'Should I?' was one of the first songs I wrote for 'Throwing & Catching' . I started it in October 2015. Below you can hear some demos as well as isolated tracks and alternate mixes. You can read about my ideas, processes and references. I hope you find it interesting!
The title ‘Should I?’ had been in my head for a while as something that really expressed a pure anxiety. I got thinking about two characteristics in a person that could be really detrimental if mixed together - one of which is an inability to communicate, call it shy-ness or awkwardness, and the other is strong base instincts. I became really interested in the line between morality and instinct, and how it might get blurred in certain people. So that is what the character in this song deals with. I didn’t have any preconceptions of where the narrative might end up when I set out to write the song, it just sort of happened - and it does go to quite a dark place…
I was mesmerised by Marika Hackman’s song ‘Before I Sleep’ - I adored the simplicity of how she had constructed the guitar part, just sliding a shape up and down the fretboard and discovering the harmony through that.
I used Queen's method of recording harmony vocals to record the choir on 'Should I?' - using every available voice to record every part, then doubling every part too.
Matt Rist's Mix
My friend Matt Rist did a great alternate mix of the track which you can check out here.
The single version has been remixed and remastered for 'Throwing & Catching', which you can check out upon it's release on 21st November...
You can pre-order the album here
Here are a selection of demos made between December 2015 and November 2016. Hopefully you can hear the song progress in terms of the writing, arrangement and production too.
The 'No Henry' Version
Here are some of the tracks isolated. You can hear the choir, Esme’s vocal improvisations, and the double bass.
This is one of two songs on the album which features a choir of my mates. Some of my favourite memories of my time at Leeds College of Music so far have been getting a bunch of friends in a studio with a few microphones and getting them to sing - regardless of whether or not they would consider themselves ‘singers’. I would have constructed a 5 part harmony piece, and I’d get them all to sing each line together. And then double it, usually with a different vowel sound: so you end up with this really wide choral sound. So, say you have 7 singers - you end up with 70 voices in the final result. That’s how many are on Should I. I love using voices to fill out a texture where you might put a synthesiser or something. With a song that’s so much about longing and anxiety, I think using real voices really connects the listener to something human - it’s much more raw. You can check out the vocal arrangement (which was originally a string arrangement) below.
The vocal improvisations are done by Esme Higgins. I was ill with flu when she recorded these, she was in the studio with Tim Goddard recording her. I was half asleep in the corner trying to keep my eyes open!
Single Release - November 2016
I released the track as a single in November 2016, alongside a video I made with Katie Griffin. We tried to tell the story of the song, with me wondering around Leeds as the character in the song, at about 2am one Saturday night.