Looking back on my ambitions list from this time a year ago it didn’t mention me spending so much time in the US writing for other artists and it certainly didn’t mention not playing any shows for the first time since I was in the first year of school! It’s been a nonstop twelve months full of travelling, writing and new creative experiences. Its quiet possible that when my songwriting spreadsheet (with I’ve kept in some sort of order for many years now) is updated that 2018 could be the most prolific year to date.
In Nashville and Kansas I’ve found songwriting destinations that will form part of my every year from now on, both geographically and friendship wise they’ve opened a new window into a part of my brain previously untouched a true expansion of story telling with words that previously only existed in metaphor. I also wrote two of my favourite songs I’ve ever written in Belfast back in June so I’ll be certain to return! As always a couple Berlin trips were full of creativity and ending my year in Montreux always gives me the some semblance of schedule, a bookend to a manufactured set of hours and seconds.
The one BIG thing I did have written down this time last year was to fly to New York and make a new record which I did! I had the best time living in my friends beautiful house in Shokan upstate New York and allowing the vibes of the place to truly inhabit the recordings. In the ever changing new age of how we consume music you’ve been hearing the fruits of my musical labour a song at a time so far, I will ALWAYS be an album lover and this collection of songs is structured to run as one piece however I have really been enjoying drip feeding a song at a time and having the individual have its moment to shine unencumbered by track listing.
Okay so its time for me to sit down and set out some ambitions for 2019, they will include playing live, releasing this record AND recording the next one, that is going to be a new fun adventure.
Happy New year and thank you for supporting my music. A few pictorial highlights below
Recorded in Shokan, upstate New York after attempting to meditate in a Buddhist temple that David Bowie used to frequent and realising that rather than being a relaxing experience, meditation for me is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. I wrote and recorded the initial parts almost exactly a year ago (first demo is dated 3rd December 2017) at home and then ended up in the US recording in March this year. The end section of the song was recorded live by my friend Brook in the snow covered woods that surround his house (the studio is in his house) and is just me with an acoustic singing and playing walking through this magical setting.
I spent this past week in a beautiful cottage on a farm out in the rolling hills of the Peak District in the heart of the U.K. Writing songs for another artist, big rock songs so it was very close to my musical home! I really loved the peace and quiet of the farm life, lucky for me I was always well awake before the cockerel started the morning call. As November turns to December I’m always reminded by many of you of a certain lyric in the LostAlone song Paradox On Earth “It’s always December when the nights last forever” this clip might be my favourite version of the song Paradox On Earth Barcelona
A big Happy Birthday to my first solo record Exit Brain Left which came out on this day two years ago, Stream it here and you can get the repressed CD & second pressing of the blue vinyl over on my shop here I started writing the record directly after having to make the decision to end the band, it began with a trip to Montreux and then Berlin both between LostAlone touring and then I spent all of 2015 traveling, thinking and making the songs that would end up on the record. This album is me mourning LostAlone and I’m really proud of how it documents the trauma in my heart and mind at that time.
Steven PS Look out this coming week for a new song from me 😉
Thanks so much for all the great messages, tweets and comments about Shipwrecked. Love that you’re loving it! I’ve just written up the lyrics a bunch of times (my poor thumb) and put them on my store for sale here Genuinely some of my favourite and meaningful for myself and those who’ve been traveling this music odyssey with me. Also as its Black Friday so you can get 20% off all my music by using the innovative code FRIDAY at checkout. SHOP
Ace to see Shipwrecked on the Kerrang! chart and Apple Tree on the Amazon Rock Right Now playlist, the next song will be with you in a few weeks.
Shipwrecked came from a stream of consciousness and has remained unchanged, unedited since the day I dumped those raw thoughts onto the page. Spilt out under the shadow of the single biggest event in my life and staring at an horizon which for the first time had no clear destination only waves of uncertainty where pride, anger, sadness, hope and a multitude of questions waged war for control of my mind.
I kept the first verse as unaccompanied words to stay true to the original way in which I wrote them… a confused cathartic scribble then built (I hope) the intensity by multi tracking myself (many times) to effect the chord change (It almost sounds the way I hear it in my head). A vocal dam holding out until the strings and finally the riffology crash down and all that emotional baggage fell out onto the crumbling bridge into the water.
This song was recorded at in the beautiful seclusion of Chapel studios in Lincolnshire. I had a strong feeling, almost an internal demand that a full band was needed for this track and so very appropriately due to the lyrical content I enlisted my former band mates Alan Williamson and Mark Gibson to actualise the rhythm section. This felt really special to be back in the studio with them again, a real treasured moment.
Some credits and details. All music and lyrics written and performed by Steven Battelle Produced by Steven Battelle & Dan Weller at Chapel studios Studio assistant Luke Farnell Super special guest musicians Alan Williamson and Mark Gibson Harmony vocals recorded with Rich Collins at Snug Studio Mastered by Dick Beetham Photography Rob Baker Ashton
Created some beautiful songs with a bunch of new friends in Nashville and in Nashville itself I’ve found a new place that really feels like a songwriters home – excited to return soon! Brief stop off in New York, always fills me with a unique energy and is on the small list of places I could really see myself residing at some point.
Landed in the U.K and walked directly into the peoples vote mark around parliament, right back in to the thick of vile U.K politics and then balanced that with a visit to the Queen pop up shop and then witnessed one of my favourite bands playing at the Barbican. Mew Frengers played in order was something amazing to behold, what a band! Check them out f you haven’t before. They actually impacted myself and Mark from LostAlone a lot in the early days of our band.
So seven days in LA, three weeks in Nashville and a day in NYC come to an end, many songs were born and are now being nurtured into a state the world can hear them.
Okay time to play a lot of vinyl (I’ve missed y record player) and then get right back into it all! New solo song from my second record out next week 🙂 Steven
Another week is almost gone here in Nashville and its been non stop evolution of writing and friendship forming, an enchantment of riches and such a pleasure to be a part of.
I’ll always write my own songs in solitary, by myself and in open seclusion but am now fully enjoying bringing my brain to the melodic dinning table of an other artists meal, takes me to places I’ve never been before yet feels familiar.
Excited to get back to the UK next week and prepare to unleash upon you the second track from my new record. Describe it? Well its vocal only for 40 seconds and then its a downpour of RIFF!
Another few days writing here in Nashville then New York before home! 🙂
I had the absolute pleasure of playing this 1962 Fender strat yesterday, you could feel the history in every note. I put down a riff I’ve had for a while on a really cool country song and it sounded insane. Just heard it’s national album day back in the U.K. or is it worldwide? I dont know about you but for me every day is album day! I don’t know but with that in mind I’ve put 20% code off on Exit Brain Left blue vinyl second pressing and the CD version. Use the code NASHVILLE at checkout
Had a great two days with grammy winning writer Bart Allmand (owner of the 62 strat) and Sarah Ross owner of incredible voice making a huge stomping country meets T rex track! Now heading into two days with a new artist! This trip is relentless but its what I love to do, another 7 days of non stop writing ahead!
A whirlwind of a week so far, working with a different artist every day, embodying the spirit of the personality and hopefully elevating the vision, thats my mission on these writing sessions.
Name checking Hagrid (from Harry Potter for the uneducated) has been a highlight.
Last night after some meetings in town we went to the super tourist area, Broadway which was an assault on the senses, a band in literally ever bar window and believe me every building is a bar! Neon and craziness everywhere. Was cool to visit the FGL house for food, Dan Weller (US Dan not UK Dan) is a member of the HUGE band Florida Georgia Line and so EVERYTHING we ate and drank was free! Nice!
Ah I was so sad to hear that Montserrat Caballe’ passed away, her album with Freddie Mercury has been a constant companion for me, I LOVE it and she seemed such a lovely person in all the interviews I saw her in. I took some time to listen to that record today, sat out on the swinging chair that become my favourite place for some reflection here in Nashville.
Big writing session today, catch you all after that! 🙂