Songs play a massive part in most of our lives.
Stuart Moxham and Derek Halliday are self - confessed "songaholics." Being lucky enough to belong to the generation which grew up in the '60's and '70's (the first decade being unsurpassed for singles and the second for albums) means that they absorbed, in real time, the cream of an era in which the content and Production of popular music recording, at their most culturally important point in modern times, were focused on The Song (and the studio as a creative box of tools.)
The Beatles were to popular culture at the time as Galileo was to astronomy in his; we all owe them almost everything when it comes to trying to make hooky, thoughtful and innovative tunes which are Big Pop at heart.
I've never been one to analyse my songs - I'd always prefer to spend my time writing new ones - but I am conscious that they can have certain useful features.
Because I use songwriting partly to externalise and communicate my personal thoughts and feelings it is inevitable that, as with dreams, they can act as agents of catharsis.
Until relatively recently my stream - of- consciousness type lyrics were often something of a mystery to me; as long as they worked in context, and were more or less interesting, I didn't trouble myself with trying to divine meaning in them.
For instance the first time I ever saw my words for the Young Marble Giants album "Colossal Youth" , all in one place, was in 2007 when I was working on artwork for the Domino Records release. That was a bit of a shocker!
However, with the benefit of such experiences, I began to realise that some of the things I write can be keys to understanding my subconscious motivations. This peephole into the dark and complex world of the emotions has, in turn, enabled me to write more nuanced songs.
When Derek suggested combining my writing with his music it was the beginning of an almost miraculous creative process by which his beautiful guitar pieces and general openmindeness allow and inspire me to produce entire lyrics (and melodies) as though pulling rabbits from hats.
It usually takes about half an hour to produce a complete lyric and I have no idea how, or from where, the words come.
I go into a sort of trance, focusing entirely on the next line, suspending as much conscious control as I can, merely directing the form of the words as they appear, almost like an ideomotor phenomenon. It is a source of joy and wonder to me that they make any sense at all.
It's a perfect modus operandi for me ; very challenging, exciting and rewarding,- 95% of the time anyway; after all, without failure there can be no success.
As a young teenager, being shown a few first chords by my elder brother, I really had no idea that the guitar and guitar playing would thread through my life to this point; where the immediacy and joy of moulding a new tune, or a sequence of simple chords, into a brand new song is possible almost everytime I meet up with Stuart.
From an early life of playing in school bands, local folkclubs and as a pub singer/guitarist, through to a busy schedule with covers/function bands, I always felt the need just to play.
I first met Stuart probably 10 years ago when he came to me with a guitar needing some work. We had good natured chats about guitars and music and stuff in general so, when we had the idea to meet up one night a couple of years ago, just to jam and see what might happen, I'm sure neither of us expected the connection and flow of the music that was to follow. Several of the first M&H songs were built from ideas that I'd had knocking around for years in my favorite openD tuning.
Recording our 10 completely new songs with Ken Brake has been one of the highlights of this process so far and, although I know it's me and my guitar playing, the clarity of of the recordings, being able to hear it back, every note, every bit of scratchy string and with all the overtones, almost makes it seem like someone else!
With most of another album nearly ready to record, including an instrumental and a couple of spoken word songs, we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration and the chance to play to a wider audience.
M&H have been busy writing all the while that "A Known About Thing" was being recorded and manufactured in CD format. They now have another album's worth of material to record.