Friday, 17 May 2013

'Lie Back and Think of England' Song by Song Guide

'Sweeping the Nation' new music blog asked me to write a song by song guide of my new album 'Lie Back Think of England'. Here it is:

In the summer of 2011, I took my guitar to Eastern Europe where I spent 10 days working on a farm in Romania, 3 days working on a farm in Ukraine, 10 days at Sziget Festival in Hungary, and 7 days in Berlin. 'Lie Back and Think of England' is the album I have made about my experience.

1. Homes
I recorded the bells sound onto my mobile phone while on a cycle ride high up in the mountains of Transylvania. They were hung around two horses' necks. I added the sound of a piper. The bells kinda slowly pan across the speakers while the piper is constant to create the image of a lone musician on a hill side watching a small procession go past.

2. Solutions
I met an English guy called Danny on the farm in Romania and travelled with him to Ukraine to work on a Water Buffalo Farm. He was really passionate about Bears. I found him quite inspirational. He also gave me a book about the importance of finding a passion. I never read it - I kinda felt I didn't need to because I figured Danny probably embodied it's message.

3. Lie Back and Think of England
Being a long way from England gave me a different view of it. Public confidence in the government and the press was reeling from the expenses and phone hacking scandals, and then the riots started while I was away too. England likes to portray itself at the forefront of enlightenment, and in a lot of ways I think it is, but at that time it also showed how stuck in the dark ages it is in some ways too. The female vocal is provided by my friend Sarah Mahony. Was chuffed when John Kennedy played this song on XFM.

4. Distant Star
I met this amazing girl in Ukraine who helped me get to a train station so I could continue my journey. I wrote this song for her. This song was featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape.

5. Ability Park
I met a girl called Asia on the train into Hungary and I went with her to Sziget Festival in Budapest. While I was there I met lots of people from all over Europe which was really enriching. This instrumental is supposed to represent those glorious hazy wanders from stage to stage at a music festival.

6. Foreign Son
This was actually the first song I wrote when I spent the summer of 2010 in New York. It didn't quite fit with the album borne from that experience (2011's 'Marble Sun'), but it seems to fit on this one. I wrote it in Washington Square and I think it is New York talking to me telling me to man up and enjoy life instead of writing loads of 'cry-wank' music which I had been doing up to then!

7. Her Shoulders
I have a thing about shoulders.

8. Chicago John
Recording live drums can be such a mission so I goofed around for the first time with midi beats on garage band. I recorded 4 or 5 songs which were mostly awful but I couldn't get this one out of my head. I had a bit of a rough year last year and often I couldn't get to sleep. To help me sleep I invented this imaginary, comic-book world of espionage in my head and Chicago John was one of the characters in it. This song was also featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape and played on 6 Music by Gideon Coe.

9. A Parliament of Owls
Without wanting to sound like a dick I think this track most represents where I am musically in 2013 - lost for words, searching for something new, a little bit devoid of inspiration, stuck in a tunnel. For that reason it works above all others as the final 'full' composition on the record. I am moving out to North America for a few years at the end of July to start new projects and recordings.

10. Follow the River
This short outro is the orchestration from the title track given it's own space as the sun sets on the record. It was a very, very profound experience in Eastern Europe that I am not entirely sure I will ever fully get my head around.

'Lie Back and Think of England' Live:
28/05 - Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, BRIGHTON
02/06 - Foxfest, LONDON
20/07 - Spice of Life, LONDON
27/07 - Redfest, SURREY

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Lie Back and Read These Tweets

Here are some of the weird and wonderful comments from the world of Twitter about my new album which came out on Monday.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Lie Back and Think of England

Out now!
Some live dates tba soon.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Album Release Info

'Lie Back and Think of England' is released on Monday 8th April on Sex Farm Records.

The album is available to pre-order now!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Her Shoulders

Here is a second song from the album.



Friday, 4 January 2013

Chicago John

Happy New Year! 

Here's a song from the new album.


Monday, 24 December 2012

End of year guffy blog...

I released the third Free Swim EP, 'Dennis', at the beginning of the year. It was one of the hardest records I've ever made because I was so wary of compromising the 'legacy' of the first two Free Swim EPs that both received overwhelmingly positive press and radio support. I was very tempted to quit while I was ahead but Free Swim EPs are so much fun to make that I decided to man up and make another. I also had a pretty empty calendar...

Thankfully I am really proud of 'Dennis' (I worked bloody hard on it!) and it's single 'The Smell of Pregnancy' in particular. I was thrilled that Gideon Coe on 6 Music and John Kennedy on XFM really got behind it. For Cerys Matthews to play it on 6 Music too was the icing on the cake - as Ryan Say (Free Swim drums) and I were bounding our way back from Scotland having just made a short silent film called 'Zoo' I got a text from my buddy Rooser telling me she was playing it.

I was a little unstable around the time of the creation of 'She Dreams in Lights' (the fourth Free Swim EP) in February. I felt I'd made something truly special in 'The Smell of Pregnancy' on the 'Dennis' EP and yet the band was still managerless/agentless/labelless - rudderless essentially despite considerable press and radio support. Me and a couple of the other guys in the band found that really hard to get our heads around.

On the flip side though, 'She Dreams...' was a lovely record to make as I felt none of the pressure I'd felt making 'Dennis'.

Spring came and as the release of 'She Dreams...' approached I collaborated with my friend Jack Spencer on two videos for the opening two songs on the EP. Working with Jack (and Ryan) this year was an absolute joy and a real privilege. Ryan recorded drums for Free Swim EP 5 in June. It will be out next summer and his performance is a delight. Dave is all over it too and I've had it profesionally mixed and mastered.

I released my friend Thom Bowden's debut EP on my label Sex Farm Records in the summer and did an interview for Huw Stephens on Radio 1 about Thom, Free Swim, Android Angel and Sex Farm. I was very proud of that and also very nervous in the days leading up to recording it!

The Hospital Club Session was an amazing day out in London and I was thrilled for the songs we recorded to be featured on the Guardian and Amazing Radio websites in October. In the same month we had a very memorable time at the Carefully Planned Festival in Manchester and we enjoyed recording a BBC Introducing Session in Brighton too.

Free Swim at The Hospital Club, London 2012.

Between August and October I finished a new Android Angel record which I've called 'Lie Back and Think of England'. A song from it will surface at the beginning of 2013. I am nervous and excited to see how it is received - it is the first Android Angel record I've written since 'Marble Sun' in 2010. (People often ask me what the difference is between Free Swim and Android Angel and I realised this year that the simplest way to put it is that Free Swim is the music of my head and Android Angel is the music of my heart).

I felt like I was running out of inspiration a little in 2010 but then a summer in New York inspired Free Swim. I've been feeling that way again this year and am ready for another adventure! It's a big, brilliant world out there and my time in New York in 2010 and travelling through Eastern Europe in 2011 have given me the confidence to do something completely bonkers and beautiful next summer.

To those who maintain an interest in my music and have been of support through a year that was both joyful and a bit weird, thank you.

Paul x 

Me, December 2012