The Mermaid Song
I’ve recorded a new song, and this week I’m adding the final touches, so it’s ready to shoot the film in Chicago in a week’s time. It’s called ‘The Mermaid Song’, and we’re shooting the film on my birthday!
The idea to shoot a film in Chicago was first mooted by my friend Thomas Negovan, a musician and art curator based in Chicago, and a great supporter of my work. His lady-love, Gail Potocki, painted the beautiful image you can see on the top right corner of this page, in the mock-up of my Coldwater album cover. Her paintings and my love songs have a natural symbiosis, there’s a dance that happens between her symbolist art and my surreal, whimsical lyrics. We share an aesthetic, and this aesthetic is shared and magnified by Tom.
I’m collaborating with another wonderfully inspiring artist, Russell Lownsbrough, whose miniature sculpture is in the photo below in the form of a delicate sea-faring hermit crab and starfish necklace. You’ve seen the beautiful cherubs that Russell carved and cast for me in silver, now available in my online store. We are continuing our collaboration, exploring new oceans and mermaid-y waters.
I recorded the guitar for ‘The Mermaid Song’ the day I left for Europe. I played a simple, folky acoustic guitar part (recorded by Joel Mankey in Los Angeles) shortly before driving to the airport and hopping on the plane to Prague. I then conducted the orchestra to play the sheet music I’d written for the song. The orchestra and I all wore headphones to listen to the guitar and keep in time, which was tricky for the orchestra as it’s in a very free time format, with no metronome or click. Most of the songs were recorded like this, as I’m a fan of fluid time. Back in LA, I’ve been going through the orchestra tracks and recording vocals with Joe Wohlmuth at Sunset Sound and Stefan Lisenko at Ultrasound, but there is still more to record before ‘The Mermaid Song’ is complete.
It was great being back at Sunset Sound. The last time I was there was with the Smashing Pumpkins, recording the song ‘Superchrist.’ It’s a heavy guitar-led song that features a lushly-layered strings and vocals solo, which is just Billy Corgan’s vocal and my violin, layered and mutli-tracked to create the feeling of a string section made up of lots of me! It was such an honour to work on that song, and brought back happy memories being in the studio again, this time to work on my own song.
All of my music-making adventures are being documented by Laura Kelly, who has been following me with a camera shooting the making of this record for the past few months, here in LA and also in Europe. Her documentary will be extremely intimate and honest, revealing this fabulously challenging adventure that the making of this epic, ambitious, beautiful record continues to be. I’ve shared a few stills from it, including the image at the top of this post, so you can see, Laura’s documentary will be an excellent work of art in its own right, as well as a great insight into the true story of an independent artist.
For ‘The Mermaid Song,’ I’m directing the film, and have an amazing team in place to make it happen.
David J messaged me to say he thinks the song is ‘magnificent,’ and Kerry Brown is giving me guidance and insights as he so often does. Scarlet Rivera told me that she thinks my strings sound ‘exquisite’, and Genesis P-Orridge told me that “the string arrangement is luscious and proud, an overwhelming sensation.”
It means so much to me when extraordinary, dear friends like these share their thoughts and love. I can’t wait to share the song and the music video with you!!!
Keep me in your thoughts as I finish this song and get the film ready to roll… and make sure I still take excellent care everything that grows in my garden, including the vegetables in Malibu and all my projects!
The plane leaves in less than a week, and there’s still so much to do…