In mid-2013 I started work on my latest EP "Fun Sized", a collection of six new songs. The recording of the EP took over a year as I decided to also record a collection of demos at the same time. I did it because I love being in the studio and I wanted to record more than just an EP, but a whole new album seemed like too big a project to take on. The idea was for the demos to be very simply-arranged and stripped-down, and for the most part they are - however, there were some tracks that Joe and I just couldn't help ourselves with, and they ended up sounding like proper EP or album tracks. For the time and money that was spent on these and the songs on "Fun Sized", I probably could have recorded a new album of fully-arranged songs - oh, well!
I called the collection "Out With The New", because they're new songs and I'm releasing them out into the world (also I'm a fan of word-play!). It is my intention to re-record or update these songs in a few years and release them as a proper album (which I intend to call, wait for it ... "In With The Old!"), but for you now you can enjoy them in their raw, uncomplicated form.
(You can download "Out With The New" for free by clicking 'download' on the widget on the left, and entering '0' in the amount box. Although bear in mind that I'm a self-funded artist, and any support you can give is greatly appreciated)
The cover photo was taken by Chris Waits.
1. Good Old Days
A simple folky song about being an adult and wishing to relive the wonderful innocence of childhood. It was inspired by the song "The Best Of Friends" from Disney's "The Fox and the Hound". Fun fact - the verse uses the same chords as 'Auld Lang Syne', although I didn't realise that until I recorded it!
2. The Bloody Obvious
How many songs do you know that start with "I woke up this morning"? Dozens, I bet. When I was writing this song I tried to think about all the really obvious and mundane things people say (in everyday life as well as in songs) and have a bit of fun with them - hopefully poking fun at unoriginality is slightly original? Maybe? It also gave me a chance to make a sly Beatles reference!
3. If I Had A Clone
"If I had a clone, what would I do with myself?" - that was the question I asked myself when I was writing this song. To be honest, I probably would do all the things I mention in the lyrics - freak people out, go to work half as often and play video games! I originally pictured this song having more fast-paced drums, but when Joe suggested the 80s-style keyboard beat, it just felt right, so we went with it. This song also features me making my debut on harmonica!
4. This Time Last Week
The last line of the chorus really sums this song up - "I'm always amazed how much things can change in seven little days". And it's true - things really can go from good to bad (or vice versa) that quickly, and that's what makes life both scary and exciting.
Falling in love is rarely a simple, straight-forward thing. But sometimes, when you're in the right place at the right time, you meet the right person and it all just clicks. And there's really no other word for that kind of situation (or connection) than "perfection" - hence the title of this bouncy little pop song.
6. All I Could Do
I wrote this song several years ago - it was inspired by a time when I got fired (unfairly, in my opinion) from a very enjoyable job I had. I kept the lyrics a bit more ambiguous so it could apply to other situations, like a relationship break-up, but the song is basically about feeling confused and empty after a sudden loss or parting of ways. I love the beautiful acoustic guitar solo Joe did on this.
7. Don't You
A dark song about holding on to hope in the darkest of times. I love the atmospheric arrangement we went for - the brooding piano, keyboard strings, the acoustic guitar, and the call-and-response backing vocals. It's one of my favourites on the album (even if I can't listen to it now without picturing Joe dancing and exaggeratedly miming the backing vocals, like he did when we recorded it!)
8. I've Got Something To Tell You
I tried to write the simplest love song I could, and I this is what I came up with. I think the lyrics compliment the melody really well - both are understated yet sincere. I can't remember if the end solo is an accordion or a musette, but I think it works really well with the song's big echoey sound.
9. Always Arrives
This is the closest I'll ever get to doing a club/dance anthem! When I was writing this I started off with the main piano riff, and that informed the style of the song and the chords used in the verse - the rest came quite easily after that. With this track I used a song-writing technique the Killers use quite often (and effectively), which is to start the song with the chords used in the middle 8 - that way it's satisfyingly familiar when they return.