Let’s Bee Silly is the second release from The Blueberry Funkmuffins, following 2018’s The Price of Crayfish. Released May 2019.
You can get it at these links:
iTunes/Apple Music: https://apple.co/2Y3cvxp
Credits: Written, performed, and produced by Andrew Kwiatkowski, 2018-2019. Hamilton Island, Queensland, and Melbourne, Australia.
Kala Archtop Tenor Ukulele in Metallic White (with Low-G tuning), Makala Soprano Ukulele (standard tuning), Garageband for iPad, Apogee ONE interface, Mixcraft 8 by Accoustica, Samson Meteor Mic. Probably my old blue knock-off strat for track 4, it’s been so many years I can’t remember playing that solo.
Album art by the very talented and very silly Aleisha Carter.
Lyrics: click here to view the lyric sheet.
Behind-The-Scenes video available soon.
I began by deciding, on a beach, to release five very silly songs from my back catalogue. I wrote them ages ago, and they’re just fun nonsense, and it’s time I got them out into the world, I thought. Tra-la-la, life’s a cartwheel. I’ll give myself a deadline of 12 days and it’ll be tooooo easy, mate. Hence the title: Let’s BEEEEEE Silly, and there’s a picture of a bee on it! Yeah, nice gag.
Then I looked a little harder, and 3 days before my deadline, I realised that four of the five songs contained a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny amount of violence, in the form of glorifying guns, tangential references to police brutality, or me unkindly parodying hip-hop which is white supremacy which is violence. Less than three weeks since the Christchurch shootings, I am no longer okay with even tiny amounts of this. I am in the wrong. I must change.
So, I am trashing those songs, and I will never play them again. The only place they now exist is in my brain, and in time I hope I will forget how they go. Abandoning all of my violent art is, quite literally, the very least I can do to help build a better New Zealand.
But in the meantime I was left with the problem of an EP to finish with only a couple of days in hand. Pushing the deadline back or abandoning it altogether was not an option; the specific goal of this short-notice record was to invoke my willpower and intentionality in spite of any challenges that arose. Cue the Shia LaBeouf video: JUST — DO — IT!!!
One old song, Do The Algae Rhythm, was ready to go and made the final cut. The other three tracks you hear were made quickly, and probably no longer reflect the title and the silliness that was intended back in dreamland. It was all supposed to be about blowing bubbles and picking flowers and making lemonade when faced with the horror of the void, but in the end, the void caught up, and changed the nature of this record from pure silly to a dark reflection in the wake of this national tragedy. And really, that probably says something a little more true. So it’s all good. I am proud to put this out.
It was only happenstance that the track titles form a message when read together, but I’m glad for it. When I listen to the masters now just before the EP has dropped, I find myself drawn into seriousness at the beginning, but released into the glorious silliness I was seeking by the end, and so I think that while I didn’t achieve the high intention of flippancy I started with, I have made something that is, I guess you could say, ‘appropriate.’
Track 01: Aotearoa
The New Zealand national anthem original arrangement for solo ukulele. Mournful, for innocence lost.
The tune is just a tune. But what does it mean to be patriotic, to love your country, your countrymen and women?
I briefly toyed with massive distortion effects c.f. Jimi Hendrix Star Spangled Banner, but it sounded better unadulterated. Also, I am not Jimi Hendrix.
Track 02: We Can All Change
A space to ponder potential futures.
Track 03: Just Do It
Little hopes flicker, on a background of fear.
Track 04: Do The Algae Rhythm
Just a Godzilla origin story. Literally, about an algae growing out of its petri dish because it wants to dance a dance called the Algae Rhythm.
With the greatest of apologies to Marc Bolan and T-rex (get it?) this wonderfully silly song was written in 2015 in what I call my “reaching desperately for any pun I can use” phase. You have not heard the last from this phase.
This recording was actually a B-side from my 2018 Crayfish sessions in Melbourne. I spent way too much time on it when I should have been making that album better. It also has a little bit of ukulele that has survived from 2015 when I first had the idea. So, bits of this song are quite old, and I’m mighty glad to have this one out in the world on its own now, no longer hanging around in my iTunes backups taunting me that I never finish what I start.
Let’s all grow into monster lizards of positivity and stomp on and devour the fears that keep us down. Let’s be silly.
I would like to thank Aleisha for the bubbles and cartwheels inspiration that started me off on this record however it ended up, Daniel for the hospitality and conversations about limits of free speech which made me reconsider my position on verbal violence and thus triggered the change of tracklist, Harry for being both serious and silly and giving me something to work sometimes for and sometimes against, and Nic for EV-ER-Y-THING. Thanks also to Michelle for kind and attentive feedback on my work, as ever.
And my eternal thanks must go to:
- Angela Shea, my high school piano teacher, who frequently described my playing as ‘like pulling teeth’ but stuck it out anyway in exchange for money.
- John Dodd for being encouraging and proud of my songwriting in front of the whole class.
- Jen Cattermole, for putting me front and centre in the ukulele orchestra and making singing non-optional.
- Craig and Tim for the rock and roll. I salute you.
- Lucy, for the spinning.
- Mike, Chester, Brad, Joe, Dave, and Rob for teaching me everything I know about producing records.
- JD, for looking at the void and seldom blinking.