Being a musician who lives on the road touring I don’t get to watch much Telly.
Being a wife whose husband hates TV, I don’t get to watch much Telly.
So, on the rare occasion I get to watch TV – I get a little bit excited.
My husband and musical partner in crime, Todd, can only tolerate a select few shows. So one night, when we had a TV available, I flicked it on and watched it while I cooked dinner. And boy, am I glad I did.
The very same day I had come back from the doctors with all my tests clear. You may think this is a good thing… but for over a year I had been getting symptoms that I assumed were related to my digestive system, bloating, abdominal pain, trouble digesting food… so if the tests say there was nothing wrong with me, why was I in pain, bloated and tired all of the time?
The TV show that came on was Channel 10’s The Project. Todd doesn’t mind watching this one with me – The presenters are easy on the eye, intelligent, witty and clearly have a good social and environmental conscience. The stories usually take a unique perspective and its way better than your average daily news. On this particular night they featured a segment on Ovarian Cancer. As they listed the symptoms Todd and I stopped what we were doing and watched wide-eyed.
The very next day I booked myself in for an ultrasound, and about a week later I went in…
… As soon as the ultra-sound technician had finished she gave me the films and said I should go straight to the doctor! As you can imagine I was pooing myself by this point!
The Doctor said that there was a HUGE mass on my left ovary that would need to be removed. He referred me to a specialist and took bloods to see if it was likely to be cancerous…
And then it was the weekend, so I had to wait… it was really bizarre… I tried not to worry, but I couldn’t help it…
That weekend we were booked in to record our new single at the famous 301 Studios in Sydney… with one of the countries BEST Producers. It was great to have something to focus on, and I really think that my fears added to the passion in it. The song is called ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Bring You Down’ – You can listen to it on Spotify, SoundCloud, Triple J Unearthed, The April Maze Website or iTunes.
Anyway, the next day we managed to get in to see the specialist. He had the results of the blood tests back, and said it was unlikely to be cancerous (thank goodness!!!) but as the cyst was so big and causing me pain it needed to come out ASAP. He also said that there was a high possibility that the entire ovary would need to be taken out too…
A couple of weeks later I was in surgery. Sure enough they had to remove the whole ovary (lucky I have a spare!). It turns out the cyst was a whopping 9cm x 6cm x 3cm (MASSIVE!)… it also had bits of a tumor in there… and a whole bunch of other gross stuff… but no cancer. I am just so thankful that it wasn’t cancer.
I had been having pain and bloating for over a year that was progressively getting worse. If I hadn’t turned the Telly on that night to see the ovarian cancer segment on The Project I would still be in pain, tired and bloated ALL of the time. I have now fully recovered from the operation and am feeling happy and healthy
Thank you to The Project – you are totes awesome.
PS. Here is a good website if you are interested in learning more about Ovarian Cancer http://www.ovariancancer.net.au/awareness/symptoms/
PPS. Here is a pic of us with Waleed Aly (doing ‘blue steel’) who occasionally presents on The Project
A note on the writing and recording process for our NEW SINGLE… Don’t Let The Bastards Bring You Down
From its first conception, to recording ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Bring You Down’ was 3 weeks – so the song was super fresh and this has helped make it an exciting process for us. The song first came about with Sivan playing a couple chords on our nylon stringed writing guitar and singing the line ‘don’t let the bastards bring you down’…. Possibly sparked from some of the negative criticism our previous album had received… which created a link back to the battle’s of Sivan’s school days when, like many kids, she was bullied pretty badly… and also on the road only weeks before we had seen some of our friends get arrested for peacefully protesting against Coal Seam Gas mining in their communities – this song is about many things to us – but mainly about staying strong and believing in yourself, and not giving up when the going gets tough.
We liked the lyric and melody straight away so we worked it over a week or so amongst some other songs we have been writing in a mudbrick tree house on the Shoalhaven River, NSW, trying different compositions, structures and lyrics. We recorded a version of the song in Hugh McDonald’s studio while we were in Melbourne for Moomba festival, and he played violin live with Sivan’s cello to create the orchestral component of the song (We recorded our previous 2 albums with Hugh MacDonald and have a great working relationship). We felt the song had potential… but it needed more time and fresh ears … so we looked up who we considered to be our dream producer, Tim Carr at 301 Studios in Sydney (producer of Matt Corby’s ARIA song of the year 2012 ‘Brother’), and sent him the demo. He liked the song and said he would love to work with us (Tim is known for being picky with what projects he works on, so we were stoked!). We went into studio 2 with Tim Carr and engineer Simon Todkil the following week, and they completely got where we were coming from. We came out with this recording that we are pumped about and we believe it is the best recording we have achieved in studio yet!
A week later we had Andrew Edgson at 301 Studios master it…. And the Single is now up as a pay as you feel track at www.theaprilmaze.com/music, as well as iTunes, and you can stream it for free on Spotify Wooo hooo Project complete! Is a good feeling to have such a fresh song out into the world! – let us know what you think and please share it with your friends! Big Love! Todd
P.S. Cover art by Sivan Agam, Photo by Lilli Waters
P.P.S We wrote this song in the first week of MARCH 2013 which was the tail end of our 4 month tour when we had started working on a 4 track EP that we wanted to release in April. We had set the bar pretty high and booked a release date before knowing what songs we would come up with… all we knew was that we wanted to put out some original songs that we were ecstatic about! During the writing/recording process we had a spanner thrown in the works – Sivan had been suffering from stomach aches for months on end, and had had many tests done to no avail… then after seeing an ovarian cancer segment on Channel 10s ‘The Project’ which pretty much outlined Sivan’s symptoms we though we should get her ovary’s checked out…. Turns our out her gut feeling was right and Sivan’s stomach problems from the past year or more were due to a problematic ovary, and Sivan would need fast tracked surgery to remove it (thankfully it wasn’t cancer). So we changed the plan from releasing an EP, to a single.
Hey friends, Sivan here,
I’m writing to you from a hospital bed in Nowra, NSW… after months and months with a dull pain in my belly we finally figured out what was wrong, so I spent yesterday in surgery getting my left ovary removed. (The reason I am telling you this very personal fact is because you, or a friend may be experiencing stomach problems and have not thought to get your ovaries checked!)
Over the years I have watched far too much Grey’s Anatomy… So I was pretty scared of surgery. I know it’s over the top, but I was scared that for some reason I wouldn’t wake up because I am soooo not ready to go! Todd and I have been busy writing lots and lots of new songs, and I just didn’t want to miss out on sharing them with you!
In between playing shows and getting tests and ultrasounds done, Todd and I have been travelling back and forth from the famous 301 Studios in Sydney working with ARIA winning producer and engineer team – Tim Carr and Simon Todkill on a brand new song called ‘Don’t let the bastards bring you down’… We were going to release an exclusive EP, but because of everything that is happening we only had time for a single – It’s called ‘Don’t Let the Bastards Bring You Down’ – And we are so excited for you to hear it!
At times the music industry is a tough place to be.
At times life is a tough place to be.
As someone who was bullied a lot at school, but who made it through, I am passionate about the lyrics of this song
It is a bit different from some of our other stuff… But I guess the whole point is to not be afraid of being different!
The Single will be out exclusively via Spotify on April 19th, and a week later will be availble on iTunes (26th April) – I will send another email on the iTunes release date… and I would love it if you could rate and review it as well!
Because of the surgery our plans for going to the UK in a couple of weeks have changed, we will still be going… But it has just been postponed to give me time to fully recover!
We are in limbo at the moment, but I promise to keep you posted…
Even though I am missing one ovary I feel like my glass is half full… Wait, fully full. Thanks again for your endless support x
The April Maze
This past week has been a hell of a rollercoaster ride! We have just been interviewed and photographed by the age news….. and everyone is asking how did a small independent duo from Australia get to be featured on the front page of Spotify in the UK, Europe and USA a week before they even released their album resulting in being in the top 100 played albums on spotify for 2 weeks running? Placed 2 below pink and 6 above Joe Cocker and nestling with the likes of sonic youth, Rod Stewart, Maroon 5, Usher, and Bon Iver.
The short answer is WE DON’T KNOW!!! But we are very excited that it has resulted in such a good response from listeners world wide!
Basically at the last minute we put the new album out through an independent digital aggregator (a middle man for indie artists to get music into online stores such as itunes, amazon, napster etc) called iMusicianDigital – based in Europe. Although we requested a release date of 16th of November – it went up on Spotify a week early on the 9th and we only noticed as the iPhone facebook page app has a title saying popular music and shows a list of songs with number of plays on spotify. And we were trying to work it out as 5000 plays across the tracks on our album seemed an awful lot seeing as we hadn’t even released it yet!! (we still can’t work out if the plays that show on fb are per day/per hour/per minute as it seems to fluctuate like crazy!)
Then the emails started coming in and we were getting all this interest from new fans and industry alike emailing, tweeting and messaging us asking when we will be coming to their country. Countries such as England, France, Germany, Brazil, America and Canada. Some industry players from the UK and America also sent emails congratulating us on the album.
As the week went on we had no idea how we were getting thousands and thousands of plays everyday. I was not paying that much attention at first and remember saying ‘I don’t know I guess a lot of people use this spotify thing’ and Sivan who had been tracking the plays more closely after a few days said – ‘Todd, I think something crazy is happening!’ It wasn’t until we got a phone call from Dick Miller from Rightsman in the UK that we found out that we were on the front page of Spotify in the UK and Europe! We asked is that normal and he said no! There were 5 featured albums at eye level on the home page of Spotify and amongst Lana Del Ray, One Direction, Mumford and Sons new albums was the little ol The April Maze ‘Two’.
Anyway – we don’t know why or how this happened but whatever did happen – we’re glad! It may amount to something or it may amount to nothing. Either way, we are making music for it to be heard, so nothing makes us happier than knowing there are people out there listening!
If we ever find out who at Spotify gave our album the thumbs up we will let you know!
More details soon!
Todd (& Sivan) The April Maze
Very excited! Its only 2 days till the exclusive release of our new album via pledge music and I just got a phone call from Ian Pritchett asking us to confirm the final mix and master so he can get it in the post today!
When I had the final listen I had a welcome sense of accomplishment that we had achieved what we set out to do and made an honest folk album reminiscent of the 60s….
In each stage of this recording project from pre-production, tracking and right through to the mixing phase we have maintained the premise to capture a very ‘real’ sound – reminiscent of music from our parents record collections from the 60s and 70s. When if you listen carefully you may hear the creak of a chair, or the tap of a foot and occasional quirky and sometimes imperfect harmony (that have all been killed off in today’s commercial music with auto-tune) and this is a big part of why we love folk music so much. Its not about the ‘perfect take’ its just about ‘the take’. Sometimes the imperfections in a particular recording give it more character, and you may not be able to put your finger on why that recording is so special… and it’s because it was what it was at that point in time and nothing more.
This album is an honest representation of how we would sound if we were to arrive at your house and play you some songs in your living room. On a couple of the songs it’s as if we were traveling with a mandolin player or found a second cellist, or encouraged you to clap along, but apart from that it is just us ‘two’, our voices and our instruments.
Wow- I still can’t believe we have pulled this project off and we couldn’t have done it with out the support of our fans via pledge music (http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/theaprilmaze)
Hugs, Todd (& Sivan) The April Maze
Stoked to say we have successfully crowd funded our new album ‘Two’. and the music will be mp3′d and sent out to 180+ supporters in 8 days from now…. must say this looming release date is causing a little bit of pressure as we are still mixing the album – thankfully its in the capable hands of Ian Pritchett who we have a good long standing working relationship with and he is a legend so should be all good! not to mention Sivi will be not sleeping over the next couple days as we have only just done the photo shoot for the album artwork and now she has the epic job of designing the album cover in less than a week… nothing like a bit of fire under the butt to get things moving! ahhhhh!
But back to the awesome result of our album crowdfunding if you didn’t see our pledge video … click here http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/theaprilmaze
- We ran a 57 day campaign and reached over 100% of our target with almost 2 weeks to go which is a weight off!. It really has been a very successful and satisfying campaign! So good to connect with fans and feel their support . would highly recomend crowd funding for anyone that has the get go and is passionate about something they believe in and can promise and deliver under presure! For muso’s i think the Pledge Music platform is a good one as it focuses on giving your fans and pledgers excellent value for money (everyone gets a digital download for $10 plus the option for an exclusive on top) and has clever facebook and twitter auto updates in place. Am happy to say we didn’t have to push the campaign much at all.. But we did put in a lot of thought into how we would set it up and launch it.. then we pretty much sent out an email to our mailing list plus friends and family and did thank you’s to pledgers every week on face book plus regular pledge music exclusive updates and that seemed too be enough to keep it all kicking along. However it definitely helps that we had a reasonably large email list to start with from playing shows and touring over the past few years.
but holy crap have we been busy bees as we have been recording the album and still been playing some shows, including a trip up to Sydney to play the FBI social with the lovely and talented Miss little (http://misslittle.com.au) as well as a pre album launch that we put on in Healesville last Sat night with Support from the wonderful Kate Crowley (www.katecrowleymusic.com) and woke on the sunday to get our hair styled (well mainly sivi’s hers took an hour mine took 2 minutes! needless to say she looked much more amazing than me!) with new friend Hugh Mackenzie, and straight off to a photo shoot with good friend an incredible band photographer Lilli May Waters (www.lilliwaters.com) in Carlton Gardens which went very well. So we spent hours today going through hundreds of shots looking for ‘the one’….. yes the shot that will be the making of our album cover and am happy to sday we found it!!! So now Sivi is working very hard on the album artwork with the odd.. “hey Todd, what do you think of this?” and I get to put in my 2 bobs worth….
Can’t wait to have the finished album in our hands… and hopefully in yours..
Todd (& Sivan)
The April Maze xooxox
Do we have some BIG news for you? Do we ever!
Whilst working on our next original album, we’ve also been working on and recording a new special Limited Edition Album. It is a really personal project that we have been wanting to put together since the day we started The April Maze – it’s an Album of our versions of some of our favourite songs, some new, some old, and there are also a couple of very personal originals in there too. For an example see our first video for our version of The Beatles classic ‘Ive just seen a face’ on our home page www.theaprilmaze.com
Since the day we began we have felt like we have had the most dedicated and supportive fans in the whole wide world – really we see you more as a big family than anything else, and it would mean the absolute world to us for you Be a part of it!! For as little as $10 you can pre-order and donate to our project and in effect you become part of our family!
As a family member you will:
- Receive a digital download of the Album!
- Gain access behind the scenes (during the making of the album) to sneek peeks, videos (there will be a video for each song on the album), free downloads, blogs, updates…and more!!
- AND we will send personalised shout outs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to EVERY person who contributes!
Go to www.pledgemusic.com/projects/theaprilmaze and check out our pledge music video!
The April Maze Special Edition Album Pledge Project runs for 60 days (closes on Oct 19) so don’t wait! the sooner you pledge the more exclusive udates and content you will recieve! and please tell your friends and family about the project because there is plenty more room in The April Maze Family!!! Together we can do this and make history as part of the new wave of the independent musician and music loving community.
Okay, so we haven’t blogged in a little while! But we have been playing loads of music! Writing new songs, jamming with friends, as well as rehearsing a bunch of songs for our special edition recording that we plan to do this June!
Here’s some past notes from our website that i took down as it was getting too wordy! ……
April: Wow – what a beautiful audience you were last night at The Wesley Anne! Thanks to everyone that made it out on a cold Melbourne Sunday night… At the end of the night someone said to me “It was a spectacular night all round” – and it really was. Thank you to http://www.katecrowleymusic.com and Emily Barker , Dave on sound, and Alice on the door – you were all magic! xx
March: After a fun weekend jammin’ at Fiddlers Convention We are headed up near the VIC / NSW border for YACKANDANDAH FOLK FESTIVAL.
We have just arrived in PERTH for the first time! We are tieing our gear down in the back of a mates ute and hitting the open road down to Nannup for the Nannup Music Festival!!! This is our first time to Western Australia, so goes without saying we are very excited to be in the great West!!
February: Sydney’s Northern Beaches Music Festival was a fantastic display of the wide range of music happening in and around Sydney as well as some inspiring national touring acts.. highlights included Sal Kimber & The Rolling Wheel and The Green Mohair Suits, and the Dingle Brothers.
January: Happy New Year! 2012 is going to an AMAZING year in history of the earth! So we started the year enjoying some time out playing music in the country! Enjoying the simple pleasures that life offers, reflecting and projecting and writing out our New Year resolutions…
We had an amazing time in central NSW at Gulgong Folk Festival.. such a good time we had to blog about it! To hear a classic story of how we ended up playing for T-bone steaks and beer check our blog here on wordpress!
Big thanks to Canos, and Winterlights for their magical performances at ‘Winter Music in the round’ last Friday 1st of June at The VELVET Room (Thornbury Theatre). It was an absolute pleasure to be part of such a beautiful and intimate concert. And thanks to everyone that came out and made for a wonderful audience – is always awesome to play to a packed room!
This video is a flashback of some of our live performances over the past few years.. in studio, at folk clubs, festivals, a New Zealand cable car, and ending on a Melbourne Tram… there have been so many good times… here are a few of the moments that have been captured on video! We plan to start filming more songs and capturing more of the good times on video in the future… so keep an eye on our youtube page http://www.youtube.com/aprilmaze