ODAS#190 – Footprints On The Ceiling

Type: Song / Date: August 2015

This song came together from a mis-remembering of some demos I’d recorded to my phone. The opening section and the middle section (the one between the two choruses, you know which bit is the chorus right? It’s the only bit that repeats) were noodled while waiting for the band to turn up to a practice. In my mind they were the same, but as I pieced it together with what I thought might be a chorus I was thrilled to find i’d written two quite different bits. So instead of returning to the opening riff, it goes somewhere else. Really quickly I had a basic song.

The final building and dropping section is pretty much Mogwai 101, but I was very much in a mood of ‘fuck it’ when it came to sounding like other bands I liked. At least i’d enjoy pretending to be Mogwai if no-one else liked it.

Unlike When I Loved Music, When Everything Was New, the other instrumental track with which it shared a release, I was less sure whether this should be left instrumental or not. Like other modern ODAS songs, I couldn’t be sure until I’d got it in the studio. It suited the method of that time to underwrite a song. The finished song was basically that underwritten version, but it was a choice not to pile loads of things onto it when I took it to Greenmount.

As a song, it has lots of space, which I like. It’s a hard one to recreate live, because it is very much about that space, and that feel. The recording had the luxury of working with the mix, and allowing the production to carry it through. That’s why it ended up as part of a double A-side. It perhaps needs the context of other songs to be fully appreciated.

The title comes from the famous story about when The Arctic Monkeys played Escobar in Wakefield and the next day there were footprints on the ceiling. That same summer i’d written a draft proposal for a documentary with that title and spoke to Ash Scott about it, and later Rob Burnell. I think it was a sound idea and could have worked. The footprints on the ceiling were a metaphor for all these Wakefield bands since that time trying to break through the glass ceiling of being from Wakefield, kicking against it, but ultimately failing. It would have started in Wakefield, but then expanded outside into other towns and looking at the wider industry.

The idea was good but we realised to do it justice it’d need to be funded, or there would need to be a strong financial plan. This wouldn’t be something we could do in our spare time for free. I was pretty down on Wakefield that summer so part of me wanted to do the documentary to re-establish my faith but most of me knew it’d probably do the opposite.

So, with the project unlikely to go anywhere, it seemed apt to use the title for a slightly downbeat, melancholic song, the repeating crescendo in the second half perhaps the repeated kicking against the ceiling, the building anger and frustration, but ultimately it goes nowhere.

For Recording see ODAS #220

For Release see ODAS #236



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