My third EP "Fun Sized" was recorded between May 2013 and July 2014, along with demo collection "Out With The New". Selecting the tracks I wanted to include wasn't easy - "I'll Make Up The Rest" was very nearly just a demo, and "I've Got Something To Tell You" almost made the EP. I also had a song in mind called "Can't Complain" which in the end I just wasn't satisfied with, so I bumped it in favour of "Go Ahead".
What I loved about recording this EP was how Joe and I kept pushing ourselves to make these songs better and more interesting than everything we've recorded before - whether it was by obsessing over the tiniest of details, or by bringing in outside people to lend their expertise to the project (such as legendary saxophonist Mel Collins, or mastering engineer Pete Maher). When it came time to remix and remaster the songs from my first three EPs for my compilation album 'All Shapes, Sides & Sizes', the tracks on this EP needed the least amount of tweaking.
1. I Could
You know you love someone when you're willing to overlook their craziness, and put up with things they do that no one else would tolerate - that's what this song is about. Sometimes the simple songs are the hardest to get right - Joe and I were tinkering with the timing, arranging and mixing of this one right until we sent the EP off for mastering.
Like most of my songs it starts off simple and builds to ending which is epic yet hopefully not overblown. I love the middle 8 of this song (the chords of which were taken from an instrumental piece I'd written seperately, but they seemed to fit so we used them), and my favourite moment is the high note the slide guitar reaches just before the last chorus.
2. Safety Net Sue
I was inspired to write a song about a girl with a nickname after hearing the name "Strap-On Sally" in a old song by The Seahorses - I think the name I've come up with is slightly more family/radio-friendly! I knew the sound I wanted for this song - Kooks/Coral/retro-60s/beach pop - and that's exactly what we got. Of all the songs on the EP, this one came together the quickest and easiest, and I think it's great fun to listen and sing-along to.
3. I'll Make Up The Rest
I think this song is one of the best, sweetest melodies I've written - very simple, with bittersweet lyrics and a gentle piano-and-strings arrangement to match. I'm very very proud of this one.
4. Go Ahead
Like with 'Beside The Point' on my last EP, this track was the result of putting together two half-finished songs. It's unique on the EP in terms of it's structure - it doesn't have a chorus as such, and most of the second half is instrumental, basically two melodic sequences played twice each with different arrangements and at different tempos.
The section before the final chorus, where it keeps speeding up before finishing with the big guitar riff from the introduction, was complicated but fun to do (trying to ramp up the tension as much as possible!). Lyrically it's also quite different from the rest of the songs and the EP - it's about being on the brink of being broken or defeated, and not wanting to carry on with a situation that isn't working.
5. The List
There's simple, and there's deceptively simple - to listen to this song you'd think it was written easily, but the lyrics and melody were incredibly difficult to get right. I knew what I wanted to say - it's about wanting to make an impact, and hoping you'll matter to people when you're gone - but to boil that sentiment down to phrases that fit with the melody, and to come up with a verse and chorus melody that interlocked effectively (like they do at the end), was VERY hard. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out, though - it's such a positive, uplifting song and I'm proud of how (deceptively) simple we managed to keep it.
6. Next Time
The plan had always been to release three EPs, and then to one day release them together as a compilation album - this plan informed the names of the EPs ("Pair Shaped", "Four Sided" and "Fun Sized", with the compilation being named "All Shapes, Sides And Sizes"), and the tracks I recorded for them. "Next Time" is the final song on this EP, because it finishes what the opening track on "Pair Shaped" ("Your Picture") started - they're both big sing-along ballads, and the chords and melody used in the solo of "Your Picture" are used here in the middle 8, so there's a satisfying symmetry.
Basically it's a song about wishing you were able to spend more time with the people or person you love. Usually all the instruments on my songs are played by either me or Joe, but for this song we were lucky to get legendary saxophonist Mel Collins to provide us with an incredible solo - far more epic and satisfying than the crappy temporary keyboard solo we had while we were waiting for him to become available!
"It seems that every time we meet
Our time together's always short and sweet
I wish I could stay a little longer, but the show is almost over