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Six Months On – Released 2007

Sooth KitAfter recording and releasing “A Night At The Railway” Sooth went through a pretty rough time. Not only did it take a year to release “A Night At The Railway”, but I decided to go to live in America for 4 months, the longest I had been away from the band since I was 16. When I arrived back home, our bass player Ian McDermaid said that he was leaving the band to join “Red Pill Memories“. I have to admit I did doubt the future of Sooth at this point, although not for long.

We had a good idea of who we wanted to play bass. I knew Brian Eley from university and it also turned out that he played in a local band called “Keyanti“. He had previously played guitar with the band for a short period of time while I had broken one of my fingers. Although he wasn’t necessary a bass player, we knew that he was a fantastic musician and would fit well into the band dynamic.

Soon after Brian joining the band we rushed into recorded an EP with our friend Derek Bates at Old Mill Studios in Strathaven. We felt that we had something to prove, we wanted to show that even though our original bass player had left we were still alive.  The songs weren’t ready and we just weren’t tight enough. We did have a great time working with Derek but the band did not produce the results that we wanted. Not much is said about this EP. I have a copy of it, but it was never released to anyone. Again this was a low point in the band for me. I can remember questioning my own commitment in the band at this point, especially as I was coming to the end of my education and closer to securing a career.

Sooth in Chem19Instead of dropping out I stuck my heels in and worked harder than ever. I changed my style of writing. I worked harder at home, and recorded more demos than I ever had. The band started to become more technical. Working more on harmonies, practicing to a metronome  working hard on guitar sounds and being extremely critical of everything we were producing. All of a sudden we started to write some of the best songs that we had ever written, and we knew it. This was the band we had always wanted to be in, playing music that we were (and I still am) proud off. Our attitude to the band completely changed and we started to believe that this was now a realistic goal. We gained self-confidence and pride in what we were doing and we had a true belief that the songs we were writing now were good enough to grab people’s attention.

When it came to recording this EP we thought of various different studios around the country At the time loads of bands were going down to Wales to record with the same producer who did the “Funeral For A Friend” stuff. We weren’t up for that at all. We still wanted to sound like us, to have a different twist to things. We then learned that Chem 19 were relocating to a brand new studio in Blantyre and that Andy Miller (who we had worked with before) was working there. We had a visit to the studio, met Paul Savage the owner, we expressed what we were looking for, and came to the decision that this was the environment to create our new EP.

During the run up to the studio we up the game on rehearsals. We got to a level where we were tighter than ever. Brian and I were visiting a vocal coach at the then RSAMD (now called Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). I had also recorded acoustic demo’s of all the songs in order to check tempos, arrangements, vocal melodies and harmonies. To us this was going to be our break through EP.

Dinner @ Chem19We booked the studio for 7 days to get all the tracking done. We wanted the time to make sure that everything was perfect. We went into the studio with the correct attitude ready to work hard. Working with Andy in the new studio was a pleasure and it was a relaxed atmosphere through the whole process. We had friends come into visit, we cooked great dinners for everyone in the studio, watch movies while Andy needed some time to get the mix right. Although we worked our asses off it was like a holiday for me. Franz Ferdinand, Scottish rapper Hydro, Emma Pollok and Chemikal Underground signing “Mother And The Addicts” were using the studio at the same time as us and it was just a fantastic, creative place to be. We had visits from “The Cairn String Quartet“(next paragraph), Natalie Toyne our vocal coach, and Derek Bates, the producer of our previous recordings. If I ever went back into a studio to record I could only hope it would be as good an experience as we had with Andy Miller in Chem 19 recording “Six Months On”

Cairn String QuartetWhen we were in the studio Malcy had managed to convince the Cairn String Quartet to come into the studio and record some bits for us. The rest of the band had never met the girls before, they had never heard our music so I was very nervous about classically trained musicians coming in to the studio with us. To make it worse Malcy wasn’t in the studio that day. Our original plan was to only record strings for “Am I Guilty?”. It was Andy Miller who suggested we should also record some strings for “All Our Stories”.  Keen to optimise our time with the girls Brian and I worked hard that morning to try to score some music for both “Am I Guilty” and “No More Secrets”. Recording the strings couldn’t have been easier and the girls couldn’t have been more lovely or professional. Within minutes of them playing we released that it was a game changer. Hearing the girls playing to music that I had helped to write was one my highlights of my small music career. I believe that this was the first time the girls had recorded with a rock band (please correct me if I am wrong), and they have went from strength to strength since playing with artists like Emeli Sande and Admiral Fallow. I will always be grateful for how amazing they made our songs sound. Thank you!

The title of this EP comes from a lyric in “Am I Guilty?”, it also took us 6 months to record, mix and bring this album to the public. This EP was the first one not to be designed by myself. Although the band picked the themes and the concepts Stuart Reid (drummer in The Recovery) helped us put the artwork together. Brian sourced us a bar code and we release the EP on our own label “TobyJug Records“. We launched the EP with a gig at Nice & Sleazy with our favourite Glasgow band Second Skin.

Overall this EP is my musical talents at their best. I am immensely proud of what the band achieved when writing, and recording this EP and I will always look back on this music with fond memories.

We recorded 4 songs during in time in Chem 19. Below you will be able to download them all.

Six Months On
1. All Our Stories
2. The Night
3. Eenie Meanie
4. Am I Guilty?

All Our Stories

This is my favourite and most successful song we had. Jim Gellatly played this song on XFM a few times, it was the song that was played at parties and it always went down well live. This was the first song that Brian has sung considerably on. We were keen to get away from the “one person front man” model and be known as a whole musical unit. Brian and I did not talk about the themes and idea’s for lyrics and instead we went off separately and wrote what we wanted. My lyrics were about growing up in a band. Being so close to a group of people for so long really makes you feel like a part of a family, and that they will always know me as well as anyone can as they were there when I defined who I was going to be. I’m afraid I can’t comment about Brian’s lyrics, we have never had that conversation.

The Night

When I wrote “The Night” I was keen to move away from the teenage angst lyrics of the previous EP’s and try and write more positive and mature music.  The lyrics were based on a night out I attended for a friend’s leaving night. The feeling of being out with all your friends,  relaxing into the night and truly enjoying yourself. During the middle 8 of the song the lyrics steer towards my aspirations for life and the future of the band.

Eenie Meanie

This was the first song that I had demo’d at home and took to the band with the arrangement 90% complete. It was an extremely easy song to put together and the band took to it straight away. The lyrics weren’t finished until we were in the studio so during rehearsals Brian and I would sing “I’ll eat a bounty then go to bed” to the melody of the songs so we could work on your harmonies. It stuck and between the band we still call this song “Bounty”. Lyrically the song is about making the right decisions and choices in life.

Am I Guilty?

This song went through a few arrangements before we settled on the final arrangement. Listening back now I’m not sure if we pick the right arrangement or not, but I am still glad the band recorded this song. I was very excited about this song. It really showed another aspect to the band. I was keen to get some quiet/loud dynamics onto the EP and this song was perfect for it. Lyrically this about a girl I was in a relationship with who had a few emotional issues and my thoughts on the matter after the relationship ended. I can remember the first time we played “Am I Guilty” live. A friend approached us and said, although it is fairly simple, I can tell it took you ages to perfect it. He was totally right.

 

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