Creating the Album 'In Boxes'
I’d written songs in my twenties and thirties, but it was only in my forties that I was finally able to express real emotional depth, and that was when I started writing a lot.
I created some home demos which were quite involved and sounded good until I compared them to professionally produced songs. I wanted to understand what I needed to do to bridge that gap.
I first contacted Andy at Superfly Studios in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire in 2017. It took me until 2021, when recording studios were pretty much the only things allowed to open, to actually do something about it.. I brought about 30 songs to the studio and played them to Wayne Procter, who took on the role of producer, as well as drummer. He cut up and reshaped the songs. Had we been in a film studio, the floor would have been covered in strips of celluloid.
I put my trust in a team of experienced musicians and set myself on a learning curve.
I had to write extra verses, sections and bridges, and I started to sculpt my song structures to keep the energy flowing throughout each take in the studio.
I was discovering how high quality production was done: one patient step at a time, layer upon layer, being boundlessly creative and experimenting with anything and everything to bring the song to life - plus musicians with decades of experience knowing which amp or snare would add to the song.
Singing in the studio was scary; you can tweak vocals, but what you sing is pretty much what you get if you want a natural sound. Staying emotionally connected while singing the same thing over and over again is hard. I just wanted to do justice to the musicianship the others had brought to the songs.
The album cover reflects the indirect nature of modern experience, which often takes place through a screen. We look at images of sunsets on our phones or computers instead of going outside to see the real thing. We live in boxes - our homes, cars, offices - and we often put ourselves and others into boxes, limiting our potential.