My Inspiration: Lines From a Poem – Staring at City Lights | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Lines From A Poem are a trio from Redcar and Saltburn who release their debut EP Staring At City Lights, a lo-fi, folky sounding affair with strings that ebb and flow throughout and lyrics that vividly paint a nostalgic picture of Northern coastal life. The process of making the EP was a collaborative affair with parts being recorded remotely during lockdown, produced on an iPhone by drummer Patrick Oliver and partly mixed and mastered by the good folk at Goosed Record.

Here, the band tell us more about the inspiration behind their release…

Gary Wright (guitar and vocals): We were simply 3 mates having a jam back in December. An hour and a half later, we played a three song set for a group of people enjoying a retirement party. The songs were originally written on the acoustic, and I didn’t really have too many plans for them. Once the drums and bass were added to the mix, I realised the potential for them to be evolved was something I couldn’t turn down. Unfortunately, the current situation has put a stop on shows, but if anything this pushed us into the recording side of things with more determination. 

Reflective Walls
GW: This was the first time that I wrote one as a snapshot in time, trying to place myself in a situation I’d been in and document how I felt. The song is centred around the idea of moving on from someone, or something. You realise that people change and you may move on physically, but if it was a large part of your life there will always be reminders that stick with you. I was really happy with how bringing the other instruments into this song transformed it.

GW: This song was inspired by a 1998 MTV interview with Elliott Smith, where he explains that his tattoo is based on the children’s story of Ferdinand, a bull who didn’t want to go to the bullfight, he’s forced to do so but once in the ring, refuses to engage. We are often expected to act a certain way, but that just isn’t always going to be the case. The point I really wanted to make was that its okay to be different, and you don’t always have to do what everyone else does. 

Patrick Oliver: As the producer of the EP I was particularly proud of this song. My idea for this track was based on listening to The War On Drugs’. The way they layer ambient sounds across songs fascinated me. The breakdown in the song was initially a 10 second piece before it comes back to life with the drums etc but as the last song on the EP I wanted to extend that part and use that to experiment with creating a wave effect with a number of different sounds coming in and out of the mix. There are strings, brass as well as three or four synths pads and a harmonica. 

After The Bars
GW: It wasn’t until playing the song in a practice room with a cellist that we kind of realised it had potential. It was a phone call I got while I was living in Shanghai, from a friend back home in Saltburn. He was going through a tough time, and it was difficult to help because I was so far away. We talked a lot about old times going for a drink in our hometown, and I started writing as soon as I got off the phone. The song really wrote itself. I think it’s very different to other music we’ve made, and has given the EP variety. 

GW: The songs for ‘Staring At City Lights’ have been written in various different places, and even different continents. This song was written originally while I was living in Newcastle, and a lot of my friends had left the city. I wanted it to be historical but also kind of a walk through the town. 

PO: This was the first tune I produced, ever! I used a soft synth version of a mellotron for the strings and put a few layers down. As the saying goes, you never forget your first time. We’d like to thank James Corcoran, David Todd and Nigel Crooks from Goosed Records who contributed to mixing and mastering the EP.

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