Everlasting Light is out now via Fox Food Records.
As far as I can tell, in the last three years folk singer/songwriter Good Good Blood, aka James Smith, has released four LPs and four EPs. Everlasting Light will be EP number five. That is pretty old fashioned and impressive by anyone’s estimation. What is more impressive is the overall quality of the music. For me, it all culminated in what I consider to be the best of the bunch, Good Good Blood’s fourth LP Songs From Where I Live, released last year via Team Love Records.
A songwriter of the most utmost delicacy and vulnerability, Smith’s music is both unassuming and arresting. It softly explores the sharpest and most uncomfortable of emotions with a deftness of touch that is alarming.
As we are a lucky bunch, James Smith recently sat down with us to discuss the songwriting process for his latest EP, Everlasting Light. He touches on his love of Badly Drawn Boy, banjos, and the short film ‘The Lonely Life’.
This was the first song I wrote for the EP and had a bare-boned version kicking around for quite a bit. I knew it needed fleshing out though and I’d seen my friend Suzy Jivotovski (GRNDMS) on Instagram playing her banjo so I sent it to her to see what she could do on it. She is such an amazing musician and sent me back the beautiful banjo line. It just made the song. Then I asked my friend Brian Russ (Spirit Plate) to put some guitar on it too and again, I was totally blown away by what he came back with. It’s one of my most favourite songs that I’ve written.
I remember writing this one quite vividly which is unusual for me. It’s usually all a blur when I write. I remember it came very quickly and has quite direct, personal(ish) lyrics. Only one vocal in it too which is something I am trying to get more comfortable with as, in the past, I’ve hidden my voice behind a multitude of vocal tracks. A great song, in someone else’s hands it probably would have been a classic.
3The Lonely Life
I fell in love with the short film ‘The Lonely Life’ which features Will Oldham as this guy who’s a bit weird and can’t remember who he is or what he’s done before (I won’t say anymore so as not to ruin it). It’s beautifully shot and so thought-provoking and cool. It’s also got an ace soundtrack and the title song is by a band called ((sounder)) and it’s just so amazing I had to cover it. But I didn’t want to do like an average, standard recreation of the song so I made this instead. I thought hard about whether or not to include it but only had 5 other songs so it went on to make it to 6 as I much prefer even numbers.
I had the acoustic guitar riff for a while and couldn’t seem to get anywhere with it. Nothing was sticking in terms of melody or anything else. So I looped it and just kept singing over it until I stumbled onto this melody and words. It breathed life into it and I just knew I had to finish it. Brian again sprinkled his guitar magic over the top and it turned from a little acoustic ditty into a pretty full on rocky vibe. Definitely, the harshest and most raw sounding thing I’ve ever made and I love it.
I went through a stage of just messing about with a few keyboards I’ve got lying around and this was one of a few little instrumentals I made. I really love it and think it sounds really cool. Kind of inspired by the instrumentals on the first few Badly Drawn Boy EPs which I still hold very dear.
If you’re going to call an album or EP after one of the songs then it better be pretty f’ing amazing! And I think this one of the best songs I’ve written and I’m so glad/proud that people tell me the same. It’s dead simple but holds a lot of emotion and feelings. It’s kind of me reminding myself everyone feels like I do sometimes and that it’s all going to be ok. Again Brian added the little guitar riff at the end which takes it off in another direction. I love it.
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