On July 6th one of Trackd’s first ever artists ‘Dan Bettridge’ will release his debut studio album ‘Asking For Trouble’. Songs that feature on the album were first ideas that were laid down by Dan on Trackd, the songs were penned in Wales in his songwriting cabin and then subsequently developed with his producer Charlie Francis in the studio.
You may have seen Dan Bettridge present our ‘How To’ videos on YouTube or when he recorded a live session and interview aboard the Trackd yacht at Midem! In this spotlight Dan Bettridge tells us about how he penned a track from the album called ‘i/i’ which you can listen to as a demo when it started its life on Trackd.
Dan, can you please describe ‘i/i’?
“This song, like a lot of my others, is multitasking. It deals with my personal life and our global life at the same time. The title ‘i/i’ is two people with a barrier between them. I was on the phone to my friend and bandmate Lloyd Jerwood and he referred to this song as ‘Overload’. I had no idea what he was talking about until he explained that he saw it as ‘input/input’ as opposed to ‘i/o’ meaning ‘input/output’. I thought that was pretty cool.”
Step 1: The initial guitar idea.
I started playing this simple guitar piece just to see how the app worked and what it would sound like recorded in through the phones speaker – turns out it sounded pretty sweet! I’m just holding an Em shape with the capo on the third fret (Gm) and hammering the D and A strings.
Step 2: The initial vocal idea.
“I started singing lyrics that sounded phonetically right over the guitar rhythm and it started to make sense straight away. The lyrics came out in about 15/20 minutes, it was pure and joyful experimentation and was never meant to see the light of day.”
Step 3: Layering vocals
“Then I went on to play around more and layer my own voice and harmonize with myself. I’m well versed in singing straight into a mic with just my single vocal so it was fun to play around. I’ve harmonised with myself a couple of times and I love to do it on a recording, there’s no voice that matches yourself better than your own. I kept layering until it felt full and right – like I said, it was never meant to see the light of day so I didn’t think too much about it.”
Step 4: Adding the speech sample by President John F. Kennedy.
“I’d been playing around with samples on my computer so it was serendipity that made me decided to use a speech in the song. I was recording all of this during some large changes and shifts in the world and I felt this JFK address held weight. As soon as I recorded that snippet I got chills.”
Taking the idea into the studio, how did you and Charlie prepare the song for recording the studio version of ‘i/i’?
“Taking ‘i/i’ into the studio was pretty simple. I’d enjoyed the simplicity of the creation of it so much that I didn’t want to now ruin it by over thinking it in the studio so I went in and more or less replicated it entirely. The day I went in a friend of mine Dan Fitzgerald was in too doing some guitar overdubs. Dan has a mad pedal board so I asked him if he do some super ethereal textures behind to lift it all a bit and that’s what you hear floating behind the whole song. That dark wavering.”
You can listen to the studio version of ‘i/i’ here:
The whole album has been released in waves since February 2018. The waves have been an innovative way of showcasing ‘Asking For Trouble’. Each wave has had a mix of songs drawing upon his influences from Sam Cooke to John Mayer. On the album there really is something for everyone. From songs like Heavenly Father, Memphis, TN and Third Eye Blind which show his alt-country side and won him fans including the BBC’s country music connoisseur Bob Harris; to Dan showing his diversity by introducing electronic elements and experimentation with songs like ‘Some Things’, ‘i/i’, ‘Blame’ and ‘Metagirl’; following on to rockier driving tunes like ‘Old Man’ which are proving popular amongst his fans. You can listen to ‘Asking For Trouble’ in its entirety on July 6 2018.
Do you like what you’ve heard? Then you can pre-order on vinyl and digital stores here.