Live Gig History

We really want to thank the following venues and organisers that have put up with our din.


Friday 2nd November 2018 at the Darkroom Espresso, Swindon.

 


Saturday 25th May 2019 at The Regent, Swindon


Thursday 11th July 2019 at The Tuppenny as part of Swindon Shuffle Festival


 

The End of the World: The Lottery of Mutual Self Destruction!

The illustration above shows a bag of creativity containing thousands of balls. Each ball represents a somewhat unclear or unknown technology that advances or influences humanity in a major way. A few examples of balls that have already been pulled from the bag may include petrol engines, the internet, flight and nuclear power. In amongst these technological balls is a black ball, representing the one time a technology that assures a very high number of people are going to die or even the complete destruction of humanity. This black ball is the final ball.

We, as humanity, continually pick balls out of the bag. We continually strive to create and develop new technology without too much consideration of its potential negative effect on the world. It’s only by chance that we’ve luckily avoided blowing ourselves up and not picking out the black ball.

We have been very close however. A good (or rather bad) example of a potential black ball from the past is the development of nuclear weapons. The drive to split the atom, to release and harness this massive energy and then through the Manhattan project, to develop weapons. This drive, step by step, by scientists to develop a bomb was largely unchecked and we soon found ourselves on the precipice of mutually assured destruction.

The checks and balances to police, restrict and protect the population of the world was left to chance. The proliferation of nuclear weapons was self limiting only because the technology and construction was specialised, expensive and time consuming which only a few countries could adopt. Just imagine if anyone could make a nuclear weapon with a bag of sand and a microwave?

So, if there was an easy, unfettered way to access the technology to detonate an atomic bomb, we could be fairly certain that it would have been used, even if just a small number of individuals would wish it. There are significant numbers that have radical religious ideals or ideological doctrines, mental illness, a dislike of the culture in which they live or insular, oppressive political dictatorships and their opposition and those that seek to extort and threaten. There are many reasons, unfortunately, that killing a large number of people seems like a good idea to an outspoken minority of the global population.

Today nuclear weapons are not an immediate black ball. It was close, but thank goodness for chance. We are now continuing to pick out balls from the bag so who knows how technologies like artificial intelligence, digital DNA printing and synthesis, bio technology or the final effects of global warming and climate change will influence and effect us all.

The question is not so much whether we will stumble onto a technological black ball that wipes us all out but rather that we have nothing in place to reduce the risks or stop it if we do. How do we stop developing things that will kill us like the nuclear weapons that were a mere hovering finger away from destroying the planet? The measures could involve stopping or restricting the development of such technology or ensuring that there are no bad people. We could also have effective policing and monitoring of individuals that could cause harm and intervene if action is required in a somewhat dystopian totalitarian future under an effective global governance.

I’m sure we’ll continue to keep pulling out those technological balls with our current insatiable drive. Let’s hope we don’t find a black ball.


Listen to an outline of the ‘Vulnerable World Hypothesis’ by Nick Bostrom on the Sam Harris ‘Making Sense’ Podcast. The section on this starts at 28.30 minutes if you want to go straight to it.

Read the ‘Vulnerable World Hypothesis’ by Nick Bostrom. This opens a PDF.

Nick Bostrom’s website also contains other interesting articles.

Reflecting Failure: Looking back at the first No Side Effects gig

Ade reflects on the happenings, stress and exhilaration of our first ever live performance

In the late evening on Friday 2nd November, Tom and I finally brought the sounds of No Side Effects into the live realm with our first ever 45 minute set to a friendly, welcoming audience at the Darkroom Espresso in Swindon. The day also marked the release of our debut album ‘Reinventing Failure’. It’s been a long journey.

The album plucks some emotional strings from the past 5 years. We’ve worked hard to create something that sounds good to us and had some really good laughs along the way.

So, around August this year, Tom convinced me that we should commit to a live date and that he had some contacts for a venue in Swindon. This, I was told, was a way to make sure we practiced together by applying a little pressure. This made sense as up to now, we’d not managed to find time for regular practice sessions to create a live set. Now, we’d have no choice but to meet up.

I’ve been reluctant to do anything live, unsure if I could overcome my fear of failing and letting everyone down. I did, however, have it down as a personal goal this year, despite my reservations. In the end, I agreed to a date and we proceeded to pencil in plenty of evenings to try to polish a performance. It was long hours of work, pushed by Tom’s drive to get it sounding right and tempered by my insecurities and doubt.

We set up all our gear in Tom’s Neon Meadow studio. I would drive up from Newbury and we’d practice in the evening and most of the following day. There was one occasion where I found it really difficult and tried to convince Tom to cancel.

The day of the gig finally arrived and we’d both booked the day off to practice and by 4pm, we decided to pack up, both generally happy with the progress but mainly because we just couldn’t practice anymore.

On the evening of the gig, we loaded up both our vehicles and drove the 30 minutes into Swindon town centre. We pulled up onto the double yellow lines outside the Darkroom Espresso coffee shop to unload the gear, at a surprisingly timely 6pm. I suffered further discussions as to why I had brought such a large, heavy keyboard.

We were welcomed by Charlie of Zero Gravity Tea Party and Will, the coffee shop owner and proceeded to set up and sound test, an activity which renders Tom unapproachable until it is finished. Our electronic smorgasbord sprawled its way across the room, a stereo jack lead at a time, leaving just enough space for Charlie’s seated grotto of candles and fairy lights.

It was the first time I met the local artists and musicians that Tom was familiar with and who made up the crowd. I was so focused on overcoming the anxiety of playing live and remembering my music that I completely overlooked that I would have to chat to a room of strangers.

I relaxed more when Charlie of Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony (ZGTC) started performing. The ambient acoustic waves interjected with intense energetic hypnotica, building on loops played from four tape decks and through a variety of ‘surfaces’. It was a great, confident and personal performance. At the end of the evening, it was suggested by Tom that Charlie’s ‘LoFi’ set provided a complimentary analogue yin to our harder, digital yang. In contrast to the ZGTC performance, we had lined up enough electronic equipment to open a PC World.

At around 9pm, I managed to stand when our time was beckoning. My knees wobbled and I had to engage my meditation practice. It’s always interesting how nerves and anxiety manifest themselves. I’ve been in many stressful situations but this was different. This was me at centre stage, performing, singing in public. Weird. Scary.

Photo by Simon Warner

The decision to open with Anti-trust was a good one. A chance to settle the nerves with a loose arrangement of sounds. The world shrinks to the instruments in front of me. We bring in the slowly building crescendos, electric guitar and the heartbeat bass-drum all collapse to an end in modulated fuzz and all falls to silence. We were encouraged by a generous reception. Tom gives a little banter as I search for the next rack of settings on the keyboard.

Photo by Swindon Sound and Light

This led, somewhat seamlessly, into In Your Brain Right Now, a complicated mix of samples, funk guitar, jazz keyboards and repeating bass and drums which, in rehearsals, provided us with plenty of blank moments. We were reticent to bring this track to the live performance as it has so many elements but it is now one of the most enjoyable to play. We worked through the 10 or so minutes of this song without major downfalls and again, finished to a little applause. (We had 2 rounds of applause, the first during one of the sound breaks within the song)

Photo by Swindon Sound and Light

The third song Outstare the Square is another mix of samples, vocal loops and repetitive bass combining the album version with an early mix which used a religious evangelist sample. This track had us in stitches when we first put it together and it was nice to hear some of the humour had transferred to the crowd, particularly when ‘… Obama plays golf’.

Photo by Swindon Sound and Light

The video clips posted by bergamasque show an introduction to the final track of our set called Dark Light. The ambient intro that we worked on for the first time on that day worked well before unleashing the relentless bass drum, soaring guitar and synths. A final descend into overdrive pedals and synth chaos brings the set to a close and a generous double round of applause.

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Three short video samples by bergamasque

The weeks of hard work paid off and the elation and relief afterwards was palpable. We had to settle and reflect for a few hours afterwards. I actually remembered the whole evening, this time my memories not being wiped by anxiety. It was a shaky start but on the other side of the evening, it felt good.

we both must say thank you, thank you and thank you for all the photos from Swindon Sound and Light which, to be honest, made us look far cooler than we are (speak for yourself {eds: Tom}) and the video clips from bergamasque which encapsulated a little of the performance and Charlie for his stellar ZGTC set, check out his music. We are also really grateful for those who came out to support us and for the Darkroom Espresso owner, Will, for allowing us to inflict our untested noise on some of his customers.

The coffee is really good here by the way.

“No Side Effects Make Failure Sound Fun” The Ocelot Review

A review of our new album from Claire Dukes at The Ocelot appeared this week:


Aha, where do I begin?

I’m gonna make like this electronically explosive album and dive straight in.

Musically there’s not a lot of continuity throughout Reinventing Failure, but on the flip side each song, needless to say, evokes something you’re not prepared for. This won’t work for everyone, but travelling through this… experience, shall we say, No Side Effects do actually pull this off.

Track-wise ‘In Your Brain Right Now’ genuinely made me accuse them, funnily enough, in my head as evil geniuses for nothing more than the fact that this song stayed in my head for days – the irony of it all! Also, my foot, it would seem, is having all the side effects – tapping along to a beat that is not actually audible anymore. It’s funny in a kind of sinister way, and for this reason I’m sold.

Reinventing Failure is a bit of a trip – it’s sonically and lyrically very experimental but at the exact same time it has been excellently produced. This really stands out in Dark Light, Eco-terror, and Pessimonster – I’m eager to find out if this translates the same in a live performance.

I’m hearing influences from Hot Chip and New Order – whether I’m right or wrong doesn’t really matter. The point is: No Side Effects make failure sound fun.

Reinventing Failure is released November 2 – go see them debut the album live at Darkroom Espresso.


Read the full review on The Ocelot website

Reinventing Failure Reviews

We at No Side Effects are always grateful for the interest and time taken by a couple of local publications and writers in reviews of our debut album ‘Reinventing Failure’

A supportive and insightful blog from reviewer T. Bebedor  (via Dave Franklin) on Swindon’s ‘Dancing About Architecture‘  and ‘The Swindonian‘ is as follows.


Different times can conjure different things to different people and when I think of the 1980’s my mind is cast back to watching The A-Team or Buck Rogers, collecting football stickers, wishing for a BMX, eating Highland Toffee and watching Top of The Pops on a Thursday evening.

One thing I noticed, aside from the ‘cool’ people in the studio dancing without a care in the world, was how more and more acts would have keyboards and computer monitors littering the stage and getting in the way of the dry ice, yes, synthesizers had arrived en masse from the prog rock bands of the 1970’s with a palette so broad that if you could imagine a sound, the chances were, someone could create it with the help of a selection of knobs, buttons and sliders. Music was dead. There was panic in music shops up and down the country, skips were filled with Rickenbackers and Fenders because Yamaha, Moog and Casio were the new makers of music and if you wanted to be taken seriously then you had better trade in your chord charts for a programming course at the local polytechnic.

Bands like Pet Shop Boys, Yazoo, Ultravox, Bronski Beat and Human League were dominating the charts but where these bands gave us the plink-plonk-pling of radio-friendly  tunes, others chose a darker route. Bands like Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Talking Heads were exploring where these new sounds could take us and, finally, we arrive at No Side Effects.

The debut album from Thomas Haynes and Adrian Wallington challenges the listener to question what makes us human and where we end up when we’re dead. All heavy stuff but it sits naturally in the synth arena and never feels cheesy or gimmicky. On first listen it can feel a bit over-bearing but stick with it because on the second or third listen the songs take on their own character and it then starts to unravel its secrets. The opening track, ‘Anti-Trust’ is a short taster of things to come, I like these sort of tracks at the start of albums, it hints at what is in store for the listener and, if done correctly, can tease you into what treats are to follow, and what is to follow is a vast, cleverly-planned trip into an electric landscape. At times the songs seem a little light on bass, particularly in the earlier tracks of the album but to suggest a pumping drum and bass line would be in total contradiction to what is on offer, but the earlier songs almost work as an evolution towards track five.

When I was given this cd, special attention was made about track five, a song called ‘In Your Brain Right Now’ which, running at 8 minutes, cleverly uses snippets from a lecture by American author and neuroscientist Sam Harris. The music plays between the audio of the lecture (similar to what the Blue Man Group has done in the past) and encourages the listener to breath and take notice of his/her own existence as a living, breathing thing, at one point the vocals echoes the words of Sam Harris and uses them to create backing vocals to good effect. But this song also acts as something of a shift in mood, the following songs, particularly ‘Outstare the Square’ and ‘Pessimonster’ are strong tracks with an energy that will keep most listeners interested and intrigued in equal measure.

‘Dark Light’ – which appears next on the album – recently received attention from BBC Bristol and featured as part of BBC’s Introducing, and rightly so, there is a Depeche Mode feel throughout leading to a powerful trip into what synth music is capable of with a steady, effects-laden bass line and slow burning production.

Actually, the production is the king here, with this much going on it would be easy to miss or misjudge a certain sound or rhythm, but each sound comes through clearly throughout this album. Record production is a labour of love at the best of times but there is a lot of sounds jostling for space. I’ve heard this album through car speakers and headphones and each method is a different experience.

If you fancy listening to some grown-up electronic music with messages that cover isolation, loss, mental health and all things in between, give these guys a listen, you might just find yourself going back for more.


Please have a read of the full review in ‘Dancing About Architecture‘  and ‘The Swindonian

No Side Effects on the BBC

Yes, we know, someone else liked our music except our Mums. A big thank you to Radio Berkshire and presenter Linda Serck and her team for playing ‘Dark Light’ on the ‘Introducing’ programme this evening.

Listen to the 1 hour show by clicking this link. Dark Light is featured on our debut album to be released on 2nd August 2018. We also have a music video of the single.