A Senseless Story...
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
..and the low budget video, that took 12 months to make.
Senseless was a song written at 2 in the morning, and, quite a few years ago.
The bass line which underpinned the mood of the song was what came to me in those early hours, waking me up from a deep slumber. I picked up the bass and there it was. Some of the lyrics I had already penned, my writing style has always been a combination of putting already scrawled lyrical or poetic ideas to guitar riffs, or experimental accidents whilst exploring a guitar, keyboard or bass. In no time the lyrics were complete and the song was born.
The songs arrangement was subsequently worked on, and gigged with my band at the time Electric Sunroof. Electric Sunroof were, and still are having reformed last year for a handful of gigs, a powerful progressive rock outfit with a lot of drive and a keen ear for melody and catchy riffs, which influenced the songs direction significantly. And whilst i've played it with many different line ups over the years, and indeed it has been covered by a few friends of mine's bands, the simple riff that underpins the tone of the track is key to it's appeal, to me at least, whether played on whichever instrument but particularly the bass.
We (as Electric Sunroof) did record a version of the song in an old chapel in Old Colwyn, on our still as yet unfinished debut album 'An Island'. The album had a whole host of great tracks on it, and Senseless did make it as song of the week on Radio Wales (c/o Adam Walton's show) once released. Though i was never quite 100% satisfied with that particular recorded version, as it tended to drag a little, the progressive element of the band influencing that quite heavily. I did go on to record it again with another line up most of whom feature on this particular version for the video.
A filmmaker and friend of mine Paul Higginson, having heard me perform and enjoyed the song greatly, suggested we make a video for the song. So initially Paul filmed me playing the track solo, just me and guitar, in a different friends chapel in Deiniolen, also in North Wales. The quality came out well but we both instantly wanted to do more with it. We set about filming one or two shots in the nearby Llanberis quarries on cold winter days with snow dusting the distant Snowdonia hills an mountains. It was stunning and we got some great shots. Paul has an excellent eye for scenery and capturing a mood.
I then suggested that i try and record another version with my current musical line up called Berooz, with Dominik Grzeskowiak on keyboards and Adam Crowe on the drums.
The band were keen but on the verge of disbanding as Adam was due to be moving away in the near future so we had to move fast, unlike the rest of the project! I spoke to a long standing very good friend of mine, Sion Gwenallt ,who had a really nice home recording studio set up at his place in Llanfairfechan. He was keen, so we headed down as soon as we could and recorded an entire session.
As well as the senseless track we also recorded a mini album at the time, as yet incomplete I might add, but there are plans to work on the rest of the tracks to complete and release them in the very near future. During the process we listened to the solo acoustic Senseless track take that iId recorded with Paul, and, it was a really good take, so we decided we liked it as it was, so we worked on layering the other instruments on top. This is not normal practice for a recording session, usually starting with the drums and layering on top from there. But this was a really nice take with the acoustics of the chapel, and exactly the right mood and arrangement for what i wanted. And we didn't want to detract from it and that was our decision. It took a few attempts, but both Adam and Dominic were very familiar with the track and my style of playing, and rattled off excellent takes in very little time at all.
Shortly after that, i called up another good friend, Vinit, an exceptional lead guitarist who used to play bass for us in Electric Sunroof. I asked if he'd be interested to come along and record the bass line, and layer some backing vocals for this particular recording. He lept at the opportunity, and in no time we had the various takes down and with a bit of post production work i'd fixed any timing glitches and we had something we could work with for the rest of the video.
Important to note at this stage that we'd originally recorded the first take with Paul back in the Autumn, and some of the snowy landscape footage By this time (and the finishing of recording process) it was now June!
I'd met Despina (Goula) some time prior, shortly after she'd graduated from her contemporary dance degree at Cardiff University. We'd already chatted about working on a project together and this seemed liked an ideal opportunity to get stuck in. Despina took an instant liking to the track, and had numerous ideas straight away, but waiting for a suitable day to catch the right weather in North Wales, and when everyone is available, well, that can be challenging and certainly test ones patience.
Eventually we just had to pick a date and go with it. This is what we decided to do and the results were amazing! We caught a stunningly beautiful day, and the golden sands i'd wanted and with Despina's interpretation we came up with some excellent material for the video edit. We did also spend a bit more time getting other takes on other days and beaches that weren't quite as favourable, but still some takes that were good enough to make it into the final edit. All that remained now was to get the band back together, to get some shots of us playing.
The photo here was of the day in October that we finally managed to get us all back together and on a clear enough day to get the takes we wanted. Unfortunately Vinit wasn't available, but we had great fun trying to mime along and play to a small battery (under)-powered stereo perched behind the drum kit, and still managed to get some great shots.
It had taken a whole year from first take recording to completing the video, but it had been worth it. We were all very happy with the result and i still think it's a great piece and a great song. I hope more people can get to see, hear, and appreciate it in the future.
And you can start by watching the video yourself here below. (NB. unavailable for general viewing, only available via this link, thanks).
And if you'd like to see listen to the original solo acoustic take, then here it is...
Thanks for listening, and hope you enjoy.
I sensed it was senseless
I sensed it's insane
despite my sixth senses I trusted again
I sensed it was over
I sensed it's a shame
I sensed it was saddening me again
And I wish it wasn't so sad to be alone
But it's hard to say when it's all you've known
And this is it
My final demand
And I apologise it's not what I'd planned
I pictured a sunset
And golden sand
With you there beside me holding my hand
And I wish it wasn't so sad to be alone
But it hard to say when it's all you've known
And I wish it wasn't so true after all we've done
But it's hard to stay and so easy to run
And this is it, is it finally done
And I apologise for thinking you were the one
My one and only, my true love indeed
I only wanted you to hold me and never leave
And never leave.
Featured on this track and video are: Dominic Grzeskowiak - Keys Adam Crowe - Drums Vinit - Bass & Backing vocals Despina Goula - Dancer (https://www.despinalloydgoulaverticaldance.com) Paul Higginson - Filming, Video Production & Editing (https://vimeo.com/channels/resolutionvideo)
Astralship Chapel - venue (https://astralship.org)