Steve Merlin - Closer To The Moon

 

Released: April 2008

   
                 
   

Story

 

Musicians and artists

A number of people worked along with me on Closer To The Moon. Between 2001 and 2008 there was a great bunch of musical friends helping me out, and my cat Biko meows on 'Grow Over It' (which actually makes it a vocal track, after all). Lies van Haaren let me use her oil paintings for the booklet artwork. The painting above she made especially for the title track.

Arno Nikkelen

Since the late nineties, I had a friend with whom I shared the love of music, Belgian beers, good food and good company.

Arno played the bass guitar and sang lead- and/or backing vocals in various bands: Ruby Fruit Jungle, Patso, Blowbeat,

 

and the Martin Hutchinson Band. He studied bass guitar from Pieter Douma and Anjo van den Hurk, and picked up playing the organ later on.

I recorded Arno playing his Fender Jazz Bass guitar in 2003 for Closer To The Moon, on 'The Collector' and 'Moon', and together we recorded ideas for basslines on the instrumental track 'Grow Over It'.

After I finished the album, in the end Arno sadly just made it to listening to the results of our recordings.

Ancient history

The first song lyric I ever wrote, 'Get Out', ventilated a message to an ex-girlfriend who had upset my seventeen-year-old soul. I never actually played the song - it wasn't really playable at all, I think - but the fifth one I wrote, 'Dirty Honey' was turned into a funky little thing by the band 'Red Fall' - in which I played the guitar at the time. A very young Tom van Veldhoven played the drums. The year was 1990.

On my own

Studying in Nijmegen, I was nineteen when I said goodbye to Red Fall, because after some successful little gigs they decided

that funk was the music style people were warming up to. I thought funk was the

 

dullest thing to play on a guitar, I wanted to play Rock Music. Progressive Rock Music.

Singer-songwriter (1990-2001)

My first experience as a singer was during a Red Fall demo recording. Three out of the four demo songs were mine, and I was showing our lead vocalist how to sing a certain phrase in one of those songs. He was not impressed.

But after the split, I started to sing my own home-made songs. I must have improved from the initial mumbling to actually singing them, because in 1997 I finaled in the Gelderse Singer/Songwriter Competition. Due to some performance frustrations and a shift in my attention, I quit writing and working on my songs until the turn of the century.

First recordings

I started experimenting on an 8-track Tascam 238 tape recorder, but very soon I discovered the problems of recording one instrument at a time on a tape recorder. Noise, pitch, crosstalk and timing problems, and not being able to overview and control the mix. I was writing the music and recording it simultaneously, with a lot of musicians. I needed a computer.

At the time, a glitchy program called CoolEdit Pro made it possible for me to see what I was doing, but I had to repair all the glitches. It was good editing practice. And I finished my album.

  

Steve Merlin, February 2013