I spent the first two weeks of May 2020 writing a song a day. Under the guidelines that there was to be no heavy distortion of sound (too easy, too comfortable) and that the main melodies would be played on guitar/organ (two instruments I need to practice!). In addition the narrative of the songs would come from discarded, second hand micro cassettes – the ones you find in old answering machines and Dictaphones.
April/May saw me buying as many of these cassettes as possible from ebay and waiting patiently for them to arrive. I then spent hours dissecting them into snippets of words/sentences that tell a story, some form of narrative that is missing from the instrumentals, and used them to craft a message into these instrumentals I’d written.
Lockdown in 2020 brought with it many changes to approaches with writing music. Gone was any opportunity to work face to face with other people, gone was the option of using our usual rehearsal space due to contamination risks, and therefore largely all writing become a solo effort. My hand was forced in terms of using traditional instruments such as drums, I couldn’t simply go to the studio, mic up a drum kit, play and record it like I had been used to. Therefore I had to get creative in my approach to selecting realistic sounding drums, and opted to go back through years of multi tracked recordings and ‘steal’ old drum takes to recycle and write new songs around. That was the starting point for the Diane… recordings, find some drums, record a main guitar melody, write another, a change, a bridge, sleep on it, write a bass line, redo guitar parts and add narrative from tape. That was the method for the recordings.
Thanks to Silly Little Ian and Philip Crow for their performances (of which they had no idea I’d re-purposed!). Thanks also to other ‘ambient’ performances from Nhoj Ratcliffe, Matthew Chuter and Sam Higgy that were picked up in the repurposing of drum takes from some old Friday Night Weird Dreams sessions.
Get a listen in over on bandcamp, link below: