How would you describe your genre of music?
I’ve been describing the new record as: Eno jamming with the Clean or the Feelies.
Give us a little bio about you.
I used to play in a band called My Sad Captains. We released four records – the first two on Stolen Recordings, the second two on Bella Union. We went through various line up changes over the course of the 10 years or so we were playing, to the point where I was the only original member left. When another drummer announced he was leaving I decided it was time for something new and this new Green Rays record is the result.
What made you go into music?
Just love for it really. Not so much an active choice, more I can never imagine not doing it.
Who are your influences?
I’ve given it away with my description above. But broadly speaking: The Beatles “White Album”; krautrock; 90s indie rock; ambient.
You released your new single ‘Only One Way To Go’’, tell us more about the single and the meaning behind it.
It’s a different kind of song for me. It started with a synth and a drum machine, then layering up different parts until it took off. It’s got kind of a New Order style bass line. It’s a song I had knocking about for a while but never finished because I couldn’t get the lyric right. So I’d kind of put it to one side and forgot about it. Then one day for no particular reason I started singing it in my head and the line “only one way to go” appeared at the key point in the song. Suddenly everything fell into place and I had a finished song.
Describe the track in two words.
What was the writing and recording process like?
For the recording I used a lot of the original version I’d created when writing it, all the synths and drum machine. I was thinking it would stay as a drum machine song, but my brother played some live drums over it and it gave the song a real lift. The main new thing I added in the recording was a middle 8 to take it somewhere else. It’s a song based on repetition and different parts coming in and out, but it felt like it needed somewhere else to go before coming back, to build up even more. Our guitar player Leon added some drone guitar which really helps it crescendo – and then my brother Jim looped that and created an ambient outro to allow it to drift off into the ether at the end.
Who did you work with on the single?
I created the basic song and then the Green Rays band all added to it. My brother Jim Wallis played drums and engineered/mixed it; Leon Dufficy played lead guitar; Steve Blackwell played bass; and Henry Thomas played keys. They’d all been in My Sad Captains at various points, so it’s great to be collaborating with old friends and brilliant musicians I trust.
We are also expected to see a brand-new album, tell us more about it and the creative process.
I wrote lots of it just after the birth of my first son. So there are quite a few songs written while trying to keep him entertained in his baby bouncer with an acoustic guitar. Or others written quietly late at night with headphones on. It’s bookended by a couple of longish 8 or 9 minute songs which set the tone, bringing together ambient sounds and atmosphere with melodic songwriting.
Who did you work with on the album?
It was recorded at the same time as the single, with Jim, Leon, Steve and Henry. We recorded most of the basic tracks with my brother Jim at his studio in East London. Then lots more work on the finer details at home and at a rehearsal space we had at the time in Greenwich
Will we see any live shows coming up and if so where can we get tickets?
Yes, we have an album launch show coming up. It’s Thursday 2 March at Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston in London. Tickets and details are available at the Servant Jazz Quarters website http://servantjazzquarters.com/events/green-rays/
What else can we expect in 2023?
Not sure. Hopefully more shows. And it’s been a while since the record was finished and new songs are starting to build up. So I’m hopefully going to crack on and start making a new record as soon as we’ve got this one out into the world.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I’m a fan of Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” and “repetition is a form of change” always stays with me and helps me out.
Do you have social media for fans to follow you?
Yes I do!