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

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