You Are Here: Track 4: Five Songs
The countdown continues. 8 days to go before the release of Fine Soft Day’s new album, You Are Here and we are continuing our behind the scenes look at the creative process that lead to each track. Today it’s the turn of (confusingly) track 4: Five Songs.
Five Songs is a cornerstone of the album, musically and lyrically.
It is a song which grew as the concept album grew around it. Inspired by a book by Richard Erdoes called Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions the song was written primarily by Mark and then transformed by the input of Jeff and Martin. It’s a way that we write often, where the writer will present the song to the band but will be happy for his new creation to be pushed and pulled, twisted and torn apart as our collective creative mind takes over. We don’t ever write parts for each other to play. The effect can be heard in the bass line in this song, which completely transformed the original composition.
Five Songs started off life as a demo version with just a piano track and three, deliberately un-nerving vocal tracks recorded by Mark. At this point, the concept was going to be a suite of 3 songs. River, Five Songs and Roll Up The World. The ambition of the song and the whole concept continued to grow. We can’t tell the story in 3 songs, we thought. Let’s make it 4. We can make it one “side” of an album. That carried on until we had 11 tracks completed. The other material that we had been recording for the previous few months was suddenly on the back burner as You Are Here became bigger and bigger.
Many lyrical motifs that occur throughout the album can be found in this song. The river, the eagle, the storm and the road man all make an appearance here and elsewhere.
The original demo of the song was only half the length that it now enjoys. We liked the feel of the song and the intense nature of the vocals, but it needed to be expanded. More lyrics were added and the instrumental section appeared. The original intention was for the final passage to remain an instrumental, with the moog and mellotron sounds featuring heavily. It was only towards the end of the recording process of the entire album that we revisited some of the songs and realised that there was scope to make some of the vocal arrangements much more complex. This resulted in the multi-layered chanting melody towards the end of the song, which was added long after the rest of the song had been recorded.
Something that Jon Anderson once said about lyrics kept ringing in our ears - that he used to use words as much for the sound as for the meaning. There is an element of this on the album, including in this song.
The flute at the end is a nod to our musical past. In our previous existence, Mark’s flute playing used to feature heavily in our music but is consciously absent on this album.
In this case, it isn’t actually a flute either. Sorry.
Return to earth with five songs to sing
Human islands in a sea of everything
In the darkness hands are held apart
Can’t see with your eyes but you can see with your heart
The first song brought on mist and cold
That teased the young and lost the old
The second song brought snow
And it was time to go
Within a time people gathered round
To watch the eagle feather touch the ground
The road man said he knew the way to go
The river coursed its way below
The third song brought a gentle shower
Kindness within shows of power
The fourth song brought a huge rain storm
Thunder clouds and lightning form
The fifth song took away the pain
And made sun shine again
Gather round and hear the five songs talking to you
Find the sun shine on the land like where we used to live
You Are Here is released on CD and digital platforms on 1st July 2019 and can be pre-ordered at www.finesoftday.bandcamp.com.