Master of musical mystery, Captain of the Lost Waves is about to unleash the long awaited second album of the trilogy, “Hidden Gems Chapter 2.” The mystical magician of sound brings the planet a refreshing glance of destiny, with lyrics of wizardry and a sonic display from instruments I can’t even pronounce.
Trying to break the veil of intrigue I spoke with the Captain delving into the mystery that surrounds his music and his very being……Try as I might, his music and persona is still opened for interpretation …..
With your new album about to be released I think we should back up a bit so you can tell us the story behind the trilogy?
I respond to the continually, prodding whims of creativity…(it’s like a demanding older sibling , though usually with far more patience & gentle humour) .
I see things in watercolours/ pictures accompanied by a series of audio sketches/ doodles and scribbles .
It arrests me : welcomes me in and asks if we can meet in a new place where neither of us have yet experienced or discovered….
I see an execution / design in symmetry … albeit in a vague, sometimes clouded fashion…. a trilogy was announced from the onset of my foray into the Captains world.
I trust my feelings more than my thoughts … hence ‘ Hidden gems, chapters 1-3 ’ was born : the trilogy : a triad of exploration; to reawaken and crawl far from the formulaic beliefs & rigid conditioning that now engulfs & surround us in the modern age.
As an Artist it’s not my aim to appease others, or to seek out approval …
but to hopefully create another way of seeing/ doing things….
My distinct aim is for others to immerse themselves in what they dare.To deduce as to the key points of my journey.
The inquisitive aspect within people always yearns for an answer…. it’s the basic nature of the beast, yet it’s in the mystery of unknowing that we find something far more nourishing …. paradoxically it’s in the not knowing that we know more , and it’s certainly not an intellectual exercise.
This can leave us dumbfounded… especially in a world governed by mental energy and accepted opinions.
In doing the second of the trilogy did you happen to have any unique challenges?
Recording solely on a two-inch vintage tape machine turned out to be a real labour of love.
It came with its own particular challenges: the vintage machine, sometimes breaking down mid song….
So then you lose a multitude of hours, but when all was fixed and ready to go, you have to be ready too…
It was an amazing discipline and constantly reminds you in practicing the art of delayed gratification… something that is lost, as a general rule, in our most westernised of cultures.
But I enjoy pressure when making a record: it heightens my senses and reactions, often in the way a live show does.
You’re like a bird of prey !!! Slumber…. sit, close eyes, breathe slowly …
Then a bell sounds!!!!hunger suddenly strikes, awaken, attune to the current demands …. ….
Locate target with eyes and ears …fly.
What is your own personal inspiration for the trilogy, in particular Hidden Gems Chapter 2?
An exploration of all styles that are my key musical loves… ( old school songwriting/ vaudeville/ classical/ progressive Folk/ operatic musings, touches of cabaret and chanson , synth and World music collisions bookending touches of music Hall and psychedelic slices … ) .
Nothing here is prescribed or pre emptive… often when you create , you’ve no idea where you might end up? That’s the magic and alchemy of it…
Align these sonic diversions with my own innate chutzpah…
I then endeavour to always give you my most authentic, unguarded of speech and digression, improvisation and raw expression….
Rumination/ drama & instinctive eccentricity, bombastic colours, pomp and theatrical splendour, sardonic philosophy & storytelling, acting, intuitive humour,profundity & reflection, non conformity, clowning and, in essence, to try create a map of the deepest canyons of the often submerged human heart in all of its far, wide reaching possibilities.
At least that’s the idea … I, as any other Artist, only hope that I can get somewhere near to what I perceived !!!!
I wanted to merge all that I dearly loved, though I was advised by other professionals, that it was such a multi faceted, almost octogenarian creation, that it might indeed confuse an audience ..( actual quote from a respected industry insider on my Captain journey …
”Theatre, anarchic improvisation & storytelling with a musical sensibility that doesn’t adhere to a simple saleable model …. so you’re a clown, and a serious Musician… how does that work ???? People do not want that …. look around you, does anyone want that ??? …can you see anyone even remotely doing anything like that ? they’ll think you’re insane, and there is NO MARKET, you hear me NO MARKET“)
“Stick to one style/ genre….this can be easy if you listen”…..
yawn , yawn, yawn….. the more somebody tells me it can’t be done , the more I trust that it can…
we live on a planet full of diversity and magic …
yet we decide our successful artistic excursions be limited to a few chosen ingredients…
And Sigh !!!!( join in )
the executives from my previous incarnations all formulaically said the same ….
That’s why I’m on my own, without a label, manager or Agent… and that’s a fact I have to accept.
This is it … Captain counterculture!
Unfortunately there’s only me that can do this, because there’s only me that can truly see the vision…. I can’t deny it’s hard, it is… maybe it’s meant to be.
To really sculpt away at something that is your greatest vision ….
that’s never, ever going to be easy.
If it was easy, everybody would be doing it …
in my experience however , it’s been the complete opposite of what many executives instructed or tried to tell me
… those who come and connect with my shows or my records sense that it’s not supposed to be like anything else …. for ‘what it is is what it isn’t ‘
That took real courage , because I know I’ve taken the path far less travelled … there is no genre/ medium for me to slot in…there is no finance outside of what I create, manifest or provide …. but it’s as true & as organic as I can offer you & when your own widescreen vision is bigger than your own multitude of limitations, then you just have to do it anyway.
That’s what making Art means to me …
Is there was someone on the new album that has a special meaning for you where that stands out as your proudest moment?
I often look at my songs like my children.. they all have different qualities; they appeal to a mood in you at different times.There are many moments I could tell you about …but I’ll
Give you this … the spine of the Record was key, and as to how the theme of ‘ the circus of morality’ became a reality in our gameboard.
The almost monastic/ yogic mantra that is ‘the isles of sopholore’
a blissful beautific intro utilising vocal sounds that are of no particular language… ( revisited later but described as ‘ Captain-ease’ on the reverse domestication chorus of ‘Earworm’)
Then morphing into the open tuning feel of ‘ Circus of morality ‘ which I envisaged as a pastoral, sweet Burt Bacharach feel… ( described as jamming with Gong : as one fine listening critic so eloquently put it)
… I was particularly pleased that ‘ Uniforms ‘ started out as nod to morricone / Wild West feel with a little synth addition here and there … I feel we got rather close : imagining a sci fi theremin dance against a soaring violin line and the sub bass of the accordion rumbling along… …counterpoints & fragile interplay really makes it for me…
then ‘ Drifting ‘which was written as a piece with forty drummers in mind, and a multi harmonic vocal blanket caressing it …. I felt a distinct idea arrive in the form of a cheerleader anthem in a world music feel… like Tusk by fleetwood mac fronted by peter Gabriel ( two astounding Artists , so not a bad barometer to try aim towards )
It felt very good to get it somewhere near too, close to my original minds eye vision…. im still hearing an even huger drum remix too , so watch this space.
The third ( trilogy execution all over again see !!) is getting the respective Captains choir ( fans and Big hearted appreciators ) singing as they would at a show , in a huge studio space , singing choruses and sing along sections …. plus ‘ This boat ‘ …S.C.O.N.E ( little group of fabulous singers from Lincoln, England ) doing their choral recitation all over it…heartwarming and life affirming
By the close and hitting the bittersweet ‘ Pantomime ‘ there is a resulting shift in the atmosphere … the tension in the earlier journey is unraveling as you head towards something intangible and beautiful, yet always just out of sight …
The human condition itself
Photos Courtesy of Captain of the Lost Waves