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Outer Monologues 1 Year Anniversary

Written At 9am Saturday Nov 26th, 2022

“I’m Paranoid That Someone Has It Out For Me, And I’m Offended If I Found Out They Don’t”

I am so happy these are the opening lines to my debut album Outer Monologues, which came out 1 year ago today. I wrote and recorded the demo for this song (Survive) at 4am and when I listened back and heard that lyric, I realised what the album was about. I always wanted to write an album, but I’m so obsessed with concepts that by the time I had 5 songs together I would lose the story, and instead release them as singles, EPs etc. But when I played Survive back, I realised what my first albums story would be. It would be a night filled with all the worst parts of yourself, and rather than forgetting them, you would face them head on. The story would start at the beginning of every terrible night out and end in the future, after you’ve reconciled and laughed at the dumb mistakes you had made.

While this song made me realise I had an album, it wasn’t the first song written for OM (I’m gonna say OM because I am not typing Outer Monologues anymore, I’ve typed it in so many emails that my phone autocorrects all words starting with m to monologues). The first song written for OM was The Party, the tale of being misunderstood at a party and being in love. But shock horror gasp, you weren’t really in love, you just thought you were because everyone else said you were. Peer pressure is wild. The Party started as a Chuck Berry, old rock track, but when I went to record it, something changed. As a rock song it felt too much like a GOOD party. This song was about a mess, not a wild mess, a broken mess. So I changed the tempo, put on a harmonica for the first time and wailed:

“I never really came to the party, just to tell you how I feel”.

At this point I should probably point out my tendencies to work alone. It’s very rare to find musicians you work well with, and who understand the absurd task of making an album. My previous EPs (Bar People Leave In Color) had been solo affairs. However on this song you can hear amazing backing vocals from Rebecca Dermody, and piano/organ chaos from Peter O’Sullivan. This was my first time working with either musician on a full length project, and all my thanks to them for helping put this album together. I would ask Rebecca to “sing into the mic, but from halfway across the room, and pretend you’re kind of drunk, but not wasted”. I would tell Peter to “Play this one like Randy Newman , but if he was on a FJM song”. I would constantly give the incorrect chords on purpose because I heard Bob Dylan had done this on John Wesley Harding. I would start recording without warning to see what happened. I was a tyrant, still am. Thanks guys.

The cover of OM was supposed to be this grand photo, me on a dark road, wandering down, as city lights could be seen in the distance, to signify I was on an adventure alone in the city. It did not work. Tried many times, it was never exactly what I wanted. I genuinely came close to giving up hope of finding a good cover and was going to use the above photo of my hat. Then on the walk home after a midnight shoot that failed badly, I saw the photo. We took it where we stood at a bus stop window pane, with my name and album title taped to the other side, barely holding on due to condensation. I looked at the photos as home after an episode of Letterkenny and hot chocolate (It was midnight in October). It was perfect.

The album ends with Ghost. Yes I’m skipping ahead but its my first blog post, I’m not writing Game Of Thrones. Ghost was my attempt at writing a closer song that emphasised how I felt about music and life. I though of the whole album story, all the highs and all the very very very low lows, and wanted something that summed up moving on:

“Grab My Coffee And Away I Go, To Another Place That I Don’t Really Know”

OM Isn’t a perfect story, no story is. I may have been able to point out my faults with years of hindsight, but how do I know I won’t do it again? I can’t, so instead I’ll grab a coffee and try my best going into the unknown (shoutout Frozen II fans). This song has ended every show since OM came out. It’s my statement piece. I’ve done enough that I don’t care if it's an audience of 1,200 or 12, I’m really grateful to be playing music, and I still can’t believe people listen.

It’s one year to the day since Outer Monologues came out. I am drinking a coffee (naturally) and writing this in one go at 9am. Stream of consciousness, freeform jazz and all that. I wanted to say a few words to commemorate a big accomplishment for me. My first album. (No Peter, my first two EPs on CD is not my first album, it’s a compilation CD.) Anyways, I'll definitely write more about this album at a later time. Might go track by track, might do a whole bit on inspiration, who knows. But for now:

Thank you for listening.

And to anyone who says you can’t produce, write and record your own concept album, tell them “That’s an oddly specific insult” and then punch em in the neck*

*Don’t actually punch people in the neck, please.

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