SAVE MY BRAIN- THE SINGLES ’08-’18

Nick here. Been working on a couple of long-form projects (a film script and a micro-budget feature with Luke) each of which will have taken at least a couple of years to complete once they’re done. Just staying in the oven with those (and otherwise doing the odd band gig and recording for Rank Ideas) has been a new flavour of life, kind of fun and kind of hard. I should blog about it sometime, but instead I’m gonna blog about this little bit of acting out I did last week.

It’ll be a while until I get to do any new band recordings, and meanwhile some friends were bugging me to put my music on spotify. Just porting my band camp over seemed boring, so I had the idea to rearrange some of my existing recorded songs into some kind of new configuration. First thought was to canvas friends for their opinion on my ‘best’ songs, but that seemed like a recipe for stress (as much as I love the Greatest Hits format).

So then I started to pick the songs that I thought of as the most ‘me’- that is, that felt like the most distilled version of what I’m even trying to do as songwriter. Once I picked the first few songs a dominant vibe of un-chill indie-pop was prevailing, so I leaned into that for the rest of the selections. My friend Fi (who was the chief person bugging me to do this) made the cover art to my dorky specs, I had a deliberate rationale for sequencing the tracks but fuck if I can articulate it. Then I started DMing it to people, ’cause I don’t know how to actually promote things.

Presenting it as a ‘Singles Collection’ is mostly a cheeky exercise in alternative history- a history in which I released ‘singles’ over a consistent period as a pure Recording Artist, rather than embedded in chunks of multiformat performance art that have made it almost impossible for the audience to assess the songs on their own terms.

So this time people have been assessing the songs on their own. It’s been nice and funny for people who have been watching my gigs and videos for years to suddenly go ‘oh there’s some real consistent themes and ethos across years of your songs’ and ‘wow Nick you are very sentimental and earnest aren’t you?’ and ‘Nick is this death fixation real or a bit?’ Which confirms that some of the Persona and Story World stuff I do and will always love doing has made it hard for some people to clock that stuff before.

Part of this is me wanting to draw a line under my music output to date to set the stage for some new recording and album plans I have for the next ten years. But of course doing this means that these songs are suddenly new to a bunch of people, and I wasn’t expecting to have such a lovely experience of that. Looking forward to thinking about how I can keep misrepresenting my body of work to nice trusting people for my own enjoyment.

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