could always veto the changes, c) Mike had a good ear for this sort of thing and might be on to something , and d) The original song continues to exist regardless and I have recordings of it in this form. I also reasoned that we would be just as able to perform either version depending on circumstances. And so over the course of a few hours in a large brick rehearsal room in South London, the knives were wielded and the surgery was performed.

What we got back at the end was indeed a faster, rockier number. It was also, to give Mike his due credit, a great sounding piece of music. I felt it sounded like a completely different song but it was still those same wonderful chord changes and desperate lyrics that KJ wrote all those years ago. Everyone in the band commented on how much they liked it and it was clear it would certainly be a popular song live.

We caught the new version of Chasing Rainbows on video at out most recent gig at the Railway Inn in Winchester:


All songwriters are precious about their work to varying degrees and I hope KJ won't be too upset that the original intention of his song has been altered in this way. The fact that it works so well in a wide range of styles demonstrates what a quality piece of song-writing it is.

Incidentally if you are in Melbourne, KJ can be seen performing at various venues around the place including some open mic nights at places like the Acorn Bar. If you want to hear Chasing Rainbows as it was originally intended (as well as a bunch of his other great songs), I highly recommend it!

Here below is a recording I did of the original version of the song for comparison - don't be fooled by the picture - it's me singing but I used KJ's picture as it's his song.



Update 6th April

Having Messaged KJ several days ago to play him the new version of the song, I heard back from him this afternoon and the response was positive. He was indeed "quite pleased to see us do our own take on it", and thought "it doesn't sound disrespectfully removed from the original".

So feeling a bit relieved and pleased that I have the songwriters blessing to continue down this path - and looking forward to performing it again soon and making a proper recording of this version too.




Name Dropping

(Posted: 30 March 2018 15:26)


As I alluded to in a previous post, one of the bonuses of working with industry professionals is you get to meet other industry professionals. Nowhere is this more true than at music industry social events.

I was invited to one last night near Kings Cross and what an amazing evening it was. As well as catching up with Christina Jansen who recently took some amazing shots of me a few weeks back, she also introduced me to a few people before she had to head off to a gig, and I ended up enjoying a glass or two and a yak with numerous people, some with amazing achievements under their belts.

One such chap was Chris Thompson of the Screaming Blue Messiahs, who was describing how David Bowie loved the band so much he tracked them down to support him on a US tour - and complained once in an interview that everyone sent him free albums - except the Screaming Blue Messiahs!

Another was Damon Summers who had few hits in the 80's and 90's in Europe and the far east with X Projection and has put together a new line up (who were all there too) to keep the music going - playing old hits and also new stuff written with guitarist Mark Campling. I ended up at some nightclub with the rest of the band for a short while afterwards - Singer Kyra Poole was wearing the coolest hat...

Speaking of cool, very cool was meeting and having a brief chat with Rob Davis who co-wrote Kylie Minogue's hit 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' (with Cathy Dennis). And speaking of Kylie Minogue, I had brief chat with Peter Waterman's business partner who was there too.

Jon Morter was another one - he ran the social media campaign that got Rage Against The Machine their Christmas Number 1 in 2009 (a feat he told me which couldn't be done now in the same way) while Sharon Matheson kindly gave me a little more insight about the industry from a music distributer's point of view.

There were also numerous singer/songwriter/musicians in various stages of their careers: Llio Millward who was utterly charming and kindly gave me a copy of her Heart Of Fire CD (which I am finding heartfelt, cool and hauntingly quirky), Selena Seballo, Crawford Mack being among those I spent some time with.

The wonderful thing was that everyone I spoke to was engaging and friendly, in contrast to what is sometimes the reputation of the music industry!




What's In A Name?

(Posted: 23 March 2018 13:50)


I have been looking for a band name for a while and finally found one we can get behind.

Everyone has a different view on what makes a good band name. As John Lennon famously said of The Beatles, "it's just a name, like 'shoe'." There are however undoubtedly some great band names and some awful ones.

"Royal Blood" is an example of a fantastic band name. It holds two meanings which are somewhat opposed to each other so it makes you think. Both words have emotional resonance so you feel something when you hear it. It is simple, memorable and thought provoking - meaning people remember it and possibly associate it with something important which may make them ultimately more interested in exploring the thing that holds this name - the ultimate goal of any music marketing campaign.

Other band names I really like are 'The The', 'Led Zeppelin' and a band I recorded once called 'Steaming Dog' - which they soon afterwards changed to 'The Grans', which I thought was a pretty awful name by comparison.

Regardless of whether you like it, agree with it morally or not, people judge books by covers and bands by their names. And if the name influences people to be more likely to want to know more about, and ultimately listen to your work, then it's a good name.

With all this in mind I also wanted a name that reflected the fact that it was my project, in a similar way to "Bon Jovi" being Jon Bon Jovi's project but is still a band in it's own right. "Simon and the Somewhats" or "Densley's Half Dozen" would have achieved this but ticked few other boxes.

A while back Mark suggested 'The Densley Engine' which some of us liked. I used that name on some flyers as it was better than 'The Simon Densley Band' but we still weren't convinced.

The other issue is availability. With bands forming all over the world on a daily basis and everyone wanting a unique name, the number of available decent names is dwindling. I came up with a few that I really liked only to find they had already been used somewhere else.  'Antiself' was one example, had it not been taken already we might be called 'Simon and the Antiself'. The 'Bunnyrats' was another. The internet is disappointingly good at digging up little known things.

With the focus back on my name again I remembered at school a geography teacher talking about an area being 'densely populated' and everyone looking at me. Perhaps there was something in that. Googling "Music Density Band" turn up a Phoenix (Arizona) metal band (Fifth Density) and a 'densitymusic' website that seems to be all about British blues guitarist Keith Thompson but no band call 'Density' itself. That was good!

I also decided to change the spelling to reflect that Densley is pronounced as if it has a 'z'. So Denzity then? I didn't like the look of that so I tried it with an e: Denzety? No, I put back the i and was about to remove the e again when I spotted the 'zeit' in Denzeity and immediately thought of Zeitgeist. That was good. Another quick look suggested Deity was in there too - also good, and split by the 'enz'* - which as an anagram of 'zen' makes the whole name an anagram of 'Zen Deity'... A cryptic crossword lover could have field day! I liked this name. So did the small number of people I suggested it to, significantly, people who had not really liked any of the other names I had put forward. So it was decided - the band would be called Denzeity.

While writing this post I googled "Density Band" again to check which band names had come up. Right there at the top was the facebook page of a New York three piece called... Density. How had I missed that? I really hadn't wanted to see that in there. I had already changed the whole website to reflect the new name and really didn't want to go back and start again looking for another one. However reason kicked in and I realised that Denzeity is quite a different word to Density, with a different pronunciation, regardless that it was a derivation. So Denzeity was staying.

*Split Enz was a New Zealand band with Neil Finn who later formed Crowded House (whom some people have said my music sounds a little bit like - although I don't hear it myself). They were big in Australia in the 1980s and I really liked them when I was a kid (and still do to be fair.)




Getting An Image

(Posted: 10 March 2018 11:01)



One of the pieces of the puzzle that Sean (our manager) has been keen to get in place is to have some really good photos of me and the band. Last Tuesday evening I spent a few hours being photographed by Christina Jansen, one of Sean's contacts.

Christina is a great photographer and has shot numerous people including names like Robert Plant and Muhammad Ali. She lives (and has a studio) in Primrose Hill which gave us a good backdrop for some outdoor shots and makes it a good base to go and get some more shots around Camden and similar areas with the rest of the band over the next few weeks.

It was while there was some snow on the ground which it a bit unusual and we wandered around the local area using whatever backdrops we found. Then it was back to her studio (where is was a bit warmer) to get a bunch more shots.

We had a quick look through many of the shots afterwards and there were certainly some very good ones there. She has sent me through the first dozen shots which she has done some post production work on. Here are four of them which I think are good but I believe there are some much better ones still to come.