Michael Hamilton has released his long-awaited debut album, Pale Shadows of Forgotten Names. The forthcoming record is a follow-up to his 2019 Godawful EP and is in keeping with his long-standing DIY ethic. Like each of Michael’s previous releases, the entire album was written and recorded in his livingroom in Glasgow, Scotland, with Michael playing or programming every instrument heard on the album himself. The Fountain caught up with him to discuss the album in more depth and to explore how he is adjusting to 2020.
TF: You have a new album out, what has the reception been like to Pale Shadows?
Very positive so far, which is a bit of a relief. It’s very different from my previous albums: with this album I wanted to showcase my abilities as a composer rather than just my guitar/bass playing, so I was a bit worried that people wouldn’t find it as interesting or exciting. But pretty much everyone has approached it with an open mind and taken it for what it is, which is really encouraging and has given me a bit more confidence to continue to push the boat out on future releases.
TF: How would you sum it up in one sentence?
At best, a dynamic, introspective emotional journey; at worst, the sort of thing you’d hear in a fan-made Twilight video.
TF: Where did you get your influences from for this LP?
All over the place, to be honest. For the electronic/textural elements, there’s definitely some influence from ambient artists like Brian Eno and GAS, but also Japanese noise artists like Merzbow and Hij?kaidan. And I guess the for more “cinematic” moments, pretty much any post-rock band who have gone on to write film scores – like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, that sort of thing.
TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, after this album release?
I’m actually working on a follow up to this album right now. Going forward, I’ve decided to use my solo releases as a kind of musical CV that will hopefully eventually get me into the world of film/video game scoring. I feel that this album is the sort of music you might find in a Danny Boyle or Peter Berg film, so I’m making a point on my next release to demonstrate that I can also do something a bit more conventional. There’ll be more orchestral elements, as well as some more electronic sound design, and a lot of piano led a pieces as well which is a first for me. So I’m hoping to release that within the next month or two.
Beyond that, I guess it’s kind of hard to say with any certainty, given how precarious things are at the moment. All of the gigs, festivals etc. I had lined up have been postponed until next year so, aside from writing, I suspect there’ll be a lot of time spent getting things back on track with the various bands/artists I work with when the world starts turning again.