Track x Track | Video Blue takes us through his new Simmer EP
If you’ve ever listened to the glorious HeadStuff Podcast – and if not, why not?! – you’ll have heard the work of Video Blue as he’s the man behind the jaunty intro tune. There’s more to the man than raising the curtain on conversations in up-tempo fashion, however.
“Yeah? Like what?”, you may well ask, because you’re an inquisitive soul. Just so happens Mr Blue is fond of inquisition (probably) and has an arresting new EP (definitely) for your ears. Listen to it and read the man’s words about the whole damn affair below…
Following the release of my first EP More Pop Troubles in March, I brought out Simmer just back in September. The way I see it, across the four pieces of music and 10mins 51secs there is a gradual unfurling; as an arc it goes from being quite pent up, wound up like a spring, to a gradual plateau of loose calm. I very much had my beginner’s experience of meditation and mindfulness in the mix with that. So there is a simmering as it were taking place; take those spuds off the boil!
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This track has been around for years. I wrote it in 2011 and demoed it for my band, Bold Things. As with many things, it remained on the shelf as we worked through other priorities we had laid out. It was only three weeks before the actual release of this EP that I took it down and dusted it off. I started from scratch with it based around the beats and rhythms I was playing with. It seemed to fit okay.
‘Post Halcyon’ was never meant to be the opener of this EP, as I had another song in mind, but when it came into the picture and the recording went well, it immediately took its place and Simmer itself takes its name from the line ‘..Let her simmer until she froths..’
It’s a song about being in awe of someone and good times, so it’s a bit of a nostalgia trip. In a negative way though, because it unhealthily tries to exhume the past and doesn’t offer any forward solution. So I hope there’s a good sense of tension. I’m all the fun, me! The lyric is sparse and repetitious, and means a lot to me. The chorus line ‘America brought me to tears’ is my 22-year-old self referencing a time where I realised that so much of the music I was listening to and being completely touched by was made in the US. Melodrama. Everything is soundtracking my life, man.
The story of this song actually came from a dream, as wanky as that sounds. I guess it’s kind of a love song, but with angle of saying ‘yes I was a bit of a dick, and I wasted time a bit didn’t I?’ It’s sweet though, I reckon. The guitar has a lot of tremolo on it because i wanted this unstable, almost queasiness, coming through. It’s the quickest thing I have ever done.
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I have made a few excursions into ambient instrumentals (or at least tried!) With Simmer and the first EP, I did a lot of mixing whilst travelling with this tiny old laptop that used to belong to my mam. I would listen to a lot of ambient or incidental music by the likes of Brian Eno, Lex Baxter and Aphex Twin and my friend, the producer French. I loved how long meandering and beautiful instrumental journeys provided a welcome break from the more traditional form and structure we expect in a pop song (stating the obvious of course)
This tiny piece of sound felt like a nice interlude in the sequence of the EP. It takes its name from Berlin’s Schonefeld airport. To me, it conjures the excitement before lift-off. There’s a lot of vocals on it; they’re meant to sound fog-like, and eventually the backwards arpeggiated sounds pierce through as if ascending (who says I cant apply my Fine Art degree here?!)
I bought a Yamaha keyboard for £60 in a second hand shop in Hackney. It was made in 1987 and I’m in love with it. I wrote this on it, and it actually features on the final version too. A cocktail of that, some synth apps on my iPhone, a pair of chopsticks, Its loose and a little seedy. The vibe of the tune is very much about direction; ‘right I’m outta here, I’ll be seeing you’
It’s got a swagger albeit in a wonky staggery sense. I love the word ‘Navvy’, where I grew up in Dundalk, the front of the house face the Navvy Bank, where the pilot boats would lead tankers into Dundalk port. I think of this tune as being lead the other way, out to sea.