released February 23, 2011
The Slow Death of Julius Way
Songs composed by Matthew Adams
Produced by Matthew Adams
Players: Matthew Adams, Tim Cotterell, Bex Baxter, Ash Tidball, Kait Devoy, Christopher John, Monika Misiowiec, Deborah Ward, Andre Jarema, Lucky the dog shuffling and snoring
Cover Art by Nikhil Kirsh www.nikhil.org.uk
Born 5:27am 23/02/2011
September 2010. There I sat under the stars of Devon pondering my next move. I had just received an email telling me I was not destined for the ship I had applied to play music on and wondering what next?
Moments later out came another participant of the retreat I was on with her wonderful dog Lucky. She began telling me that she needed someone to look after Lucky for 3 months as she was off to India. I replied that as of 5 minutes ago I had no plans for the next year of my life and so got the job.
In late November 2010 I moved in with Lucky to the house in a beautiful village called Chagford in the middle of Dartmoor, surrounded by hills and horses. There I was to record this album 'The Slow Death of Julius Way'.
Death seemed to be a theme that kept rearing its head throughout the process. It was a difficult birth, it took me to places that I really did not want to go to, but the drive was there to materialize these songs that I had been carrying around in my song sack strapped to my back. Somehow it was important to get it done. I didn't know why and still don't.
There's something interesting about what questions an artist asks about his or her work. I find more and more I only see there being one question that is relevant - IS THIS REAL? Is this an expression of something real? Is this a true representation of what is deep and authentic in my experience, of what is yearning to be born through me? Am I honoring and serving that which is wanting to enter the world? Or am I concerned with what's going to sound 'good'? With what might be popular? With what might make me look good? How will this be received? Is this too weird? Too cheesy? Too normal? Too obscure?
It is refreshing to find an avenue that clears all that out the way....
Is this real?
Is this authentic?
Is this true?
That is all.
And then I let go of all the other questions. For I know that if I have done my best to nurture the authentic then that is all I could ever really do. Last year I heard something that really stuck with me... 'The only thing we can offer life is our honesty...' I think this holds true for our art, for our lives, for who we are as people. And art is just one practice ground for it. If I'm not offering you my honesty with this music then what am I trying to do? Get you to like me? Would anyone be interested in listening to that?!
So here it is. It is now 00:49, Wednesday 23rd February and I am uploading the finished album.
Other than myself I've been blessed to have help from some great musicians. I made a trip to Brighton in January and met with Tim Cotterell who plays all the violin on the album. In two hours he improvised over five songs which he had never heard before, and on returning and listening to what we had put down I found he had somehow arranged himself into his own incredible string quartet. Thank-you so much Tim I cannot tell you how much your beautiful playing adds to this music.
I feel a complete glow inside every time I hear the voice of Bex Baxter who came to visit me in Dartmoor to sing on Slow Death, Friends, The Dawn, Embercombe and The Show. Also on Friends I absolutely love that I managed to get some of my favorite voices and people I've found over the years to sing a line each - Ash Tidball, Kait Devoy, Christopher John, Monika Misiowiec, Deborah Ward and Andre Jarema thank-you thank-you thank-you for all being up for my little game.
Also a huge thanks for everyone who wrote, phoned or came to visit me and kept me a little saner during my long time in isolation - Lara, Nikhil, Susannah, Erica, Rachel, Leora, Ash, Chris, Laura, Duncan, Kate, Andre and Rosa, Ella, Dada PK, Fleassy and Bex : )
A huge thank-you to Nikhil Kirsh who painted the beautiful album cover, it's a picture of me from last year and seems to visually sum up so much of the feeling of what this time has been.
Also huge thanks to Kate out in Forest Row who was kind enough to let me stay in her barn while I was apple picking last summer where I discovered the most beautiful, softest piano I've ever come across. She kindly let me return in January to record the piano for the album, in between running back and forth to the pub to recharge the battery on my laptop.
Thank-you so much Deedee for trusting me with your space and your beautiful dog. It is such a privilege to have a space from which to work without the concerns of the world, in such perfect surroundings. And of course to Lucky for being a wonderful companion and making sure that I got out the house for some fresh air twice a day, for dragging me up and down those hills.
My hope is that this music touches you in some way, adds something good to your day, allows you into a space that you might not otherwise have felt. I'm proud of it and I'm glad I never have to do it again.... This thing of death, the process of manifesting the art is like dying somehow, the death of the life that had these particular experiences and visions.... Creating the album it is the birth of the work via the death of that which created it.
Now onto the new, I don't understand what art is or what it is for, but it's a thrilling place to live from and has its own journey to take you on if you only open up to it.
I'd love to hear what you feel/think:
matthewadams2 (at) yahoo.com
Thank-you for listening and bringing a little more meaning to the time I have spent here
Matthew and Julius