SO MUCH FOOTAGE, SO MANY PHOTOS. Where do I begin?!
I’ll start with the photo at the top - this is my manager Umong (pronounced Oo-mong) and I during one of the final sessions finishing my album “Love Fuelled Hate”. We were laying down drum tracks with Andy Wilder (drummer) and Simon Morgan (engineer who lectures at the uni Umong and my incredible bassist Samer went to).
The process of making an album isn’t easy, especially as an unsigned artist. I went in pretty ambitiously (AKA naïvely) with the goal of creating a seamless and dynamic concept album telling a story that would sit alongside a short-film (still in the works). My intention was to create something I could be proud of no-matter the commerciality of it.
I booked in 2 weeks with Ross O’Reilly (the main producer for the album and cowriter of “Home With You”). In the beginning we’d all thought this was plenty of time because at least 50% of the tracks had been recorded previously to some degree. But more importantly it was all I could afford. So..to cut a long-story short, after 14 days of intense work all the tracks were recorded nicely but I still didn’t have the seamless story-telling album I’d felt so strongly about creating.
So, what was I to do? Release the album as it was? It was unfinished to me but that’s only because I knew the goal - nobody else did... How the hell was I going to finish it? I couldn’t afford any more time in the studio. So my natural response was “OK, I’ll do it myself. I’ll produce the rest.” but I was totally overwhelmed and was unsure whether I really had the skills..I didn’t even have a studio set-up at that point. It seemed almost impossible.
A couple of months slipped by and I was still sitting on an unfinished album feeling deflated and defeated. To be frank, most of the time I felt I’d fucked up, that I wasn’t good enough, that I’d never be good enough, that I was wasting my time and that I’d been kidding myself to think I could ever have done it. Daily I felt ashamed and embarrassed to have told people I was gonna do something as I started to realise it was beyond me. It had been weeks since I’d listened to the album but I’d decided it was shit, that everyone would know it was shit and anyone who thought otherwise had shit taste...my brain was being a real pain in the ass. But amongst all of that demon-talk I still had a flicker of hope. It’s something I’ve always had and something that’s always kept me going - that tiny little thought of “maybe I can do it, maybe it’s possible” and “what if this is the final test?”. So I went to my room, turned down the lights, stuck my headphones on and played the album in order from start to finish. Lo and behold I was overcome with a warm sense of pride. OK it wasn’t finished, but it was sounding incredible already and it was only going to get better. Immediately I listened to it again but this time I took notes and then broke the notes down into tasks.
The to-do list was long but that hopeful naïve ambition had returned and suddenly everything felt achievable. Any obstacle was just a problem waiting to be solved. For some reason I’d been battling the album on my own for months..and all of a sudden I realised I didn’t need to face that challenge alone. I had friends, a manager, a team, fans, family - why was I torturing myself when all I had to do was ask for help? I put a call out on Facebook asking for help recording interludes, live drums and backing vocals - and guess what? The album was finished within the month - and what a fucking kick ass album it is.