Chapter #2

Lovedrug


"Most of us have, at some point in our lives, developed habits that became compulsive and we then found hard to change. This song is about those people, their habits and the changes we'd like to make but don't always get round to".

Lovedrug is the first single from album 2 and it was also one of the first songs written, but back then it didn’t sound anything like it does now! I wrote it on an upright piano I’d just bought for £50 (that cost £60 to deliver) and it was much slower, darker and a lot more vulnerable.

The song itself is about love, addiction, habit, limiting beliefs and the circles we find ourselves going round in. I remember being in a pretty dark place when I wrote it – one of those periods where the curtains stay shut for weeks on end and the only time you leave the house is to pop to Sainsbury’s for some orange juice and a banana.

I honestly couldn’t tell you who the verse is about. Part of me thinks it was about the girl I was seeing at the time and part of me thinks it was a weird, slightly masochistic acceptance of the situation itself. As ever though, none of that matters and you should take whatever you want/need from it.

One of the reasons this is one of my favourites on the record is because of the journey it’s been on.  I can’t think of a song I’ve written that’s gone from one extreme to the other quite as much as this, which is both weird and nice at the same time…

Lovedrug, like the rest of the record, was recorded and produced in my living room…

Since it was one of the first songs written for the album I wasn’t in a rush to produce a proper version and had plenty of time to play around with different feels, vibes and ideas. For weeks it was all dark and downbeat – the song just seemed to demand it – and then one afternoon I was messing around with a drum machine groove when the intro melody popped in to my head.

As soon as the ooh’s and the guitars were in I knew I was on to something. The simplicity of the groove had a really nice ‘low fi’ vibe and it took me a while to find the right sounds but the effort was worth it (hands down, it’s my favourite snare drum on the record).  The bass also took its time but we got there in the end, thankfully. You’ll be hearing a lot more of my pal ‘Trance Bass’ across the record.

Synth-wise things were reasonably straight forward, mostly because I don’t understand what I’m doing – I just click things, use my ears and fiddle around. Much like the bass, the synth sound on Lovedrug became a staple across the record. It kind of reminds me of the synth Bastille used on Flaws (#NoCeilings), so in honour of that I saved the preset as ‘BastilleSynth’.

When the production started coming together I went over to see my friend James Earp (who’s a proper producer) and we spent a while tweaking things, fixing my silly errors and recording live drums, which are the only thing I didn’t play on the record. (I can’t drum to save my life – Ollie Davies has that covered).

Me and YOU

and the plans we MAKE

in a thing called LIFE

it’s the time we MAKE

it’s just common SENSE.

Me and YOU

and the love we MAKE

in a game called LIFE

it’s the turns we TAKE

so we keep ON MEANING

so we keep on believing…

 

(lovedrug, lovedrug, lovedrug…)

 

So pick me up and then drop me down,

It’s 4 in the morning, this is all I think about.

When I’m wide awake, when I’m half asleep,

I’ve got this addiction to fiction so come lie next to me.

 

(picking me up, pulling me down).

 

Me and YOU

and the love we MAKE

in a game called LIFE

it’s the time we TAKE

so we keep ON MEANING

so we keep on believing…

 

(lovedrug, lovedrug, lovedrug…)

 

So pick me up and then drop me down,

It’s 4 in the morning, this is all I think about.

When I’m wide awake, when I’m half asleep,

I’ve got this addiction to fiction so come lie next to me.

 

(picking me up, pulling me down).

 

So pick me up and then drop me down,

It’s 4 in the morning, this is all I think about.

When I’m wide awake, when I’m fast asleep,

I’ve got this addiction to fiction so come lie next to me.

 

(picking me up, pulling me down).

5 facts about Lovedrug…

1: Lovedrug was originally written on the piano.

2: The drums were programmed on a drum machine from ebay. £21.

3: The shouty bits in the verse used to say something totally different.

4: We shot half the video in a posh studio and the other half in my living room.

5: Singing to camera and hitting a table tennis ball in time with music is really hard.

Lovedrug Video

Directed by Frank Hamilton.
Filmed and Edited by Load.Set.Race.
Starring Charlotte Whitaker.
Make up by Evie Smith.
George Hamilton and Uber on transport.
Filmed at Jump Photography Studios.
Props from Poundland (mostly).

About a week before we shot the Lovedrug video I went for dinner with an artist friend who shall remain anonymous. They’re signed to a major record label and also happened to be shooting a video the next week – how exciting! It’s always nice to see how the other half live and I’m a nosey bastard… “What’s the budget”, I asked, expecting it to be more money than sense. “Only 40k”, they replied.

“Only £40,000? ARE. YOU. KIDDING?!”.  The Lovedrug video budget was £750 (although it ended up costing just over a grand but only because I spent over £100 on props in Poundland), so naturally I suggested the only sensible option; that they should spend 35k and give me 5 of it because no-one needs 40k for a music video. For some reason that never happened…

The video idea had been kicking around in my head for months and I knew more or less what I wanted to do but wasn’t sure how to do it, so I teamed up with the super-talented folks at Load.Set.Race, who helped make sense of my ideas and shot and edited the whole thing.

It was a 2 day shoot and day 1 was STRESSFUL. Starting with a 2 hour Uber journey across London (that cost over £50!) and ending messily, with me and my guitar covered in dry paint, silly string, glitter and whatever else. Thanks must go to Arfan @ Jump Photography Studios for looking after us and being so cool about the clean up.

Day 2 took place in my tiny flat, in the same living room that I recorded this album and all of #OneSongaWeek. If I’m honest I’m a little bit smug about that –  who needs £40,000 budgets and fancy gadgets when you can buy some lights off Amazon for £80 and do it in your lounge!? (Don’t get me wrong, if you’re offering me a £40k budget for single 2 I’ll take it).

The video features both the acting and organisational talents of my good friend Charlie Whitaker. The acting ones you can see for yourselves (that pill shot. phwoar!) but it’s the organisational ones I’m especially thankful for.  Also the lovely Evie Smith, who drove all the way from Bristol to do our make up, make us coffee and bring good cheer.

The editing phase was tougher than I imagined and it took us a while to get the shot order and the story right. We lost a few things to the cutting room floor that I wish we hadn’t, but that’s just the nature of the beast.  It all happens so quickly at that stage, which is always a weird feeling when you’re the artist who’s been slowly building up to it for months and months.

Trying to organise a video, the props, the plan, the shots AND be the one standing in front of the camera really pushed my brain to the limit but I wouldn’t change much at all –  I’m really proud of the result. The whole idea was to make a light hearted performance video that referenced some darker themes in a friendly way, which means I hope that when people watch it they can do one of two things:

  1. Not think too much, just enjoy it and have a giggle.
  2. Think too much. About the meanings, yourself and others.

“Most of us have, at some point in our lives, developed habits that became compulsive and we then found hard to change. This song is about those people, their habits and the changes we’d like to make but don’t always get round to”.