Jape return with their fifth album This Chemical Sea on Monday (26 January) and you head the whole record in full ahead of its release here on Q. Leader Richie Egan – who has also worked with David Kit and Villagers (the latter's Conor O'Brien makes an appearance here – has written us a guide to the record.
Seance Of Light
The first track on the album is called Seance Of Light. The idea for the lyrics sprang from the time we spend staring at screens in one form or another, basking in their light. We can experience news stories from the other side of the world through them, which don’t always feel real. More like they could be from the spirit world because you don’t have a direct connection with them. We get so much information these days it can seem less valuable. We waste so much time taking in useless information. The melody came quite quickly; I wanted to make an upbeat track so used the four chords.
The Heart’s Desire
I wrote while I was meditating a lot. I found that meditation gave me an insight I don’t normally have. I was able to sort of turn my brain off and let the thoughts flow. I wrote it just after my mother passed away and found that meditation was the one thing that really helped me through that. I started the track with the bass guitar and that influenced me basing the other songs around bass.
I wrote this particular track starting with the piano chords bouncing around a bit and took it from there with some nice MPC toms. Whenever I write lyrics, I try not to deliberately say something; I just try to let the words happen. I think I was reading a lot about global warming and the environment at the time, so the track is quite a sad track for Mother Nature.
Without Life In The Way
The fourth track, Without Life In The Way, was another track I wrote while meditating a lot. It kind of stemmed from the bass line and then chorus - Glenn (Keating) helped a lot with the decision-making process and song-writing on the album, he came up with some really beautiful harmonies. We had a different chorus originally but when we got into the studio, Glenn came up with this really nice chord progression which worked so well. I really like the song, it’s probably the slowest on the album but I dig it’s warmth and the way it chugs along.
Breath Of Life
This is probably my most personal track on the album. I wrote it just after my Mother fell ill and it makes me feel more connected to her - it’s a musical love poem to her. The piano line at the end is one of my favourite pieces I’ve played. I remember I just sat at the keyboard and let the melody come. Now, whenever I hear it, I think of her.
This is probably my favourite track on the record. I originally wrote it on acoustic guitar and it had a completely different verse structure. Picking our last song, Glenn suggested a re-work of this. I had two beautiful days where everything jus clicked and the lyrics came in one breath. It felt really good. I have an old Siel Orchestra keyboard which I used to get an arpeggio going. I sampled the notes of each key and arpeggiated them. I love the synth sound in the track now. Incidentally, the Siel Orchestra is the track that’s used on The Rip by Portishead which also has a beautiful tone, it’s an old italian synth.
I Go is another one of my favourites. The beginning came very quickly. It’s kinda about the way you never really truly know anyone, even those closest to you. You go to places in your head that you wouldn’t particularly tell them about, no matter how close you are and it’s sorta like thats the personal journey you have to go on but it’s also about not losing sight of the beauty in the world and trying to make sure you go and find as much of it as possible.
Love On The Crest Of A Wave
…was the first track I wrote that was gonna define the album. It’s probably a little less developed than other tracks on the album but I like the fact it’s got some really cool synth arpeggios in it 'cause i’m a bit of a synth nerd. I really like the harmonies of the track too. I wanted to try echo some Tame Impala - I really dig those guys. It still has it’s merits, I like it… some days!
Ribbon, Ribbon, Ribbon
This wasn't originally supposed to be on the album. Myself and Conor from Villagers had an idea to do a song each. One of us would take the lead in a track and the other would collaborate, seeing what they could bring to the table. So I wrote RRR, as an acoustic track. Then Conor came to my house with an 808 drum machine and a bottle of wine and we had an amazing time bouncing ideas off each other. I really like that it’s a product of one intense night’s work. You can tell it flows pretty nicely and lyrically; they’re probably my favourite lyrics on the album, dealing with memory.
This Chemical Sea
I wanted to finish the album on a song-based track. So TCS was one of those songs that just came… I have an Elektron Monomachine that I made a simple beat on. I took the bass up (simultaneously recording and DI’ing) and it was picking up a weird frequency from my vocal mic that I thought sounded cool. The song translates well onto acoustic guitar making it easier to do radio sessions and stuff… Actually, I’ve been transcribing a lot of tracks on the album onto my classical guitar and they all work really well which is good. SO that’s me, Richie Egan talking about the new Jape album This Chemical Sea. Thanks for reading!
For more head to Thischemicalsea.com.