Track By Track: Angus Dawson takes us for a walk down 'Ellesmere St', his debut EP
The WA producer/singer/songwriter backs up a couple of years hard work with a great release.
Angus Dawson is a gifted producer who's been floating around the WA music scene for a couple of years now with a luscious blend of acoustic and electronic music, playing a heap of shows and supporting the likes of Boo Seeka, WAFIA and Vera Blue. Today sees the release of his debut EP, Ellesmere St, four gorgeous tracks showcasing his smooth vocals and penchant for restrained, luscious productions. To mark its release we asked Angus to provide a track by track for the EP, to give a little insight into his writing and recording process.
OCEAN IN THE SKY
Prior to this track, almost all of my songwriting happened with a guitar in hand. I wanted to try something else, so I sat down at a piano and fumbled my way through some chords that I thought sounded nice and came up with the loop. This was definitely the hardest bit for this track, the beat came together pretty quickly and managed to put pen to paper pretty promptly as well. The song is about two things, people without empathy who can’t see how their actions affect others, but also remembering to stay grounded, remember who and what you are and to not allow yourself to be defined by others, something which I still struggle with.
ALL THE THINGS I NEVER SAID
I reached out to a saxophonist to play on Ocean In The Sky, his name is Luke Minness and he’s an absolute legend. We hadn’t properly met before the recording session, but we clicked straight away and the tracking for both tunes was done in about an hour. I was so excited by the material he was laying down that I tried to get him to play on every track I’ve ever made. Of course later I realised I pushed the boat out a bit far but the line that he played at the start of this track was a winner, so I kept it. Luke plays in my live band now, he’s great.
I hate noticing patterns in my songwriting, I feel like I’m cheating, so I really tried to mix up the structure on this one. Also, this bad boy hits a little harder than my previous work, dare I say you can almost dance to it?
LET YOU DOWN
This is probably one of my more minimal, understated songs I reckon. It’s a story about a girl, I won’t say too much about it because the lyrics are pretty forthright, but even though it sounds like one of my merrier songs, unfortunately, it’s not a happy story. After the track was written I developed a bit of a love/hate complex with it. Not sure why, maybe because it’s quite raw and exposing? Or maybe because it's not in the same vein as some of my other tracks. But when I was picking the songs for the EP I enlisted the opinions of family and friends and Let You Down came up pretty consistently as one that I ‘have to put on there’, so here we are. It’s pretty much a straight up and down pop song and it’s a bunch of fun to play live.
This one is my favourite from the EP. Once again, the lyrics are fairly candid and so you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to decipher what its about, but for the sake of this piece I’ll give you two words: friend zone. Here’s a few hidden elements of the song to listen out for:
1. When I was writing the track I sung the first verse and the first half of the chorus early in the morning and then a few days later when I went back to it it was in the evening. So halfway through the first chorus you can hear a shift in my voice. Typically you would go back and re-record the whole thing but I liked both different styles, so I let it be.
2. There’s a lot of background guitar stuff going on with distortion and delays etc., which was recorded late one night in my suburban studio. I didn't realise a) how loud it was, and b) how late it was. I didn't get a noise complaint but I swear there was some dirty looks being thrown around the next day.
3. When I finished recording the guitar I ran over to my amp because I was so excited to start working on the track but I tripped over the power chord which is that click/switch you hear at the very end of the song, I left that in the mix as well.
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