|Notes On The Making of Momentum|
In August 1997 I moved to Toronto from London (the big English one, not the small Canadian one) with little more than my guitar and my eight-track which contained most of the songs that became my debut album "Split". The album was a labour of love, recorded mostly alone in my bedroom in London. I finished up the tracks in Toronto, mixed and mastered it and put it out as a limited release. Always one to do things backwards, I then set about putting a band together to play the songs from "Split" as well as all the new material that seemed to be springing from my right hemisphere since my unofficial emigration to Canada.
In the Summer of 1998 I assembled the stellar band that still plays with me now: Scott Sherman on bass and backing vocals, Peter Morrison on drums and Sean Szutka on second guitar and backing vocals. By the end of the year we were gigging regularly and most of the songs that would show up on "momentum" had already been written. It was recorded over a period of 18 months at the tail end of the 20th century. I was regularly back and forth across town clutching my new upgraded 16-track, between my apartment on Queen Street West where I was recording most of the album and Umbrella Sound in the East End where it was being edited and mixed.
So why do all this anyway? Write songs, play concerts, make albums, put up a website? I often wonder. There’s certainly not a lot of money it. I don’t really write, or try to write songs that are commercial enough to get a record deal and get on the radio, tour the world and make a fortune. The only answer I can find is connection. There’s a magical moment when you’re writing a song and you come up with an inspired chord change or lyric, it’s a beautiful satisfaction, connecting with the muse.
Playing shows is a huge kick, whether I’m solo or with the band…connecting with even just one member of an audience in some way, or when the band is tight as hell and the music flows effortlessly, and we’re all connecting with each other. In the studio, when I’m mixing a song and it starts to really come together in a way I couldn’t even have imagined when I was writing it. As for the website, this is a new one for me. You never know who you’re going to connect with on the internet. Maybe one of my favourite songwriters is reading this right now…
Why "momentum"? I first became engrossed with the idea of momentum riding my bike around Toronto. It occurred to me that momentum was second only to safety for a cyclist. I’d have to stop at a red light half way up a steep hill and I’d think "Fuck! There’s goes my momentum!" and I’d have to start pedaling from scratch. I started to realize that momentum is a force that we all ride, and the more of it you have, the further you go, until something happens to slow you down, like Immigration Canada, but that’s another story.
"Momentum", and the acquisition of it, admirably describes where I was at when I was writing and recording this album. There are twelve songs on the album, and I split it into side one and side two, like an LP, because it flowed better that way. Twelve songs about life as I saw it at the time. One about having faith in yourself even though you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, one about saying goodbye to a city, a tribute to my family, two songs about the wrong relationship, two about the right one, one I wrote coming down from a particularly potent mushrooms trip, one about an orgasm, one musing on the nature of a relationship which I experienced as the "other man", one about surfacing from a bout of self-destruction, and one I can’t really comment on because I didn’t write it. Which song is which? That would be too easy! Figure it out, email me, and if you’re right I’ll buy you dinner.