The Making of 'While Jill Sleeps...'

Dear Comrades,

I don't want to reveal a lot but 'While Jill Sleeps...' album is a reflective piece of work in many ways. It was a very difficult album to make but adventurous as well. It was made in some of the most bizarre locations you can think of and under a lot of trouble. I travelled from the outskirts of London to the valleys of Wales, from backgardens to bat caves. The recording sessions and creations of those songs were very fulfilling experiences for me but at the same time what was happening outside my zone was pure hell. There were interesting moments but there were so many challenges and hurdles along the way. Actually, I don’t think there was even one session that was relaxed and calm. It was just the opposite.

The song that would become 'While Jill Sleeps...' was initially composed a few days before my operation for the removal of cysts on my head in December of 2010. I was just fiddling around with my Casio keyboard. I knew when I came up with that song; I got the introduction for the album that I was intending to make. The original version was a lot more experimental and more of playing by chance. It was later narrowed down to the version that you hear on the album. The lyrics for 'Night Visions through Unread Eyes'- the oldest song on the album- was written in 2005 while I was doing a night shift IT job feeling absolutely hopeless and empty- being in the wrong place and also that urge to be free to do what I want. That song, by the way, was initially called 'Hope'! The music was composed much later in Wales in about 2007. The lyrics for 'Reality Bites' were written in a bed bugs infested room but the music was put much later (only in late last year). I wrote 'Drifting from My Shadows' and 'Iodine' in a box room. I remember recording a song called 'Life in Another Frame' on Friday, the 13th of April 2012 but it wasn't having the same atmosphere that I wanted except for a few sections. Then I recorded that song properly in a house all on my own playing a grand piano. It was recorded in one take- the entire piano piece. I tried to record once more to be on the safe side but in the middle of the song a drunken person started banging at the window pane. So, I had to stop recording and I didn't get the opportunity to record once more (luckily I had recorded my first good take just ten minutes prior to that)! 'While Jill Sleeps...' was also composed using the same piano on another day and there was a parrot in the house called A-major who contributed some vocal lines. For 'Scriptures', I remember rushing to the garden when the rain started to fall, leaving the tap on so that the water would drip on a bowl filled with water, turning on the gas stoves to get sparkling lightning sounds and standing under a railway bridge tunnel in West Harrow in the early hours of morning with my recording device... waiting for the train to pass.

The software recording tools used for recording the whole album were Audacity and Protools. For some tracks I recorded A cappella in a dark practice room in New Southgate and then fitted to the instrumental tracks. Some of the tracks were recorded in Grassroots Studios in Cardiff, some in a house, some in a practice room and some in bat caves.

Pre and post recording sessions were all filled with disturbing and inconvenient moments. I still remember running to catch a bus from Cardiff to London after one recording session and people walking in front of me tried to trip me down. They were just hurling abuses at me. Some people derive some kind of sick pleasure by watching how others fall when they are rushing to get somewhere. Luckily, I didn’t fall and brushed past those numbskulls completely ignoring their verbal vomit. Then, there would always be criminal activities just outside where I live and countless anti-social activities inside the house as well. There was a nasty stabbing incident that took place few days prior to the first recording. I was sitting in my room with my headphones on and suddenly I heard this shrilling cry that sent all the birds flying. A few minutes later as I was leaving the house, there were policemen everywhere. Then on another occasion someone would bang the doors at midnight after an argument the night before with someone in the house. The ultimate event happened three weeks ago when the place I was living was a target for vandalism on a very serious level. Most of the glass windows were smashed. We all had to evacuate the place, the next day but on the day of evacuation, I somehow managed to carry out a pre-planned photo session for the album! After the session, I was literally picking up some of my bags and leaving that place. I still don’t have a proper home and despite the destructive elements outside, I made an album in the way I wanted in the end. A paradox indeed!

With love,
SS Bat

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