Second Single: ‘In Your Brain Right Now’


Here is some new music from my other band: No Side Effects

Originally posted on :

In response to the underwhelming demand for our debut single we’ve decided to clog up the ever expanding and overloaded internet with another mediocre piece of musicianship*. It seems we can’t give this music away, but we try. You can download it for FREE from the ‘Music Shop‘ or have a listen:

This time though, on a more serious note, we are very grateful for the kind permission from Sam Harris for the use of some audio from a lecture he gave for the Atheist Foundation of Australia in 2012 called ‘Death and the Present Moment’. The track uses samples from a sequence where Sam talks through how to attain an ‘in the moment’ mental state using mindfulness meditation. It is a fascinating introduction to meditation and really resonated with us. If you would like to listen to the full lecture then we include the YouTube video:

This single includes the…

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Satellites and drums


As usual, I have been fairly quiet on this page, mostly because I have been busy making music, which is probably a good thing.

This weekend I helped out Two Short Planks by providing some drums for his next album, which was good fun.

I also started putting together some you tube videos of some of the songs from EP1 and EP2 an also some songs yet to be released from EP3 and EP4. There are a couple of covers I am playing with too. This is all to see if I can pluck up the courage to do some live performances.

While I edit together the videos, I hope you enjoy this cover of Tasmin Archer’s Sleeping Satellite (from way back in 1994). Here it is:

If you don’t know the song, here is the original:

Coming soon in 2015


This site has been rather quiet since the promotion for ‘My Folks Prefer The Clone’ ended. But fear not, there is lots going on in the Grasslands camp at the moment. Here is an update:

No Side Effects

Since October 2013 I have been busy collaborating with Ade of Two Short Planks on our new Album under the moniker ‘No Side Effects’. We are both so chuffed with the album and we can’t wait to share it with everyone. For the moment you will have to cope with the rather rough mix of the preview:


Ade kindly asked me to put down some drums for his next Two Short Planks album, so looking forward to carrying on work with this. His new song is a killer. I love it!! Listen to his previous album here:

What’s next for Grasslands in 2015?

Yes, I will be putting some new stuff out this year. I am working on it at the moment, but I don’t want to give too much away. All I am willing to give three hints at this stage:

It will be a freebee. There is no way I can charge for it (I do not have the the powerful solicitors required).

It follows a format I have worked in before.

This image:

Kaku Ranger

Grasslands EP3: Small Town Justice

Most of the songs are written and ready to record, but I am yet to press ‘record’. It will happen, but I don’t want to set a date just yet. I imagine No Side Effects will appear before the next EP.

So I hope that’s enough to look forward to. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know anymore.

Bye for now


Grasslands Q&A Part 3: Song writing


“Biffy Clyro were a pretty major influence”

Purplequince (follow her on twitter here) concludes her interview with Tom Haynes about Grasslands and the recently released EP: My Folks Prefer The Clone and how he wrote the songs.

PQ: Within your music there are some very strong images, for example, ‘The Ball Starts To Move’, ‘Me And My Steam Robot’ and ‘My Folks Prefer The Clone’. Are any aspects within these images that are taken from real life or is it all fictional?

TH: I honestly have no clue where these ideas came from. I know that The Ball Starts To Move was heavily influenced by Pen Dinas hillfort towering over Aberystwyth. Me And My Steam Robot says everything that it needs to about me as a kid. As for the clones… who knows, there’s some dark stuff there. I suppose I could blame comics.

PQ: Which song have you most enjoyed producing?

TH: I remember My Folks Prefer The Clone came together quite smoothly. All of the work on the EP was easier once I shifted platforms from Sonar Home studio 7 on Windows to Logic X on iMac.

PQ: What would you say has been your greatest influences in your music as a whole?

TH: Biffy Clyro were a pretty major influence on the Grasslands EPs. The Flaming Lips and Super Furry Animals too.

PQ: Do you have a favourite song?

TH: Off the EPs I am probably most impressed with The Ball Starts To Move and I am very pleased with how Ambient Groceries turned out on EP1: Time To Think. Ambient Groceries really drew a line through some bad memories.

Other peoples songs… hmmmm… right now I would say I am very envious of Homosapian by PVT.


PQ: In your blogs you mention having to learn the drums in order to play some of the difficult parts of the songs, are there any songs that were particularly difficult to finish?

TH: Me And My Steam Robot was a very tricky song to record. So many tempo changes. I am really pleased with how it came out though. There is a similarly structured song that needs recording on EP3, which I am daunting.


PQ: Do you think you will use this lyrical format to tell other stories?

TH: I’m not too sure, I think I’m looking forward to doing something different, so it probably won’t be quite the same way next time. I think I might keep the idea of musical themes and communicating things in interesting ways, but who knows.

PQ: Having just finished your second EP and with another two to follow, we’re all wondering, what can we expect from your next EPs?

Most of the songs are already written for the next two EPs. EP3 has a bit of a Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein vibe, with the rock songs from EP2 still prominent, but this will fade as the next EP progresses. As for EP4… well…I think it will be quite different to the others.

PQ: Do you have any other music planned?

Me and my Mate, Ade from Two Short Planks have been working on an album together for the past few months. It is pretty different to Grasslands. It’s an electronica album. I’m really looking forward to releasing that. Check it out at I want to do another DJ Mix and I was thinking about doing something else, but I’ll keep that quiet for the moment.

Grasslands EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone is now available to purchase in all major digital stores including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, plus free streaming on Spotify. Get it cheaper in the Grasslands Music Store.


Grasslands Q&A Part 2: The story in the music


“So much happens in the story at this point”

Purplequince (follow her on twitter here) continues her interview with Tom Haynes about Grasslands and the recently released EP: My Folks Prefer The Clone and the story behind the music.

PQ: If someone had never heard your music before, which song would you recommend that they listen to?

TH: It depends on their musical taste a bit. If they were into mainstream stuff I would go with First True Sight or There’s a Light, but if they can cope with some distorted guitars I would go with My Folks Prefer The Clone or Me And My Steam Robot. If they like it heavy, I would go with Killing Spree.

PQ: Do you ever think the story that your EPs follow will be written, or will it always remain solely as music?

TH: A tricky question… I think I will have closure on this story once I release the fourth EP, I don’t think I would feel the need to go back, but you never know.

PQ: Do you find it easier to produce a song to fit a story or do you prefer to just write a song without it having to fit into a bigger picture?

TH: Writing music this way helps focus the mind. It helps generate ideas. The Ball Starts To Move, for example, had to have something to drive the tune, something repetitive to represent the rolling. In the future, it would be nice to write some songs without making them fit into a common narrative.


PQ: Was it easy to divide your story into different songs?

TH: Not really. I have the plot line planned out and each song needs to represent key points or scenes in the story. Sometimes the songs change or new songs are added. On EP1: Time To Think, the opening track This Is The Way I Rationalise was added quite late into development and replaced There’s a Light as the opener. The new EP was trickier, so much happens in the story at this point.

PQ: Are there any aspects of your characters that you feel are overlooked by placing their story into a lyrical format?

TH: You don’t have the opportunity to develop the characters in the same way as you would in a novel, but you have to find other ways. My mate, Andrew Coulson, provides the voice of the lead character (Andrew Autumn) on this EP, he might pop up again in the future. The Steam Robot also speaks on EP1 on the last track. At the time I made that EP1 no one would have understood the significance of that (the robot character is introduced in the new EP).

Grasslands EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone is now available to purchase in all major digital stores including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, plus free streaming on Spotify. Get it cheaper in the Grasslands Music Store.


I Am Andrew Autumn!


‘My accent is, to my ears, rather plainly dull, but Tom assured me that the tone was right for the project he had in mind.’ A guest blog by Andrew Coulson (follow him on Twitter) who provides the voice of Grasslands lead Character: Andrew Autumn.

It was back in 2002, working part time for a shitty cheap warehouse store called Bewise, whilst studying at Aberystwyth University when I met Tom. Bewise basically paid for my beer money. If you have listened to Tom’s earlier stuff you will be aware that in Planting Broadleaves on Destroy All Conifers, his illustrious time in Aberystwyth and at Bewise is mentioned quite comically.


Tom in terrible Bewise colours (2002)

Tom in terrible Bewise colours (2002)

Tom and I got on well so well that eventually we ended up being neighbours in a little hamlet called Abermad which literally consisted of us and our respective partners, an ageing farmer and a strange old people’s home set up in a decrepit and greying Victorian house. Over time I learnt many things about Tom most of which came whilst chatting, drinking beer and if not attending a local pub quiz shooting random aliens in Xbox’s Halo in late night games marathons. I’m pretty sure it was during one of these late night marathons that Tom proposed the idea that one day he would like to use my voice for something he was planning…

Abermad near Aberystwyth (Ceredigion, Wales)

Abermad near Aberystwyth (Ceredigion, Wales)

My accent is a mish-mash of being born in Yorkshire, brought up in Derbyshire and a journey into adulthood living in a Welsh stronghold in West Wales so sounds, to my ears, rather plainly dull. But Tom assured me that the tone was right for the project he had in mind.

Over this time Tom shared his music with me regularly, burning CDs of early renditions of tracks such as Walking Without a Mule and probably one of my personal favourites See You on the Other Side.


As he produced more and more in his little home studio I would be lucky enough to sample the makings of what you now know as Grasslands. Even when I left Aberystwyth for pastures new Tom would email me links to tracks like There’s a Light and other experimental works.


As the internet grew in strength and Tom’s skills flourished he was even able to share with me, via Soundcloud, the epic robotic inspired continuous mix – Days of Robo-Apocalypse Past, which I loved, and that’s when it came. In May 2014 Tom sent me an email outlining his plan for My folks prefer the clone a musical tale about Andrew Autumn and, ultimately, his replacement in life: the clone. By this time I was living in Australia and so there was no way I could just visit Tom and record the voice of Andrew Autumn for Track 7 of this EP and promo for the forthcoming EP3: Small Town Justice. However, Tom had the answers and they were found in technology.


Using an iPad I downloaded Garage Band and under Tom’s instructions experimented recording my voice at different times of the day, in different rooms and when in different moods. Tom had asked that I use no effects saying “You are the voice of the lead character (Andrew Autumn) who has just had a proper shitty time (his clone has just killed his family) – so there’s your motivation”. Pretty strong motivation, hey! Recording the script Tom had sent me in full and also line by line I even did a few takes after a gym session when my voice was hoarse and tired. Eventually when I was happy the Garage Band files I had collected were shared with Tom over the 12,000 odd miles using Dropbox.

Then with Tom’s magic, Track 7 of the new EP, Grasslands introduces Andrew Autumn and welcomes the listener to what’s to come (Listen below):


It was fun being part of this project. I now sit eagerly in my home awaiting the Australian Summer to kick in knowing that sometime soon I will have helped bring a character to life, for I am Andrew Autumn and one day soon I will have to take the blame and I’ll have to run…

…and run

…and run

Grasslands EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone is now available to purchase in all major digital stores including iTunesAmazon and Google Play, plus free streaming on Spotify. Get it cheaper in the Grasslands Music Store.

Grasslands Q&A Part 1: What’s it all about?


“It’s part James and the Giant Peach and part Donnie Darko

Purplequince (follow her on twitter here) spends some time asking Tom Haynes about Grasslands and the recently released EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone.

PQ: It sounds like these songs your recording are telling some kind of story. What’s it all about?

TH: I was bored of writing individual songs so, Grassland’s tells a story track by track from EP1 onwards. The songs are written around key scenes in the story.

PQ: For those who haven’t listened to the songs yet, can you give us a summary of what the story in your songs is about?

TH: I haven’t really made the story explicit anywhere. I think part of the fun is trying to work it out, like a murder mystery. I remember listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall and having next to no clue what it was about. Reading up about The Wall explained the story, but it also took away some of the mystery. I like to ask people what they think it’s about.

PQ: When did you first decide to turn your story into music?

TH: It must have been around 2003. I can’t remember why. I think I was drunk.


PQ: Which came first, story writing or writing music?

TH: I was writing stories long before I picked up a guitar, but picking up a guitar stopped me writing stories for years. I am just starting to write again.

PQ: Where did the ideas behind the story come from?

TH: Aberystwyth was a heavy influence on the story, Hayao Miyazaki too. I would say that the story is part James and The Giant Peach and part Donnie Darko. Ha! Bet that’s got you thinking.

PQ: How long has this story been in your head? And do the EPs match up to what you wanted them to be when you first envisioned them?

TH: I planned to write a story called ‘Grasslands’ for years, I could never settle on what it was going to be about. I think I wrote some notes for it around 2001. I think the plot firmed up a few years later, maybe 2004.

As for what I envisioned, I never planned for the songs to come out as EPs. I did it this way because I didn’t have enough time to record a whole album. I think for the most part the songs are what I wanted them to be. I use to just play my guitar until I thought something sounded good, with these songs I am pretty stubborn about keeping to what I originally planned to do.

PQ: Tonally both ‘Time to Think’ and the new EP: ‘My folks Prefer The Clone’ are quite different. How intentional was this?

TH: I think that My Folks Prefer The Clone is probably more consistent than the previous EP. Time To Think had a mixture of sounds with some pop songs, some math-rock stuff and some electronic bits, but I think there is more of a solid sound to the new EP. The drums have helped glue everything together.

Grasslands EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone is now available to purchase in all major digital stores including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, plus free streaming on Spotify. Get it cheaper in the Grasslands Music Store.


Album reviews: Battles – Mirrored


Here you find my thoughts on some of the music I’m currently listening to. You can find the music I’m currently listening to on my Spotify Page (Click Here).

Battles – Mirrored (2007)

Battles are an experimental rock band hailing from New York.

Mirrored was Battles first LP and there is some amazing musicianship is on display. Warped whistling, layered effects over vocals, out of tune strings, slowing tempos. Clever beats. The drumming is very impressive. You would believe ther are two drummers hard at work.

There are very few clear lyrics on the album, with voices used more as instruments, which gives the album a strong identity. The effects used are similar to those by Rustie on Glass Sword (that comment might either attract or put you off).

This is an album I think I will come back to again and again and discover new things within the musical swirl.

I will look forward to listening to Battles other releases.

On Track: Me And My Steam Robot


In this ongoing series of articles looking at the development of the tracks found across the Grasslands EPs we look at track 3 from ‘My Folks Prefer The Clone’: ‘Me And My Steam Robot’. Pre-Order the EP here: (Click Here)

Song writing
‘Me And My Steam Robot’ was written around 2006 in Plymouth. The song was developed on the acoustic guitar and many attempts were made to transfer it onto electric guitar, but I always thought that it lacked some of the nice warm tones that the acoustic provided. It is one of Grasslands more structurally complicated songs with a few changes in tempo and some awkward time signatures.

Drum Challenges
The main challenge for recording this song was always going to be the drum track. I had attempted to layer drums over a song with a complicated structure on the first EP (This Is The Way I Rationalise), but I didn’t think this would work on this track.

I met up with my friend (and former band mate) Sam Armitage to jam with the track and see if we could get a feel for what the drums would be like. I soon realised that writing awkwardly structured songs is all well and good, but they take a lot longer to learn. Sam is a busy chap and I didn’t really want to force him through a drawn out recording session, so I started to wonder whether I could try and do the drums myself.

With Sam’s help I managed to get my head around the type of drum sequence I wanted and set to work recording the drum track to a metronome and a guide guitar track.

Awkward timing
The most difficult section of the song to develop drums for was the heavy section in the middle of the song (3:08). The timing makes barely any sense and both me and Sam struggled to get anyting to work. In the end I relied on a rather simple drum sequence using the crash symbol, which I was happy with.

Guitar rehearsals
Most of the summer of 2013 I rehearsed the guitar sections for the song (including over Sam’s stag do weekend) until I knew my fingers were strong enough to get through the full guitar sequence in one take for the recording. I played it on both electric and acoustic guitar.

Recording Software
‘Me And My Steam Robot’ was first recorded in Sonar Home Studio 7, but was shifted over to Logic X on the iMac for final mixing. I was a bit worried about doing this due to all the tempo changes in the song, but Logic X proved up to the job and after a few tweaks everything was sounding okay.

As stated earlier, I opted for a cleaner final mix with crunchy electric guitars, but still with the acoustics punching through. This was probably the most challenging final mix on the EP, but I am pleased with the final result.

Have a listen to ‘Me And My Steam Robot’ here:

Remember that the full EP is released on 20th October (Click Here)