Place To Be
I started writing 'Place To Be' in the first few months of 2016. It's a story about somebody trying to find their place in the universe, forcing themselves between what they feel inside and what other people in their life feel they should be; between instinct and an imposed 'morality'. The concept behind the whole album was inspired by the life and death of the songwriter Nick Drake. I think it's just a coincidence that Drake also had a song called 'Place To Be'; but a nice little parallel.
Here's a selection of demos made from March 2017 onwards.
The sound of this track is a big reference to the work of Michael Hedges, and particularly his duets with Michael Manring.
'Place To Be' will be featured on my new album 'Throwing & Catching', which will be released on 21st November.
You can pre-order the album here
I really struggled for ages to arrange this track. It could have worked in a variety of ways and I tried some of these out (as you can hear amongst the demos above). It was only when I started jamming with Frazer Kerslake, who now plays fretless bass in my band, that I realised how this song was meant to sound.
Michael Hedges is one of my biggest influences - he was a composer/guitarist/singer who was active in the 80s and 90s. He used to work with a fretless bass player called Michael Manring (who has since worked with many of the modern acoustic guitar 'greats'). Together they created an incredible sound, which has been a big source of inspiration for me. For ages, I was looking for a fretless bass player to play with so I could pretend to be Michael Hedges.
For me, I've found that having Frazer in the band allows us to reference that sound - and enables us to something different with it at the same time. It's been a really fulfilling thing for me.
Me and Frazer started gigging 'Place To Be' together and I fell in love with arrangement that we were able to perform. Frazer's playing on this track is stunning. He's completely figured out what the song needs; I don't think I'll ever get tired of playing it with him. So - this track was recorded just us two in a studio - everything is happening live, there were no edits made at all on this one.
We had a lot of sessions for it - me, Frazer and an engineer - it took us about four attempts before we finally did a session where a performance came out which we were all really pleased with.