This record was written between 2020 and 2021 and the album title came from the songs varying themes about hope and navigating our way through chaos of modern life, be it personal relationships, the political landscape or overcoming our own personal battles.
At half an hour in length, this is my most focused and best sounding work yet and I am so pleased to finally share it with you all.
Featuring Aled Lloyd on drums, Dan Nelson on bass, Andrew Bishop as co-producer, Charlie Jenkins on Sax, Emma Davidson on vocals, a vocal feature from Lauren Kinsella and artwork from Darlee Urbiztondo.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me along with the journey of making this record, and I hope you enjoy it!
Track 1 of my solo debut album was initially written in 2015 and completed in 2018.
Musically, it’s a progressive metal track through and through with 5/4 being the opening time signature amongst other jagged rhythms and riffs.
Most of the track is guitars, bass and drums but there are moments where I use acoustic guitars, synths and other textures. The ending is particularly dense.
Lyrically, the album is about what has been called by some as the lost decade. The growing chaos and division that occurred from 2016 onwards and futures being determined by lack of upward mobility, soaring house prices and inequality, prejudice and hatred.
This opening track was one of the reasons I wanted to include the word ‘disillusion’ in the album title.
Amidst all the frustration I expressed in this track, and my observation of it all, I throw in an element of hope in there. The problems are definitely there, but many of us see them and are doing something about it. Here is to changing things for the better.
We are still in lockdown and unable to get together in a room to play together which really is rubbish!
Nevertheless my band, Kinky Wizzards managed to pull together a performance of ‘Leave that thing Alone’ by Rush. They were recorded using our phones and hobbled together in editing by our very own Jiffy who spent the entire time kicking and screaming with Imovie.
Half Notion was written back in 2014/2015 not long after I had left university.
The lyrics were amongst the easiest for me to write and were inspired by a quote that just had so much relatable truth in it, it stopped me in my tracks.
I always say, when you’re young and unsuccessful, you don’t have the money, and if you’re not careful, when you’re old and successful, you don’t have the passion. To be put in either of those two positions is a tragedy. I think one of the toughest times in any man’s life is his twenties, because in your twenties you’re fiercely screaming who you are, but you have only half a notion of who you are. Then as you grow older, you whisper who you are, but people are closer to you, and they listen. By that time, you have half a notion, a quarter of a notion, of who you are. I think the tragedy is when you finally have all the people that you need surrounding you, and you have nothing left to say.”
This quote is from acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro from the beautiful coffee table book ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and this is just one example of the wisdom this gentleman shares in his work. Watch a live interview of him talk about one of his latest masterpieces, ‘The Shape of Water’ and he will put a smile on your face!
Admittedly, I was in a position when I left university and finished education with flying colours yet for the first time in my life, I had no clear sense of direction of how to go about doing things. Not to say I did not have a vision, I am extraordinary lucky to have found something that I have been passionate about since the age of 8 but my ambitions lacked the resources and I felt pretty lost. I know for a fact that plenty of people end up in that boat, probably much more so than those that find their feet straight away.
As I had done during school and university, I wanted to prove myself in the real world as a person and musician, with no real idea as to how to that exactly and subsequently, my perception of the way things were going were that it was all painfully slow and extremely frustrating, so much to the point it was anxiety inducing.
The record that I had in production during this time was Eden Shadow ‘Melodies for Maladies’ but there were so many hurdles involved in making this stupidly ambitious record, it came to a point where I thought I was never going to be able to release another album ever again.
I wrote Half Notion to express that frustration, but at the same time I was looking for the wisdom amidst it all and in retrospect, it was simpler than my emotions at the time made it out to be.
I was in my early twenties and you know absolutely sod all in your early twenties!
I was caught up in half notions.
‘Half Notion’ is about accepting the fact that it is okay to only have a fraction of a notion about who you are, and learning to temper that alongside your ambitions, passion and desire for success.
It’s easier said than done, especially in a world where the media obsessed with age, people lie about being younger and youth talent in the industry is propelled at such a speed that they end falling as fast as they rise (with sometimes devastating consequences). As Del Toro says, success has it’s own downfalls as well and learning to love the journey is key, and making music as a solo artist and with Kinky Wizzards has never been more positive. I look forward to a time when we can take it all live again.
I still only have a half notion.
To finish, here is another quote from Del Toro about the same topic:
“The most desperate time is when you’re in your 20s,” said del Toro. “You feel like you’re too late, that you’ve wasted your life. Then when you’re 30 you realize, ‘No, I was just obscenely young, and it was the best time ever: anything was possible!‘
After many years of writing and recording, I am proud to be sharing the news with you that I will be releasing my debut solo album on Friday 27th March 2020.
Between a Disillusion and Resolution
1.) Dreams to Ashes
2.) Half Notion
3.) Grey Day
5.) The Upside Down
7.) Continents Away (Feat. Emma Davidson)
8.) Anything is Possible
After the release of Eden Shadow’s 2016 album ‘Melodies for Maladies’, a totally grand, ambitious and heavy concept album, I wanted to write a collection of more individual songs. Eventually it became clearer that this was a perfect stepping stone to start releasing music under my own name.
My debut record is influenced by a broad range of artists who have and still use the full album as a full artistic statement, including Rush, Steven Wilson, Tool, Kate Bush, David Bowie, King Crimson, Tears for Fears, Bjork and Mew (to mention but a few). Despite releasing singles and being in an increasingly singles driven business, it was my full intention for this to be an album experience from start to finish.
Lyrically, the album explores and tackles many themes that veer between disillusion and resolution including unrest and uncertainty across the globe, identity, mental health, high profile scandals, climate change, family and long distance relationships, and the transformations and revelations of travelling or moving somewhere new.
For now, the album will be released in stream only format, with the plans for a limited physical release at a later date this year.
My third single is called ‘Kaleidoscope’ and is now available to listen to on all streaming services.
The song was inspired by my travels abroad and the opportunities I have had to meet people from all around the globe as well as some of the different beautiful locations I have seen. In a world where there is apparently so much divide, I thought it would be worth writing a song that celebrates things about us that are different and yet still similar.