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The title ‘Collapse List’ was inspired by ’S-Town’, a podcast from Serial and This American Life. The content and the story of the central character have no relevance to the album; it's an investigative journalism series about a “backwards” little town in Alabama, where a member of the community reached out to the journalist about an alleged murder that everyone ignored. The story ends up being about this interesting guy who seems to be incredibly smart beyond his position in the world, a 'doomer' stuck in a small town, weighed down by his own knowledge and nihilistic view of the world. Anyway, he would write these long email lists to the journalist outlining all that he saw wrong with the world, the things that needed to change and how we can change them, mainly around global warming and sociopolitical issues. He would title them “collapse lists” I feel like an album is always - for any artist - just a marker, a timestamp of when it was created, and while I only really recorded it in 2023 (though some of it was demoed in 2020), a lot has changed for me in the three years since my previous album ‘Cannot Be, Whatsoever’ was released, especially in 2023. The record speaks of my recognising what needs to change in my life, from my location, my feelings towards making music, the nature of my relationships and such. I didn't necessarily make the album I set out to make, and I feel like I never do, but this is what I made and therefore this is now the album. It started to feel like a catalogue of personal growth; my own little collapse list I made the decision to leave Cardiff, where I’d been living for fourteen years, around the time I finished recording my last album, ‘Cannot Be, Whatsoever’, in the early days of the pandemic, and the romance of having to climb over a drum kit and piano to get to the sofa in my instrument-cluttered former coachhouse wore off once I had nothing I wanted to record. My equipment became a massive elephant in the room representing my lack of productivity. I’d been longing for a detached studio space, somewhere I could record without disruption, without sitting down in a mess, and also a house that could be a real home All my tours had been cancelled and I felt no inspiration to make music, so I took the opportunity to set up base, to make a creative space for myself and my friends. I found a converted 1800s barn in the Welsh countryside, with a plot of land and stables, and set about tearing the stables down with my Dad to build a studio, reusing the red stables' wood. A project like that naturally creates its own lists as we outlined our ideas and plans, and detailed the materials we needed for the construction. The process took around nine months, and I didn’t make music for over a year; a break I think I really needed. It gave me space to ask myself why I make music, what I do and don’t enjoy about it, and honestly question whether it was actually what I wanted to do anymoreThe move out of the city and into the countryside reflects the environment I grew up in. My Dad had a studio next to our house when I was a child, a renovated stone barn in the remote countryside. As we get older I suppose many of us see our lives paralleling those of our parents in some ways, and this move for me felt a significant and meaningful one With my own studio complete, I naturally slipped back into making music again and the songs and lyrics began to compile themselves, coalescing as 'Collapse List'. The album was made nearly entirely in the new studio space, except one song recorded in a hotel room in Chile, while I waited to board a Greenpeace ship to Antartica in February 2022 The environment and landscapes around the new house and studio inspired much of the artwork: the photo on the cover of the album is from the hills near the land where my parents bought their house in the 1980s. The other photo is out of the window of my house in the winter of 2023, during the album-making. I worked with acrylic paints on an old canvas to pull the elements together, framing the photos around line-drawings of my house and studio, and the grids, markers or tallies might represent checklists, or maybe the counting of the days. Birds, words and lyrics fly overhead, some stay a while, resting in the trees There’s a line in one of the new songs: “my legs won’t go where my head wants” I guess they finally did
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