Artist Spotlight: Five Pence Game (February 2017)

By: Hannah Dodsworth

Band/Artist: Five Pence Game

Five Pence Game is the collaborative side project of Ally Morton (Massa Confusa). With little to no preparation he invites other artists from across the North East into the studio to record music in the moment.

Ally composes tracks around what is recorded in the session - chopping, looping, manipulating, and often altering the contributors’ original idea.

After the release of two previous EPs, the third ‘Fuel’ is out now. It is the first part of a new three-part digital EP series, alongside ‘Heat,’ and ‘Oxygen’. They u manfeature collaborations with Jackie Purver (Retriever), Aran Glover (We Are Knuckle Dragger), Ben Bowsher, Ian Cowie, Rachael Whittle, Tom Hollingworth (therunningchelsea), Jack Fallows, Jenny Gilberg (Steel Pan Soloist). Bea García Cisneros (Twist Helix), Kate Edwards, Faithful Johannes (Outside Your House), and Andrew Paget (Tighten Grip) recorded 2014-2016.

“The recording process involved arranging blocks of time, usually at weekends or on an evening, with each individual collaborator who would come to my bedroom studio to record,"said Ally.

“I told each artist not to bring any full ideas, maybe a few lyrics or riff ideas, but I wasn’t going to record any full songs from them. The songs are actually recorded spontaneously. I record parts of them playing their chosen instrument, guitar, keys or vocals for example. I then sequence a demo of a track; looping, cutting, overlaying and editing what they are performing as we work together. I then add additional instrumentation after the session with the collaborator, including the bass which I perform on all of the recordings.

“I’ve been making music since I was around 13, primarily with my brother Tony who produces today as Symmatik and Preqwal. He has also provided the final mixing on all of my recordings to date including this EP.

“We have a hard drive of recordings we have made together over the years - many abandoned, and had a band that only ever played 2 house shows before he moved away from Newcastle. At this time I decided to start my own project, Massa Confusa which has also taken the form of promoting gigs as Massa Confusa Presents. As a result, I have met a lot of talented musicians that I decided I wanted to ask to collaborate on another project I began in 2013, this being Five Pence Game.

“Some artists recorded in one session, some over many, and some have more than demo which I may or may not complete later.”

FPG has performed twice live previously but, due to the amount of collaborators, it is not a project that can regularly play live. However, to mark the end of the project there will be a special one-off live band show at Newcastle’s Think Tank Underground (Head of Steam) with Ilser and Outside Your House on Saturday 17th June.

Rachael from Ilser features on EP,’ Fuel’ (EP 1 of the project) and Faithful Johannes from Outside Your House features on EP 3, ‘Oxygen’. The 2nd EP is titled Heat, and all3 EPs will be compiled as a limited CD album titled ‘Fire’ which will be released at this gig and made available on Clarty Cat Records via clartycat.bandcamp.com.


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