Strings For Ammo – Music for your heart

I’ve always felt writing about anything that matters to me is a way of putting it out in the universe that there is this ‘something’ that has made a difference in my life. Which is why I write on this blog too. There are so many of you who tell me that you feel exactly the same as I do about many things, which – of course – is what any writer loves to hear. But that aside, I just wish to express the emotion I feel with things.

Music is something that everyone connects to in different ways. For me, it helps me put life into perspective sometimes, or sometimes just sets the stage right for the emotions I’m feeling. Today, through this post, I want to tell you about this wonderful local band that I have had the privilege and pleasure of getting to know. I didn’t need to write this post. But I wanted to. Why? Because there are few things in life that you can be sure of, and the joy that Strings For Ammo has brought to me is one of those things. Steven Fothergill and Joe Murray are the two delightful souls that make this folk/rock Brisbane-based duo. They are not just in sync with each other, but are completely in tune with the people they are playing for.

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Music for your heart

I moved to Brisbane back in February 2012. It took me a few months to adjust to this place, and one of the ways I did that was to wander about the city, earphones plugged in, disappearing into my own bubble as I took in the sights all around me. On days that got me down when I was missing the familiarity of home, I’d wander over to the shops to take my mind off of it.

On one such wander with the aim of getting groceries, I was at a set of lights waiting to cross the road. Out of habit, I take out my earphones at that corner because it always has a busker. It is my belief that the least I can do is respect the musician on the corner if I don’t have spare change to drop into their case. Anyway, back to my story. It was a cold day (mid-year, perhaps) and I was a bit melancholy for days because I missed home more than usual. Now, before I even took the earphones out, I was hit by a gust of happy. And I realised that it was the buskers on the corner that brought it along. I broke into the happiest of smiles I’d had in a while, and moved aside to let the world continue around me. There was magic to be witnessed, and I wasn’t budging till they took a break! When they did, I dropped all the spare change I had in the case, noted their name to find them on Facebook and tell them digitally of their brilliance. Strings For Ammo – that’s different! Excellent, I had a way to follow them on their adventures!

Cut to a year later, they happened to have a Pozible campaign posted on their page to help fund their new album. For those of you who don’t know, Pozible is very similar to Kickstarter, in that it is a way of getting crowd-funded, but it focuses on creative projects and ideas. So, I had a bit of money I could spare and decided that this would be a worthy cause. And then, life took over. I got busy with other things, and I just assumed that if I heard any developments about this, it’d be from Facebook, and that was that. I’d helped how I could, and I was happy J Little did I know that I was wrong!

2014-01-06 14.21.07There was a place I frequented with friends often, called the Beach House (which strangely, was just across the street where I first laid ears upon Strings For Ammo). We’d go there for the company, and stay for the ambience and sometimes, the music.

From late-August/early September, every Thursday, there was a pretty great duo playing there, and I made it a bit of a routine with my close friend to go there each week (it’s not stalking if you happen to be in the area!). As luck would have it, my birthday fell on a Thursday, so we were there on the day too. When my roommate told the band it was my birthday, Steven came up to wish me and gave me a demo of their CD as a gift. I looked at it and was spellbound – this was the same band! Strings For Ammo, I know them! Such a girly tizzy was had, after which I went up and told them I knew who they were and how great I thought they were and stuff (which, let me tell you, is a big deal for me. I can admire bands and talented people from afar, and write to them on an online platform, but talking to anyone face to face really intimidates me). In the break that followed, they both came and had a chat with me, which just cemented the great day I was having. And in that moment, I fell in love with the people they were.

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The way they both talked about playing music for music’s sake, their joy was so evident, and contagious too. I could see how they lit up as I listened to them. They told me about their Northern English (Steve) and Irish (Joe) roots, and how they played gigs all around Brisbane, and about how well their new album was coming along. They had to go back on stage and play, they said, but told us to come see them play more often. Few days later, we decided to go to one of my favourite Brissy Irish haunts (O’Malley’s Irish Pub), and who should be the live act there but these guys. Again, on their break, they decided to come have a chat. They’d do this every time we were in, and I was overjoyed that they did. It’s when I started to know them.

Steve told me about his plans for what he wanted the band to be. And what I loved was the soul this man had. He wanted to make a difference, however big or small, to the world and those around him. He wanted to do it because he believes in the talent they possessed. And that is a rare thing nowadays. You more often than not see talented people giving in to the allure of the powerful, rather than deciding to work off their own merits and shortcomings. He dreams of giving a good life to his people back home. And he imagines the wonders of the band’s music touching more people than they ever imagined. Steve tells me about his plans and I ask him, “Can I write about you guys?” He says, “As long as you don’t curse us, go right ahead!”

Joe’s the quieter one, mostly because he tends to wander off during these conversations. But you can see the mischievous glint of happiness and a zest for life in his eyes when you do get a chance to chat to him. On one of our random sit-downs, I turned to him and said to him, “Joe, I always chat away to Steve, and know so much about him. Tell me something about you.” His first response? “I love to play, music makes me happy.” And when I asked him what his dreams were for the band, he only said this – to connect with the audience and give them something that makes them happy, if they didn’t feel that already.

In 2013, they made it to number 1 in the triple J Roots charts, and number 14 in the overall charts. It’s funny, I remember walking through an ABC shop with a friend last month, pointing to the triple J section and saying to him, “next month, Strings For Ammo’s ‘Leave your Judgement at the Door’ will be here, just you wait.” Every single the I went to see them play, I’d have a new friend with me who hadn’t witnessed who this band was that I keep talking about, and not one of them has been disappointed. Whether it’s been the covers of songs we lot, or their originals, they have a distinct tone that reaches you, no matter what! With the official launch of their album scheduled for the 23rd of this month (all you local people reading this should absolutely come support them!), their dreams are slowly and steadily on their way to becoming a reality. And I cannot think of any two musicians that deserve it more. I cannot wait for the day their names will be in lights and I can turn to people next to me and say, “I know those guys, they are amazing!”

I’m going to end my swooning over these amazing men and their musical talent here with this. John Lennon once said, “Listen, writing about music is like talking about f***ing. Who wants to talk about it? But you know, maybe some people do want to talk about it.” I don’t always write about music, as you can tell. I wrote about something that touched me, and made my heart happy. Something that I had a connection with. I wrote about them simply because I wanted more people to know Strings For Ammo.

And someday, I hope the world knows them.

<3

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24 Bits About Me, Before 24!

A few of you who don’t know me have been messaging the page and asking me lately to talk about the person behind the words…I’ve also made a couple of new friends who seemed to be really keen to know some more about me. That got me thinking…This month, I turn 24, on the 24th =) And that gave me the idea to do this post, of 24 random things about the person behind the blog – lil ol’ me =) So, here goes:

24 Things That Make Me, Me

  1. I am left-handed, and strongly so. I find it really hard to do things with my right hand, though I am consciously trying to be nicer and give it a little more attention. I am also tired of having to adjust to a righty world, but you have to do what you have to do, hey?
  2. I have weird toes that point in the wrong direction. Literally, they go against the curves and norms of normal shoes. So wearing tight or closed footwear can be a real pain, more often than not. In saying that, I am a trooper and will only complain after I come back home about all the walking I did =P
  3.  I absolutely love to dance. I have learnt a whole bunch of dances, from the traditional to the not very so. But it takes a lot of coaxing to get me to perform in public. Clubs and stuff are fine, nothing outside that, which would involve people looking at me.
  4. I don’t like nuts in my ice cream and chocolate, but I love to eat the regular kind fresh. I’m always nibbling on almonds or cashews, or mixed nuts. But I refuse to have them as part of my sweet afflictions.
  5. Speaking of which, I love ice cream. I firmly believe that ice cream will help with the healing of anything – heartbreak, illness, PMS symptoms, you name it. Of course, since diets cannot be considered healthy with too much of it, unhappiness must be dealt with in other ways.
  6. While on the subject of food, I don’t like whole tomatoes in my food. I can cook with them, I can have anything that uses them as a paste, puree or even whole cooked…But I cannot eat them fresh. So my Subway salads and subs always have tomatoes conspicuously missing.
  7. Other ways to deal with unhappiness include – a good book, good music, good company, great hugs or good movies. Nothing makes me happier than animated movies! And they are all I need to feel happy and hopeful again.
  8. I love to physically write, and I have many books, diaries and journals to prove it. I keep talking about writing as therapy, and I really believe it is for me. There is no better feeling than actually sitting with a book and a pen and pouring out my soul onto paper.
  9. I wrote A LOT growing up. In fact, at one point I wrote so much, that I actually had a mini book in the making, with 10 chapters in it.
  10. Cooking and baking are my other forms of therapy, when I’m not having ice cream or writing. I cook to clear my head so I can think properly, and de-stress. And I bake to unwind, and sometimes as a means of procrastination =P
  11. My musical taste is spectacularly broad, but my favourite songs have lyrics that are deep and mean something to me, rather than just ones that sound good.
  12. I have learnt the basic alphabet in British sign language, but I’m trying to learn more. Including words, and how to talk sentences, the whole shebang.
  13. Speaking of languages, I know 6 languages so far. 4 are Indian languages, but still. They are – in order of proficiency – English (of course), Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Arabic. I am in the process of learning my 7th – Spanish.
  14. I cannot deal with compliments too well. I used to be so bad that I’d just mumble a thank you and disappear away, avoiding conversations that extended the topic. I never thought I was actually good at much, so I wasn’t sure anything anyone said was genuine. I’m getting much better with time, and have learnt to appreciate good things said to me =)
  15. I believe in certain superstitions. I am a firm believer in making a wish from your heart at 11:11, and making a wish upon the first star I see at night. It gives me hope that what my heart desires may someday come true, until what/whom I wish for is no longer available.
  16.  If you haven’t figured it out by my birthdate that I mentioned earlier, I am a Scorpio, by zodiac signs. I don’t particularly believe in sign compatibility, but I think there’s a bit you can learn by your zodiac. That’s why my second tattoo was designed the way it was; it has influences of the Scorpio in it.
  17. I work best under pressure. I could have all the time in the world to do something, but some of my best work comes just hours before the deadline. This is both a boon and a bane…I’ll stew over something for the longest time, but only wrap it up when I know I’m pretty much out of time.
  18. I do not own, nor do I wish to own, anything that is pink. I really do not like pink, as a colour for me. I don’t mind it on anyone else and their belongings, but it upsets me to have anything to do with the colour.
  19. Speaking of things that upset me, I really don’t like thunderstorms. You will find me with headphones in my room with the blinds/curtains drawn when there is one, more often than not with my teddy(s). If I don’t have access to any of these things, whoever is with me will have to deal with giving me hugs and calming conversations.
  20. I love football (or soccer, as some people like to call it), video games, comic book characters, superhero movies, conversations about cars and bikes, sports, pokemon (OMG POKEMON!)…basically things that are dominantly considered ‘guy territory’. A lot of people are surprised by this. But I think it had a lot to do with hanging out with my brother, his friends, and just way too many guy friends in general. And it always makes for VERY interesting conversations =)
  21. All my immediate family members (my mum, my dad, and my brother) have been in pretty major road accidents. Which made it really difficult for me to get behind the wheel, and petrified of roads in general.
  22. Speaking of roads and driving, I would rather park a car, than drive. I love the feeling of being able to drive, but given a choice, I’d rather call shotgun when someone else is driving, and park for them (parallel or otherwise) if they need me to.
  23. I am a strong believer in karma. You put good vibes out into the world, at some point, they will be returned. You put bad vibes out, no matter how good your life is, you will be pushed to the ground sooner or later.
  24. I believe I have the ultimate tough person act going on, and I’m very careful about showing my true sentiments. I have a massive wall I keep building, and it takes a lot to bring it down. And even then, unless you’re extremely persistent and special, chances are you may find it a struggle to get in, if you think it’s worth it, that is =) But I’m working on being nicer and letting people know me, hence this list ^_^

Hope this gives all of you some insight into who I am….It was a tough task getting to 24, but if I get to a point I can think of more, you will be the first to know! Any questions, comments and criticisms are always welcome. And if you feel like it, you’re more than welcome to tell me about yourselves. I’d love to know who my readers are =)

<3

Day 13 — Dear future me

Note: I’m writing this to my 40 year old self, presuming that it’s a good time in the future to write to.

Dear future me,

I did mention you in my previous letter. But I shall, once again reiterate what I have to say. Just so we’re clear, you know?

I hope that as you read this, you have finished your ’30 before 30′ list, and have moved on to your ‘Things to do before I’m 40’ list. I hope that you have everything your heart has hoped for, because with every little hurdle you face along the way, you realise that you deserve it all. Because you have damn well earned it.

Let’s hope that all the things you believed in when you were young were worth believing in when you read this. That true friends will stick by you through it all. That love is hard, but it’s worth it. That family is important, but they don’t always know what’s good for you. That you are your own person, in charge of your own happiness, and that no one can take that from you.

I hope you have reached that point in life where you are happy with the person you are, inside and out. Where you are finally the best version of you that you believe you can possibly be. You have a beautiful soul (something too many people have already told you), and you should have let that beauty shine upon the world. They deserve it.

Lastly, I don’t know what direction your life has taken you professionally. But all I hope is that you still write. Either as a hobby or as part of your career, I hope you put your soul to paper as often as you can. Because I know this now, I knew it a while ago, and you will know it too – nothing helps you grow and soar to heights unknown with the joy that writing gives you.

I look forward to YOU.

Love,

Me

P.S. Never forget, nothing beats a good hug, or a bowl of ice cream with good music and a book =)

<3