Monday, 7 May 2012

Studio: Bored of Directives
Log Line: Catch Us Live Somewhere On This Planet

‘On The Beat and Path’ – a travel documentary series about music releases their global soundtrack
Album Art by Steve Northcott Photography by Hannah Northcott

Malaysia – May 5th, 2012 – After having traveled to 19 countries over the course of 15 months in search of this planet’s musical pulse, musicians, filmmakers and vagabonds Gary Blanton and Steve Northcott are happy to release the official soundtrack to their music/travel series, On The Beat and Path.

The album contains 18 sonically diverse tracks recorded with 22 guest musicians and recorded in five countries.

The On The Beat and Path Soundtrack is organized in to three distinct parts: On The Beat and Path recordings, Songs From the Mekong recordings and Live and Improvised recordings.

Part One: On The Beat and Path
The first six studio recordings are songs written for On The Beat and Path by Steve and Gary and include appearances by guest musicians from Malaysia, India, Cambodia, England, Germany, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, and the United States of America.  These songs were written and recorded in Bali (Indonesia), Kampot (Cambodia), Camburi (Brazil) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Part Two: Songs From The Mekong
Songs From the Mekong was a creative project that signaled the finale of the On The Beat and Path’s filming session.  Steve and Gary, together with three musicians from Malaysia, traveled to a small village in Cambodia where their creative mission was to write and record five different songs in five days.

What emerged from these artists who had never previously collaborated (or knew each other) was an exciting fusion of genres and musical styles and are included here on the On The Beat and Path soundtrack.

Guest artists on Songs From the Mekong include Nadhira (Malaysia), Azmyl Yunor (Malaysia) and Jason ‘Vandal’ Schadt (Canada).  Tracks were recorded in a small hut outside of Kampot, Cambodia at Bodhi Villa Musician Retreat.

Part Three: Live and Improvised
These last collections of songs contain magical music moments collected from Gary and Steve’s travels while filming On The Beat and Path.  They are live, they are improvised and there were no second takes.  This unique collection of sounds include a by-chance meeting of a sitar player on the beach in Goa, India which led to a seventeen minute jam, an improvised comedy song about the germ killing agents in fresh fruits, an impromptu Laotian freestyle poetry slam and the soothing sounds of the Brazilian ocean.

Tracks from this album have received radio play on BFM 89.9 (Malaysia) and AFO Radio (Malaysia).

For further information about the album, a copy of the album for review purposes, for interviews or to learn more about On The Beat and Path, contact:

The album can be purchased at the On The Beat and Path online store:

Produced by Gary and Steve, musical brilliance was led to this album by the following:


Malaysia recording at 21:05 Studios Engineered by JD Wong
Cambodia recording at New Leaf Studios Engineered by Hugh Munro
Bali recording at SoulFlip Studios Engineered by Karsten Schroeer


On The Beat and Path (throughout album)
Steve Northcott: vocals, guitar, ukulele, and harmonica
Gary Blanton: bass, guitar, backing vocals

On The Beat and Path Band
Brian Morefield: saxophone
David Ross: lead guitar, backing vocals
Erik Richardson: drums, cajon, backing vocals

Songs From The Mekong
Nadhira: vocals, piano
Jason Schadt: vocals, beatbox,bungkau
Azmyl Yunor: mandolin, vocals, harmonica and guitar
Kyra Boyer: backing vocals

Sitar Jam:
Chandu: sitar
Vishu: bamboo flute

Gamelan Recording (Everything Matters – Bali, Indonesia)
Karsten Schroeer: beats
Asep Bagja, Rudi Brewok, Asep Sukmana, Deni Ramdani, Agun Adiputra, Aris Tanaya

The Cambodian Backpacker Choir

Track Listing:

On The Beat and Path Soundtrack (19 minutes)
1.   Everything Matters (Bali)
2.   Toda Dia (Every Day) (Brazil)
3.   We Could Be Anywhere (Cambodia)
4.   Fair Weather Friend (Malaysia)
5.   C’MON (Malaysia)
6.   On The Beat and Path Outro

Songs From the Mekong Soundtrack (20 minutes)
7.   Where The Hell Are Ya?
8.   Every Day
9. L’Orphanique (Live & Improvised at Kampot Music School for Orphans)
10. The Bridge
11. This Wall
12. BONUS: LCCT (Boyer Remix)
13. Songs From the Mekong Outro

Live & Improvised Jams (31 minutes)
14. Sitar Jam (India)
15. Wash Your Hands With Fruit (India)
16. Poetry in Laos (Laos)
17. BONUS: Ocean (Brazil)
18. Live & Improvised Jams Outro

Total Running Time: 66 minutes

Official Website:
Creative Studio:

Social Media:
Twitter: @OnTheBeatNPath

Monday, 9 April 2012


This is a documentary about music, travel & Creativity.

Trailers (share them, like them, comment on them, enjoy them, thank you):

1) Featuring song: Every Day

2) Featuring song: This Wall

The Documentary

Songs From The Mekong follows the creative process of five musicians from different musical styles, faiths and cultures as they travel to the heart of a Cambodian jungle where they commit to composing and recording a different song every day for five days.

Inspired by their rural surroundings, musicians Nadhira (Malaysia), Jason Schadt (Canada), Azmyl Yunor (Malaysia), Gary Blanton (USA) and Steve Northcott (Canada) create a unique soundtrack inspired by escape, travel, and self-discovery.

Filmed and recorded in Kampot, Cambodia, the documentary combines elements of travel and adventure as musical genres are blended while the musicians’ profiles drive a storyline that includes an improvised musical jam at a local Cambodian orphanage, a boat cruise through rural Cambodia, busking in local villages, and missed planes.

The Music
This is a sampler of the 5 songs that we recorded over the course of five days in Cambodia


See the Daily Video Blogs from the June 2011 Film Shoot

Meet The Musicians:
twitter: @OnTheBeatNPath

twitter: @OnTheBeatNPath

twitter: @Nadhiramusic

twitter: @vandigital

twitter: @azmyl

This is Kyra Boyer.  At times she was responsible for taking our photos.  That is to say she was always taking our photos, she just wasn't alway responsible.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Art of Improvisation

Hey Folks,

When we go in to the studio, we like to improvise a little.  Often is it something done to get the creative juices going, to get “in the zone”, or really in the hopes of creating some magic.  Here is a song that we recorded in the studio that we believe to be magic.  At least evidence that fairies were in the studio and dropped pixie dust on us.

Everything you hear is improvised: the lyrics, the progressions, the bridge, the solo (obviously).  We have since tried to recreate the magic of the song and it has never worked.  We will most definitely go back in the studio and redo parts and share that with you as we increase the “kick ass” factor of this song.  But first, it was important you get an example of the rawness.

Allow me to take you through the song with a little commentary.  First, go to the song here:

Start Song:

0:00 – The songs starts with Erik soundchecking his drums.  With the mics already ignited, I just decided to play around with his beat.  Just following the beat and embarrassingly find myself scatting to an old Kid N Play song.  For this, I apologize.  Not because it’s Kid N Play, but because I forgot the words.

0:17 – Erik recognizes that I am entering a zone and obliges with a welcoming drum roll.  I instinctively start singing gibberish taking my vocal chords on a little journey.   Still looking for the theme and flow at this point though.

0:45 – David Ross recognizes that a song is about to be born and quickly finishes tuning his guitar and instantly adds a riff to what is slowly evolving to be “something”.

0:58 – with Dave’s new guitar riff, I am inspired to start a song that will have me half singing as one dude and have talking as another dude.  Still unsure what direction the song will go in though.

1:15 – first evidence of spontaneity as we go through a well felt chord change.  The theme is starting to unravel a little bit and Dave, Erik and I are feeling it.  Can’t remember where Gary is at this point.  Most likely on his back stretching, crying that he can’t be involved.
(L - R) Steve, Dave, Erik
1:26 – Friend, Matt Sheflin joined us in the studio and without even really knowing if he has a sister, I took the opportunity to let him know what I thought would happen if she was there.

1:32 – song’s “2nd verse” kicks in and the emotion picks up as improvised lyrics start to kick ass specifically at 1:45.

1:59 – Public Service Announcement

2:00 – JD, studio engineer of 21:05 Studio recognizes that the song requires a bass so he gets off his “ENGINEER CHAIR” and picks up the bass guitar.  JD rarely ever behaves in such a manner and at 2:09 we are glad he does.
JD @ 21:05 Studios (KL, Malaysia)
2:30 – a fun little run of words that ends with the undeniable sentence “I am just a Steve”.

2:49 – first real evidence of the theme and feeling of the song.  From here, it just becomes more evident.

3:15 – first use of “bad” word.  Had to happen eventually in a freestyle rhyme.  Nevermind that the song is 6 minutes long.  Impressive.  This will not be the last time a bad word is used.  At least a different bad word is used.  But philosophically...what’s bad?

3:27 – This is the part where there should have been an epic, soaring guitar solo.  And there will be. However, as Erik’s drumming foreshadowed what could have been the greatest moment in improvised rock history, what you are given is a the musical equivalent of two teenagers in a moment of sexual uncertainty and sweaty palms in the back of a El Camino.

3:45 – Now that that is finished, the song continues it’s “Act 3” with a fictional account of my family circle and a dream that concludes with an indecipherable line at 4:06.

4:25 – The Message

4:42 - The beginning of what is no doubt the greatest rhyming couplet in the history of improvised studio rock and roll.  You’re welcome.

4:58 – The introduction of the 2nd “bad word”.  It then gets repeated.  Sorry?

5:22 – Song’s Outro.  That’s the thing with improvised jam.  When do you stop when no one wants to stop?

5:40 – The obligatory talking in to the microphone with self-satisfying pats on the back.

5:45 – David still figuring out what went wrong with his solo.  For the record, he’s a kick ass guitar player that would make your grandmother weep for joy.

Please share.

Catch Us Live Somewhere On This Planet


CBC Radio 3 (Original Canadian Indie Music):


TITS (Totally Incorrect Travel Show):
Window To The World:

Thursday, 13 October 2011

On The Beat and Path in Malaysia (Season Two)

On The Beat and Path Episode Blog (S2 E5)
Filmed: January  – May, 2011
Locations of Shoot: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia

As Gary and I call Malaysia home, it is rather appropriate that we attempt to film as much musical silliness as we can.  Of course, our travel schedules don’t always allow us to be home at the best of times.  Plus, when we refer to Gary being at home it could very well mean he is between homes either living in Erik’s spare bedroom (Erik being one of our main sponsors and accommodation providers) or a bunker with other wayward global artists.  It isn’t always pretty being Gary but at least his cats have a place to stay.

Moving on.

Gary and I have our own musical and creative projects in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  We play in a band that has had difficulty in nailing down a suitable name.  We have gone under the monikers of “Fuzzy Handcuffs” and then in the name of efficiency, shortened it to “The Cuffs” and then we were “4 Dudes Named Gary, Steve, David and Erik Who Have No Name But Like to Rock”.  On October 14th, we played in a bar in Sri Hartamas under the uber rock signature, ICE PUPPIES.  We stole this name from an 8 year old.  It doesn’t matter where genius comes from, as long as it just comes.

We used to be in a band called the BENCHMARX.  Gary played bass, I played guitar and sang and all was good.  Other players in the band include generation two lead guitarist David Ross, generation one drummer Erik Richardson (previously mentioned accommodation sponsor) and first generation guitarist and singer Kenny Peavy.  The BENCHMARX, after recording 2 full length albums, a glorious independent music award, and a pseudo-South East Asian Tour called it quits for reasons that aren’t always entire clear, public, or even worth sharing (it’s better for the rock and roll legend that way).

Some Benchmarx funzies:

So while Gary and I spent the better part of 2010 and 2011 traveling and collecting musical footage around the world, we didn’t play very much locally.  As such, the BENCHMARX ended.  We did manage to squeeze in a few shows around town but like I previously mentioned, under a new, as yet unnamed five some.  Erik and Dave are still around and we enlisted a horn player, Brian Morefield to join us to add a little oomph in all the right places.  These musicians helped us in our Malaysian filming.  More on this later.

So while On The Beat and Path kept us out of Malaysia, we still managed to film a few interesting moments.  My stand up comedy profile and involvement in the local music scene led to me being asked to host the WORLD FINALS of the Global Battle of the Bands.  17 countries around the world sent a winning band to compete for the title of “World’s Greatest New Band”.  I was also “lucky” enough to host two legs of the Malaysian Qualifying Rounds. 

I would like to pre-empt the next few segments by stating for the record that I love music.  I can’t be doing what I am doing if this isn’t the case.  But there is only so much heavy metal a man can take in one night.  And throughout these qualifying rounds, it was predominantly a cycle of metal bands that Malaysia was offering.  Amazingly, Malaysia sent as their GBOB representative, a young, fresh funk band, Bombers. 

When it came time to the GBOB FINALS, I found myself in for the longest night of music in my life.  Had beer been involved (and it was to a minor degree) the evening may have taken on a different flavour.  But hosting is “working” and I required my wits for the cutting and witty banter I had to provide between performances.  Now it needs to be said that every band in GBOB were great and honest to their genre.  I can’t imagine that Ryan Seacrest enjoys every moment of American Idol and I have been to festivals where some acts were head scratchers.  That’s opinion and that’s glorious.  But there appeared to be a disproportionately large segment of the world who sent Metal Bands to this competition.

Admittedly, I have a hard time listening to either Justin Bieber or Slipknot.  However, when you put them together?  It’s worth listening to.

Musical genres unrepresented at the WORLD FINALS include (but most definitely not limited to) Hip Hop, Country, Soul… There were only two female singers in the competition and one singer who wore hockey gloves.  While Metal and Hard Rock appeared to be the genre of choice, it was a Jamaican reggae band, DUBTONIC KRU that took home the GBOB trophy as winners. You can get a glimpse of the whole event here:

Because we had previously filmed in Malaysia (pre-season episode #2: we really wanted to focus on delivering something new.  So we headed to Sabah and East Malaysia.  Here we were introduced to some members of the Hip Hop community in Kota Kinabalu.  In fact, we weren’t the only ones introduced to them, for the members of the U.G.M (Urban Gorrilaz Crew – not sure what the “M” means at this point?  I need to take better notes.  Or should I say, Randall needs to take better notes), the live show that we witnessed in K.K (Kota Kinabalu) was their first live show ever.
Hip Hop in Borneo
 Canadian Hip Hop veteran and current Malaysian Hip Hop Godfather, Jason “Vandal” Schadt introduced me to the fellows during a magazine party and we spent some time getting to know the rhyming youngsters.  They were shy, denying us an opportunity to witness them freestyling live.  So I had to take the microphone and show them a little of what I got in the chamber:

The next day we toured a little of Sabah with Malaysian singer-songwriter and industry heavy weight Amir Yussof.  Amir is an accomplished singer songwriter who has received acclaim for his original music and has performed throughout the world. 

The Monsopiad Cultural Centre in Sabah invited us for a day of traditional Sabah life: Drinking rice wine, hunting birds, and of course dancing.   Their history contains examples of headhunting as territorial instincts were high and the Monsopiads use music and dance to share of their colourful history.  Now for no moment was I worried about losing my head, but a slow loris (small cute animal) did manage to find its way on to my shoulders (3:08 mark of video below) and lick away at my scalp.  It must be my lovely shampoo.
This is a Slow Loris.  He likes Hair Wax.

Finally, it was back to Kuala Lumpur to participate in a photo shoot for ESQUIRE Magazine.  This is normally not my cup of tea but when ESQUIRE calls, you answer.  The shoot was to celebrate the first issue of ESQUIRE to be published in Malaysia.  Because it was April, it just made sense to do an “April Fool’s” shoot with the top comedians in Kuala Lumpur.  I was teamed with Malay comic, Papi Zak.  Every photo captured an old school joke or vaudeville gag.  Ours consisted of the exploding cigar (in my face) and the squirting flower (in Papi’s face).  I got to wear a watch that cost more than my University education.  But then I had to give it back.  It’s not always about winning I suppose.

Steve in ESQUIRE magazine

Next time we are in Canada and the United States of America.

Catch Us Live Somewhere On This Planet.

Official site:
Bored of Directives Productions:

Follow Us On:
CBC Radio 3 (Original Canadian Indie Music):

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Missed Planes and Burning Neckties :: August 31, 2011

Hey Folks

Last day of August.  Almost had a great meeting with Gary and almost set our direction for the coming year which includes post production of ON THE BEAT AND PATH for television, and post production for two, potentially three documentaries for submission in to film festivals in 2012. However, Gary is not in Malaysia.  He missed his flight from Macedonia and spent a night (or potentially two in Istanbul).

No there is every reason to believe that Gary missed his flight because of crazy traffic in Sofia.  No doubt.  Gary is a man of his word and I must take him at that.  But with a year of traveling under our belt (we’re talking 17 countries and over 25 cities here) it is safe to say, the man plays with fire when it comes to challenging planes’ ability to depart on time (with every passenger).  It takes two hands to count the close calls and long mornings.  Even Vanessa has been heard to drop a, “goddammit Gary” once in a while.  

Gary performing a self diagnosis test after an ill-fated motorcycle accident in Lake Toba, Indonesia

Gary should be arriving between sometime today and next week.  It just depends on how good the Turkish bath houses are. 

I am continuing to do stand up in the region and am headlining a show in Kuala Lumpur (well…a suburb anyway) on September 13th.  The show is at Nero Fico and is a great spot to get a delicious feast in you before the show.  Local comic, Kavin is MC’ing the event with MACC comic Chi Ho opening with a few minutes.  The price is set at 20 rm and you can get more info on the FACEBOOK event page here:

Steve live at Nero Fico, September 13, 2011

As mentioned in Monday’s blog, I wanted to share the reason why we had Randall start a fire for us.  While in India back in April 2010, we wanted to perform a ceremony, some sort of celebration of the creative task we were about to start.  I thought it was rather appropriate to light a fire and burn some neckties.  So here is Erik, Gary and I on the beaches in Goa with nothing but a fire, some neckties, a few guitars and an improvised song.

Rocking on the beaches of Goa just before the tie burning ceremony

Catch Us Live Somewhere On This Planet

CBC Radio 3 (Original Canadian Indie Music):

TITS (Totally Incorrect Travel Show):
Stand Up Comedy:

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Creative Process :: August 29th, 2011

Hey Folks

It’s been awhile, apologies.  I’ll keep this short. 

Gary gets back from a month of vacationing in American and filming his wife/dancer Paola (she made a performance piece in our Brazil episode - in Macedonia.  She does some terrific work with a music festival over there and we’ll be excited to bring you some footage of that in due time.   So much more to come in the meantime.

We have been releasing bonus scenes, lost scenes, deleted scenes and summer content which includes clips from Toronto’s Fringe Festival, Singapore’s Rock & Roots Festival and Guelph’s Hillside Festival.  You can check out our YouTube Channel for episodes you may have missed.  Plus Gary will have everything available on our new updated website very soon.  Check out the cool things he has been doing at  Not everything is active as of yet but stay tuned, there is so much more On The Beat and Path coming.

That said, we’ll release another bonus scene today.  For those that remember, or were with us during Season One, we paid a visit to Bali and joined a local Gamelon band at a recording studio run by the great DJ KAZZ.  Together and through the language of music, we created the season two theme song, the kick-ass, “Everything Matters”.

Here is the online Season One Bali segment:

Here is the BEHIND THE SCENES segment of our recording the above segment:

Well, today we are happy to release footage of us in India when we first came up with the idea for this song. The footage is a little grainy, obviously the song wasn’t in it’s polished state but it gives you a glimpse of our creative process and reintroduces you to characters from Season One, Episode One in Goa, India.

From Left to Right: Gary on Guitar, Jungle Chris Horton on the nylon string, Erik is banging on the Cajon somewhere on the floor and I am on the right. 
The setting was perfect under the Banyon tree by the ocean.  It was difficult to leave.

All the while, Randall was trying to get a fire going.  It took him seven hours before we finally gave him a lighter.  He was not impressed.  On Wednesday, we will share with you what we did with the fire.

Coming soon:

We’re going to release a full 27-minute documentary from our time at the Hillside Music Festival in Canada with performances from Lights, Chali 2na, Sloan, Ganga Giri, Kim Churchill, Serena Ryder, Emmanuel Jal and so much more.  It’s probably better than anything you are watching on TV at the moment anyway (especially the 2011 MTV VMA’s – Does MTV still care about music these days?)

Serena Ryder at Hillside Music Festival Guelph, Canada 2011

Catch Us Live Somewhere On This Planet

CBC Radio 3 (Original Canadian Indie Music):

TITS (Totally Incorrect Travel Show):