I always loved the feel of the song (kind of darkly sentimental), and was really pleased with how suggestive the lyrics turned out to be.
I had in mind the Blakewater when I wrote them — we used to walk over a bridge over the Blakewater on our way to town, just after it had meandered through Blackburn’s red light district. You can imagine how it smelt & what sorts of things would be floating in it by the time we crossed it. Happily the olfactory assault didn’t make it into the song, although knowing where it had just been perhaps gives an unsettling insight into the lyric “company of the drowned”.
There was another Rises connection, here, as we sent them this version of the track, and they sent us back a fantastic remix, but sadly I haven’t a copy of that remix, so I can’t post that, too.
This version was mixed at our bassist Marcus’ studio, and was most likely recorded there and/or at our practice rooms above Bar Zooka, too. It’s another of my favourite recordings of ours.
PS — Me & Pete (our guitarist) still play this acoustically quite often. In fact, we nicked the outro from Brighter Place (a previous posting) and play it on the end of this song, now, so it’s all rousing & everything.
Okay, this one’s not a Dustfly tune. The editorial for the next one of those I want to put up needs some thinking about.
So this is a piece I wrote with Stan Lee (aka Chewy Benson, aka some other names, too), and Leroy, a chap I lived with.
The original beats and strange loops were assembled by Stan, and were one of his early efforts. I knew I wanted to do something with them, but I couldn’t think of anything for a long while. Then I woke up in the country one winter’s day, and the sky was a threatening, lowering yellow, as if an ammonia storm was brewing, and everything was frozen and oppressive, and even the trees on the bleak skyline looked sick and broken. Which made an impression, and gave me some fairly abstract words for the piece. Which was nice.
I wanted to just repeat the words, chant-like, and build them up in harmony over the beats and the loops, so enlisted the assistance of my housemate Leroy, who had a 16 track & is a rather gifted musician & producer.
We recorded a rough version, pulled it into the desired shape, then re-recorded all the looped vocals as long takes, so that it wouldn’t all sound canned.
That sounded rather ace, we thought, but then Leroy went into obsessive mode, tweaking everything, putting new keyboards over the track, additional guitar and bass guitar tracks, reversing sections, putting in samples I was digging up from various places, and generally going to town on it.
And the results sounded tremendous, if I do say so myself, on everyone’s behalf.
Originally there were three tracks. One was a shorter radio edit, and would probably be the one I listed here, only we had a multiple harddrive failures, and lost it. Which is a shame, as this take does rather go on more than it should.
The result of the collaboration was very encouraging, but whilst we did try some other pieces, I don’t think any of them came to a recording. There’s maybe one called ‘Fisty’ hidden away somewhere that I may drag out, and there are a couple of Stan’s other tunes that I’ve been threatening to do something with for a long time, but for now, this is the body of work of that particular collective: I give to you the possibly over-long ‘Dark Day’.
Well, whilst I’m writing sentimental reminiscences of gigs past, I’ll post one last song for today. This was called ‘High’, and is largely a response to experiences like the one I described in my last post (Brighter Place).
Basically, I loved all my friends, so wrote a love song for them. Ahh!
I say I wrote it — by that I’m referring to the lyrics, of course. As with all of our material, the whole band actually wrote the whole song. I’ve worked with other musicians who get great results by keeping control of the whole creative process, but I’ve never really liked that approach. For me, in the music I’m involved with, that which is done best is done communally.
So this was to the band, and our friends at Selborne Street (hi Selborne Street crew!). Selborne Street was where we lived, and damn’ near died — I’m still not sure how (or whether) we survived it!
I think I always hoped that this would be the chick-tune that would get me girls after gigs, but then I was always too wasted after gigs for that ever to happen. Ah, well.
This was recorded by Marcus (our bassist) at (I think) his home studio.
Added: Oh, yeah. This still gets played by me & Pete fairly often, once we’ve subdued people with covers. :)
The happiest moment of my life was the outro of the last song at the end of a gig at the Happisburgh Solstice Beer Festival. The beer festival is a yearly event in a tiny village, and I’ve played there in one band or another every year it’s run. If you’ve ever watched the (original) Wicker Man & really wanted to live on that island, then you’d love it. A huge tent filled with obscurely named ales, ciders & perries that take your face off, morris dancers, live music all day every day, in the countryside, right by the sea. It kicks ass.
We headlined the Saturday night. There was a whole huge contingent down from Blackburn, and the Rises lot were over from London. (Another highlight of that weekend was Drew from Rises performing Stairway To Heaven as Kermit the Frog. I laughed so hard I nearly did permanent damage.)
The set went fantastically. You couldn’t ask for a better crowd than the one at Happisburgh — they were jumping all over the place, and we were giving it eleven. The line up was me singing, Pete playing guitar, Tony on drums (his first gig as our ‘official’ drummer), Marcus on bass, Si was on the decks, and Drew had joined us on the bongos & congas. We’d split the set into two, and by the time we were coming up to the big close, we were really coming up.
At the time, we always played “Brighter Place” as our encore, because it had a huge outro, and man did we love an outro! As I started to sing “Some may find sweeter life”, and Pete and Marcus came in under that with “I caught it, I love it”, I was really peaking. The sky was huge & full of stars, the crowd was a howling, dancing vortex, the drums and bass were driving harder & harder, I was totally channeled into the music, singing, dancing in weird, disjointed spasms, and I had that beautiful sense of connectedness I’ve only ever known from being tight with a band — out through my mouth, my voice mixed in harmonies with all of theirs’, and spiraled out to the universe — beautiful. We drove the song harder & higher to the crescendo, my head just filling up & up with the sheer noise … And then, I took a step back from the mic, and as I was dancing, I spun around, and I can still see, perfectly clearly, what I saw there: A snapshot, in deep, ecstasy-enriched colours, of Pete, and Tony, and Marcus, all of us, high & totally into it, and we were bonded in that moment as only musicians ever can be, and I loved them totally, my brothers.
So this is that song, and that outro. It, too, was recorded in London with Rises. It’s not as good as the version we played that night (what could be?), and the mixing of it was perhaps a little undermined by certain excesses, but that’s just how we rolled, motherfuckers! ;)
So I thought I might upload some old stuff that we recorded, and then I thought that I’d write about each one, seeing as I’m not really making full use of this blog right now!
We were a band called Dustfly, based in Blackburn, and maybe the story will unfold as I upload stuff.
This song was written towards the end of the band’s life, and is one of my favourites. It was written to a loop of recorded conversation from a William Burroughs CD, and evolved from a kind of trip-hop electronica style of thing to the rock masterpiece you have before you (figuratively speaking). I have some of the old files that document its evolution & I might put them up one day, if I’m ever bored enough that that seems diverting.
We recorded this with a band called Rises in London (Homerton). We were the guinea pigs for their startup label, and we recorded three tunes there on their 32 track reel to reel. The studio was a room in their rented terrace house. We recorded in there, and slept in there on inflated mattresses, for about 4 days or so.
This was easily the best recording of the three. I’ll put the others up sometime, as they are an excellent demonstration of what funghi can contribute to the recording process, but I thought I’d start with one of our more listenable efforts! ;)
So this was us, in London, before the psychosis kicked in, more years ago than I care to remember!