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Episode 198 - David Gray

Sodajerker On Songwriting

1:00:00 hr | 2 weeks ago

Episode 198 - David Gray

"Hello and welcome to the jake on. Songwriting this is brian here with simon and joining us for this episode is a highly accomplished ivan availa winning british singer songwriter and musician who rocketed to fame in the late. Ninety s virus breakthrough record white ladder. Which over two decades on is one of the biggest selling uk albums of all time in february of this year. He released his acclaimed. Twelfth studio album gorgeous skellig records edwin collins studio on the southern coast of scotland named after a mysterious remote location of the west coast of ireland with delighted to welcome the excellent david gray. The show david was born in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight in sale cheshire and grew up lunches manchester until he was nine when he moved with his family to solve a small fishing village. In pembrokeshire in the southwest of wales. He took piano lessons as a child. Book gave them up around the age of twelve then discovered an affinity for indie music. His teens particularly groups like the cure. The smiths cocteau twins as well as singer. Songwriters like bob dylan. Leonard cohen. and. Tom waits and scar bands such as madness and the specials weil. At school he enjoyed writing poetry and began teaching himself. Utah writing his own songs around the age of fifteen for me. I bonded sixteen. David was also a keen artist and after leaving school attended the liverpool school of art here in our hometown whilst theory sold some of his paintings and put the proceeds tools recording his pounds. I demos these came to the attention of polydor. Rob holden who encouraged august to go solo a move to london which he did in scientific edge imprint hot records in one thousand nine hundred to david's debut album essentially ends record in less than a week was released in one thousand nine hundred three and particularly well in ireland to impart the exposure. He received on the rt television series. No disco and his success in the territory would help sustain his career for the next few years following the release of one thousand nine hundred four flesh. He signed it but one thousand nine hundred six's sell sell sell. Ironically failed to do that and he was ceremoniously dropped by his label however david fortunes changed dramatically with his record. White ladder was originally self released on his own. I h t label in the uk in one thousand nine hundred nine and recorded on a shoestring in stoke newington bedroom. Only five thousand copies were pressed for sale in ireland however the recco was picked up in the us by dave matthews label which considerably boasted interest in the album eventually reached number one in the uk remaining in the chopper. Three years. sporting the hit singles. Babylon please forgive me on sale away and going on to sell seven million copies worldwide. White ladder is now one of the top thirty bestselling british albums of all time and islands all time bestselling album and it's blend of acoustic and electronic instrumentation was led the coining of the term folk. Chanaka influenced the whole new generation of singer songwriters a collection of previously unreleased tracks songs. One thousand nine hundred ninety eight followed in two thousand and two thousand and two and new day at midnight was another chart. Topper has was two thousand. Five's life in slow motion. David albums include two thousand. Nine's draw the line. Two thousand and ten foundling twenty fourteen mutineers and twenty one thousand nine hundred golden lebron's h which heralded the brief return to the folk. Chanaka is sound a quick side note. David is the former owner of the studio encroach end north london which he purchased from our form against dave's ju it's in two thousand and four and sold on soir or the form against paul epworth thirteen so now with david on the show we complete the holy trinity if you will and we also get free studio time at the church for life within a few new. The i think that's how it works. Checkouts platelets for this episode to hear songs from scalise and a generous helping. If david catalogue keep up to date with all his latest news david gray dot com facebook dot com slash dave gray and david gray on twitter and instagram find us at soda jacob dot com facebook dot com slash so jerker and so jacob on twitter and instagram. And if you're not doing so already follow rates and review wherever you get you pods if wherever you can spare towards the running of this independence and free show at soda jacob dot com slash donate and. Please do tell your friends about us before we move on. Thanks to amy and also to chris for their help set up the interview. Okay here we go. Please enjoy our chat with the excellence. David gray move on jared then. Was you know. Chances says google the We were just talking about the fi- you spend quite a bit of time in our hometown of pull back. In the day i did very much enjoyed it whereabout. We based apart from the first bit. When i went to college. I didn't know where the fuck i was doing. I was first on the world that i was down there. Sort of saffy parkway. that's actually then. I basically made some friends and we moved into an old police station called the bridewell by the royal liverpool hospital on the corner there right his artists studios building with one flat in it. The coldest place on earth. And i lived there for about for about four years. Actually 'cause i after. I finished my art degree. I stay stadium for a year because the music starting to brew and trying to get some record company action going actually will happen remarkably quickly but yeah i loved it and we weren't in a sort of cool town far from it. It was sweet. I was obviously a pit manchester. And i know manchester quite well but majesty's very spread out so very coherent. It's like la or something. You go see someone they go. Oh we just got over didsbury. And now we're gonna fuck site just in the car. All the time passive smoking liverpool. You can cut a walk everywhere. I went and played a gig. Then last i had a proper wander around in fact i wandered over to the bridewell to see if it was still standing which it is but i think plans are afoot. Perhaps their rights might be redeveloped. Who's probably a hotline on the music scene at that time the premature no matter when you live in liverpool we found yet. I mean what's his name from the laws and you know with cut walking down fold straight only lee always with the same expression on his face we played. pk's covina's to regular gig there and he was sometimes aid but you couldn't tell enjoying the music or talk about. It was very hard to discern. He'd made it so it didn't matter what he was thinking. Town are sort of got a bit of that flavor there. It's the classics of beatles hangover. Isn't it everything sort of you. Either gonna define yourself as being part of what happened in the aftermath of that be it psychedelia will. We'll just that kind of slightly irish harmony kind of dot kind of music is very liverpool sounded so different than manchester which is remarkable. Really what are you thinking about america. In this sort of the music scenes they're spread out over thousands of miles. We're talking about thirty miles down the road. You know what i mean. It's quite incredible. Have voices change music. Changing ideas change. Anyway i really enjoyed my time. There was a warm hearted. Sort of places. The irishness really to the ford. Obviously everyone thinks they're funny his generally. Okay not like wales. Yes and i made demos comparable with the studio is called but we basically started to record the university. They had some recording equipment. And we kind of made friends with some people there and would go and record very basic yom reel to reel basically so not multi tracking as such straight to master but still mixing out and save time vocals guitars and we'll call the mellow boys. That point and there was a liverpool lad. Martin martin snake. It was then in was that band called. he went into. We used to do these gigs. Above the blue coat. You know like sort of advocate. Kennedy's he was inadequate advocate. I'm going back to the late. Eighties early nineties now. Anyway so yeah. We've recorded university. Then we did a proper couple of according sessions on a studio just to the bottom of hardman street so that big hardware shot boys in renshaw street. Yes thaddeus a little studio round the back somewhere near there and that's where we recorded the first demo. Yeah it wasn't called hard city. Was it now now because there was one in the city that we recorded in many might have had a different name. it was like opposite rapid hardware. Renshaw wrap it up. It was like there was a little odd man. I can't see it clearly enough in my mind with the lane. That kind of went up and it was a little lame. I bet it was the same place. Probably the different name. It was called something else. I could find out if i dug up an old deva tight which will be around somewhere but anyway. That's what we offer studio sir. Ian templeton came in on drums. Who basically at that. Time joined the band shack quizzes that was part of the pale fountains kind of legacy which is very drug either. Abe was already a bad case. It kind of. I realized straight away right. Is he coming jammed with us mccord with us but he just join chat when we did our first demo but by the time of the next one a few months later it was like fuck was happened to win you know which is very much a grim reality of the late eighties nineties sort of heroin. Say the he got really drugs. The drugs are great drugs. A great okay and but you are four hours light. But he was a really good drummer. And i was when i started. I didn't have a clue. I wouldn't know what to tell the driver. Just play along. I know take on that until i came up. Music for melody and lyrics. I the rest of mystery in a long slow learning process which i'm still very much getting to grips with now. Just how fundamentals could make such a massive profound difference to the stuff on the top. He just came in and he just knew what to do at like the vibe loved the songs and we've made a great little first demo real viable five songs in the afternoon so thing old school you know and then listen to about eight thousand times. This is what we sound like. There's a of distinctive geography to the new album as well as opposed with title. Yeah congrats on the record. We think it's an absolute belter. Thanks very about. It's a labor of love. I think that's probably obvious. There's plenty of depth to it and it's very much about the songwriting and obviously the sonics very simple and it's just about space really every song has to have space and this contemplative journeying feel so that you could going into the songs they don't come bang on the door you have to go into the skeletal truck was like a gateway song. Made me realize some of these other things. I've got lying around could work with this in the same way and and then other songs written but yeah it's it's taken such a time to come together as a group of songs and the concept that that's really played into its hands to have fifty years to work out. What you're trying to say is an awful long time so that usual record it that way. Some of the song written back in fact laughing gas was written in two thousand and two thousand and three and that hung around and know what to do with it was just kind of on the sidelines throughout life in slow motion period. Then it kind of just got put in a button drool and then what i wrote skellig. I realized oh mass harmony. That could work on that song and then that came into the fold and this all took a long time of see i was. I was on the whole this point. The career was a serious thing to try and contend with. Basically lots of touring lots of commitment contracts dominators. All that it's the tale begins to wag the dog and it was very much get to the end of one project. Start to write and plan the next couple years. Lay your back out for another year year and a half so this record needed a bit of space to happen. And as soon as i saw it and had eureka moment when we all sang it for the first time in two thousand and thirteen wasn't all written at that point but enough of the songs were we did little toured ireland called the sounding out to from that moment on. I realize hey. I've got to get another ten fifteen songs that just feel like this and then we've got to go somewhere remote turn the phones off and catch it in a small space of tyrant. That's a very achievable a when you haven't got bass drums. All the headaches of monitoring you can basically just be around a piano around the qatar with all the singing. What you get is a fact. It's printed a fact you can do is you can also choose within that but the so much spill. It's a dangerous game so you can do the odd thing. That technology is incredible. Someone stops on a word just sounded. They're they're terribly flat. You can actually grabbed them and caress the back but only in certain cases it was basically. We stuck with what we had do that from. The word go and i was perfectly happy with that. I love music. That scott things wrong with it. You know some of my favorite dylan songs. That fucking band doesn't get a clue what's going on fishing. Joanna you know where the bass player goes off completely wrong a couple of times and then there's astral weeks which is basically no one who they would do in any point. I think i heard that van had all turned off in his cans only after self. I've heard that actually verify. I believe he cut that record. Just hearing him and his vocal don't like him to be difficult. Is it to be honest. I think that's just a survival technique. That was the modern jazz quartet with some version of it. That played with him on that record and i think it was just set up a jam. I don't think anybody knew whether it was going to stick walk and it's kind of distracting the bass player. He's the guy on the record but it rarely hits the route on the one. It must be kind of distracting when you've had these songs sitting there and then these people jammed the shit out of it. It's probably one of my favorite is one of my favorite records but anyway i don't mind a few things going wrong is basically what i'm trying to say. And i think bottling things in a very short space of time in a place. Being very communal about it is such a powerful way to make record but this record gave itself to that. There was a communality to the singing. The songs would be worked out. I already had them. That was nicely in the pocket. We just had to make sure that my voice was on. I was on. They were wrong and then we had to get together and catch some of this failing that we had it was such a pleasure to bake. I can't say it's been such a pleasure to give away. Essentially what i've done and the location it was recorded because it was open source. The northernmost point to scotland almost wasn't did that kind of isolation. help with the vibe recordings. Yeah i was determined to be somewhere where. We'd never been a long way from london a long way from domesticity going home in the evening. I didn't want any of that. This had to be somewhere where we all were in the same. Yes reboot somewhere with a view somewhere with some air. There was some incredible places mad places. I was actually thinking of pragmatic level. How'd you everyone there with all the gear. It's this great place out on the fucking ear until the isles lewis or something that's amazing studios out that absolutely mad like it'd be a total trip. Otters seals seal in the engineering. It's the borders of the known world out there. I loved the idea of it. But then i thought hang on. We've flight here dr to their get bad weather. I just. this is a nightmare. I needed to look somewhere a little bit like a compromise. I suppose but edmonds place wasn't a compromise. it's about forty miles from jonah. Growths got an incredible view over the north sea and obviously edwards tell gearhead and i already knew that it was alive room so it wasn't very damped edwin doesn't walk very well over carpets and things so there was no capital cabling or it was all very clear. He's kind of from that punk era postponed. Where it's very unfussy in quite brash. Alikes that vibe. It's only a tiny little room probably about the same size as my live room. Here we brought all by. I've got these weird damper things on stands we took about twenty of those up with us took everything rugs we bought rugs from inverness so dodgy rugs just basically put them down for the week. Just tried to damp the room as much as we could. But you had incredible. Mike's they'll gear and he was just so happy for us to use anything since wherever we didn't really take advantage with the mike sweet but as anybody knows he uses all kit. It's noisy and it goes role so it's say fantastic might but it's going he time. Probably the biggest strayed was for my producer. Ben freeze what was his name. The engineer j kuttan he knew the studio at the back of his ad. They have the burden of capture. And i think with so many things that can go wrong. You've got all these focal. Mike's mike's piano. Mike six mike so the piano. That was a bit of a pressure. They were basically take care of that for us. It was just playing and we just nonstop music so important. I felt to have everyone's phones left in the other building. Go in and just when we were in there we were in there. I can't stress that enough. I mean the song itself. The album even is about voyaging getting away from that pollution distraction towards something pure. And of course that's what making music is normally soon as you finish the songs. Someone's just checking their fuck the bass player he found it the hardest come up lots of great lines on the record as well. We looked the lyrics about one about elijah and halfway around the world before the truth can get its trials on. I was quite taken with the seems very up to date as well. It seems like it's perspective on the contemporary world as well. Yeah you know when dillard may time out of mind or whatever it was and then he got very sick straight. After a stressed that one should read too much into the record because he'd actually recorded it before he got sick right. Exactly the same with this was written before. We've just been through what we're still going through. I just yet. It seems very apt. As if it's been made to exist in this time. And i just think it's a happy coincidence that i had a record up my sleeve. That was so sort of contemplative and inwood at a moment when people have actually got the time and the inclination to journey a bit more into music but yeah lyric wise. That line was actually you get these tour badges who put a joke on every page of the itinerary fact or something fun fact at the bottom of that line i adapted. It didn't exactly say what you've just read back to the lyric but it was something like a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth and get his trousers up and i i like that yeah so that was written years before trump even running for the white house or anything else that happened. We'll look at our fucking. Prime minister refused to address it by his full name. An inveterate liar and a total calm. So basically. The lies continue apace. So yeah the papering over the cracks with the word vaccine. But we'll see where we and You know after all the dust settles on this stuff but yet the world's obviously taken a very disturbing right hand turn towards basically populace to almost fascist kind of ideology. It seems or is legitimized. All that again when things get tough which they surely will in what will be a depression. After this pandemic event is over a we'd start to deal with it and life starts getting back to some normal surely gonna encourage more extreme views again. So i think it's gonna be a tough time in terms of you. Know treading a political path with so much extreme. A negative energy basically being validated. All the time with people like you know dominic cummings donald trump and his gag. Johnson had his they're willing to energize that kind of feeling if he gets political results. I know that from experience as well. Because i was basically irish when that has to succeed because it succeeded in ireland to this day. I'll still have people say i. Even though i've said the thousand times i've no so you're from island as no i'm not from now. I'm no i'm english. I've always said i was english. You know every time. It's been asked of corrected it when it's been wrong yet. It doesn't have any effect because people would the belief that you were stance new k. The furniture is a screen Speed froze. I think the post draw. The line and founding era was a period when opted more of a lyrics. I approach for the songwriting. Is that still all wear these days. These days i often start with the words. Were backwards but back. When this record was being written most of it i was still very much. Favoring the court sequence with rhythmic mik aspect to it something has some atmosphere. And then i try and find the words and the melody to go with that. So this record. Start with the words though. Some of the a lot of the songs were written with where it's unusual happening at the same time was near as damn it. So the buzek of words like in the leary song those rhyming schemes. The beginning associated there such a pleasure to sing. As soon as i started to write the rhyming scheme it just pulled me into the soul. And i started to see the song vista of what the song was about which is often obscured from for a long time writing. I'm not quite sure where i'm going but with these songs i certainly saw. Yes yes i get it done leary. I've wanted to write this song for a while. That was the stock market crash of two thousand eight thousand nine hundred eighty used. I guess leaving ireland which is something that seems to happen. Every century in some form or other or mass as a kind of the way they shafted by the international money system the banking system at the celtic tiger category to a halt. They've got a different way of dealing with things over there. They're not quite as asi about it. They're going to get on with life. The few sandwiches on the table and a pint of guinness. The horse's are still going around the track footsie's on well then there's somebody to get stuck into the main rather than night just bloody own but i wrote that song it was metaphorical. It wasn't supposed to be some kind of articulation of the detail of a purely irish idea of leaving ireland. It was more just all of us being showed how we match it really. They squashed the little people's the big people could keep their game going austerity and everything that came with it. The sort of halloween of health systems and mental health. Care the shit that we've seen have such a profound effect on our death. Numbers and ability to cope with this pandemic and the obscenity of the amount of money that suddenly found this time around which we've been having taken office for the last ten fifteen years. It was all those feelings at the time that spilled into that song. When the rhyming scheme began it drew me straight into the thing and then the chorus came and i knew exactly what this song was supposed to be about like a very metaphorical song. It's a kind of the courses like a love breaking down a relationship breaking down. There was no being you. It's obviously intended as a much broader thing and once everyone started to sing that line with it starts to have a sort of group chart kind of thing which gives it the quality that i was hoping for so those causes expand. They become not one person leaving but everybody feeling the same way but most of the songs were born from lyrics. They were pulling from chord sequences and instruments. I caught this tidy little guitars. The guitar lady. Which i discovered about i guess about ten years ago. And that's what i wrote done. Leary on when i got that it's played and recorded on that it just has a quality that i haven't heard from qatar before and suddenly i found myself doing these weird shapes and they sounded really lovely and and then the words came on and i was off. I mean a new instrument will do that. It will refresh a chord structure. That perhaps has got a bit stale when you're just on your usual guitar. Let's see this on something else that it's like. Wow on a baritone on a that's why it's important to keep chopping and changing and not. Just get stuck with the same thing. Go to the piano. Go go somewhere else. Try something else. Try taking out with them. Instrument without a simple flat baselines in and try and with your mouth to the rhythm that you play with your hands just create space for the voice to go. It wasn't difficult to find space on this record because it's barely anything going on. Know a be gene to work mean. It seems like this quite a bit of social and political wins to the things you talk about around the songs a book still a big inspiration for you. Because i know you've worked from fictional things in the past as well often you. Yeah very much. So and there's one song that sprung directly from on this record. No false gods came from a line in a non shepherd. Power called real presence. I love now. Shepard's book the living mountain. It's one of my favorite things. So yes i read. I have bursts of reading. It's a constant source of ideas. Always jotting things down. Oh yeah right. What a brilliant idea. Yeah i could do this. That could a good sahgal or even just hearing music in words. So words and compensation speech carries it so music. It's one note going. it's an up and down. it's a rhythm it's as a phrasing. There's right now. I mean i'm jamming. I'm actually playing on top of the beat. Which is an assay soccer. The up about baba. That's the kind of stuff i like to do. I'm scatting basically said there's all this rhythm. There is a wonderful steve reich pace where you see him scoring his music on these conversations recorded. i guess they're people from concentration camps but he's using things that they say not important things to stuff and then he's taking the phrases and turning them into purple metallic things so wherever and you've got brilliant. I tried to find this on the internet because my friend showed this years and years ago. Fifteen years ago where. There's a split screen and you see the person talking. And then you see the man play the mallets and then it takes another thing and it's like a combine. What the piece is called either. But i find these maladies within speech and within words on the printed page and these days. I'm very interested in trying to pick up on that. In fact i'm trying to song right now and i don't really know how to get started so i'm looking for my way. I've got lots of ideas lyric ideas. So this is a lyric driven thing waiting to find a way in the musical ready. In the words i've written. Should i start there. Do i sit down at the piano. And try and do something spacious and then. Sing over the top of it. I call work at the moment but yes it's a big starting point for me and just to pretend to the first thing he said was politics. I guess to sort of social awareness. There's definitely a lot more on this record. And probably the most edgy record in that way because there has to be some yangyang to it. Not just the escapism. The going to the west and the horizon there is that sort of the the dunleavy side as well accumulates light or heavier pat songs at the beginning of the record. Kind of softens. You up a bit so that when you do start to drift really feels like you want to. That was all very deliberate. But yeah i think since my first couple of albums i probably haven't done anything as avert political as those songs but obviously i've been kind of stockpiling these things. They've been there but they needed to sit together. In a certain way no girl we loved body who we we buddy who heart and soul is another favorite of ours on the record. I love the qatar line on that song. Actually and lyrically as quite nice sense of optimism. I thought like the lines that one the shining in my eyes like in three years old and if a diet nights risk for more will be obscene. Ella is writing songs. Still a thrill few in that sense when you find lines. Of course. I mean. I live as bill. Shankly said. football is not a matter of life and death. it's more important than that And that's what music is to me live for these things. I think. I believe in the monthly when i watched nina simone before stars mantra nine hundred seventy six. I state my life. I mean there's something there are can't put my finger on what it is. What she is even what she's even trying to do. I don't know if these six didn't exist. I wouldn't be the same person i am. Music is is utterly mystifying magical. It's all these things the ball you believe in the more powerful it gets so hundred percent game for me. I love writing songs. It's an awkward process. Now i've kind of out of the process that i'm trying to get back in obviously didn't know last year whether i was going to be touring when things would resume but this year i mean i've got to be honest. It's looking less and less likely that we'll be playing shows this year because you need a certain amount of clear set. It costs money as well as better fingers. Bird once already. So it's one thing having festivals going on a selling hundred thousand and ten minutes about side and that's kids doing their very levels. Wanted to have a good time. This isn't four. Fifty six year olds wanted to go to an indoor venue with ten thousand other people. They haven't even started to talk about how that's gonna work so now i've got some clear space in front of me so that i haven't written anything i have but it's all could price until i'm right inside a not worrying about it. He's all too important at the moment. everything i'm doing. Is this good. Why is this important. What the fuck is this. Just usual shit that you're thinking i'd find that once i get properly and i can see that i really believe in this fucking believe this up waiting for this song. This is the new. This is the start of the new phase. It's like striking through. And you see a new structure in the rock. Yeah yeah this is what i've been waiting for. This is it. This isn't something i've done before. This is something else all the ideas of playing through my mind. We should all the time but suddenly start to focus congealed around things. And i'll stop worrying about it and then just give myself over to a constant sort of creativity at least when i get the time to one of the biggest difficulties to finding the time having a family dogs for. Can you name it possessions. They're all energy time burglar things that should still your time and your energy when i'm really writing if i get three clear days a week from ten o'clock in the morning to six at night i think undo. Well yeah that's my reality. I mean i could be more every family and coca cola cope with life. Leave me down there. Till i come back up. Bring my food down but my family doesn't work. I'm taking very seriously. I have much traction. When i go back into the real world up there. I've just been up to get my lunch before it did this. My daughter was cooking. Get out of the kitchen what you tell me what to do. Sorry to fucking live in upi fucking industry standard. That's the thing we're all at home all the time so that everyone's making them our lunch at school online. She's got a job. She said she'd have gone off to a job. That which is fuck you relief i. It's nice to get one person out but you know someone wants to watch telly or someone wants to watch this on youtube so it wants to do this. Listen to music. So it's a fuck. Say likely that she like a bit of peace and quiet but just heart the soul. The only thing i'd say about that was the tour these songs really crystallized almost called the sounding out to it was an experimental thing which we did in ireland and then brought over to london. We did three shows in london. That was the end of two thousand thirteen beginning of two thousand and fourteen. I then had mutineers the record coming out. So i had to shovel the stuff and go and do mutineers but mutiny has had some big backing vocals. So we kinda kept half skelly kind of backing vocal fast going. That went off on tour with this thing when we the very first show of the sort of up tour was in los angeles this venue and it. The usual technical nightmare like the game wasn't working. We had a production rehearsal the day before the. Pa wasn't working but we got the answer. We got some power on stage. and i. it's just. I just like this around being that guitar. That's us playing a high strung that you hear what it through the app with a tribe rehearsing for about three or four hours. It's this this thing about hearing something in space so when you read an empty venue and you start listening to you guitar again. It just changes the instrument so i just cracked a little bit about rift just came to me and i didn't get the whole living but enough. I got a little star on that saga phoned out of it recorded it when i got home to england. So it's actually should have borne out of doing the skelly thing. I don't think it fits quite as well in its field. It's a little bit more traditional and structured but in sentiments it does. There's a over it which is a little bit harder hitting with more like an electric and proper drum kit from the star which is kind of got bigger more epic. I love that you know the song big whitecloud by john kale snow. It's almost like a phil. Spector ish sort of slap backs. Neck are pro big massive re verbs. I love that song. So i was thinking. Oh yeah this could be kind of big and swampy. Keep slow doing the recording. There obviously didn't have a drummer so robby the bass player just played a snare through it. We cut it. The different was much lighter. I didn't have the guitar in the same way. We kept it more light. It felt going keeping and actually think it's that really nice. We overdubbed some trump's. We got back to london because it did feel like it needed a little bit of energy because it is more traditional so it needed a bit of help in a more traditional said so to lift that chorus snap third verse. People are very found that one. It's very direct. It's very and the sentiment is less oblique. It's kind of quiet east to get hold of the versus a quite open-ended what do they mean still grappling with the second verse myself. It's my favorite. Because i don't quite know where it's coming from. It just feels right as a right to i. Just i like the fact. That i don't know i really mean i just know i do mean it anyway. Yes that it came out very sweet came out very sweet so bonded of sleep the end it is you mentioned white ladder before we've looked going back to that as well as part of its recent anniversary one of the things. I always love hearing about that. Album is the way in which some of the songs came through. I've heard you say that some felt like they would just you know explosions creativity and they just kinda pulled out then others like this year's low of written a more prosaic weighs more like the so thing you were saying a moment ago about just making some time sitting down doing something. Yeah i think the more you put yourself in the way the more likely it's to happen. It's a bit like a strike or not. Get into the six ya books. So i think you've got to make the run h time and you don't always get the ball but you gotta make the run so i think white loud obviously a turning point in so many he was really what i got to grips with recording on my own terms at home are like the intimacy. I like quiet. That's there were like the fact that it's no one else's space. I like the diy outside that kind of thing. I love music like that as well. I love bedroom music. I don't care if it's not porsche. I like the blues accordance. They will rough as far. You know i. I love that character right. Ladders got loads of character. And we you know. We didn't have much to play with but we made the most of everything that we had some songs like please forgive became poorer now in a way that just took my breath away. Actually you know. I have has stunning up in the back of my neck that so it was a real moment and not just that. Let's say the word space where more time. There's a lot of space in that song so we managed to get a double time rhythm in there. You know an clued such a big part of that process as well let the people in another ideas and not being afraid they can change the nature of what you're doing actually encouraging inviting it comes out to having more faith in what's there and what you're doing it will withstand being open. You can always take it and do it the way you want to do so yes. Some of the songs were in a movie called this year's love director. David cain asked. Would i try and write the theme song the title so for the thing kind of set out dave. We ever a few drinks in town and we do that. May i dislike the songs ira write. Say if something turns up. I'll have the over but thanks for asking. Then i kind of went away and say i think what happens. We start to record filter. You're actually in the phil. They were lovely people. The actors the crew. It was amazing experience. I've also nice. It's like the opposite of the music business. I thought what. Jesus what am i thinking. I've got fuck all going for me really. I should give this a go. I should sit down and try and write this fucking song. I'm able to simple. Does that and i just sat down by keyboard in the spare room. And i again. I just took the title as a starting point. Just look for melody. And that's what came out and it's almost the first quarter of. Please forgive me. Start with on that song. So hopefully that would sort of those shapes. The black notes played a bit of a part. And then i found a little thing and the soggy so simple of me and he won't could write it. There's something about it that's something on. It taught me a lesson in doing so that you know that songs been what certainly. What am i most enduring songs. But now because of streaming and valentine's day and sort of romance it gets kind of heavy play listing action. You know it's probably my most played song in the streaming world. Anyway me less the you can use your imagination. You don't have to use direct emotions because your emotions are gonna come out anyway. When i bring the lion in america kissing someone or the midnight street sweep in the of my had that kiss at. That's why you believe that song. Because i used a little fragment of my own life to make the picture seem real and that's the trick but making it sound very simple. It doesn't play into your hands all the time. Sometimes you try too hard to do that. You put too much in or you don't put enough. It's a strange place that you'd never quite sure of as i've gone along i've had to use my generation more more because my life's not higgledy-piggledy crazy shit. I've got a family of. I'm fucking going out. Cain added buying a poor shag ago. Living that life trying to create some kind of turbulence and then my my songs will be some desperately for sanitaire in the midst of all that. I've fucking life. That's hard enough ever had waiting to now. Who des. How long so. I use my imagination. But i've seen a lot. I've been through a lot. We've probably lived enough that we could write ted novels that if we really to download all the things. We felt the so much from the communal failings to the survey singular things. You see a friend go through something you see somebody on the bus guy be outside. The chaim station thousand ideas just could turn into use my imagination more and more but now i'm thinking as i go into this say this ryan process again. Is it time to turn the cameras back. I am now very directly. Is it time to be more. Subjective again never rule that out. That's how i started. I started having feelings. Turn them into a song girl about she left me ever about. It was that straightforward. I saw the world that didn't like it. I wrote that. I saw the world. I liked that it was that simple and i want my daughter starting to write songs. She's just sixteen now. You know she's still try to be very very direct. Subjective and this sort of amy winehouse muddle right and very directly from experience. But i think if you keep going long enough todd to just do that if you want to write songs stay in the game start using your imagination and i don't see that makes songs less real now. If you venture everything would never the same that we're never the same people. Were moving down the road. Map perspective is changing incrementally every day you know looking at the cathedral from this side right but look over there. It looks completely different. Suddenly in a different part of your life and you're looking at everything in a very different way so even now. I'm wondering oh don't discount. The direct saw a don't be intellectual about what you're doing because that can be a defence strategy as well. It's an avoidance think people over intellectual is get to fucking clever clever. It's one of the easiest ways of confronting the fact you're scared to show your feelings or or you scared to be this. You see people fighting these demons. And i fought that battle. I mean that was. You can never gonna win there. I think that's one of the sorts of one of the main sorts of difficulties in songwriting kind of that negotiation between being in the act of creation and getting something down seems inspired. But at the same moment you wanna kinda applies just enough craft to it so as not to kind of blow it but just to kind of shape. Is that associate negotiation. You have when you're right. I wanted to surprise myself by striking on an idea or a phrase or a musical atmosphere that seems bigger than me. Thing sounds eternal for a moment and yet. It's always been there that you're wanting to do but i guess a slight unknowable. If i could see the sum total of the rhyme scheme and the sentiments in the song and i can read them and understand them italy whereas the mystery is going to be interesting. I've got to find a way of looking at whatever it is. Even if the royalist emot-. I've got to find a way that surprises me. It's not just the obvious thing because it gets dumped death feeling. Good being the best. You can fuck that. I hate that shit. That life-affirming bollocks give me. If i scream i know what it feels lag by name running through the man who could change still some anxiety in the process though. Isn't it because the so many songs out there now the so much music out there to contribute to that. You've really got to have something you really wanna stand behind. Yeah yeah it doesn't get any easier. The price doesn't get easier three albums to albums one album. Twelve stomach any difference. Think each time. It's got to be everything you've got you've put everything into this thing gonna stab by. It's going to be there forever. I read some staggering statistics in the financial times. Someone cut out for a couple of weeks ago. It was about the amount of music. That's put out these days the however many thousand albums in one thousand nine hundred eighty whatever. It was more than one hundred times greater. Could listen to it all. It would take years to this to enough the stuff that came out in one month. The means of production has been sort of made available. They're low cost. Anyone can get a computer. A few mike and off you go and i love that about it but then also then if anyone can sort of price there things on soundcloud will spend a bit of money getting on spotify. There's just more music than you can listen to. It's amazing. the amount of great music doesn't get a great deal of streaming. Because i listen to late junction as a touchdown thing to find new things out. Because i'm not really seeing people want to hear something i don't know about want to just go to my usual. Listen to astral weeks this. So that the other i wanna i wanna hear something. I haven't before wonderful thing about programs. They've got just room to roam they go everywhere from the bloody north powell to. You've got a new. It's sort of show into a microphone that the next thing it's fellow kuti and then someone just playing a sin down and fucking coal mine. It's brilliant episode later with jools much more interesting than that. So yeah it's anyway. There's there's a breathtaking amount of stuff and loads of fantastic stuff. But it used to be quite easy to find things didn't it you go to a good record shop. If you like a certain kind of music going to rough trade remember recommending that whatever it was cooled remix of cover version of the smiths. Which i absolutely love. There is a light that never goes out. This was about two thousand two thousand and one but used to be able to go and talk to someone and they'd say yeah if you like that would check this out buying this today or your mates or there was a few publications and you see what was happening. And although i wouldn't hold much store by reviews having suffered at the hands various points in my career they do give you some notion of whether something might be worth checking out if you read a few these days. It's just so much music everything's moved online. It's very hard to keep up with. What the hell's going on to more things. I want to chum festival we. They've shoes and paul epworth on in recent months and you came off as the new bullets and then later sold the studio. So i always wanted to do was having dedicated space. An important part of your developments is a song that you think. Yeah definitely having so much ruben. So much facility mean. It was too much really. I was going to buy a building when i had some money near where i live a converted into a studio but that was going to cost money and take a long time and i wanted to get working straight away. It was the guy to sit gino. The studios in crouch end. That's up for sale. Took me to see. And i was like this is ridiculous. Places fucking massive. I always knew when i owned it. I wouldn't Fool that long it was mine to take care of and handed on to somebody else. And i found the perfect guy and paul that with so yeah having that space but his phenomenal rehearsal space. I bought steinway stuck in the middle of the room. And i started to learn a little bit. Well we went totally live. We got rid of the click tracks. We just started to record like a banned old school so it thousands and thousands of takes and as a musician. I had to my game in so many ways. It brought me on a alert more about sound more about a room like that recording. And remember i still prefer. According to what i've got here to be perfectly honest but having that space was apps credible certain things like a big drum said the massive kick drum fucking all that sounds incredible learning about that and having the space to play in a make noise and mike things but it was also a big responsibility. You fucking the whole technical burden of keeping up with all that shit and then the lift needs service in the air conditioning in the fucking rats come in and have been stuff off the roof or the fucking lead of the roof break in. It was just like fuck. Say i don't want to think about this but yeah phenomenal. And i bought it of dave stewart and sold it to paul with pool. This came in at the perfect moment. I didn't think i was going to find. A buyer is going to have to be converted into flats which i gotta right slagging for in the press and of course when i told them i was actually. They weren't interested in that story and to go back to the new album to finish. The white owl speaks to any of the things we talked about sport. We look to close on that since. It's just a lovely melody and a gorgeous lyrics so there anything you can say about that one before we finish. Yeah well. i've got a little place. From the coast of norfolk. Because i moved to london. This basically east and when i met my wife we sort of live route old street way when we were getting a town. It was easy to go that way. Getting out of london is escaping the magnetic pull of a small planet. It's very hard to get out. So we've discovered norfolk on a tip from a friend. i love it anyway. Sort of open horizons big skies. It's flat loads of birds and wildlife. Which i'm crazy about so but one bird you do see up. There you know is only ever seen a barn. I'll maybe three or four times in my life but the regular visits are up there. You see them all the time. And so i find them absolutely spirit like magical slightly the landscape come to the spirit a ghost and the way they fly as well the silence of the the the strange atmosphere that surrounds them. Sorry been mulling over this creature and have a friend of ours had been staying in our house. They're decided to buy her place with her husband. Their buy a little cottage. She loved it up there so much interest sadly she passed away the sadness about her being ill. I realize i wanted to write a song. And i'd sort of had this idea my mind that i thought of her. I'm gonna write a song about this and the two things fuse together. That's what that song is actually a very personal song over the lyrics. He can't really make head no tale of apart from the chorus. Which is a little easier to re. That's just what came to me. When i put those descending chords in a love it when the bay starts to move against the court. I love the ambiguities. Piazza let's you of being able to play straight cord so blurred code so tight cords but with moving bass notes if floats my boat. So that songs based around the piano. It's those little bits attention that just let it release and it's interesting when you get into the course it's got a slight swing to it. So there's two different fields as a straight of start to move in the khorassan quite hard to know how to add to the soul so when we tried putting full drums on the trump era loads of ideas but it was just too much in the ad. Just basically some low floor. Toms in the archaic and that lovely little hat that comes on the up so pleased with how it came out. It was real idiosyncratic song played a funeral as well. Because i recorded a demo of it which i played for before she died. So it's a personal thing so interesting. You should pick that one no. It's a beautiful song. I'm always interested when two things converge. Because if i tried to song about her that would be a really difficult thing to do but sort of traversing and doing it from a different angle. So taking this creature which tremaine looks like a ghost and thinking of her with this space at the landscape the landscape holding onto some kind of memory. The bird whoever you wanted to be. But each time they appear like jesus that just magnetising. So it's almost like there is no time. There's just waiting between each time to see one the next but could be three years. It could be three hours. They have this kind of ability to cast the spell fat part of it sort of this timelessness that they seem to have. They were going to hold her ashes. Almost this creature was going to be somehow a remnant. That's quite a straightforward idea really. It's nice to get on the record and obviously having the big voice treatment with everyone singing along it gives it that little bit more as well on task will david we thank you for being so generous with your time. And with rance's i've been very enjoyable. I get out much so this is my social life too. Nice to meet you guys. Thanks so much day bye-bye A a douglas david gray talking to us from his home about his excellent records skellig he showed make the easy. Neabry is certainly good year. We have a lot of questions prepared but say they will fare load to use. Pandemic parlance overheated job forwards. And that one he really did yeah. Great to see still at the top of his game. Yeah he's relentless about qualities and he doesn't rest on his laurels now and that would be very easy to do especially with something like white loud that it was just so astronomically successful. Yeah it was great to get to revisit. That wasn't it. Yeah well it's a monumental record. Isn't it from the period so get into here. Are we approach. Those songs was very revealing. I thought it was yet and you know. Forget the new stuff. It was great to hear about things like the white towel and how we conceptualize that song. Yeah was powerful stuff. That wasn't it there at the end. Speaking of norfolk guitar. T to use to refer to causes norfolk's norfolk broads. Wasn't that gary burton. It was bit and yeah break. Jazzar had called norwegians to norwegian fjords. That's a good one. So thanks david for being so generous with his time. Cheers to amy and chris for senator. Skelly is a wasting your attention. That's all good music outlets so please do divan at the first opportunity and we'll be back shortly with more tales of derring do by fox.

ireland david gray liverpool david manchester london paul epworth ivan availa edwin collins liverpool school of art Rob holden White ladder Chanaka scalise dave gray instagram royal liverpool hospital Martin martin snake Ian templeton David