We recorded both EPs at home, on a very simple set-up, in 5 days. Rachel presented the songs as vocals and acoustic guitar, but wanted the album to have a much fuller, ‘produced’ sound, rather than go the folky route. I had to re-imagine each song, writing/recording/programming/arranging various bits and pieces. It was fun, and tiring! You can stream the tracks below.
My partners in crime and labelmates Sunrise Over Europe released a free compilation of remixes earlier this year, with a whole host of contributors chipping in to re-work tracks from their debut album, ‘We Raised the Flames and Built a City on the Ashes’ (which I produced).
I took on their track ‘Untitled’, a sinister slow burner, and made into something very different. However as they were fans of my old band’s ‘Jacob’ EP I thought that they’d enjoy this style. If you like it then check out the rest of the compilation through our website!
I was invited by the Birmingham artists’ collective Sputnik Magazine to write a song for an exhibition they held in December. The event featured different kinds of art, from Birmingham artists, based around the very Christmassy theme of 'God. With. Us'. I focused on the idea of this incredible, unlikely meeting between the spiritual and the physical, between the eternal and the temporal.
This song was actually my first ever release as a solo artist (although drums were performed by the excellent Scott Belle), and a fun experiment too: when I started writing I thought it would be much more of an abstract, weird thing. I wouldn’t say it’s a definitive statement of ‘my sound’ as a solo songwriter, but it was definitely a good exploration of it.
The wonderful Benjamin Poffley created this film for ‘Follow Me Around’ - it’s the second promotional video my Minor Artists label has released in support of Sunrise Over Europe’s debut album, ‘We Raised the Flames and Built a City on the Ashes’. A pretty exuberant review of the record was recently released by the God is in the TV Zine.
I’m incredibly proud of the job Benjamin did for us, fulfilling his own creative vision and complementing the sound of the record. I challenged him to take his own twist on the song (which is in essence quite bleak) and build something more uplifting out of it, without betraying the original content - in a sense, building the city on the ashes, as befits the album title. I was blown away by how well he met this challenge, and I recommend you take 5 minutes out of your life to stop and watch his breathtaking film.
The video for Sunrise Over Europe's song 'Little Spoken Wars'. I directed and edited the video, with photography and post-production kindly provided by my talented photographer pal Verity ‘Vem’ Milligan. I also produced the record that this song comes from, which you can order, stream or download through my label website.
My filmmaker friend Joel Wilson and I made this clip of the supremely talented Stewart Garry, playing the track ‘Road to Tobermory’ from his album ‘The West Coast’. It was a lot of fun to edit and the first of many ‘Minor Artists sessions’ I would love to do in the future.
Stewart will be working towards a new release next year with Minor Artists.
Just before my good friend Josiah Gillespie (folk singer-songwriter of yore) got married back in April, we took a couple of days off work to record some of his new song ideas. We worked together on his debut album, and on the Fiction Fight record, but there were still some new experiences doing this. We also watched several Coen Brothers movies. It was a blast, and this EP is free to download through my label Minor Artists.
The first song to be released from Birmingham post-rock wonders Sunrise Over Europe’s debut album ‘We Raised the Flames and Built a City on the Ashes’, which is being put out by my petite record label/collective, Minor Artists on August 6th. I also directed a music video to this song which will be out in a week or two once post-production is done.
Rachel Challis and I recorded this cover of ‘Stay Tight’, a lo-fi baroque grunge number from the excellent free-to-download acapella album Russian Doll by Zang Productions songbird Selina Blakeney. An homage to an underappreciated local artist.
Update: Since making this track I’ve become Selina’s live guitarist, helping re-shape her record (a little, not a lot) into a gig setting. Good times ahead!