Q: Hi! What was the inspiration behind “The Old Skylight”, and how did you come up with the idea for the song?
A: Hi all! When we see, every day, the constant pain humanity inflicts upon itself, it’s hard to find positives……but positives do exist above all of this greed and belligerence. Maybe there’s hope for us after all?
Q: Can you tell us about the creative process behind writing and recording “The Old Skylight”?
A: The chords had been knocking around in my head for years and had various lyrics that didn’t make sense. Last Summer I decided to scrap the original lyrics and start again with a completely new idea. I took the tuning down a tone to fit my voice better. I record as many guitar parts on as many guitars as I can lay my hands on. This layering helps to create the full sound. The original demos had sequenced brass and bass guitar but Helena and Elise offered to come into the studio and do these parts for real, which had a huge impact on the sound and helped with the energy and emotion of the track. Helen provided backing vocals on The Old Skylight and an album track called Time For Something Drastic. With Tony’s skill as a producer it all came together like a jigsaw clicking into place.
Q: What message or emotion are you hoping to convey to your listeners through this new release?
A: Even in a maelstrom of conflict and destruction it is still possible to find tranquillity, peace and hope for the future.
Q: How does “The Old Skylight” fit into the overall theme or style of your music?
A: There seems to be a subconscious theme in what I write which involves people being liberated from oppression. This idea is quite apparent on a few tracks on our debut album.
Q: Are there any particular musical influences or inspirations that helped shape this new song?
A: I guess any writer is the sum of their influences plus their own creativity. I must be heavily influenced by the post-punk bands of the early 80s such as Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, The Chameleons and the Smiths but also everything on 4AD, Creation and Factory records. The key seed for me though is The Velvet Underground without who many of these bands possibly wouldn’t have existed.
Q: How do you approach the song writing process in general, and what role does personal experience play in your music?
A: All my songs, with the exception of The Tannhäuser Gate, are written on an acoustic guitar. I piece together chord sequences that I like and mumble temporary lyrics over them until I get the vocal tune that I want. I constantly make notes of lyric ideas on my phone and use these to spark the flow of writing when I finally feel in the right mindset to write. I never force it, I wait for words to come to me. Demos and guide tracks are recorded here on Anglesey and finished off in Tony’s studio in Warrington.
Q: Can you talk about your experience working in the music industry, and how it has evolved over the years?
A: Releasing singles is easier than it’s ever been and therefore everyone’s doing it. This makes it harder than ever to be heard above the background noise. I personally don’t believe that doing loads of small gigs to friends and family has any value these days. The romantic idea that a record company boss might randomly be in the audience wielding a cheque book is a delusion. I concentrate on recording and radio play at the moment and have had a lot of support from radio DJs such as Chris Currie (Mersey Radio) and Sarah Wynn Griffiths (MônFM) plus some artists that actually were part of the post-punk Liverpool Eric’s scene such as Henry Priestman (Yachts etc.) and Paul Simpson (The Teardrop Explodes and Wild Swans). Up and coming bands in a similar position are always good to bounce thoughts off e.g. Holy Coves, Gdansk81, Any Colour You Like, CELAVI and KEEF.
Q: How have you grown as an artist since your first release, and what lessons have you learned along the way?
A: Last year my aim was to release a single. Six singles later, I’m waiting for the release of Blindness & Light’s debut album (1 st July) with the second album already written. I now know that my idea of an informal collective works better for me than a formal band. I can achieve so much more and at a decent pace.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to make an impact in today’s music landscape?
A: Work 12 or more hours a day, have patience and expect nothing. Never take your foot off the gas!
Q: What can fans look forward to from you in the future, and what are your long-term career goals?
A: As mentioned, the debut album will be released on July 1 st this year. There will be CDs and limited edition vinyl (available on Bandcamp and 81 Renshaw St., Liverpool and a few others) as well as the usual digital format available on all streaming platforms. Merch is available worldwide on Amazon. I also have a side project called Radio Psychosis with Mike Juvenile from Liverpool indie band KEEF. There’ll be a single out in a few months called Television. My big aim at the moment is to earn enough to just break even! Easier said than done.