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Click on the link below to listen to Enigma
Vinden’s comments on Enigma.
If there is to be a cheesy music video, then this is to be the one that Gareth is shot doing or portraying something “Suggestive/Raunchy”. I am sure the interpretation of this song could be tailored to such a video shoot, especially with the words “Desire to feed this demon seed” contained within the song ……Mmmm, I wonder.
For me, this song is relaxed, it has a pleasing structure and flows beautifully with the melody/dynamics. There was no need for encouragement from the drums, I just filled the spaces and tried to compliment what was already a great song from Gareth and Jay.
This song was an excellent idea from the mind of a man raised by wolves…..allegedly. After Rhayn conceived this idea, he immediately ran naked to Jay’s house for the screening, disinfecting and polishing process………and to demo this track of course. There were many phone-calls that night, I was waiting in anticipation.
Finally, in that same evening, two excited musicians appeared at my door.(ed note: That was after 10 hours in the chair/s retracking, rerecording and re-realising the rough demo - long night!) They handed over the demo, I was grateful to say the least. We listened together and realised this song was going to be a gem…..
The demo was without lyrics, I did chuckle at the thought of Gareth trying to write the lyrics for it.
What is now on the EP is a solid song that is exciting to play, and initially was quite a challenge to forge from the outset. This song is definitely my favourite.
As They Lay My Body Down.
For me, this is another cracker of a song, except I’d rather be playing a violin for this one.
This song doesn’t need any encouragement from the drums, maybe this song can touch people somewhat deeper than the other songs on the EP.
This is not a song for the hairy-assed bikers!
I first heard the demo of Full Flow from Jay and Gareth whilst we were having a meeting prior to my joining of Sankara. It was this song that convinced me to join in the fun, especially after hearing Gareth’s “Robert Plant” impression. I’d not heard Gareth sing like this before, this was very exciting and encouraging to hear.
Whilst listening to the demo, I knew this song needed accenting to punctuate Gareth’s “The Plant” vocals in parts, and it needed a solid driving force to exhibit the songs full potential throughout.
You can hear these ingredients bubbling away throughout the song. Plus, this is the last song on the EP. What a way to finish, I saw the drum outro as quite cheeky.
Gareth’s Comments on Enigma
Enigma was the first song written by Sankara. It started as a germ of an idea that was little more than the opening piano riff. I thought it would be a challenge to try and make the song melodically interesting, while keeping the chord sequences in the verse, bridge and chorus exactly the same. If you listen closely, the only difference between them is the arrangement. The song progressed by passing it to Jay who added some heavy guitars, but decided to restrain himself and cut them right back in the verses in order to create some dynamics.
The song is about right thinking people who persist in courses of action that to the outside world seem to be complete madness, and trying to understand the reasons for it.
Rhayn brought a rough demo of what would become Exalted Star to the rest of the band, and I could immediately hear a decent melody over the top. It’s probably the song that underwent the most changes as we recorded and rehearsed it. The main bulk of the song remains the same, but we struggled with writing a satisfying intro until Jay came up with the guitar part that appears on the EP. I doubled the line with a phased synth part to beef it up a little. An outro complete with lyrics and a new melody were added to the song, but ultimately excised in the interests of brevity. No prog-rock odysseys here!
Rhayn presented the song with no lyrics and under a different title. I wanted to experiment again with the song writing process and have always found lyrics difficult to write. Given that I had a melody and wanted to complete the song as soon as possible, I opted to write “stream of consciousness”. I had the title and just let ideas and words flow from my brain onto the page with little regard for whether they made sense to any specific concept. It’s only after I finished the lyrics that I sat down to analyse what they mean, and I was surprised to find that they were reasonably coherent! It’s a song about making the most of opportunities (whether seemingly good or bad) and trying not to get stuck in a rut. This seems to be a common thread for song writers who come out of the insular communities of the Welsh Valleys!
As They Lay My Body Down
As They Lay My Body Down was the most complete song brought to the writing sessions. I wrote it almost in its entirety in about an hour while noodling on an acoustic guitar. The structure has changed very little during the production of the EP, though my initial arrangement was full of bluster! Jay wisely had the idea of completely stripping it down. As a result, there are no crunching guitars and a fairly gentle solo at the end, which I wanted to resemble the guitar solo at the end of ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush. I couldn’t tell you why, it just felt right!
It’s a song about loss and regret. About the ways in which your life (or you as a person) is only partially shaped by your action. How the action or in this case, inaction of others is an equally potent influence. And ultimately about how you make your peace with that. It’s not meant as an angry song, just a little melancholy. It’s also a brief moment of self-reflection on the fact that some people (especially Scorpios like me!) can be slippery bastards. We never like to admit that anything is our fault.
Full Flow started life as a guitar riff buried in amongst a slew of other ideas that Jay passed to me to see if I could do anything with. I responded to that one in particular as I thought it had a bit of a Led Zeppelin vibe and I fancied unleashing my inner Robert Plant. Of course, the idea of a Robert Plat vocal filtered through my sensibility and vocal chords means that the final recording sounds nothing like Robert Plant, but it’s a nice exercise for the pipes anyway.
As a nice mirror of the fact that the melody gives me a chance to be a little more ‘free’ than people might have heard me before, the lyrics are a short diatribe about letting people push their boundaries and how denying these opportunities can lead to resentment. They were jointly written by me and Jay.
Jay’s Comments on “Enigma”
Gareth wrote the majority of this song on keyboard and the challenge for me was to create enough differentiation between the various sections. We had to build the arrangement to reach a chorus, then bring it back down enough to build the dynamics up to the second chorus. The toughest thing for me was fitting the guitar around his existing keyboard parts without stomping all over them and losing that build up. Sometimes it’s better not to play anything than attempt to crowbar your ideas into a song.
The instrumental parts on Exalted Star were pretty much written by Rhayn. I very slightly tweaked a couple of things and then Gareth added the lyrics. I wanted a more attention-grabbing intro, though, so I came up with the lead part over the existing chords and then got Gareth to double it on keyboards.
As They Lay My Body Down
This is one of Gareth’s obligatory ballads. He wrote it on acoustic guitar and envisaged the arrangement as “sort of floating away”. My initial approach was completely wrong! While Gareth and I were putting together the structure, I was trying to fit distorted power chords in the verses and sticking riffs everywhere and it just wasn’t gelling. After Gareth left, I stripped everything I’d done off and took it back to just his voice and acoustic guitar. Then I added a few country-sounding lead parts on acoustic and the song came alive. Yet again a salutary lesson in knowing when to shut up! Gareth wrote the solo and got me to track it line-by-line with the idea of getting Rhayn to play it on a classical nylon-string guitar, but ultimately “demo-itus” raised it’s ugly head and we went with my electric solo.
When we formed Sankara, I gave Gareth a bunch of riffs and song ideas I’d originally written and demoed for Bluehorses that we never used. Gareth took one of these, cut it up and shifted parts around to suit him. I then added the intro, linking riff and middle 8. It starts with a solo simply because I was feeling indulgent and wanted to channel my inner Michael Schenker. I helped Gareth out with the lyrics on the last two verses when he got stuck.