A good friend recently said of my latest musical releases (the EPs 'Milou' and 'Letters') that my sound is more mature, more regimented and to be honest, he's totally right. It was absolutely magic seeing the songs on the 'Milou' EP come together with the help of other musicians. This is the first EP of my own songs I have ever recorded with band. I'm so used to performing and recording solo. But when you're working on songs with a band, you really realise just how much songs change to function in a band setting. This is by no means a negative observation, to the contrary, it is wholly enriching and fascinating hearing songs evolve from a tune you've played solely on guitar suddenly develop into a behemoth of a jazzy rock track, like 'In My Room' for example (see below link). My sound has become more mature and this happened completely by accident and without noticing.
However, when concentrating so hard on a new record and all the excitiment that a new musical venture brings, you lose sight of some of the traits of your past musical style. You focus so much on one record. "Buy buy buy my new CD! Hear this song, hear that one!", there's a whole campaign to get your music out there and in the hands of influential people, be that radio hosts or fanzines. Getting 'Milou' out there has been incredibly rewarding. It's a cracking EP and you can have a lot of fun listening to it. There's no one genre on there, which is probably one of the reasons it won't click with everybody. I've not gone down the standard indie guitar band route, rather I've tried to combine elements of jazz, new country and folk rock all in one, with orchestral elements arranged by my genius producer Charlie McClean and rising star Ed Prosek. But when I took to the stage to play Peace in the Park 2014 in my old hometown Sheffield, something changed.
I've been trying to brand myself as something, without really knowing what. My set at Peace in the Park was very different to what people heard back when I was a gigging singer-songwriter in Sheffield (2003-2010). I was freer then musically, I had a more relaxed approach to performing and my songs were more about performance than musical content. How far could I stretch my falsetto? What extra lyrics will come into my head? Exactly as my friend put it then, I'm now 'more mature'. So, when revisiting some old songs this week I realised just how much I've missed that aspect of my previous approach to music. I'm by no means apologetic for my foray into a poppier, more commercial sound. This also happened by accident and come on, I'm hardly writing top 10 chart hits.
Some of those tunes from my youth are a pure reflection of my path through my late teens and early 20s. There are so many memories in there, it's like a vault of all my sorrows, highs, break-ups and experiences. They are just as valid as letters or photos in forming a picture of my past self. In fact some of those songs are agonising to listen to. I've written some pretty nasty stuff in a couple of songs which I deeply regret. I've also written some improvisations such as 'Rose' (see link below), a song I think is my best ever vocal performance, despite the song being totally improvised from start to finish. I was a long way from home and my then girlfriend at the time and those feelings manifested themselves in song. It's fascinating but harrowing listening to those songs again now, it's a crystal ball view into my past.
I have disregarded the extent to which my music is linked to actual life experience. My music is more mature now, because, at 27 there's a hell of a lot behind you, good and bad. It's good to reflect on songs from your past, but not to glorify any one style as your best style or musical period. Music is a totally organic process and like the summer, you'll want a few rainy days amongst the sunny ones. Can't have too much of a single thing.
p.s. you can download a selection of rough demos, improvisations and old recordings from 2005-2010 here: https://soundcloud.com/louis-rom-goux/sets/rarities-rough-demos-and