As we approach the tenth anniversary of the first session that yielding recordings for both volumes of Epicentre Nights, we have found ourselves going in two directions. One is looking at the past while the other is looking at the future, but both seem to be fairly introspective.
They say that if you want something done, you should speak to a busy person, and busy is what we are these days. Max and Bryce as still listening to old records, Robert is working on preparing his new show, John has been busy with work, Max has been doing university courses, Bryce has also been busy with studies and designing learning courses, Robert has also been busy with work and doing international Zoom poetry shows. But amongst all these, we’re finding little nuggets in our a archives and making new things happen.
Long ago, Bryce has hosting performance gigs that featuring musicians, spoken words artists, performance artists, comedians, and more. As a natural evolution from the spoken-word oriented bands he has been involved in back in California, as owing to his love of John S Hall and King Missile, Bryce proposed a new music and spoken word collaborative project as far back as 2006. And over the years, some things did get recorded, but largely shelved, waiting for a time and an outlet when they could see the light of day.
There is a compulsion to create that lives within every artist. People who aren’t creative never really understand this. An idea, a thought, a scheme forms in our minds, and we need to let it out and see where it goes. This could be a story or a song, a painting or sculpture, a t-shirt design or a wordless poem featuring inanimate objects and a play on the concept of ‘static.’ Whatever it might be, it needs to come out, it has to come out, and only a fellow artist will understand this need, the way an artist will watch something on TV differently from a non-artist, appreciating the work that goes into everything behind the scenes.
A folder on a backup hard drive began at some point: ‘Bryce’s Lost Years,’ it is called. It’s a collection of many hours’ worth of music that was created at a times where Bryce had sudden needs to record the music that formed in his head, but little or no outlet to see it off into the world. It was a time of waiting for other collaborators to come along because like many artists, Bryce has that imposter syndrome that makes him feel like the things that he writes aren’t finished unless collaborated on and approved by other artists. It was a time when the people in Bryce’s life were not creative people; people who didn’t understand the compulsion to create; people who were, though maybe not by intention, roadblocks to the creative process and its outlet.
But Bryce also doesn’t believe in throwing anything away. If it was made out of this need to create, then there must be something within it that is worth saying and showing to the world, even if we don’t know what that is yet. So all of those songs that needed to be recorded in the dead of night when everyone was asleep, whispered into microphones, or recorded with other musicians in sheds or disused sports halls or flat entryways, or composed in MIDI on a sunny Sunday morning and allowed to loop and generate, Brian Eno style, on ancient and struggling computers, they were all saved in the dark recessing of USB hard drives, waiting for the time when other creative types would hear them.
Bryce made various attempts to get things started, sending music out to other musicians and writers and poets, asking if they saw something worth pursuing and if they wanted to contribute. Some of these things got recorded, and the ones that did found their way into the Lost Years Archive. Some others, film scores from films that were never completed or full band recordings that could never be played live, have recently found their way to other performers for collaboration, and all of them have found their way into a new folder, titled Friends of Croydon Tourist Office.
We’re still adding bits and putting some finishing touches on the recordings, but we have contributions from the likes of Jason Disley, Mike McGee, Helen Johnson, Chris Brooks, and many more and we’ve gotten close enough that we can now share with you the mock up of the cover art (which may still evolve, as this is the way of the creative process).
Partly from the archives and partly from some new recordings, we also have another collection in the works, with the provisional title Croydon Tourist Office is Electric. Stemming from the electropop stylings on our single Fabulous, we have a collection of music that’s in a more electronic format. In the works for this one is an epic, multi-genre song that has been in the works since about 2015 called Sleep Deprivation. But much like Friends of Croydon Tourist Office, Is Electric is still a work in progress, and the 18 minute long beast that is Sleep Deprivation needs more tending to.
So, that’s what we’ve been up to and where we are going. What have you been up to?