You may have heard me mention something about a release called Digital Delight in recent days. I shall explain a bit more about this now so I can establish the concept before people begin to get confused by my song choices et al. Digital Delight is a solo project and it’s going to be a ‘big’ mini album. There will be nine original tracks and one remix. I had posted the track listing and album art on my official website, but both things have changed now.
I decided I wanted to do something completely different image-wise for this release. Having pictures of me with zebra eye makeup and a crazy headdress just wasn’t conducive to expressing the feeling of digital delight. I wanted to show a more playful, cheeky side. My songs are often lighthearted and inoffensive in terms of arrangement and production, so there was no reason to have a picture of me with an intense expression.
I enlisted the help of my partner in crime, Matt Slade, since he had offered in passing to design my artwork a few months ago. I offered to pay him in Mikado, but he was gracious enough to decline.
This is the image he picked from the shoot. It happened to be my favourite, too. I have no idea what he’s going to do with it, but I think that’s part of the fun.
If you know me even as a brief acquaintance you will know about my obsession with electronic music. And I mean all the genres, from the least accessible experimental bleeps and rumbles of the avant-garde all the way across to sugary sweet bubblegum dance pop. I just adore the sounds you can create with technology right now. Or indeed the way you can manipulate natural sounds using music software.
I also like the feeling of mystery that surrounds these things. I don’t know how they’re made or what their names are, so that helps me disconnect from the process of intellectual listening that I was taught at university. Digital delight just means that feeling of letting electronic music wash over you, and the excitement and euphoria that follows. So long as I’m listening to something by Perfume I find it difficult to fit in any melancholy. I just love those sounds!
I’ve had that feeling in heaps since working on songs for the Glitter Punch Project. I finally get to sing over mysterious synthesised loveliness.
To be fair, I didn’t come up with this term until I realised my song Digital Dread just wouldn’t make a good album title. In fact, I wanted the opposite of dread. Delight was the best word for the job. At this point I began to see a definite feeling of two halves, dread and delight, emerging in my selection of songs, so I continued to write with that in mind.
- We begin with Digital Dread, which describes what it’s like avoiding checking your own e-mail for fear of its contents. Pretty pathetic really, but you have to start from a position of weakness to make a good story happen.
- Next up is Shy. It’s not really about being shy, rather feeling misunderstood and longing to prove your devotion to another.
- Shining Stage is a rather selfish affair about a performance experience I imagined having. The lyrics see me flicking between the dream and the reality. It’s a bit insular and fearful.
- Then comes The Sea. Oh goodness, this song needs a whole blog on its own to describe what it means. Essentially it’s the turning point song written about an experience that changed everything for me: what I wanted to work towards, how I felt about myself, my attitude in general.
- Digital Delight, upbeat, rocky title track. It’s about infatuation. You might say it’s about my relationship with music. It picks me up and drops me flat quite frequently.
- Higher Stage is Shining Stage’s brave, selfless counterpart. I’m not singing about what I want any more, but rather how humbled I am by what I have and what others give to me.
- Valentine Code is an unusual one. The feeling is mine, but the story is not. I wrote it because I felt like I was too concerned with what someone thought of me and it was as if they had me trapped and under their control. The last lines in the song are, “I’m taking back my heart.”
- Waking Song is like Digital Dread Part II. This time I confront the person causing me grief and tell them to shove it. “You’ve tried my patience, dear, and this time I say, NO!”
- My Parting Words is a hideously sentimental number about bidding a wonderful friend a fond farewell. I give this person my blessing on their work and their being. Again, the story is a fabrication, but I still mean every word for the lovely people I share my life with. Funny how you can do that when you’re a songwriter…
All of these songs were written this year, so this is me finally breaking out of my habit of waiting an age before showing anyone anything. I hope there’s a feeling of continuity and progression. I will also have one of my songs remixed for the very first time by a brand new artist. They haven’t made their debut yet, though, so I’ll hang fire on that announcement.
In conclusion I’m excited to be delving into something fresh and new. I’ve had some good response from my Facebook friends on the three demos I’ve posted. Dave said, “It sounds like your old stuff, but you’ve taken it further. I like it.”