It’s been extremely rewarding to see how well my new album Traces has been received – by my standards. It’s even been reviewed, which is great! As an unsigned, purely independent artist, you never know whether you’re doing the right thing or even making the right music! But as I’ve always said, if you’re doing something that you’re really fired up about, there’s bound to be likeminded folk out there who’ll also love it. The hard part is reaching them, and that is perhaps one of the main things that the internet has made easier (in theory). That’s when the real hard work starts!
Traces took just less than a year to make. Granted, my work doesn’t go through the various mixing and mastering or even production processes that a signed artists’ work would. It’s entirely the creation of my home setup, as technology has allowed artists to work that way these days. But making music is like doing sculpture – it’s an intensely private and personal process – you spend ages chipping away and shaping it up… and one day you unleash it. To simply have the ability and facilities to do that is brilliant – and one of the reasons I prefer Bandcamp as a platform. I would certainly encourage any independent musician to give it a go.
As I’ve said before, the over-arching theme to Traces is dreams and the subconscious – and a look into that crossover point between dreams and reality. If you buy the album as a download or on CD, you’ll see in the artwork reference to several books, which I read during the making of the album. Two of these are The Glamour and The Dream Archipelago by Christopher Priest; both works which perfectly captured the essence of what I wanted to convey into the music (whether you take that into account as the listener or not). I’m currently reading Tourmaline by James Brogden which is of a very similar theme.
I often talk about there being a convergence with my music and artwork - this seems to happen whether I like it or not! The combination of reading those books and making the album inspired me to paint a scene from one of my own dreams, which I had a good 15 years ago now. But Scene from a Dream could easily have been the cover art to the album, had I not already designed it.
That dream was so vivid. Feeling the warm sunrise as I stood on the edge of some sort of dam or wall, with the city perimeter around me and the sea out in front. And not long after, I was taken straight back into that same dream when I heard the lyrics to "Quiet City" by John Foxx for the first time, from his 2001 album, The Pleasures of Electricity.
Convergence seems to be inevitable!