Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Real Life Turns Me On (Kreap Backroom Orgy Mix)

We are stoked to announce this remix of our song "Real Life Turns Me On."  Produced and mixed by none other than Ben "Kreap" Crea from Melbourne, Australia, this is possible the best track we've ever had the pleasure of being part of.  A disco masterpiece that is now be offered by the fine people of Dance and Rave.com.   Have a listen, have a dance and put it on repeat!  This one is a killer!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

CBC Searchlight 2016

We have entered this year's CBC Searchlight contest and hope you'll give us a click of support.  Voting is only a portion on the rating's system but it always helps to have some audience support.  Plus we are hoping that this contest will extend our listener-base beyond the borders of the  Vancouver area.  Prizes include $50K, Yamaha gear, and flights to the final awards show.  Please have a look/listen and vote!

VOTE for Glasgow by clicking HERE.


Thanks.   We also have an intimate performance coming up at the Isabelle Dunlop Clothing store April20th 2016.  We'll be doing a couple brand new songs that we've been working on this past month.  All part of the Chuk Foto exhibit that is opening than evening,

Apr 20th.  4158 Main St, Vancouver.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Glasgow Live at the Fox Cabaret Video

We are both pleased to present our new video of Glasgow being performed live at the Fox Cabaret.  This is a new arrangement and performance our one of our best songs, and both Isabelle and I are rather excited about how well it's all turned out.

Filmed originally when we were opening for Sex With Strangers at their CD release party at the Fox Cabaret in Vancouver, Canada, we'd almost forgot we had this footage until about three weeks ago when I refound the folder I'd put everything into.  I think both of us were surprised at how great it looked and I decided it was worth editing together.  This is our live version, it has a different arrangement with new loops and sounds from the Crumbling Hearts version from 2012.   Because we performed this as a duo, I changed a lot of the tracks and made it entirely electronic, with new loops and way more synths!  I think it works as well as the original, with a somewhat dreamier sound and obviously no guitars.

Produced by Boutique Empire
Videography by Benn McGuire and Mike Love
Editing and post audio by Mark Henning

Performed by Isabelle Dunlop and Mark Henning
Filmed live at the Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

listen to the original version here

Monday, 29 February 2016

New Videos coming soon!

We are really excited about a couple new videos that are being made concurrently.  One is still being developed and we're hoping we can secure some grant money to finish it, and the other is almost ready for airing.  So, rather than tease you with details about the former (we will admit it's for our song Best Tonight), we shall let out some information about that latter video: Glasgow (live @FoxCabaret).

A few weeks back Isabelle and I were going through some of our new ideas and I came across a folder containing footage from a live show we had performed at the Fox Cabaret.  When we had a look at it we were both really impressed with how great the raw footage was!  Big thanks once again to Benn McGuire and Mike Love for their great camera work, it was a real treat to rediscover it. 

We'd performed a short opening set that night, only five songs, and Glasgow was right in the middle of the set.   I was inspired enough to take on the task of cutting a new live clip of the song and have almost got it completed now.  It took a lot more work than I'd anticipated as I decided to attempt to learn a few tricks in After Effects to clean up a couple things, as well as create a few more interesting effects for the clip too.  (Thank you to all the wonderful people on Youtube who upload tutorials - I would be completely lost without your help).

The thing I truly enjoyed about this project was working on the live arrangement of the song.  After three years of hearing the original Crumbling Hearts EP version it's kinda cool to listen to this live arrangement.  It starts with a different drum beat and has a lot more keyboards than the Crumbling Hearts version (due to the fact that we have been performing it as a duo these past couple years).  The Live @FoxCabaret version seems a bit more trippy than the original and hopefully even more dancey too.  We'll leave that up to you to decide. 

It will be completed and airing next week, March 7th, so please stay in touch and have a look /listen for it when it's live. 

Cheers!  and here's to a happy spring for all.

Mark and Isabelle

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Radio spot on Roundhouse Radio

Isabelle and I had a great time down at Roundhouse Radio on Tuesday afternoon and are pleased to share our interview.  We discuss music and fashion.  It was a lot of fun and we performed a couple songs acoustically: Glasgow and Brotherhood.   Have a listen, we are both rather pleased with it.

Click the link to jump over to to the interview.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

busy season

Wow, it's been ages since we've posted anything.  So much has gone on, it's funny to realize how little time we've spent online!

The store has been very busy these days, so we've been a bit slack with our music.  However, we do have a couple things coming up that'll be fun.  On Thursday, Dec 17th,  we are hosting the Boutique Empire Xmas Party at Isabelle's store: Isabelle Dunlop Clothing.   On display will be the debut series from Jean Vercoe, the recluse.   Also we are proud to offer a stage to our friends The Population Drops for a mini showcase set (8:45 sharp).   I'm going to be DJing songs to set the festive vibe and a few of our friends shall be providing a complimentary seasonal beverage for us all to enjoy.

A photo posted by Isabelle Dunlop (@isabelledunlopclothing) on
However even amid that we have booked a live show.  We are now sharing the night with Sunset Kids at the Roxy on Tuesday December 22nd - 9PM.   We shall be performing as a duo with a full electronic set.

Also in the background of this week I was shooting four episodes of Records in my Life with Charles Brownstein of northerntransmissions.com .   We interviewed Picture Planes, Health, Saul Williams and Deragonette.   Each one was pretty great, from the esoteric selections of Health, thru the original cast recordings with Saul Williams, or a love of Nick Lowe with Dragonette.  All were fun and entertaining.  I'm really having fun directing this series, it was an honour to chat with Mark Gardener from RIDE as well.

Which is why I've been so remiss with my posts these days.  Lots of things happening simultaneously, each as interesting as the next!

(Oh and I built this today for Isabelle's shop.  A little work bench to hold garments in the manufacturing stage.)  

* * * * *

So, if you are in the Vancouver area on Thursday night, please come down to the Isabelle Dunlop Clothing Store, 4158 Main St., and say hi.   We'll be having our party from 7-10.   Wine, beer and eggnog!

The Pop Drops play at 8:45.

Happy Xmas and Cheers!

p.s.  We'll also be on CITR radio 101.9 Tuesday 12:30PM.  Gonna do two acoustic songs!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Behind the Music: Happy Girl

When we were writing Autonomous there were several different directions and ideas that were tried over the past year and a half.   Even though some of the songs were re-workings of older songs (It's Still On is a remixed, re-recorded version of our song Please from the Disagreements ep - 2008) a few of the songs happened all at the last minute.  Happy Girl was one of them.

Happy Girl was born of a drum track.  My old friend Leigh Grant did us a big favour and came into the city to track drums on a couple songs, and a few ideas we had.  Back in the Spring of 2014 we had him come in to record at Valt Studio, Jordy's downtown production space.  It was hardly a massive room, and the equipment was simple and effective, but we ended up with a lot of great stuff!  It was during this session we recorded the drum tracks to Hardly Spoken, Happy Girl, and two others that didn't make the album but may still be used one day!

Originally I had Leigh track drums for another song entirely: one which I later decided really didn't need to be changed.   So with a great drum performance, and a decent sound I was left feeling as though it would be a complete waste if those tracks were never used.   A new song was born, and it morphed into Happy Girl.

As soon as I liberated the drum tracks for a new song I bounced them down to a stereo stem and put them into Ableton Live.  From there the song stepped up a couple bpm;  from 113 to 116.  A new bassline was improvised, the one you hear in the song in fact, a kind of new wave synth bass part that led to the rest of the song.  A simple synth part filled out where the verses should be and then a quick vocal line was recorded, which was later abandoned, and it sat incomplete for months.  It wasn't until we put it up for review with Don Harrison that the song really took it's final shape.

It might be the most deceptively simple lyric on the album.   I mean, "happy girl make a happy world."  isn't too earth shattering.   However I like their simplicity and enjoy the unspoken suggestion of a deeper meaning blended into them.   Isabelle's chorus hook was also a delight to find.  As I had been trying out a few ideas she started quietly singing "if I want to I'll let you know," which when combined with her melody took on a nice shape.  Each lyric was without a lot of pretence and fit in with the idea that we were trying out.   A world where the women are happy is in fact a safer and calmer world.  A woman's right to choose whether or not she'll have anything to do with you is indicative of a similar point.  Not too complicated, but still with a point to it.

One of the most fun elements to the song for me is the bongos I played.  Not being a percussionist I generally approach those instruments on a need to hear it basis.  If I can imagine the part in my head I will keep messing around trying different things until I find it.  The bongos were one of those happy studio discoveries.  Never played them before but thankfully you just need to hit them in time and they do their thing!  Little finger rolls and syncopated patterns started magically happening and suddenly I had a track.  We ended up extending one of the breaks on the song when we went in to mix, so you can really hear the percussion being banged around!

Once we got to the Armoury Studio to mix I had a chance to really appreciate how well played the drums were.  Leigh was always a good drummer, back in the 80's with After All, then in  the 90's with Pure, but I will offer that he is even better today.  His playing has more feel and style to it, and his skills at tuning and working the kit have just improved with time.  Very grateful for his excellence on this track.   Of course having Don Harrison add his guitar always makes a song better, so cheers to him as well!

Have a listen and please let us know what you think!

Happy Girl
words and music by Henning, Dunlop, Grant, Harrison
Recorded at Boutique Empire Studio and The Valt Studio
Mixed at The Armoury Studios, Vancouver
Produced and engineered by Henning
Mastered by Craig Waddell at Gotham City Studio
Artwork by Robert Edmonds

Vocals: Mark Henning, Isabelle Dunlop
Drums: Leigh Grant
Guitars: Don Harrison
Synths: Henning

Happy Girl makes a happy world
Happy Girl

If I want to I'll let you know
If you want to just say so
Happy Girl

Happy Girls make for happy boys
Happy Girl

If I want to I'll let you know
If you want to just say so
Happy Girl
Happy Boy
Happy World

Why is the truth never enough (why is the truth never enough)
Why is the proof never enough (why is the proof never enough)
Why is the money never enough (why is money never enough)

Happy Girl

If I want to I'll let you know
If you want to just say so
Happy Girl
Happy Boy
Happy World

©2015 Combine the Victorious