Type: Song / Date: May 2016
In terms of the song from idea through to completion, this is a strong example of the ‘writing in the studio’ method that came around during In Skeletal and was also used on The Invisible Anchor recordings.
Prior to arriving in the studio, I had just two piano sections. I played around with them imagining them sparser, solo, part of something bigger. Rather than thinking in a structured way, I thought how they could build over many, many repeats. But in this case, that approach didn’t feel right.
Going into a recording session in May 2016, I had other great songs ready to go and this definitely lay fourth in priority, behind When I Loved music, When Everything Was New, Footprints On The Ceiling and Make Do. At that time, I expected another EP was on the way, so thought these brittle chords may well be an interlude similar to Higuera, or a quiet, final track.
Not long before hitting the studio, I stumbled upon the idea of reversing the structure. Instead of building in intensity (as usual) I pondered reversing the structure, so it slowly disappears. Simultaneously, I was thinking what a great intro ‘Reflection Of The Television’ by The Twilight Sad had, and how well it worked as a set opener for them. I’d tried to emulate that before.
I tried again, imagining writing something that was both simultaneously an extended outro to the song (as I was flipping the structure, it would become the opening) and something that summoned the menace of ROTT.
This was the opening of the track, though as this point only the piano part existed. From here, using the reverse structure idea, I slotted in a ‘loud chorus’ followed by long verse, quieter chorus and intro style verse. There was no real way I could foresee this would work in the studio or would be any good with other instruments on. But, that was the totality of the song before it entered the studio.
The working title was simply Japan. Shortly after I played for a long time with ‘Funerals Of The Future’. I was at my Grandad’s Funeral around that time and was thinking how quite soon that type of funeral will go out of fashion. Weddings have changed over the decades to be less about religion and more open to take place in fields, or halls or, well, anywhere really. Less formal. I pondered a service with a vicar and Christian hymms would (rightly) begin to fade away as my generation age and want something different. Combining that with an increasingly desolate future, the line ‘The funerals of the future will be the last parties we ever have’ came to mind – funerals becoming celebrations of life, yet in part because there was little else to celebrate as our society crumbles and become more grey.
As the album came around, it couldn’t decide if Funerals Of The Future or Funerals For The Future was better, but once I realised how close I was to Funeral For A Friend, I knew I had to drop it.
Deepsleep was the title of a short story I wrote. Without going into details, Deepsleep was a formula that allowed humans to sleep without food, water, etc for a week. It was used as a method to deal with over-population. The entire population of the earth live in shifts, a week on, a week of, sleeping via Deepsleep.
The idea of a descent away from reality, of settling in or disappearing, of acceptance or not – is it choice or not to be put to sleep either literally or metaphorically – of disconnect, but slow and almost beautiful. These ideas all fit the track once it was complete and it’s position as album opener was decided. It lowers you into the world of The Invisible Anchor.