About the new album PETAL NAILS
The recording of Petals Nails began soon after the release of the
critically acclaimed "Walking quickly standing still .
Walking quickly standing still opens with the track "Carlisle
this track was the last track to be recorded for the album. unlike the rest of the album which was a collaboration between musicians Glenn O’Halloran and Blake Leyh "Carlisle was in fact a collaboration between Glenn and Blake with added instrumentation and vocals supplied by Glenn’s collaborators from the band Dancing counterparts with Howard Lewis playing guitar big tenor Joe O’Halloran saxophone and Brent O’Halloran vocals.
The recording sessions for Petals Nails came from the method used from the track Carlisle.
Glenn uses a technique which he “calls get it down no mucking about”
Two hours limit that’s two hours for the whole session including setting up so the musicians play for probably one hour
the other method Glenn tries to employ is that the musicians do not hear the music beforehand so they play the first thing that hits them.
Glenn says the reason I work this way with people is not to put the artists under pressure but to show confidents in them ,
to be able to contribute without the hassle of spending hours trying to get something down and ultimately failing in the original plan which is to collaborate rather than dictate and create something fresh daring and new with out the pondering .
Early July 2021 recording sessions began with Glenn creating outlines and blueprints for songs.
For example Glenn would go to saxophone player Joes with his mobile setup spend 20 minutes drinking tea and talking about other things for example a last session we talked about the music used in early 60s films and the sax playing of John Dankworth and Tubby Hayes discussed the vibe of the silvery black-and-white movies and the mono sound. Then Joe put the headphones on Glenn press's record and lets you rip., all of the saxophone recorded on Petals Nails is first take
Glenn uses the exact same method when working with Howard Lewis guitarist.
Brent worked on the vocal and choral arrangements keeping in mind the first thing that comes into your head.
Brent also added piano harmonica and some acoustic guitar on songs he felt needed it.
Classical violinist Sophie Knochelman collaborated from her home town Basel Switzerland .
The UK Swiss recordings mixed and worked on in Blake Leyh’s studio in Harlem New York
Blake adding cello and double bass.
The lyrics were created with almost similar approach unlike Walking quickly standing still which was based on characters
Petals nails would an other worldly approach to lyrics Glenn used memories of dreams as springboards
The one example Glenn gives is Laura (in the rainstorm) he woke up from a dream where Howard Lewis was singing in a studio with his falsetto voice the line Laura is in a snowstorm Glenn wrote it down the following morning Glenn sang it into his dictaphone.
Laura ended up being a rainstorm and a metaphor for other things.
Though the album is not a concept album as such it was created as an album meaning when tracks were arranged and mixed with the knowledge of what track came before and goes after Dogzen Zendog hope people listen to the album from beginning to end.
The album is released May 27 on limited edition turquoise vinyl and CD as well as the usual streaming services on XENOTONE Imprint
Artwork and photography by Astrid Baerndal.
Although Glenn O’Halloran aka DOGZEN~ZENDOG has spent most of his life around Milton Keynes town fifty miles North of London — his wide-ranging musical upbringing, travels in Europe and Asia, and work as a human rights advocate have contributed to his notably singular and worldly artistic voice. DOGZEN~ZENDOG’s songs transform quotidian details of British life into expansive postindustrial stories shot-through with unlikely combinations of dub and Zen. O’Halloran’s early musical experimentation began with his family’s reel-to-reel tape recorder, pitch-changing and time-shifting his older siblings’ psychedelia, mod, bluebeat, ska, and soul records. Using the money he earned as an illegal worker in a chicken processing plant, he eventually bought his own music: Tighten Up Reggae compilations, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, and Captain Beefheart, for a start. He worked as a roadie in his brother’s pub-rock group before forming his own proto-punk band The Fix, who in 1977 changed their name to The Transistors to avoid the various club bans they had earned under their earlier guise. A third musical incarnation was the band Dancing Counterparts who had much local success with live shows and releases on their label Off-Centre Records. In 1977 O’Halloran’s Milton keynes flat became a community hub for the local punk and Rock Against Racism scenes, and it was here that he began a life-long friendship with the younger aspiring punk Blake Leyh, now the founder of Xenotone. Leyh first heard Brian Eno and Lee Perry in O’Halloran’s flat off Whaddon Way. In April 1978 O’Halloran and Leyh went together to the Anti-Nazi League March, the largest protest against fascism in the UK since World War II. The march culminated in a huge concert at Victoria Park with The Clash, Steel Pulse, and X-Ray Spex. The energetic combination of music, politics, and social action was very influential on both young men. Over the years O’Halloran had gigs as a DJ, singer, and bass player in post-punk, reggae, and even jump jive bands, all the while continuing to experiment and write his own music and lyrics with makeshift home equipment. In 2014 returning to the UK after living in Madrid, O’Halloran spent two years in which he did not listen to any music at all, passing his days employed as a human rights worker and his nights sleeping on the floor of Buddhist temple not far from the old Milton keynes flat. It was during this period that he first conceived of the DOGZEN~ZENDOG idea: a series of songs, each one featuring a specific character. The man who’s life centers on a hi-fi system; Peter, who walks slowly; John, who smiles into the sun. The DOGZEN~ZENDOG name was inspired by O’Halloran’s partner Astrid Baerndal, who also designed the logo featuring a mangy mutt emerging from The Circle of Enlightenment. Today in 2020 O’Halloran is finally ready to release his first solo music. His characters tell their stories over a bed of homemade electronic percussion, while he tinkers with guitars and synths and his old friend Blake Leyh plays bass and mixes the final result. Post-Brexit Buddhist Dub? Mid-Pandemic Jazz Stories? Hypnotic Homemade Trance Fables? O’Halloran has found his voice.