"Do an album," they said. "It'll be fun," they said.
Around ten years ago, the drummer in a band I played in said, "You should do an album." Back then, I'd all but given up on music. But his words rang round my head. And I decided to go for it. Ten years on, the CIRCU5 album's here.
So, why did it take so long?
Life got in the way. Family and health issues struck, and my dear Dad, Pete, fell ill when I started recording. He passed away at the end of 2014. (I've dedicated the album to him, as I owe everything to my parents for encouraging me into music.)
Anyway, these experiences and others led me to isolate myself. I saw the album as a challenge. Could I write and record it all myself? I tried. But writing, playing, singing, recording and producing everything was a massive task. Halfway through, I felt a bit lonely. In all honestly, I went a bit nuts.
I called on friends and bandmates for support, including Dave Gregory (XTC and Big Big Train), Phil Spalding (Mike Oldfield), Matt Backer (ABC), Johnny Warman (Peter Gabriel), and Alan van Kleef (Ariel X and Rachel Stamp). Each brought a different flavour to the album, and took it in tasty new directions.
My most memorable moments? Sitting on a bench in Swindon town centre with my daughter, recording the crowd sounds that would become the intro to 'The Amazing Monstrous Grady' (I had a cold - you can hear me sniffing); welling up hearing Dave Gregory's guitar on 'Strings' for the first time; and Lou Young (CIRCU5 psychologist) clip-clopping through the kitchen in her high heels (and other clothes, I might add) for the intro to 'The Chosen One - Resurrection'.
So, here we are. It's been a long journey with many ups, downs, twists and turns, but the album's out and I'm proud of it. Like the main character in the CIRCU5 story, I overcame my problems, connected with others, and hopefully became a better person.
As my way of saying thanks for checking out CIRCU5, here's a couple of free tracks in one high-quality mp3:
I hope you like it. If you do, maybe you'd like to check out some more and get the album?