"So this is Christmas and what have you done?"
Well, a lot. The year was full of shows, interviews, meetings, discussions, rehearsals, parties, laughter, emotions, tears and fears. I didn't expect it at all when the year 2013 started. Now, nearly one year later, I'm still overwhelmed by everything that happened. I'd like to mention a few highlights.
To promote the release of my recent album "Rail Tracks" I went to England in January (see the "England Tour Blog" for details). Sophie and Glen organised some gigs that were a lot of fun. But what blew me away was a phone call by Sophie that I received one week before my departure to England: "Gion, you'll be on BBC!". One of the craziest phone calls I had ever received... Only a few months later I got a similar phone call: "You'll play at Harrods!" Inbetween I played at Virgin in Paris and played showcases all over Switzerland. I didn't have enough time to realise what was really going on this year. In the first picture you'll see Sophie and me in front of BBC Radio. The second one shows me right before the BBC interview. I love taking a powernap before working...
Another highlight of 2013 was the band show in my hometown, Engelburg, in September. We played a pretty long set and were happy to have my buddy Claude Lötscher with us. It was our first show in our hometown since 2009! I had no idea how the people would react. There was such a unique atmosphere in the venue. But especially the after show party was incredible...
Of course, one of the main highlights for me, and I guess for the band, too, were the shows with orchestra in November. I started working on the orchestra arrangements 1.5 years ago. There were many crises I had to go through... I expected a lot of work, but still it was more than expected. As soon as the rehearsals began, I forgot all the worries I had. With this project, I realised one of my biggest dreams. And the shows were unforgettable experiences. I'm sure that this project will have an impact on my future work. We talked about doing some additional shows this year or next year. I decided to end it at this point though. I don't like looking back to the past - I can't listen to my records. I always look to the future and that's why I think we are ready for new
adventures now. However, the experience to play with an orchestra was mind-blowing: The power produced by an orchestra is unique.
There are many other highlights... The show in Horrem (Germany) that was a lot of fun and extremely hot (I'm talking about the weather!). It opened some doors in this area; can't wait to be back there in February!
However, such a year has a bright and a dark side. You might know that I'm pretty interested in dark stuff, so let's talk about that for a while. The official release of the album "Rail Tracks" was in April. For me, it was finished and released in February. But until April, I had to focus on the album, even though I wanted to write new stuff. In that time, my mind was nearly exploding with new ideas. And that's where the nightmare starts. I couldn't sleep anymore, I woke up all the time with new song and lyric ideas. Since the release of "Rail Tracks" I wrote nearly two new albums that are pretty different from "Rail Tracks". As a writer I'm happy to be creative, at the same time, creativity is uncontrollable and that sucks. I had to give my best every day of this year. It was hard especially after nights in which I woke up in panic, as I dreamt a new song or new lyrics. Might sound mentally ill to you. There was a time in spring when I thought of quitting the whole music thing. I had enough of the physical and the psychic stress. I think that this time made me stronger, as now I know my limits. And I'm thankful I didn't quit... I would have missed so many great experiences! Further, I think I've learned to live with the uncontrollable creativity. I probably tamed this monster and it now knows who is the boss!
Next year will be a bit quieter - I think... But that's what I had said for 2013 as well.
I'll write the 4th record, which will be recorded in autumn. Besides that, we will play a few shows in spring. They'll be on the website soon. Further, I have the unique chance to be part of an interesting brainstorm group in which we discuss various projects based on new technologies.
There are so many people I'd like to thank for this fantastic year. I want to thank everyone all over Europe - and the USA - who promoted me this year. Thank you, Glen and Sophie, for accompanying me on my - or our - way. You're incredible! There are many more adventures waiting for us!!
Thank you to everyone involved in "Rail Tracks": Massy Collu, the producer, all the musicians who played on the album and the brilliant team of my label TimeZone!
I like playing solo, but there's nothing like playing with my band "The Lighthouse Project". Thanks to you guys, Reto, Claudio, Orlando, Samuel, for bearing me! Everyone who was involved in the "Rail Tracks Tour 2013" - sound and light technicians, stagehands, drivers, ... Without you, the whole experience would not have been possible. And last but not least, many thanks to YOU! Thanks for the incredible support we receive from you.
As a little present, you'll find a demo called "Angels in Vain" that I originally wrote for the "Rail Tracks" Bonus Sessions in 2013. I wrote this song for the album "Rail Tracks". But as you will hear, it is a different style than the songs on the actual album. However, I feel like sharing it with you.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas and the best of health, luck and happiness in 2014!