Published Nov 08, 2010After a four-year gap between records, Manchester's Badly Drawn Boy (aka Damon Gough) has finally resurfaced with the new album It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes. As its title suggests, Photographing Snowflakes is the first instalment in what Gough plans to be a trilogy of records that see him producing and releasing new music in short succession.
"[The series] allows me the freedom to say that's what I was thinking on that day or during the three- or four-week period of making this album," Gough tells Exclaim! "It's just opened up my creative world in a way that I've never really had before. I should've discovered this before now but it's taken me this long to see that that's how simple it can be."
Prior to stumbling upon this new way in, Gough would write songs at home on his acoustic guitar or piano and then take them into the studio to work out arrangements and overdubs. "A song can go in many different directions depending on the mood you're in on the day you're recording that one song," he says. "It's quite a daunting thing to go through. I'm quite an indecisive person at the best of times. It could sound good with piano or without piano, or with strings -- there's so many different ways to do it."
Despite writing more songs for the first instalment, Gough completed just ten tracks and stopped, deciding to package them together as a document of that short time in the studio, the result being It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1: Photographing Snowflakes. And while he plans to have the next instalment out by the middle of next year, he has no idea what that second record will sound like. "There's a handful of ideas for the next instalment," he says. "I could even go back to songs I'd written ten years ago."
The participation of Stephen Hilton, who produced Photographing Snowflakes is similarly up in the air. "We talked about it, but perhaps we deserve a break from each other. Or at least he deserves a break from me," Gough says.
Instead, Gough explains that he would like to collaborate with other musicians, something he enjoyed while making his first album, 2000's Mercury Prize-winning The Hour of Bewilderbeast. "What I want to do with these next two instalments is work with a lot of different people. To do two or three days in the studio with one guy and two or three days with someone else," he says, but emphasizes that none of these ideas are set in stone. "The general rule is there are no rules to this trilogy."
Badly Drawn Boy will tour North America this winter and play Toronto on December 8. All the dates can be seen here.
You can read Exclaim!'s full Badly Drawn Boy interview here.