Rehearsing in the park
It was great to back and performing.
Last night at The Garage, Highbury & Islington was a great way to get back into the swing of things. This time it was the Bastedo Ladies, with Alex Moore on Upright Bass and Ed Dampier on guitar. They were awesome.
We are still looking for opportunities and the perfect synchronisation of diaries, to bring the full band experience to you all. Its not easy but it’ll be worth it.
Despite all the music that you might see or hear, its not easy being a musician in this day and age. You need dedication in the face of apathy. Commitment for little reward (apart from music being its own reward…but that don’t pay the bills) and ingenuity to keep the wheels on, when you’re stranded far from home with no emergency breakdown cover!!
Behind the scenes, we are recording an album and also looking to update our online presence. Coming soon. To all those that came out and supported us last night. Thank you x
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Last time we met Aaron and Alex, the rhythm section, and with Ed Dampier putting down the last parts for the first batch of demos at Pana Studios tonight it’s time to meet the frontline boys…
Guitars – Ed Dampier
Although initially a wholly self-taught musician, Ed studied upon arrival in London at the renowned Guitar Institute – gaining a grade of Distinction and furthering the diversity and skill of his repertoire whilst still maintaining a signature style.
Since that time he has worked on sessions with producers of the calibre of Tony Platt (AC/DC, Bob Marley, etc) and Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers), and played at festivals such as Musicport, and London venues including the Lyric Theatre and Kensington Olympia.
Ed released his debut instrumental album online in 2010, and has twice reached the final of the International Songwriting Competition (2011, 2013).
Keyboards – Matt Bethel
Matt Bethel studied 5 instruments growing up, playing in a variety of ensembles and orchestras.
As a violinist and pianist, he won multiple classical music competitions and achieved his DipABRSM diploma in Violin performance at the age of 17.
He went on to study a Bachelor of Music at Royal Holloway, with a scholarship for violin tuition, at the Royal College of Music. During this time he had the opportunity to compose film and television music under the guidance of BBC art-house composer Brian Lock and composed for numerous student films including Cecilia Li’s ‘The Fence’ which has since been nominated for awards at the Watersprite Film Festival.
He then went on to study for a Masters at the Royal Academy of Music, and was awarded the Driver Prize for his final concerto performance.
As a composer and pianist, Matt has scored music for the Adidas’ Stella McCartney online advertising campaign which featured two of his original compositions. He is also co-composer in ‘Paperblade’ which produces for music for film and television for InGrooves in San Francisco.
Matt has had the opportunity to tour and record orchestrally with bands and artists ranging from Spandau Ballet, Herbie Flowers, Jeff Wayne, Alex James, Goldfrapp, Squarepusher, ABC, Goldie and Deep Purple, performing at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, O2 Arena, the Barbican and many of the country’s largest arenas.
He is a member of the Covent Garden Soloists Orchestra which tours much of Asia accompanying world renowned violin soloist Vasko Vassilev. The Orchestra performed for the King of Cambodia and members of the Royal Family in Malaysia during the Asia tour of 2014.
As a pianist Matt has played in varying groups and units around London, covering music from Jazz, Rock and Hip Hop.
So there you have it, an eclectic band for an eclectic group!
Thanks to all the boys for their contributions to the blog.
Keep checking back for updates on the recording, live shows and what’s going on behind the scenes and we’ll see you soon!
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So what does a band with a sound all of its own need? An eclectic bunch of musicians, that’s what!!!
By now you should all know who Alex, Sophia and Celia are but this seems as good a time as any to properly introduce you to the guys behind the girls.
A tight knit group, the Bastedo boys have played in many different projects together, both as band members and session musicians.
In this blog we shall meet the rhythm section: Musical Director, Alex and Producer, Aaron.
Electric and Upright Bass – Alex Moore (Musical Director)
Having studied Jazz Music at Middlesex University, Alex has worked on the session scene with many signed artists and producers on both Electric and Upright Bass. This has involved numerous appearances on all the major UK TV and Radio stations and performing live to audiences in their thousands in the UK and Europe. He has also performed in pit bands for many theatre productions.
Drums & Percussion – Aaron Thompson (Producer)
With over 10 years of experience within radio broadcasting, recording, live and chamber performance environments in the UK and across Europe, Aaron has played with many leading signed and unsigned artists, with clients spanning from the BBC to independent and commercial record labels, production companies and county groups.
Aaron trained at SAE Oxford and the University of Leeds (BSc/MMus) coupled with 9 years experience as a sound engineer. His client base spans across various contexts such as lead engineer with a multi-award winning producer at a London recording studio, voluntary work for various other leading London recording studios and freelancing professionally from his personal studio, Pana Studios, in NW London.
In the next instalment we’ll meet those gents at the front Guitarist, Ed Dampier and Keyboards, Matt Bethel.
See you then.
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In the immortal words of Bastedo songstress Alex Watson, “MAN ALIVE”!!!
Since adding drummer and producer, Aaron Thompson, at the end of last year, the Bastedo sound has taken yet another dramatic leap forward.
Having stripped and rebuilt a selection of the back catalogue of songs at Alex M’s studio, the band are now settling into Aaron’s studio, Pana Studios, as they demo the new arrangements of the Bastedo songs.
Starting with five songs, the band are going to finalise structures and grooves in the studio and put together the songs that you will all get to here very soon – when Bastedo hit the road later this year.
It’s gonna be quite a ride, we look forward to seeing you on it!!!
Keep coming back to the blog though, as we introduce the new members in a bit more detail.
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Special Thanks to Alex Moore for writing this post…
So what have Bastedo been up to over the last few months???
It might appear that the girls have been keeping quiet but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Some changes have been taking place behind the scenes. The first of these has been expanding the band from a 4 piece acoustic group to a 7 piece (so far) band adding Ed Dampier on Guitars, Matt Bethel on Keyboards, Aaron Thompson on Drums and Percussion and Alex Moore on Electric and Upright Bass.
With these guys on board the next step has been reworking and reimagining the Bastedo songs as a 7 piece band for the upcoming shows and festivals in 2015 as well as the next Bastedo recording.
As the band have started to gel they have taken every opportunity that they can to work together in other projects as well forging even stronger bonds and tighter links.
This has included Alex Watson singing with a Big Band alongside Alex and Aaron, Alex Moore has been working on a couple of musicals with Ed and Sophia and Alex W have fronted a Disco band backed by Matt and Aaron. Everybody working together all of the time.
And let’s not forget that Celia has recently got married as well!!!
On the 11th Oct, Alex, Sophia, Celia, Ed and Alex performed at The Brook in Wallington. It was Ed’s first time outside of the rehearsal room…and he did an outstanding Job. It was an intimate setting. Luckily, no one was trying to swing any cats so it was all good. Here’s a clip of the guys performing Underground…Bastedo’s version of Van Morrison’s Moondance. Great audience. Insisted on an encore….that’s always a nice feeling.
So keep your eyes open for 2015, because it really will be something special!
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Tonight we will be performing at Numide in Crystal Palace. It’s an intimate venue, but it has a lot of heart and a great crowd of regulars.
Here’s our setlist for tonight…subject to change!
Loving you (Full version)
Let me be
Love on my side (Joel)
Codename Desire (Joel)
By the way (Joel)
Better Luck next time
To Love Somebody
Sweetness & Light
Room with a view
Give Yourself to me
Snakes & Ladders
Another Brick In the Wall (Joel)
Lets Stay Together
Killing Me Softly
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On Friday 14th of March, we played at Numide in Crystal Palace for the first time.
We do many great gigs, but this one was a little bit special.
Numide is an intimate venue in Crystal Palace, South London. http://www.numidie.co.uk
Firstly, it was an opportunity to player a longer set than normal. Usually we do around 30-45 minutes. For this gig we we were required to play for an hour, which was no problem. we have plenty of material and also a growing catalogue of covers which we regularly perform. The fact of the matter was…we ended up playing for an hour and a half, as the audience kept requesting that we do more and more. We were all having a blast! They didn’t care..with music…accapella. Just keep singing. And we did. Eventually, we had to call it a day as our brains had gone blank. So we decided to quit while we were ahead with the promise that we would be back
Its always nice to get endorsements from fellow musicians, and there were a good few of them in Numide that night…and they showed us an awful lot of love. It was really special. The crowd were really enthusiastic, joining into numbers that they knew…and even some which they didn’t The crowd was awesome. They gave us so much energy and love. We won’t forget it in a hurry.
Special mentions to Joel Bullen: Joel Bullen’s YouTube, Guitarist extraordinaire and ‘The Man with the Plan’, who got us down to Numide in the first place. Big shout to Kofi Allen Kofi Allen’s Website, ‘The Man with The Cam’ who got some great shots of the night despite the low lights and tight manoeuvring. Cheers mi Dear. Also massive shout outs to all who gave us support, encouraged us, sang at the top of their lungs, and came over to talk to us about our music. Also big hugs to no.1 fan Trev. Numide on 14th March is what is this is all about…so thank you all. Bastedo xx
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Where to begin?
As many of you know, I, Alex Watson, was named after Alexandra Bastedo. My childhood nickname was Bastedo. I wasn’t really aware of the show the Champions at that time, because I was too young. However, my mum was quite taken with her…hence naming me after her, and calling me Bastedo for many a year.
I always associated Bastedo with something good, because when my mum called me that, it was a term of affection and endearment and usually meant she was in a happy or playful mood. So the name has always had positive connotations. I was Bastedo
I formed my band Bastedo back in 2010. We had already been playing together for a while, but I felt we needed something to define us. To be honest…I had never felt entirely comfortable in my own skin. Performing as Alex Watson felt unsafe and risky. Exposing. When I decided to use the name Bastedo…I felt it still reflected me in my entirety, but allowed me to project more fearlessly. To grow. It was also more inclusive. It was a great decision, because whether or not people knew who Alexandra Bastedo was (and more often than not, they didn’t unless they were of a certain age) the name really resonates with people.
Anyway, I first contacted Alex back in late 2011 via her website for the ABC Sanctuary. I explained a little bit about myself and the band and I sent her a link to our website. That would be the start of beautiful relationship. Well…it was definitely beautiful to me…and I believe she thought so too. (In her own dignified way)
As I got to know Alex. The woman. We forged a strong bond. To be honest…there’s so much I didn’t get to know about her, so her death feels cruel and inconsiderate on the part of the universe. Not only that…there’s so much more she wanted to do. Her creative spark was never far. Life and circumstances prevented her from really finalising some of the things she would have liked to have done. Also running the sanctuary and her team of volunteers was no mean feat. I often marvelled and her. She was a great organiser and a hard woman to say no to and in running her animal sanctuary she engendered loyalty and support from friends as well her local community. She would enlist the help of her showbiz chums, to raise money for her sanctuary…tirelessly fundraising to keep it all going. This on top of caring for her husband Patrick, who was very ill in his final years, needing round the clock care. Her fortitude is an inspiration.
She was a quintessential English Rose. Still a striking woman in her twilight years…but her outstanding beauty in her younger days was legendary. She was a pin up and icon. However, she was an actress…the beauty was ethereal, and was not the kind of in your face, crass sexuality we often see today. She had a real gift for projecting the spirit of a piece, and I would see it for myself first hand, when she would read poems at her open days for the animal sanctuary.
The cruelty of cancer, which she had defeated some years earlier, came back to haunt her. However, she did not go down without a fight! Nosireebob! She wanted to beat it. She fought desperately hard, and she gave it everything she had, despite the pain, despite the indignity of such a heartless affliction. She did her research, she challenged the medical professionals and she left no stone unturned in her fight for life. All of this whilst dealing with her late husband Patrick’s affairs and running the sanctuary. They just don’t make them like her anymore!
Alexandra Bastedo. First of all…thank you for providing the inspiration for my name, Alexandra. Secondly the inspiration for my band Bastedo. Then thanks you infinitely for being a part of my life. I thank my lucky stars that we met when we did and that I got to know you on a personal level. She really wanted us to succeed, and was always letting me know how I might approach things especially from the style stakes! I have a tendency to dress down, and play down the feminine a lot of the time. She always told me to resist this… I never had her confidence or beauty…but she believed in me, and would let me know how I could improve things, that would help in my musical career. I picked up some bad habits, and they sometimes had an impact on my health or weight. She was very diplomatic…but she always prompted me. When I did up the glamour stakes…no one was more pleased than Alex. She loved it when I played the part, and pulled out the stops to look my best. I will endeavour to keep doing this. Here’s a typical example from an email she sent…
My tip for the top- Keep the weight off-you are looking so much better, the hairpiece is terrific and please dress less grunge and more chic-trendy! The talent we know about everyone who sees you thinks you are great. Keep in touch, Much love Alex
Thank you for being so supportive of me and my band. You’ll be pleased to know that I have lost a lot of weight since I last saw you. Thank you for everything. I will never, ever, forget you.
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A Bit of Background
Hi…Alex here. Phew. Its been over a month since we shot the video for Better Luck Next Time. Finally getting round to writing a post about out experiences. We did tweet and do some instagram stuff on the day, but there’s so much more that goes on than social media updates often reflect. Firstly, We’d like to thank Darren Brade and Mr. Gorgeous for their stellar efforts. We first spoke about doing a video several months ago. We’d discussed it in the past as a ‘would be nice to have’…’should have really’. It’s quite important these days. However, constraints meant that it’s not something we were able to do in the way we’d liked. So it was something we’ve always had an eye on. We also hope this will be the first of many. Several months ago, Darren asked us what we were doing video-wise…and if we’d like to shoot a video for one of our songs. It would be his first video, but an area he’s keen to expand upon. We met Darren a couple of years ago at one of our gigs, and have remained in contact ever since.
So What Next?
Firstly we brainstormed ideas for what the video should be about. I must say…this was more difficult than I thought it would be. Eventually between us…we managed to come up with something we all agreed upon. However, even a simple storyboard can start to create dynamics in production requirements that complicate the issue. In the end…we decided the best thing to do on this occasion was to go for simple. We did reconnaissance to try and find suitable locations. Luckily I don’t live too far from lots of green space. So we went back to the drawing board and decided a simple piece to camera shot in a nice location would suffice. As long as the production values were fairly high.
Mr Gorgeous did the make-up for the shoot once again. He’s a pleasure to work with. On day one, we started later than planned, mainly because of the weather. The forecast had said there would be rain, and this made a difference to where we might shoot…or indeed, if we would go ahead at all. Once the day got started, the outlook wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be, so we decided to go ahead. However, by the time everyone had converged at my place, time wasn’t on our side. We still had to do make up etc. Unfortunately we didn’t have a stylist or hair…but we tried to make the most of what we did have. Once we were dressed and ready…we went to our first location. A local park…under a rarely used pavilion. I must admit…this was out of my comfort zone. I suppose I didn’t personally feel on top form, and this affects confidence etc. Anyway…we sung along to the track using a portable iPhone player. Darren shot the video with a Canon 5d Mk 2 and a couple of lenses. Then he used an android tablets as a video monitor. It was a lot of fun. Day 2 Next day we went to another local public space. We wore some different outfits and had some different style make-up. It was nice being outdoors and close to nature with the gang for the 2 days. We all have day jobs, so it always makes a nice change to do something a little out of the ordinary. It was a really enjoyable experience. We learned a heck of a lot from doing it…which we can use to benefit our future productions. Video…coming soon.