My first album, recorded in late 2020 and released on Christmas Eve of the same year.
Fireside Tales was largely born from the idea to finally sit down and record a few of the songs I've written. I tend to write a lot of songs - or at least sketch them out with words - but very few actually make it past the writing stage. I had started to write "A Summer's Tale" about two years ago by then, and the tone and feel of that first concept had stuck with me. I took a bunch of my largely unfinished songs that somehow resonated with the idea of a "Fireside Tale" and I mashed them together to scrape together a few "good" songs that I would then record.
Because I didn't know any better, I would write these songs on guitar and piano, marking down chords and the likes in my notebook. I started "rehearsing" them, trying to find ways to play each song that felt fun and interesting. At that point, I really should have started recording some basic demos of these songs so I could remember what I had come up with later on, but alas, I was still scared of that part. After nearly two months of writing, compiling and playing around, I had managed to assemble 6 songs that felt interesting and worth recording.
What followed was my first real encounter with recording music. I had played around with recording software, microphones and the works before, but it never really clicked with me, until then. I had set myself an arbitrary deadline for the 24th of December, in a way to let this album be a kind of birthday present. With this set date looming over me, progress was surprisingly swift. Once I had figured the basic routines for recording things, how to set up my equipment and how to use it to good effect; most of the songs were recorded within half a month. I was left with 7 songs that really "belonged" on this album (I split "A Summer's Tale" in two parts while recording), and two tracks that just kind of happened to appear alongside the main project.
After the recording process - which was heaps of fun - followed the editing/mixing stage. Again, I was starting completely from scratch, having to figure out how to use the myriad of tools that were at my disposal. This process took a lot longer than the actual recording. After two or three weeks of experimenting around, I found some setups that produced good results. After about a month of agonizing over these songs, I finally called them done, bounced them out, and was happy with the results.
Between writing the final songs, recording and then mixing them, the Fireside Tales project had occupied my mind for 4 months at least. It didn't feel right to just take these 7+2 songs, lob them on an unmarked CD and call it a finished product. I was playing around with ink pen drawing for some time by then, so I took up the challenge to make my own art for the album. A long night and a delirious morning later, the line art for the cover art was complete. Add a few more days for colouring, getting the text on there, coming up with a background and some finishing touches, and I managed to wrap the album + art up about a week before the 24th.
This song was probably one of the very last that was written, and it was written largely from scratch, assembling a few lines from various lyrical corpses and hinting at a worldbuilding project that I had started and abandoned ("'bout distant lands, and ancient folks, and ships with painted sails"). It's meant to get you comfortable with the idea of the album, allow you to get settled at the imaginary campfire in expectation for the few stories I have to tell.
The first half of the track that spawned this project in the first place. Summer is a great time, it's warm, you want to be outside, and this song starts off with that. I find Summer Nights especially to be perfect for intro- and retrospective. This is taking place in the second half: As night falls and the sunlight starts fading, you find yourself returning to the cozy homeliness of a familiar surrounding. Finally you settle down with your family and/or friends, to spend the night in happy company.
An imaginary bit of folklore that tell the story of the fabled "Three Trees", that all fall prey to the people that lived in those parts before.
The First Tree is cut down by a greedy lumberjack who had planned to sell the great trunk for a hefty sum. When he had finally managed to fell the tree, a ravine went adrift high on the slope of the mountain that the tree had grown on. The ravine covered the slope in a sea of ice and snow and finally uprooted the stump, which caused the fragile rock underneath to crack and slip, forming a ravine that caught the lumberjack just as he was trying to retrieve the trunk.
The Second Tree fell victim to a band of huntsmen who were out camping. They decided to start a fire for themselves during the night, and cut down the tree to keep their weak flame going. Their evening at the campfire evolved to drinking bout, culminating in a loud drunken stupor that upset many of the animals that called the surrounding forest their home. When one of the huntsmen tried to jump across the bonfire, one of the smoulering roots of the tree caught him by the foot and he got singed and his clothes started burning. In an attempt to save him, the other huntsmen ripped off his clothes and threw them heedlessly away. The burning garments landed in some dry bushes, which went up in flame and finally caused the entire forest to burn down. Many of the wood's inhabitants and the huntsmen perished in the fire.
The Third Tree was felled by a crew of seafaring men from far away. They had to land on the nearby coast because their mast had broken down during the storm. The large tree, to them, seemed to be the perfect replacement. As they cut the tree down, its leaves started rustling so heavily, that a great wind came up, which took the sailors off their feet and blew their ship out to the ocean, even without a sail. By this time, the wind had also carried the ashes from the forest fire to the ocean which muddied and poisoned the waters, and the great rift which was caused by the First Tree's murder had found its way down to the coast. All the ocean was drained by the rift, and nothing was left behind but a scar in the ground. Many years later, three young saplings started growing on that spot, until men came and took two of them away, planting one on the mountain slope and another in the young forest which had started to grow again...
This is a short, non-sensical song about a figure called "Old Man Kraken", because of his eight heads, for which he had eight different hats. Old Man Kraken was travelling the region with his circus troupe, which featured other extraordinary characters, such as the boy who could paint music and the laughing donkey.
A song about a boy who go so angry that wished all the buildings of the village he so hated would disappear alongside their inhabitants. An ancient magical tree overheard him and commanded the houses and mansions of the settlement to rise up from their earthen shackles and march into the ocean, never to be seen again.
All joyful get-togethers must come to an end eventually, especially when the hearth finally settles down to rest in glowing bliss. As you unsuccessfully attempt to stoke the flames to life again, a sudden gust sends some of the dying embers flying through the quiet room. The dance of the sparks reminds you of a swarm of birds that you saw just some days ago, flying just above the tree tops in the hills. In a fit of excitement you find yourself running back to that spot, flapping your arms as you go. At last, your feet leave the ground and you rise up to the birds, soaring through the morning sky, where you find a nice cozy cushion for yourself to go sleep in. Then you awake from your dream.
Free At Last/Parting Words
Legend has it, that there is a lonely ivory tower standing on a black, jagged cliff near the edge of the world. Trapped inside the tower are all our dearest wishes, hopes and dreams, sentenced to be caught there forever and only very occasionally seeing the light of day. One day, however, a brave adventurer finds her way to the tower and manages to break down the gate, setting all the fragments free from their jail. As the many hopes, dreams, desires and wishes escape the ruined tower at a break-neck speed, the adventurer's quest to get a hold of these treasures has just begun. Encouraged by the initial success, she sets out on her quest.
Head Full Of Shit (Cover)
A cover of Radical Face
's "Head Full Of Shit". The words and general attitude of the song resonated fairly heavily with me while I was recording this album, so I made a small little cover of it for fun. You can find the original here: YouTube
This is a song that I had written for an imaginary character of mine that I played in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, for a short time. This sounds stupid and nerdy on paper, and it probably is, but I quite liked the idea I had for the character, so I turned it into a song.
Maybe you've read all the rambling above, maybe you've just scrolled down to the flashy embed; at any rate: You can listen to Fireside Tales on Bandcamp or on SoundCloud. I hope you can find some enjoyment in it.