Richard Lomax (aka Granfalloon) first embarked on writing songs for a proposed year-long journal in 2014…a maddening yet rewarding journey that documented the fever dream of a chaotic year in the form of fifty-two pieces of music. Almost 10 years after its initial conception Lomax is about to release ‘Calendar – Chapter II’ as a collaboration with fellow songwriter Lobelia.
‘Chapter II’ the follow up to 2022’s ‘Calendar – Volume I’ album, taking those fifty-two ramblings, ideas, half-baked thoughts and overcooked dreams and turning them into what will become a trio of albums.
Granfalloon was conceived in 2017 when songwriter and producer Lomax recorded the debut album ‘Down There For Dancing’ with lo-fi drum machines, an Omnichord, and a guitar. The second album ‘RGB’ was released in 2019. Lomax began working with a full band, weaving his oddball elements into dreamy songs and cinematic soundscapes.
In 2020-2021 Lomax began to find more reward in playing acoustic instruments with other human beings and ‘Positive Songs’, the third Granfalloon album saw a move away from electronics towards a more organic sound… Taking cues from the storytelling of songwriters like Harry Nilsson and writers like Kurt Vonnegut.
How would you describe the album?
“I was inspired, amongst other things, by the relentless songwriting of musicians like Burt Bacharach, whom I had heard used to write a song every day just to refine his artform, whether anybody heard the song or not.”
“I’ve found out very recently from listening to an interview with Burt Bacharach that this story is a complete fabrication by his PR people! I felt like I’d been slapped in the face with a wet fish, especially given how often I’ve reiterated the story to people. Still… whatever the truth, it led to me working as I did.”
“In 2014, I wrote a song every week of the year… resulting in a set of demo-esque recordings I referred to as ‘The 52 Project’. I’d always intended to go back to it and turn it into something more realised.”
“During the ‘RGB’ album tour of 2019, I’d been introduced to Lobelia by our mutual friend, Thomas Truax (excellent artist – builds his own instruments – check him out). Anyway Lo and I struck up a firm friendship and through the Lockdown of 2020 we started this global songwriting community project called The Positive Song Project. It grew to around hundred members from all over the world.”
“It was during this time I started working (again in some cases) with a lot of the musicians who would join me when in 2021 I decided I wanted to go back to ‘The 52 Project’ and give it closure.”
What are you hoping to achieve with this release?
“To me, songwriting takes so many different forms that I began to sort through the demos from 2014 and categorise them… Some were effective as they were and required just to be recorded in a studio with the band. These became ‘Calendar – Volume I’. Some of the demos needed a little more work and other demos felt more like ‘first drafts’ and would require a complete reworking, maybe from the ground up.”
“I’m inspired by stories like the writing of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ which actually took eight years plus to finally become the beautiful piece of music that people know today. And also by the theories around the different kinds of artists. There’s a school of thought that sorts artists into two camps… Picassos – lightning-quick working, with a vision of the outcome in mind and Cezannes – slow moving, experimenting with form without a clear idea of what the final piece would be. The music industry in particular tends to prize Picassos over Cezannes but that doesn’t really work for me.”
“So when I decided on the direction for ‘Calendar – Chapter II’ in January 2023, it was this… Firstly the songs would be fashioned from the fragments of the songs which weren’t working the way I wanted them to in 2014 and, secondly, because some of the most rewarding and enjoyable moments in music had involved Lobelia, I really wanted to work on it with her. When I approached her to write it with me, she said yes!”
“We would take maybe a song title, maybe a subject matter, maybe one chord or one lyric and make them into something new. We sat down to work with alacrity and this wonderful alchemy occurred. In fact, we wrote 5 songs on the first day!”
Where was it recorded and mixed?
“I really wanted ‘Chapter II’ to have a live, organic feel. Lobelia and I recorded the songs live, in the room together at my home studio, The Dogan, in June of this year with my collaborator, Dom Major on production duties. That’s also where I mixed the album.”
“I prepared the string arrangements using demos we’d made back in March, so when we had the final takes I was ready to get the strings players in immediately. I was lucky to have some wonderful musicians on this record. That’s Lucy McLuckie, Hazel Watson, and George Burrage in the string section.”
“Arranging strings is something I only really started doing a few years ago but I’ve found it to be one of my absolute favourite things to do, I can get quite lost in it.”
“The rhythm section of the album really gave everything a great pulse. That comes from Daz Woodcock and Elliot Barlow (who also plays with Sea Fever). Then we just felt a few songs needed some slide guitar and Luke Dodd came and sprinkled some magic on the top.”
‘Calendar – Chapter II’ is out 27th October. There is a Bandcamp pre-order link available.
Written by: leancool20
Burt Bacharach Calendar Calendar - Chapter I Calendar - Chapter II Cezabbe Cezanne Daz Woodstock Dom Major Down There For Dancing Elliot Barlow George Burrage Granfalloon Harry Nilsson Hazel Watson Kurt Vonnegut Leonard Cohen Lobelia Lomax Lucy McLuckie Luke Dodd Positive Songs RGB Richard Lomax Sea Fever
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