Released today, Song for Lost Childhood is the third of seven location-recorded video/single releases for guitarist and composer Douglas MacGregor’s exploration of music arising from a twenty-year delayed grief. Douglas spoke with The Fountain about this single as well as the seven-release project.
TF: A new single, how exciting, what has the reception been like so far?
It’s been good so far. Although the theme is seemingly dark, it seems to have connected with people on quite a deep level. Many people have experienced loss in their childhood in some kind of way. But often these losses go unnoticed.
People are really willing to share their stories when you’ve given them something to connect to – in this case of the music – and so the response is really encouraging and often quite moving.
TF: What inspired you to title it Song for Lost Childhood?
My mother died when I was seven. I was living in Cambridge and after she died I moved up to Scotland where my dad was living. I lost my mother, school, house, friends and surroundings – all gone, virtually without a trace. But it was never talked about and I never processed what it all meant. Looking back, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I experienced this as the loss of a whole world and way of life. I don’t think I’ve ever recovered properly from that.
Just over a year ago, when I started processing what happened to me, I realised that there was a place of hurt within me that just needed to be recognised and accepted. This is a highly intimate piece that I played to myself when that loss felt unbearable and it does just that: recognise and accept that place of loss. Yet the theme of childhood loss goes far beyond me and the music, for me, reflects that somehow.
Although all the pieces in this series are instrumental, I feel they are more ‘songs’ than pieces of music. They are just songs without lyrics, which sing about things which can’t quite be put into words.
TF: And will you be promoting this with a list of exciting tour dates?
I’m very focussed on recording at the moment so I’ve only got a couple of London shows before the album comes out. There will be a UK album tour for the release, however, near the end of the summer – so you’ll have to hold on till then if you’re not in London.
TF: Where has been your favourite gig to date?
Last month I played in St. Pancras Old Church in London. It’s a really special place, which has been used as a site of worship since pre-Christian times. It still operates as a church during the day and as a music venue at night. It is small but has an incredible acoustic. You get a rare sense of intimacy combined with a large natural reverb, which is the perfect mix when you play acoustically. It was an ideal place to really connect with the audience and the response was great.
TF And what else are you working on for the year, another EP or LP?
I have eight pieces of music for this project coming out in seven separate releases. This is the third. I am recording and videoing one each month live in a specifically chosen non-studio location. All the pieces of music spring for my experience of delayed grief and so I am also releasing an accompanying text for each one which explains the background to the music and explores how music can help us cope with loss. This is all very labour intensive and keeping me very busy.
Once all of the pieces are recorded they’ll form the album which, as I said, will come out later this year. The album should be a piece of music in its own right, but for those who want to delve a little deeper into the themes there’s that option there. I’m pretty excited about the album release; it’s a bit of an unusual project but it seems to be connecting with people.