Catch A Cloud, Edward Rogers‘ eighth solo album is a soul-searching, stripped-down personal statement, a trippy swirl of music and ideas, observations of what was going on around him at the time, which influenced both the music and the lyrics of the songs.
If you like Ray Davies or Willie Nile’s latest records, you’ll enjoy Catch A Cloud.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Edward about what it’s like to make a very personal record that sounds different from what you’re used to doing.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down. The record deserves attentive listening.
How did this record come together?
I decided to make it more of a solo project for this record, which meant fewer musicians and backing vocals. I used many loops and samples to accomplish a more adventurous sound; certainly, Catch A Cloud has a different sound from my previous releases. Most of the work was done in my home studio with my producer, Don Piper. After all the tracks were sorted out, we hand-picked the musicians to add texture to each of the songs. The lyrics are much more personal on this record, and so the vocals are more sparse in hopes that the listener will enjoy the experience.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
I’m always afraid that I won’t be able to write the next song and the gift will be taken away. I try to spend 4-5 hours a day working on new song ideas unless I have a live obligation. To me, the song-writing process is so delicate and so easy to lose.
You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? And Why?
Good question! I’ve already had the pleasure of writing with several good songwriters (George Usher, Amanda Thorpe, Steve Butler). If I lived in fantasy land, I would love to have written a song with Kevin Ayers. I love the airy psychedelia feel that he got from his melodies. They always so seem so simple, and I would imagine we would also have a little bit of a rave-up and drink along the way.
I love the work of Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy). He reminds me of a modern-day Noel Coward. I’d love to provide lyrics for him to add a piano melody. Here in the USA, he’s a ‘best-kept secret.’
Finally, I would love to write a song using my lyrics with Paul Buchanan; you might remember him from The Blue Nile. His voice and the sparseness of the songs always thrill me as a listener. I’m going to be a little cheeky here and add Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout). I’m not sure if he’s writing anymore or how he does write, but as a fan, I would love the opportunity.
Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What is the line of text, or are the lines of text you hope listeners will remember? And why?
I think real music lovers, like myself, take the time to appreciate the lyrics as much as the music. If I had to give you an example on Catch A Cloud, there is a song called “What Happened To Us”, which if you or your readers give it a spin, you’ll know the message is a very intimate part of my growing up and probably also yours. At one point in my life, I thought I was always going to be the kid, never having to grow up – kind of like Peter Pan – not realizing the world changes every second and one day, I would have all the responsibilities in life just like my parents did before me.
Seems one day we just woke up
Our youth stolen away
Searched through some old pictures
Now look so dark n gray
What happened to us
Did it happen to you?
We all grew old
Didn’t know what to do
Never really had a clue
Not a second to think it through
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
In one word, YES! Technology has moved so fast that songwriters and musicians can also now be producers and engineers, and it enables a songwriter to record a high-grade demo of his or her songs. As far as getting it heard, the artist often has to be his or her promoter as well, so rather than being an art form, it’s also a profession. Usually, to get your music heard in America, it’s all about who you know, not what you know.
Recording music. What’s all the fun about?
Although it didn’t apply as much on Catch A Cloud, most of my recording experiences have been recorded live in the studio. There’s nothing better than hearing the magic being made right in front of you and then going into the control room and listening to the playback and know you’ve got a good take. It’s hard work and takes a lot of concentration, but it gives everyone in the room a euphoric experience when it’s right.