Neon City – Lofi Chillout

Neon City – Lofi Chillout

While I love doing tracks with guest artists and have more planned (I’m in the studio finishing one off right now!), these things take a huge time and cash investment so I wanted to release some tracks that I can create with just a laptop, headphones and a controller keyboard.

The first is Neon City, a lo-fi, lounge type chillout track that still lets me noodle on some favourite plug-ins, including my EastWest Bosey, Arturia Rhodes and Alchemy synth. I’ve chucked some XLN Audio RC-20 across the mix for a splash of retro grit. The old cartoon character also got revived.

Best listened to in a dark room with rain outside and a lava lamp on – enjoy! x

Spotify | iTunes | Beatport | Bandcamp

Mercy Mercy Mercy – Keyboard Tutorial Video

Mercy Mercy Mercy – Keyboard Tutorial Video

For a while now I’ve been wanting to put some keyboard tutorials online but copyright was always an issue – to get an MCPS license was far too expensive for this type of project. Then along came, a company that has negotiated a deal with publishing houses to ensure the songwriter / composer gets paid, but also allows the video content creator to earn a little for their work – win win! wearethehits were started within Sony, but became independent in order to add more publishing houses and grow their available catalogue.

Here is the first of the tutorials, Mercy Mercy Mercy by Joe Zawinul. Hopefully this format is helpful but I’d welcome your feedback on my YouTube channel! x

CME Xkey 37 Controller Keyboard Features Demo

CME Xkey 37 Controller Keyboard Features Demo

I was fascinated by the CME Xkey as soon as I saw it and couldn’t wait to try it. Here was something that could easily be packed into an overnight bag alongside a laptop and headphones, so that keyboardists could work anywhere. This short video demonstrates the main features and shows how versatile this piece of kit is. It takes a little getting used to but has allowed me to compose a lot of tracks on the road that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

This was originally posted on my keyboardist channel.




(with Johnny Thirkell & Gaz Rackham)
Atheen - Stronger

Hey lovelies, it’s time for a new track! There’s a particular sound that I’ve always been after so this year I’ve taken some time out to learn some new production skills and get more musicians to contribute, so here is the result 🙂

This time the track is featuring a contribution from the illustrious Johnny Thirkell on brass! Again I’m utterly honoured that someone of his calibre has taken the time to work on this project – just check out his discography! (It includes working with Jamiroquai, Level 42, Tina Turner, David Bowie and contributing to 25 number one singles!!)

Also on the track is my adorable buddy Gaz Rackham playing one of his infectious basslines. As I’ve said before, he is the Mark to my Mike, the Zender to my Jay, the Stan to my George, hehe! x

Percussion is by Adam Alesi, a fantastic session drummer from LA, Violin by talented classical player Ayran Nicodemo in Brazil and the funky guitar is from the awesome Jack Pennifold in London – a truly international collaboration – thanks guys! 🙂

Currently it’s only out on Bandcamp and will be released to all the major stores along with a remix at the end of October x


Track Credits

Written and Produced by Atheen.
Brass arranged, played and recorded by Johnny Thirkell.
Bass by Gaz Rackham.
Percussion by Adam Alesi.
Guitar by Jack Pennifold.
Violin by Ayran Nicodemo.
Mastered by Jesse at Medway Studios.
Video background by Storyblocks.

Big News!

Big News!

Hey folks, quick update – I’ve started doing a little work with Sound On Sound Magazine! My involvement is actually with their recently-launched podcast channels, where we’ve been working behind the scenes to bring you some great content. We have three channels launched already that are proving very popular – all three have already been in the Top 10 of the Apple podcast charts! 🙂

So how did all of this come about? I first got to know the guys when I signed up to attend Synthfest 2019 and we haven’t stopped nattering about all things music industry since! Sound On Sound is a magazine that musicians the world over have admired since it launched in the mid-80s, so to be asked to work on this is a huge honour. What’s even better is that they’re a great bunch of guys to be around.

To check out the podcast channels, drop over to the SOS podcast page or look up our three channels on your favourite podcast app. Recording & Mixing is for pro studio tips, People & Music Industry talks to the people behind the tech plus highlights music industry careers and Electronic Music features interviews with some great artists in the genre.


Sound On Sound - Recording and Mixing Podcast Channel
Sound On Sound - People and Music Industry Podcast Channel
Sound On Sound - Electronic Music Podcast Channel
Why I’ve Been Quiet For A Few Years

Why I’ve Been Quiet For A Few Years

It’s true to say that I haven’t done much musically over the past few years. However I have still been very busy in the music industry. Back in 2009 I decided to start my own label for self-releasing but when approached by a number of other artists for help with their own careers, I ended up with a full-blown distribution company which I then whittled down into two distinct labels, for singer/songwriters and urban releases.

While it’s been a wonderful journey running the labels and I’ve met many fantastic people within the industry, it has also been all-consuming, eating into my time, energy and resources. I started to become known in the biz as someone who owns a label rather than as an artist and was being approached by more bands and artists asking if I could assist them in releasing their own music, rather than asking if I’d like to do some session keyboard work for them.

While fun, it wasn’t creatively fulfilling and certainly not where I’d intended my career to go when I started out, so as a result I have decided that it’s time for big change. My official association with AudioFile Records ended on July 31st this year and I’m in the process of handing it over to new ownership. It will take me a couple of months to extract myself completely as pretty much every website I’ve signed up for over the past eight years has been in my business name, lots of tedious admin to work through!

I’m so grateful to the artists that joined me on the journey and wish them every success in their own careers, they’re hugely talented and I hope that they do well and we have the chance to perform together in the future.

Running a label has given me a deep insight and appreciation of how much work goes into an artists career and I shall be sharing my experiences with you via various resources. If a label offers you a 50/50 deal then I can tell you first hand it will be well earned on their part – it takes a lot to market an artist and to maintain all of the memberships and contacts required to successfully launch a career in music.

Despite all of the work left to do, I’ve already started working on new musical projects and am really excited about spending more time on personal music practise, writing and gigging later this year. Hope to see you on the road soon 🙂 x

My Top 10 Favourite Solo Artists

In no particular order, these are some of the artists who have either influenced my career or their songs have had a huge impact and made it into my favourites list. This is far from a complete list so I may have to do another one at some point!

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Ella Fitzgerald

Who could fail to be entranced by the vocal virtuosity of a voice that sounds like runny honey. I was introduced to the ‘pop’ music of Ella at a very young age and although I became a lover of Jazz, was never such a fan of the darker tones of Billie Holliday. I especially love the combination of Ella’s voice with the songs of Cole Porter, perfection. Thank goodness this wonderful lady was given a chance in the music industry despite a difficult start in life.

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Tori Amos

Tori burst onto the scene in my teenage years, not long after I started playing piano. In her early career Tori Amos had an absolutely mesmerising presence and beautifully fused her classical training with contemporary songwriting. Here was a female virtuoso that a teenage girl could look up to. It was all about guitars at the time so having a mainstream pianist to emulate was a big deal and I spent many hours trying to learn her songs.

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Alanis Morissette

Alanis was another artist that arrived on the scene during my teenage years at a time when there were so few female artists to look up to. Finally we had an Indie artist instead of the usual stream of Pop singers. Her songs were perfect for expressing teenage angst and I still feel that every song on ‘Jagged Little Pill’ is a classic. That album got me and countless others through some tough times.

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Mike Lindup

OK, strictly speaking I got into his band first although he has turned out solo material since. However he was one of the biggest influences during my early career and maybe the reason that I developed a love of funk. Although very mainstream in the 80s, listening to earlier recordings taught me a lot about arrangement and the space between notes being just as important as the notes themselves. Mr Lindup is the main reason I own a Yamaha KX88 and why in the early days I surrounded myself with banks of keyboards and modules.

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Patrice Rushen

I actually picked up my first keytar before discovering Patrice Rushen but then found that I had the perfect role model. Back then she was doing mainstream pop without sacrificing the funk levels and musicianship, something that I tried to emulate in our early Back2Funk shows. Her skill level on the piano now is phenomenal and she’s a highly respected jazz musician amongst her peers.

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Herbie Hancock

I might have discovered the world of Funk via mainstream chart bands and artists but when I started to delve deeper into who had influenced them, I began to discover the greats. Herbie could turn his hand to traditional Jazz, Funk, Fusion and Hip Hop with ease and as a keyboardist I was fascinated with this discovery of new techniques and tricks that could be used. Cue many years spent learning chord substitutions, Lydian, Mixolydian scales, etc.

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Stevie Wonder

As a keyboardist / vocalist, Stevie just had to make the list. He’s influenced countless musicians of all genres, whatever instrument they play, due to his prolific songwriting skills, musical talent and studio production expertise. Stevie’s work has spanned generations and he can still turn out relevant music today.

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Beverley Knight

One of my all time faves, Bev is a nice girl from the West Midlands with a powerhouse voice. Back in the day when I first started getting into the local funk scene, she would be heavily played on pirate radio across the Midlands and friends would get me to listen to her tracks. I became hooked on her debut album ‘The B Funk’ and ‘Flava Of The Old School’ rooted itself in my head for years after.

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Stefanie Sun YanZi

At the time of stumbling across Stefanie Sun’s music I’d grown really bored of the usual output from the UK music industry. My first trip to Hong Kong resulted in the discovery of the KTV music channel (much like MTV in the days when it played music but also with lyrics for singing along). Despite not understanding a word in those early days, I was blown away by the arrangements and beautiful melodies and ended up buying all of her albums. There’s always at least two stunning songs on each album (often many more) and I have more favourites than I could name in a Top 10 list. Her use of falsetto is also gorgeous – definitely an artist worth listening to.

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Scott Matthews

Another West Midlander on the list, Scott is a fantastic songwriter and vocalist that deserves a lot more recognition than he gets. I first encountered him at a small, intimate gig before he hit the big time and instantly knew he was going to be a success (in fact I offered him a deal on the spot but you can’t compete with the likes of Island Records!) Scott has a voice and fingerpicking style that harks back to the era of Robert Johnson. His debut album and especially the track ‘Elusive’ will probably never leave my Top 10 favourite tracks of all time, it’s just stunning.

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Funk Project

Funk Project

My roots lie in funk and so this year I’m embarking on a dream project to create covers of all of the favourite funk songs that have inspired me throughout my career. The aim of this project is to play most of the parts and create an accompanying youtube video for each track.

The first track is underway and I can’t wait to share it with you! 😀