Well, it’s been eight years. Scary when you realise it’s almost been a decade since you released your first solo record. Stranger still is that it has taken eight years to release a second single!
Every year since the release of the “My Little Eye” EP, there has been talk of releasing the track “For Better Days”. A long time fan favourite, it is the song I wrote about a WWII pilot who leaves his girl to go and fight and does not come home. Every Remembrance Day that comes and goes I have regretted not sharing it. I am however, very pleased that the song is now being released in its own right and it’s powerful subject matter still touches the hearts of many who listen to it.
To this day I still find myself having to distract my thoughts from the true subject matter of this song. For the first 50 or so times I attempted to sing the song once the lyrics had been finalised, it was all but impossible to get through without getting a lump in my throat.
Singing the song in the first person as the gentleman pilot in question gave the song a deeper level of understanding and sympathy. Using the pronoun “My” instead of “His” made a world of difference within the song and enabled me to move from the position of a narrator looking on to a character writing directly onto paper into his journal or on a letter to his love.
Lyrically, the song was initially a very straight forward “boy says to girl” love song. It was “bubble-gum” at best if I’m honest. It wasn’t until I shifted the subject matter to one of love, yearning, sadness and tragedy that it finally became something that I really felt created an impact.
The production on the track was an interesting journey. My producer James Darch and I decided to give it a more “vintage feel”. The vocals were always on the verge of distorting and the guitar had that metallic sheen, which we loved. The decision to add a recording of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the intro really made the song feel “of the time”.
When discussing if we were going to have a rhythm section, we figured that having a military type marching snare was perfect. We brought in Roz Ison from New Device for the job. I remember the day very clearly when we recorded him. It was a beautiful summer’s day and as we didn’t want the sound of the snare to be too close, we set him up outside on the patio in between the 2 patio doors and experimented with various mic placements.
Adding in the additional trumpet melody into the song, was another very conscious decision to emphasise the military theme of the song. Recording Laura Gilroy who was the trumpet player on the song was a lot of fun. I do not read music, so explaining the notation to her was a task that made me wish I’d paid just a little bit more attention in my GCSE music theory classes!
For years I have slept with dictaphones by my bed or made a voice recorder app front and centre on my phone. The reason being is that I dream about music. The music and the melody line for this song was played to me by a man in a dream I had early one morning. I very nearly did not wake up. I remember in the dream him telling me ‘You are going to want this pal. You need to wake up.’ and I am so grateful I did and am able to share the song with you all.
From the release of the “My Little Eye” EP and now releasing “For Better Days” as a single almost 8 years later has been a real trip down memory lane.
The video premieres this Friday on my YouTube Channel
And you can donate to the Poppy Appeal here https://uk.gofundme.com/f/for-better-days-poppy-2020