After spending practically all of 2011 in the studio recording my album "The World Through A Mirror", I took a little break at the beginning of 2012 to decide what my next project was going to be. In late 2012 I returned to Joe Public Studios (which, by this time had moved to Hackney in London) to record my next EP, "Four Sided". I also recorded "The Yellow Umbrella", a one-off single (for more information on that, click on the 'Singles' tab above).
As with my album and my first EP, the songs on "Four Sided" are quite eclectic in style and subject matter. The only theme linking them is that the track listing follows the pattern of A-side (A Side), B-side (Beside), C-side (Seaside) and D-side (Decide) - a joke, by the way, that hardly anyone noticed! It was released on iTunes on December 20th 2012, and I also uploaded the songs to my Soundcloud account, so people could hear the EP in it's entirety (you can listen to them via the player on the left)
1. A Side Of Me
This song started life as a piece I wrote for my Music GSCE exam when I was 16 - the brief was to write a 'jazz composition', hence the use of 12-bar blues in the verses. The structure, the chords and most of the melody are the same as what I originally wrote, but the lyrics and the coda at the end (inspired by "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac) came much later.
Even though every part of this song was played by either myself or my producer Joe, I'm really proud that the end result sounds like a proper blues band rocking out.
2. Beside The Point
Sometimes I'll write a song where one part works and another just doesn't - the verse and the chorus of "Beside The Point" were originally from two different songs, and it was only when I put them together that they flowed and worked as a whole. I came up with the middle 8 the day before we recorded the song, just because I felt like it was missing something.
I really like the lyrics of this song - the verses and middle 8 are told from the point of view of a guy who really hates someone, and the chorus is told from the perspective of someone telling the first guy to calm down, bite his tongue and just put up with the annoying person. I think the juxtaposition of the dark, bitter lyrics and the pleasant, bouncy tune makes for a fun, unique song.
I've never really been a fan of beach holidays or the seaside, but that's probably because I don't tan well and we hardly ever have good beach weather in Britain anyway - still, I used my imagination and came up with this bouncy, 60s-sounding tune about having fun in the sun!
I love it when Joe and I come up with things in the studio that I never thought of when I was writing the song - for example, the piano riff that plays in the final chorus seems so essential to the song now that it's finished, but it was added very late in the recording when we felt that somethig was missing.
4. Decide For Yourself
This song is probably the most epic I've recorded so far, and it's also probably the most structurally ambitious as well. It's a song of two halves - the first being very floaty and piano-led, and the second being more fast-paced and rocky.
For this song I took inspiration from lots of different sources - from rock bands like Muse and The Who to Japanese composer Nobou Uematsu. It took a very long time to get each element of this song sounding like I wanted it (and even longer to balance and mix them), but Joe and I got there in the end, and we're both very proud of the end result.