Liam has been leading an exciting music project for Brighter Sound at Kirkby High School with fellow musicians Hannah Hird (Bird to Beast, Ellie Goulding) and Christian Madden (TOKOLOSH, The Earlies). The project saw year nine and ten students explore the key components of songwriting including melody and harmony, structure, instrumentation and lyrics. Under the guidance of all three musicians and special guest artist Richard Jupp (Elbow), each pupil wrote, performed and recorded their own song.
Liam’s Spotify Playlist, Jul 2015
Untitled (How Does It Feel) – D’Angelo
Some of the songs from this playlist were very easy to pick. Christian and I came into our band TOKOLOSH with some similar influences, one of which was D’Angelo. The album Voodoo was a particular favourite, and this song is a highlight. Probably his best known.
Impossible Soul – Sufjan Stevens
Whilst working on the project, we spent a great deal of the early weeks breaking down songs into structure and finding how different artists put things together. We picked a few to throw in as curveballs, and this was a particularly unorthodox choice. 25 minutes of really brilliant work. All three of us are big fans.
While You Wait For The Others – Grizzly Bear
Another key influence for TOKOLOSH, and one that I picked in those early weeks for its relatively simple and effective structure.
Terrible Love – The National
Matt Berninger is one of my favourite lyricists around today, and this song is a highlight from The National’s catalogue.
Don’t Worry Baby – The Beach Boys
We spent a session looking at harmony and how it can be used to great effect within a song. I don’t really need to explain why we picked The Beach Boys here, do I?!
Fidelity – Regina Spektor
A fair few of the group were piano-orientated songwriters. Where we could, we tried to introduce the group to musicians we love that they may not have heard before, with the hope that it might in turn influence them. There are a lot of great examples in that sphere, but Regina is a stand-out.
Swim Good – Frank Ocean
A personal choice of mine. Frank Ocean is a favourite, and his album Channel Orange has been regularly played at my house since it’s release in 2012. This is from his album Nostalgia, Ultra. I chose this as a good example of storytelling within lyricism.
Cavalier – James Vincent McMorrow
Cavalier is a song that I like, melodically speaking. We spent some time looking at different melodies, and I went for this one as I enjoy the way he starts in the lower part of his register and builds to that dramatic falsetto in the final sections. A trick that Jeff Buckley used a lot too – another pick in an early draft of this playlist.
Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill
I think that Lauryn Hill might have been a suggestion of Hannah’s, but we all agreed that this was a great record. Another example of us introducing an artist that the group might not have heard before.
re:stacks – Bon Iver
Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago is a nine-year-old album now, but has been a near-weekly play on my iPod since its release. The production was slated at the time, but I think its lo-fi sound adds to the ethereal quality of the songs. It’s full of brilliant tunes, but I think I primarily chose this one as it’s referenced in an Ed Sheeran song and I thought they might relate. It’s also brilliant!