When you build a musical project around the concept of time, people’s constant battle with it, as well as their tendency to over-reflect, you’re left as either a quivering wreck, or feeling oddly optimistic. The latter is the option we strive for in Sandtimer, but it’s not an immediate feeling, it’s the end product of all these other, more discomforting feelings when considering time. It’s the route that a lot of our music ends up travelling too, and our latest single release ‘New Year Morning’ is no exception. Here is an insight into the origin of the song, from our very own Rob Sword:
“It was a cold, grey New Year’s Day a couple of years ago. Coming out of a long bout of the flu and slightly hungover from the previous night, I was slumped at my laptop, scrolling through Facebook to the distant sound of the soft patter of rain. A song came up on my newsfeed and I absent-mindedly clicked to listen to it. It was just one four-chord sequence, round and round, for the entire song, but somehow the song transported me out of the bluesy mindset I was in.
When was the last time I wrote a song with just four chords? I thought to myself as I listened. Before I knew it, I was perched there with my guitar, trying out a pattern. Still feeling like I hadn’t really woken up yet, I sang a rather obvious description of my situation: ‘Wake up, it’s a New Year Morning’. From there, the first verse gradually started coming together, though very jumbled at first, followed soon by the chorus. The song became a sort of repository for all the hopes and fears about the future I had, so I put the whole song into the 2nd person to disguise this.
Although the basic idea for the song crystallised at that time, on that day, it took a long time for me to feel satisfied with the song; it passed through a number of different arrangements until a moment just six months ago, where I tried humming a choral accompaniment directly into my laptop’s microphone. As soon as I’d put together a rough sketch of the sparse arrangement you can hear on the record, I knew New Year Morning was ready to go.
We decided to release it on New Year’s Day, for obvious reasons (i.e. because 01:01-18, the release date, corresponds to my favourite religious text, John 1:1-18 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”). Due, however, to a cosmic injustice, it didn’t actually materialise on any of the online stores until the 3rd or 4th, where the moment kind of felt like it had passed. Note to self: don’t write songs that are essentially date-stamped, unless you are certain you will be able to release them on said date.”
Time will tell as to whether we did back ourselves into a niche corner of New Year songs, ones which can only be played between December 26th and January 1st, but who knows. We’re strong believers of the view that if you like a song, listen to it. Many songs are now considered so precious that they can only be played on certain occasions, meaning the song exists largely in an ornamental state, rather than as an active experience. We’ll leave you on that note, hopefully you’ll feel liberated to enjoy 'New Year Morning' whenever you please, and we’ll get back to listening to ‘Auld Lang Syne’.