It’s been with me for a while now, this need to make something new of my work. Something bigger and heavier, and a body of work that better reflects the conversation I’ve been having with people all over the world. I wanted to reframe my work in a way that acknowledged the music/technology/disability intersection, not just some music happening near to that.
There was a time when I was viewing this as a possible side project – my rock/metal side project. ‘Side project’ implies a little less commitment though. It sounds thin, impermanent. I know I want to give everything to this. In reflecting on it, I had to of course consider the available options:
I’ve *never* liked releasing music under my own name. I’ve always felt like it lands in a kind of dull vanity; it’s a body of work, and yet it shares it’s name with a bloke that created it? Not saying that kind work for anyone; I can’t image Ryan Adams as anything else. This is a valuable lesson when creating anything: just something works for someone else, is no proof that it works for you, and vice versa. It doesn’t fit me, it fits many other artists perfectly well.
Winter Of ‘82
This was the ‘band’ that I’ve worked as for several years. I love the idea of WO82, it’s a very particular sound in my head, playing homage to a specific set of classic influences. But that’s the point; it is a retrospective kind of work. All those WO82 singles sound deliberately like a bunch of 60s 70s and 80s influences. I knew I didn’t want to mess with that. I was playing progressive folk pop kinda songs; I didn’t want to just reboot that as an “and for my next trick…” Cyborg Rock makeover. Another issue I had moving forward with the name Winter Of ‘82 – it looks back. It’s already happened. It’s literally the past. Having said that, it’s not dead. I know what WO82 is supposed to be, and I’m proud of everything that came out under that name. I’ll get back to it, but right now, I’m all about the new. The Now. The Future.
My fiancée . The first day I got the gloves home, I showed a few clumsy attempts as to what they could do. After a few minutes she said: “It’s all very good… but is it Metal?”
Nicci’s first musical love, like mine, is Metal.
At the time, my answer was ‘no’ – The Gloves lend themselves
For all the success, I was never that happy with the sound of The Gloves Are On.
It’s coming naturally, it seems. This headspace is wide open right now. New riffs and melodies come into focus every day. Feeling the floodgates open, the pressure releasing; it’s beautiful. I hear this new sound in my head, as I’ve been listening to it for years.
It’s daunting too, of course. It’s a delicate task capturing it all, especially when this is catching me while I’m busy doing anything else. Inspiration doesn’t care if you’re busy spending time with your kids or not.
It’s not magic. This isn’t a go-me I’m-so-inspired thing. It’s (welcome) hard work. It’s the end result of well nurtured musical intelligence and creative thinking. I’ve been hearing this new sound for a long time, but between access barriers and experimental technology, I just didn’t know how to get it out of my head.
The trick, the only trick, is to quieten your mind enough to hear the ideas. I’ve no doubt that any songwriter worth their chops can “hear” fully formed musical ideas, so long as they’re open and receptive to notice. Turning down the noise of my own inner critic narrator is the real skill. Don’t break the surface. Don’t make ripples in the pond. Notice the still water.
Mostly though, I’m just excited. I’ve been thinking about this project for a long time, it’s taken me the last 12 months to gently get all it’s aspects into focus. And today I’ve finally created a few things worth getting excited about…
I’m not sure where (or what) the right headspace is to begin this. I guess that never comes. At some point you have to tear the plaster* off.
It’s New Year’s Day. I’m tired, and a little hungover. But there is much to explain. After all, it’s Year Zero. This year is all about this.
A set of sounds, colliding in my head. Apposite and Opposite. An intense, contradictory aesthetic, at once as fragile as it is heavyweight. A dissatisfaction with the translation from my heart/head to your ears. A need to return to the very root of it all. A challenge to reimagine what accessibility sounds like. An urge to return to the timeless instrument that defined me to me, and to bring it to the strange new instrument that defines me to you.
To be big.
To be dark.
To be loud.
To be heavy.
And so, it begins.
(*Band Aids, y’all)