My Inspiration: Bed Wetter – A Life In The Day | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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North-East music maker, artist and DJ, Bed Wetter, aka Geoff Kirkwood recently dropped his new album, A Life In The Day – A collection of soaring synth soundscapes that honestly (and uncomfortably) examine themes of isolation, denial and despair.

Here, the artist tells us more about what inspired this work…

I started the Bed Wetter alias around 2018. It was purely as an exercise in tackling a very specific form of writer’s block I was encountering. At the time I was making my living from writing and performing dance music, but I was finding it very hard not to try to crowbar as much deeper meaning as I possibly could into the music I was making. The results of that weren’t good and I was making music that was less than the sum of its two opposing vibes.

My answer was to sit down and write an album that I’d hoped would be pure onanistic indulgence, however something changed in the process and I realised that I did have a lot to say and that some of it might have value too. Those sessions lead to the creation of the album Billy Mill is Dead. 

I released the album under the alias Bed Wetter which was an admonishment to myself for having used that term (albeit in a tongue and cheek way) in connection with experimental and ambient leaning music before. It also really helped with the dance music I was writing, which was the point in the first place.

I plucked up the courage to release Billy Mill is Dead in early 2020. Literally weeks before the lockdown. Not only did it feel great to be speaking from a more nakedly personal space, but people seemed to like it too.

When the lockdown was in full effect the album emboldened me to apply for the position of artist in residence at Sage Gateshead. I had an idea for a follow up album which linked the UK and Japan via the working class communities based around the Japanese Factories in the North East and their counterparts back in Japan, so I pitched that to Sage.

To their credit not only did Sage give me the position, they also encouraged me to the point where the album became an Audio Visual Symphony that would feature my new music and orchestral arrangements performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonia alongside film I had commissioned of factories and communities across the region.

It’s worth mentioning that all of this was taking place at the same time as being in near total isolation. I moved to the UK a week before the first lockdown in order to help care for my 91 year old Grandparents who had raised me as their own child. This meant leaving my wife and my daughter in Mexico with the hope they would follow me soon, however the global pandemic also led to the closure of the full global visa apparatus, as well as the cessation of global travel.

By the end of 2020 I had spent 3 weeks in total with my family. This was very hard and it was a constant fight not to lose hope. Things started to improve and I threw myself into my work, but then the second UK lockdown happened in December last year and everything fell apart for me.

My project for Sage was stopped dead in its tracks, the plans for my family to move and join me were shelved indefinitely, and what elements of normality I’d eked out of the situation were taken away again as I was pushed back into near total solitude. Depression, paranoia, confusion became a daily reality, along with being caught in the grip in a weird kind of maudlin nostalgia.

By way of finding something to cling to, I decided to try and express my feelings through music and used my temporary lockdown home studio to create a bunch of immediate musical responses to how I felt at any given time.

Over time these works coalesced into a single long form piece and it became apparent that I’d charted the course of a single and repeatedly identical day in my life during this period. Not only did the work give me a daily focus that helped me get through the solitary winter days, but it also served to drag my reality into a form that I could hold and observe from all angles in my mind’s eye.

The lockdown passed and my personal situation changed with my family, sadly into a new more dire set of heartbreaking circumstances. The album I created was shelved due to being too personal to share with the backdrop of even more pain and sadness.I’m happy to say that my family finally joined me in October and we’re now happily living together and loving our lives.

I’m very proud of this work, but it belongs to 2021. This is what led to the last minute decision to release it with only 2 weeks lead time so that I can ensure that it is available this year and that I’m psychically free to move on to new works in the new year.

The album might document a lost moment, but it also permitted me to survive it, so I’m very glad it exists as a frozen moment and I hope that other people find some comfort, or at least some familiarity, in what they hear.

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