My new release ‘Victory Gin’ features music inspired by George Orwell’s 1984. It will be released on September 4th. Here’s some details.
Very early on in March of 2020, I was in a coffee shop in Gdańsk reading Nineteen Eighty-Four. On the table in front me was my notebook, a pen and of course my drink. I’d officially started this new ‘project’ where I was planning to create some music inspired by science fiction books, starting with Orwell’s classic.
Why this book? Well, I suppose it was an easy choice because I’d read it before but also because it just felt like the perfect starting point. Almost too perfect as it turned out, as life began to start imitating art as I read on. More on that in a bit.
So, sitting there, I began to read and make my little notes. Just anything and everything that jumped out from the pages, most of which became song titles or musical directions. This was the plan really, just read, make notes and eventually make music.
What prompted me to undertake all this? Why the need for a musical direction at all? Well, that’s easy. I like making music and I like reading and so I wanted to combine both parts. Science Fiction is pretty much my favourite genre, so it just naturally fell there when thinking about ‘what books’ to make music around, and there you have it.
Upon getting home, finishing the book and subsequently starting the audiobook, I got to work on the music. It’s funny how things work out as I was (not so surprisingly) also inspired by current events.
We were in lockdown. This will come to no great surprise to any fellow human beings reading this as you’ve most likely experienced this scenario too. It was funny though; I was reading all about Big Brother and the news as administered from the Ministry of Truth, only to switch on the TV each day to encounter eerie parallels.
New everyday terms ‘Social-distancing’, ‘Covexit’ and ‘Covidiot’ were so Orwellian, they may as well have leapt out of the Newspeak dictionary. Even I adopted ‘quarantunes’ for my live stream chats.
I’m just saying it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be to find inspiration. I just didn’t initially plan to pull from anything else other than the book, but I just went with it.
Not that any of this is immediately apparent in the music of course. There are buried clues such as a recording of my last allowed ‘daily walk’ just after finishing the audiobook. Plus, samples of political conferences. The artwork itself nests lockdown newspaper headings and government messages. It’s all in there, just not distractingly so.
I’m not going to waste any time reviewing the book here. It’s 1984. If you’ve not read it, I recommend doing so. It really holds up and has been one of those books that’s had a lasting impact on me.
In terms of the music it inspired, I tried to vary each track on the release so they’d stand out equally which is a little different to how I suppose a soundtrack for a film would work. I do however think “Our Duty to the Party” is the closest to a “theme” that a film soundtrack would have. I think I’ll most likely keep this tradition going in further releases.
The music released Friday September 4th, contains 7 tracks and is available on Bandcamp. There’s a very limited cassette run for the release which also comes with a special bookmark and badge (which can be purchased separately).
You can pre-order the release here on Bandcamp. EDIT – It’s out now!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the music.