Adam Stafford is releasing his cathartic conversation with depression on May 4th, via Song by Toad, titled Fire Behind The Curtain. With nods to the likes of Meredith Monk, Ingram Marshal and Steve Reich, we can anticipate a instrumental piece, reflective, and visceral.
Adam spoke with The Fountain about his journey with this record, the inspiration behind the album title and where we can see him live next month.
TF: A new album dedicated to mental health, what inspired you to take that path with the record?
I decided that I had been silent for too long on the subject of my depression and wanted to acknowledge it directly through musical expression. In the summer of 2016 I was in a very low place, probably the lowest I’d ever been in my life. I had been incrementally writing pieces for the LP in the years previous (mainly the music which makes up the first Disc of the album) but I threw myself into a creative conversation with my mental health and completed the 2nd Disc of the album in about two weeks at the end of `16. It was part therapy, part distraction from reality.
TF: Influenced by Steve Reich, I have an idea of what to expect, but can you elaborate on this Adam?
The album features a lot of repetition, phaseology and the adding/subtracting of instrumentation. Reich is a big influence but so is the vocal work of Meredith Monk and Ingram Marshal whose album Gradual Requiem is one of the most emotionally engaging pieces of music ever committed to tape. These were all really just reference points because I could never match their brilliant innovations in terms of composition and execution.
TF: What inspired the album title, Fire Behind the Curtain?
I wrote a poem about the weirdness of being at your first “big” funeral – i.e. the funeral where you fully realise the finality of death. In this case it was my Grandfather and I didn’t understand that when the coffin went behind the curtain it was then taken to a different place to be incinerated. But it works on another level for me too; the chaos and fire behind our personal curtains, behind our own façades, the behind-the-scenes inferno that we want to protect others from.
TF: Are you going to be promoting this with a tour, are we likely to see you play live soon?
We have LP launches on May 3rd (Summerhall, Edinburgh), May 4th (Hug and Pint, Glasgow) and 12th in Lemon Tree (Aberdeen). For the first two launch shows I will be augmented by Pete Harvey from Modern Studies (on Cello), Robbie Lesiuk who produced and engineered the album and Josh Swinney of PAWS on drums. We also hope to get down south for some Summer shows.
TF: What has it been like to work with Song by Toad on this album?
Just the best. Supportive in every way. No unnecessary interference. Total trust in the artists and collaborators. I hope I don’t bankrupt them with a double album that nobody really wants or needs.
Fire Behind The Curtain is out via Song by Toad on 4th May. Pre-order link here.