Behind the Horizon

Concept

The album was initially conceived in late 2017. I was 21 years old, freshly graduated from university and had more than a hundred composition ideas candidly recorded and stored on my laptop. My outlook on life was very optimistic and starry-eyed, often daydreaming about what the future might be like. The idea of creating an album of entirely new music seemed to be at the forefront of those dreams. It was going to showcase everything that I had learned and achieved on my musical journey so far including full-scale ensemble arrangements and intimate guitar solos. It would be entirely self-produced and would serve as a landmark for being my first full official release. It would be something that can be listened to long after I'm gone and would hopefully inspire other players in the same way that I became inspired. The name "On The Horizon" stuck with me as I started writing the compositions despite it not being named after any of the pieces initially. It summed up the feeling I had going into the project, as if I were standing on a mountain looking into the distance with one goal in mind: to see what lies beyond.

Setbacks

As I would begin to discover, there were many obstacles and setbacks in my way that prevented the production of this album: a car crash in 2018, neck surgery in 2019 and national lockdown in 2020 to name a few. These things took their toll on my mental health in their own way and it felt like the final release of this album would never come. Not to mention the lack of home recording and mixing experience going into this, I felt like I wasn't going to be capable of making it happen. My inner demons had got the better of me. But by 2020 as the world self-isolated, it felt like enough was enough. It was time to finish it once and for all. I practiced heavily, refined my recording skills, cultivated my mixing skills and finally reached the point where I could say "it's done!"

While the musical aspect of the album was challenging, the most difficult aspect had to be the production side of it. I don't have the access or the money to pay for studio time and I had little expertise when it came to doing it by myself. The entire album was in fact recorded on my Zoom H6 and recorded into Logic Pro X. Before my car crash in 2018, I was able to record the parts of my collaborators on the tracks Hope Valley and The Old Forge. It was very makeshift but fortunately it seemed to work really well. Everybody played great and there were plenty of takes for me to sift through to find the best bits. I had tried to record myself on other songs but I would eventually scrap them in favour of brand new recordings that I made in 2020 and 2021. Then I spent the majority of 2021 mixing and finalising all the tracks myself. By the end of it, I felt like I'd learned so much that I could carry forward to future releases.

Reflection

To be blunt and honest, my time creating this album has been fraught with anxieties and suffering. My mind has often swayed in favour of nihilistic thoughts and attitudes during the last few years, especially thinking about how our country's leading politicians have been behaving in recent memory. But in spite of all the crap that we've collectively and individually had to wade through, it's always important to stay hopeful and optimistic that things might change. My ego has been battered and bruised in the last few years on my own personal journey but the optimism deep within my soul has never faulted. In face of the possibility that nobody may care about my music, I remained faithful that even if somebody hears it (and even better feels inspired by it) then I can rest assured that it has all been worth it.