An insight into the River E.P with Jay Bartlett
It’s been a while since our last update, but this is my first on the blog (so I can take all the glory mwahaha) and we have released our first multi track offering, of the 2 we have for 2014. I promised I would shed more light on how they both came to be, so here goes…
I’m a little hesitant to call it an E.P, seeing as its definition is “Extended Play” traditionally a B-side addition to a full record and our 7 track offering comes in at a whopping 30 minutes long, for the purpose of a prelude to our L.P “Long Playing” (only a bit longer) record we will be releasing this winter 2014.
We began writing for our album in the early months of 2013 and we always had a clear goal of where we wanted the music to go and how it should feel. The simple plan was that we would write until our creativity hit a wall and choose the best songs to go on the record. The problem was that we never hit that wall and we didn’t want to waste the songs we had eliminated from the final record. In fact, my personal favourite song from the E.P “River” was written half on the underground in London on the way to one studio and the rest the day before we recorded the drums and bass for the E.P, at another studio in Sweden. That is really how we ended up with such a long E.P!
What some people, who have followed our careers in previous bands will know, is that some of our music has morphed and evolved from pieces we have written in the past. When I wrote and recorded my first record, I was only 17 and looking back on it now, I know that a lot of it was very unrefined and in some cases the raw un-manipulated state of those songs, is what made them so special to me and others, but at the same time I always knew even back then, that a lot of these ideas were pieces of a jigsaw that in a lot of places, I would try to force together and eventually it would sort of work, but was never quite right.
Two songs on the E.P “Memories” and “Better Man” were produced and co-written in America with a platinum record producer Rick Beato, in between the stages of recording my first album and where we are now with Blackwater. Though the experience was one I struggled with, I learnt some very important lessons in song writing and combined with the days of recording my first album, it ultimately sparked my intrigue and career in all aspects of audio production and song writing. It’s something I feel I’ve been very fortunate to go onto teach in clinics and put to use on international projects and now our first E.P and album. Our first single from the E.P, “Waste Away” was actually part of my first Production/Co-writing job with a good friend of mine Justin Smith in America, not long after my time with Rick Beato. Although these songs were written before Blackwater’s time, they were some of the first songs we played together at our first show in L.A and are very much a part of the progression of our music and how we write songs today, so it felt like an important step to show where we have come from. Most importantly, because we truly believe that our debut album will be the next leap in the evolution of Blackwater and our music.
Through pure coincidence the E.P has taken on some kind of a theme, geared towards a fictional character I would say that drifts between my own experiences and others I have witnessed. Bad things happen in life and when I was younger I was very conscious of the fact that nothing terrible ever shook my own, however it was very apparent how other people were affected by certain things, sometimes in very big ways and for some time all my songs were written about others before they gradually turned towards myself. Without getting too melodramatic, I think the songs on the E.P naturally took on the same feelings throughout in positives, negatives and even neutral understanding. Songs like “Waste Away” and “Better Man” are very clear on one felling whereas “Blackheart Evil” and “Moving On”, for instance, shed a more complicated light on the matter. One thing that has always stuck with me is my love for rivers, I can’t really explain it but it’s something that is constant and generally provides a happy place. Anyone who loves a good metaphor will understand what we were driving at with “River”. The thought of washing away all of your troubles is something most people can relate to, especially leaving a past behind while drifting off towards better things.
Our view on music has always been that we want to try and create something that could reach as many people as possible and let it speak true words and evoke feelings that anyone could identify with – whether that is something as simple as having fun and a good time, or more serious matters like our campaign for Cancer Research. What is clear now is that our debut album will be more of an upbeat party release and most likely why we opted to put the songs that we have done on the E.P. The simple truth is that we are three best friends (though living in different countries) who love to make music and live to entertain, though we realise you can’t please everyone…
As for the future you can obviously expect our debut album release for winter 2014 and a heck of a lot of live shows as we keep building, but we won’t just stop there! Work never stops at the Blackwater camp. It seems that we are incapable of sitting still for 5 minutes as we have some other special releases already in planning for 2015 and we won’t waste an ounce of it!