Saturday, 9 November 2013

Announcing Project 17

Credit for the album cover photo goes to my friend Tom. Thanks buddy, you did an awesome job.

In past entries for Writer's Unblock, I've tentatively teased something called Project 17. A concept album inspired by the last six years of my life, it began life as a bit of a pipe dream. I mean sure, I could write lyrics around that theme, but the whole thing would never get set to music - chances of my old band Self Diagnosis reuniting were slim at best, I couldn't expect my current band Sudden Gunfire to bend to my creative will, and although I'd been playing drums for some time, I didn't know a thing about actually writing music. Nonetheless, I indulged the creative side of my persona and penned roughly fifteen songs over the course of 2012. I told myself I'd keep the lyrics to hand, just in case Self Diagnosis got back together or Sudden Gunfire became receptive towards the idea.

What actually happened was rather different. In November of last year, soon after finishing the last of the album's lyrical content, I picked up a guitar. I spent a lot of time in early 2013 getting to grips with the thing, learning a few basic chords and just feeling out what sounded good through trial and error. It wasn't long before chord progressions started to emerge, and the first musical seeds of Project 17 were sown. Through this year I've been pumping a lot of my spare time into crafting music to accompany my lyrics. The original plan was to cut some crudely-recorded versions of the songs in my bedroom and put them out on the internet for free, but the scope of the album has grown in a way I never expected.

As I write this in the early hours of the morning on November 9th, Project 17 is almost complete. Of the fifteen or so songs assembled for the album, twelve have made the cut, three of which have had their lyrics dropped and now serve as instrumental pieces. I've spent the last three weeks hopping between rehearsal studios and home, laying down every song one instrument at a time, and I've finally reached a point where all twelve tracks are now musically complete. Friends have donated their own equipment and time to the cause, and the result is a bunch of songs that sound better than I ever thought possible. All that's left to do now is record the album's vocals, which is a very daunting prospect (I may have scraped by attempting to play guitar, but singing is another matter entirely), but I'm cautiously optimistic about the way things will turn out.

If everything goes to plan with the vocal recordings then on Monday November 18th, at midnight GMT, I'll be releasing the digital version of Project 17 through my profile on the website Bandcamp. I'll be adopting a pay-what-you-want pricing model, so people who are willing to throw some change my way in exchange for the music can do so, but at the same time there isn't a compulsory price barrier to render the album 'off-limits' to anyone. If you want to download it for free then that's fine, this isn't studio-quality music by any means and I won't hate you for not paying for it. On the other hand, if you're willing to pay a little something, then there could be a little something extra in it for you in return...

If the album makes a bit of money, I plan to put it towards printing a small run of physical CD copies. If you pay £3.00 or more for the digital version, your name will automatically go on a priority list for a free copy of the CD, should I make enough money to make that happen. Otherwise, the CDs on their own will most likely be available for sale for around £5.00, either from myself in person or through the Merch section of my Bandcamp profile. If the album continues to perform well, then I'll get a second run of CDs printed up, and so on.

Before I wrap this up, I just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who's helped to make this album happen. To those of you who've let me borrow guitars, amps and other equipment for recording purposes, you've helped elevate this album from a lo-fi fuzzy mess into something actually listenable. To those of you who've spurred me on with words of encouragement at every stage of the creative process, I would have stopped working on this album ages ago without you. This album is technically as much a piece of your work as it is my own, and you can be sure you'll all be named on the Special Thanks page of the liner. If it weren't for you guys, this thing would never have been anything more than a pipe dream.

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