Here Syd Arthur’s Laim Magill and Raven Bush present Prog readers with a track by track guide to the band’s latest album Apricity…
L: Coal Mine has an African influence crossed with 60⁄70’s French pop and dancey elements. The lyrics are about a story I heard where someone found a golden chain buried deep beneath the earth in a coal mine.
R: This tune is a good example of how myself and Liam can combine our musical ideas. Liam had written the verse and I remember always being so into the rhythmic placement and I had the chorus from another tune that I was working on, they just came together.
I think I have myself singing the opening line on my phone somewhere, that happens a lot
PLANE CRASH IN KANSAS
L: When I wrote the verse, it felt like a soulful Weller-esque groove. the chorus was from another song called how the mighty fall. its feels like the most traditional tune on the record. The lyric came from a headline in the paper that read… ‘Plane Crash in Kansas.’ It’s supposed to be like Donnie Darko, a story about someone who dies in a plane crash but doesn’t know they are dead.
Josh: We wanted to serve the song in terms of instrumentation and aesthetic and not detract from the story too much but keep it exciting and alive. The Rhythmic percussive elements in the verse’s bounce around the words while the chorus’s have a more driving and intense element.
L: This was the last track we wrote on Apricity. I was always pushing for a piano pump tune and raven came up with this… The lyric is pretty self explanatory - it can be hard to find peace in the busy modern world.
R: It all came about really quickly, it was all about the interlocking groove of the keys pump with the simple drums, whilst letting the vocals and the bass in the verses lead the way. This was a really fun tune to demo up. I remember working on that string break in Topanga though, me and Jason Falkner were vibing off each other and we came up with something pretty fun, bit of an Indian thing going on there!
L: This tune felt like it set the tone for the record. the driving oscillator modulating throughout and the heavy keys tone used made it feel supersonic. The lyric is sentimental and reminiscent of some of the things we’ve been through as a band. its also deals with loss but looking forward through that in a positive light.
R: With Sun Rays we wanted something simple and powerful but in our way. I actually imagined the recording of this track whist writing it, that’s why there are no cymbals in the chorus’, allowing space for the fizzy analog synths to take up the top frequencies of the mix. The linear drum groove is also part of that same idea. When I first heard the lyrics to this tune I had to fight back the tears, they mean a lot.
L: The verse chords were written by Josh. I loved hearing him play it but he wasn’t sure where to take it, so I took his original idea wrote into it. Its an atmospheric tune and works really well in the live set to bring us and the audience back to a calmer space. The lyric is about mortality and how life can pass you by.
Josh: I had been Playing around with the Into Eternity chord progression for a very long time. Every-time I sat at some keys I couldn’t help but play the chords. My Dad overheard me playing it one day and said to Liam “Josh has this tune, its got to be on the new album” next thing I know the lads are instigating to try it out. We didn’t get that far with it that day but when I got to the studio the following day Liam had written the other section with lyrics and Into Eternity was born.
L: This was a combination of a verse from raven and a chorus and bridge from another song I had. It’s a fun tune to play live because of the energy and meaning behind it. The lyric is about a migrant from a rebel land who is choosing between war and love.
R: Rebel Lands is quite a high energy tune on the record, the double time drums providing a base for that excitement. This is another example of a tune where different sections we each had came together to make the whole.
L: Raven’s verse reminded me of a song I had written a while back, so I pulled the lyric and melody from that. Its about a friend who had a loss but he’s always guided by his seraphim.
R: The hi sound in the verses is actually a violin through a delay pedal! Then turned into a sampler instrument and played with a keyboard.
L: This tune came out of my obsession with sequenced synthesis. I thought I could play my guitar like a sequencer instead and remain very regimented around a focused pattern. It’s an instrumental track but the title has a link to our old drummer Fred. this tune is like a meditation on Fred. It was originally dubbed Freditation but then we changed the name to Portal after Fred’s publishing name portal stone.
Joel: I really liked the combination of synth and electric bass on this song. It strikes a chord with us looking to move forward sonically whilst still wanting to maintain the ‘live’ band elements we love.
L: This one had been in the pipeline for a long time, and I had been working on this delay patch and how to use it for years. The guitar has a sort of sampled feel to it. The lyric is about personal evolutions and the actual evolution of the world we know.
R: This was a really fun tune to make, Liam has this guitar pedal which has got a really unique setting, that’s what the tune is built upon. I remember hearing him playing around with it for a while, but it was only a guitar part at that point. Putting in the drums and bass pinned the rhythm down in a really satisfying way, this is definitely one of our favourites.
L: Again, this track came from our love of synths and sequencing. I wanted the guitar to sound like a sequence. its a combination of an old violin part raven wrote and a folk song I had, that were brought together by the monotonous driving sequenced line. The lyric is about the feeling of apricity and longing for warmth from the sun or the longing warmth of person you want to be near.
Joel: This was a really exciting song to mix, although it did take a while to figure out the right balance of live band vs sequencing. I love the way the track pulsates and moves behind the emotion of the lyric, it’s powerful and emotive.