I step out on the Pyramid stage for the first time, the sun turning my glittery suit into a funky disco ball. I walk to the mic, centre stage, press my mouth against the grated metal and bellow “Glastonbury, can you hear me!?”
That was my goal all throughout my teens and early twenties. Like ourselves, goals change and these days I often have a pen in my hand, not a plectrum.
I was music-first growing up. In school choirs, every week at an open mic and front man for a band. Always remember hurtling down the motorway from York to Manchester and back again in one night to play to a gig. As I grew older, I left uni and entered the world of corporate life. With little time, music became harder to keep up with so I turned to art in my limited downtime.
In 2015, I had that typical want to find myself moment. So, I left my band, and armed with a pen and sketchbook, headed out to Asia and Australia to document everything I saw. Thus my love for illustration was born.
Despite developing this new found skill, life wasn’t easy when I returned to London. So, I resorted to the medium that helped externalise these particular emotions – music.
However, this time around I had levelled up in illustration. So, I asked myself, “what would both mediums together in one project look like?”
So, my main focus for 2019 was to write songs, draw artwork for each, and release them all on Spotify.
Here are the four tracks and some commentary on each :-
This song is about how long distance romances are like new technology. WhatsApp messages and video calls have kept relationships alive that would have not have existed before.
The art is based on a fresco I snapped when I visited the frozen-in-time city of Pompeii. There was this feeling of a different kind of long distance connection to another world.
WATCHING THE WORLD
There have been powerful global movements in recent years – Trump, MeToo, Climate Change. With movements come protests and marches, especially in my little home town of London. This song is about the witness of such events. The admiration of how one voice can create such a crowd.
When I was travelling, I used to run a drink and draw group. This is where travelling illustrators could meet up in a bar, get geeky about pencil cases and draw. This character is built up of the different features of each person of the group.
This short song was written over a couple of days whilst my girlfriend was at a trance festival. Lost dancing in some Polish woods. The only time we got to talk was when she took a break dozing in a hammock by a lake. This was about that moment.
The artwork is inspired by the Transdimensional Space Goat meme. Her favourite festival spirit animal. Turns out GOAT stands for Greatest of all Trance, of course.
I was lying on a sofa in Kilburn, a lazy suburban borough in North West London. Spring had sprung and I was sleepily playing chords on an acoustic guitar on my best friend’s sofa. This song came out of those chords. It’s an ode to friendship and declaring new beginnings.
The artwork is a portrait of the two of us during one of our many deep chats. Wittering on and spewing nonsense wordplay like our joint hero Jack Kerouac. Forever being the mad ones for they are the greatest of all.
What I loved about this project was going in with the bar lowered. I wasn’t creating to play Glastonbury, I was creating only to see how both my art and music connected.
When we are young we have these wild grandiose goals. If we don’t achieve these exactly as planned then we consider the whole endeavour a big fat failure. We stop. We abandon it. We run away.
So, by setting your goals lower, you’re not only more likely to complete them but gain momentum to strive for more. Experiment. Jump between mediums. Combine them. Follow your creative spirit. Have bloody fun and … hey … you can always wear a glittery suit whilst you’re doing it.