Drift – the hardest song of all and what perseverance gets you…

I get to share this now. After it got it’s first airing on the radio at the weekend it’s only fair to make it available for you to have a proper listen.

So I may as well tell you about it too.

This song was the most ridiculously difficult of all to make. On the whole I found making this album quite liberating. I believed in myself and my decisions and things tended to happen quickly and really gratifyingly. Mostly.

But this track, well, it probably took me half of the entire time it took to make the album to make this one track. I always used to give up on tracks like that, but for some reason with this I had the bit between my teeth and I refused to give up. The further in I went the less I wanted to let go.

I would sit with my keys player, Dave Koor, listening to it at various stages and saying, this might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever made. This might be the biggest folly. It’s certainly the most expensive track I’ve ever made. “We’ll laugh about it in years to come” we would say. I was not convinced. Worse than that, its bizarre presence was unsettling all the tracks around it and making the album feel ridiculous. it was an uncomfortable place to be, with more hours an money going into completing it.

It took three, possibly four (I may have blocked one out of my memory) complete rewrites of the vocal and lyrics before I was happy with that part. Considering the music and arrangement was written and mostly recorded (keys, bass guitar, guitar, the original sample based drum beats etc.) in 2 hours one evening only makes it more frustrating.

In the end I think I finally started to believe. It was supposed to be a track that stood out like a sore thumb on the album – it was supposed to be very different from anything else on there – a total break. I wanted to bring out my love of Pink Floyd (the track came into my head one night after watching the Kenny Everett story – which of course features Floyd quite significantly).

I wanted to make something that could absorb you like those great prog records of the seventies. I listened over and over to how they were constructed and tried to learn the techniques. And I did my best to give my own take on that.

Adam on drums for Drift

When I went and played in some live drums that changed things massively. More swagger and swing and feel – it needed it.

I eventually also bit the bullet and called in the help of real strings to supplement the sample based arrangements I had worked on earlier in the process with Lawrence Whitehead.

Thank you so much to the guys who made that part of it happen Andy Hunt and Martin Bettridge who engineered the session, Sarah Telman who helped me put together a gorgeous group of string players including herself, Gemma Louise Rose, Mike Siddell, Iain Wilson, Will Rudge and Amie Boddy. And Cimeon Ellerton who took Lawrence’s original score and arranged it for the live strings.

Drift strings session

Each stage gave me a bit more hope. It goes a bit epic in Part Two which you will hear one day. I had to downplay that a bit, make it a little less dramatic and earnest. It was all very serious. So many weeks of editing and changing and starting mixes again. I can say with some confidence that I have never and probably will never again spend so many, many hours on one single piece.

Anyway, I believe I got it right. I hope you feel it is something special, like I wanted it to be.

There’s a very commonly held belief I think among a lot of creatives that if it doesn’t come easily and quickly then it probably just isn’t the one. But I think sometimes perseverance really pays, and in the process you get to learn infinite amounts about the processes involved, but also about yourself and how to cope with failing, and succeeding and taking the wrong path and having to turn around and try again. Because sometimes you might start something that you aren’t up to scratch to complete. So you need to make the journey and become the person that can.

The album can be pre-ordered here: http://scrimshire.bandcamp.com/album/bight

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