Dawn of the Squid is the new project of London singer songwriter Donald Newholm. It also features Dan Woods (of Pig with the Face of a Boy) on piano, accordion and violin, Dionisio Perez-Mavrogenis on double bass and Malcolm Gayner on drums and percussion. Donald sings and strums various instruments. Dawn of the Squid's sound is a vigorous combination of jazz, psychedelia, folk, punk, funk, exotica, orchestral and circus music, drawing influence from artists such as Scott Walker, Tom Waits and David Bowie.
Donald was born in London and has thus far chosen to remain there. In former guises, he has released a plethora of singles, albums and videos including "The Complete History of the Soviet Union, Arranged to the Melody of Tetris". He has been described as "Deliciously reckless" (The Argus) and "Pure and unusual genius. And just a little disconcerting." (The Antagonist)
Vaguely descended from music-hall legend Fred Annesley, Donald started playing music as soon as he could get away with it. He started out as vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for punk band Stegg, which swelled with psychedelia and krautrock to become The Not-Too-Distant Future. Influences included Cardiacs, Soulwax and Barrett-era Pink Floyd. This brace of incarnations played many gigs (including the Ministry of Sound and the Crystal Palace Bowl) and spawned three albums. These are currently unavailable but will perhaps return to us, comet-like, at some later point in time.
When The Not-Too-Distant Future imploded, Donald formed comedy act Pig with the Face of a Boy with future Squid accordionist Dan Woods. In contrast to the electronics and histrionics of previous work, Pig took a back to basics approach, concentrating on acoustic and orchestral instruments, with a natural, untreated sound. The songs eschewed modernity, drawing influence from folk, music-hall and world music. As often as possible Donald shunned the guitar, instead learning a plethora of stringed instruments: bass, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, charango, ronroco, tiplé, accordion, maraccas and castanets have all been graced by Donald's hands during the course of Pig's anarchic activities.
Pig with the Face of a Boy's video for "The Complete History of the Soviet Union" quickly went viral, spawning many imitations and tributes, and infiltrating popular culture in a pleasingly insidious manner. The key line "I am the man who arranges the blocks" has become common slang in online gaming communities and the video continues to get a million hits a year. It won two awards, appeared on Adam Buxton's TV Bug, it is referenced in the novel "The 57 Bus", and most worryingly, it is now even used in the American education system. The song was included on their first album, "La la ha ha". Their second, "The Girl with the Arms Made From Marrows", boasted a greater array of orchestral instruments to flesh out their acoustic sound, and featured an appearance by music-hall legend Roy Hudd. A third, more topical album was attempted but the British political landscape shifted so quickly that it was rendered impossible.
Donald's new venture, Dawn of the Squid, is a nefarious nexus of mellifluous molluscs, pernicious pirates and cantankerous crustaceans. Now that humanity is clearly doomed, the Squids and their tentacled brethren are preparing to rise from the ocean to take their place at the top of the food chain.
Please do take a moment to peruse the audio wares on offer here and via the various social links. If you have a question for the Squid, please get in touch. Dawn of the Squid are always on the lookout for gigs, deals, ancient rum, buried treasure, power and glory.