Starting a Movement
I’m not sure there was a defined genesis, it was more of a natural progression. I was writing songs and performing under a different guise, with a different tone and, although it was enjoyable, I hadn’t reached a point where I was truly happy with my output. One of my dearest friends, Chris Wilkinson, had just moved back from Nashville where he’d been working as an engineer for the past 7 years (adding a few Grammys to his name along the way). We’d always wanted to work together but our plans were somewhat hindered by the ocean in between. The good thing is that sometimes patience can deliver – he was looking for projects to work on, I was looking for someone to guide me into something new – so I signed him up in the role of producer.
...beneath a skylight...
I’d been writing a lot, sat beneath the skylight window in the attic of my new house and had set myself the challenge of writing a song each day for a month. Although this challenge proved to be a little overambitious – I missed a few days here and there – it served as a good exercise in generating a lot of material in a short space of time. By the end of the 30 days I had just under 30 new songs, not all good ones but a fair few that I would allow to make the demo stage. I recorded scratchy demo versions of these songs, along with a number I’d written over the years that were burning a hole in my songwriting pocket and sent them over to Chris for his critique.
...we chose darkness...
After picking his favourites, it quickly became apparent that the selected songs had a palpably darker feel than anything I’d done before. It’s often recognised (almost cliché) that some of the best songs come from a place of pain or darkness but I’d take that further and say that some of the saddest songs can actually make you feel joy via the sheer depth of emotion that they evoke. Take Johnny Cash’s rendition of the Nine Inch Nails song, “Hurt”, it sends you down and lifts you up all at once. Now don’t get me wrong the works we chose aren’t all doom and gloom, there’s just a certain mysterious melancholy that binds them together. Either way we now had a track listing and it was time to discuss next steps.
…and built the machine.
The Attic Movement is not a solo musical endeavour, it’s meant to be something greater, something that evolves, expanding and contracting in order to best serve the beating heart of the organism - the songs. This ethos informed our decisions when it came to planning how the works would be arranged and produced. As the demos were just vocals and acoustic guitar, these would serve as line drawings onto which we could daub musical colour. After a small amount of deliberation we chose two from the shortlist, booked a session and assembled a band. This was it, this was the real genesis – I’d crafted the cogs, we’d built the machine, now it was time to turn it on.