‘My accent is, to my ears, rather plainly dull, but Tom assured me that the tone was right for the project he had in mind.’ A guest blog by Andrew Coulson (follow him on Twitter) who provides the voice of Grasslands lead Character: Andrew Autumn.
It was back in 2002, working part time for a shitty cheap warehouse store called Bewise, whilst studying at Aberystwyth University when I met Tom. Bewise basically paid for my beer money. If you have listened to Tom’s earlier stuff you will be aware that in Planting Broadleaves on Destroy All Conifers, his illustrious time in Aberystwyth and at Bewise is mentioned quite comically.
Tom and I got on well so well that eventually we ended up being neighbours in a little hamlet called Abermad which literally consisted of us and our respective partners, an ageing farmer and a strange old people’s home set up in a decrepit and greying Victorian house. Over time I learnt many things about Tom most of which came whilst chatting, drinking beer and if not attending a local pub quiz shooting random aliens in Xbox’s Halo in late night games marathons. I’m pretty sure it was during one of these late night marathons that Tom proposed the idea that one day he would like to use my voice for something he was planning…
My accent is a mish-mash of being born in Yorkshire, brought up in Derbyshire and a journey into adulthood living in a Welsh stronghold in West Wales so sounds, to my ears, rather plainly dull. But Tom assured me that the tone was right for the project he had in mind.
Over this time Tom shared his music with me regularly, burning CDs of early renditions of tracks such as Walking Without a Mule and probably one of my personal favourites See You on the Other Side.
As he produced more and more in his little home studio I would be lucky enough to sample the makings of what you now know as Grasslands. Even when I left Aberystwyth for pastures new Tom would email me links to tracks like There’s a Light and other experimental works.
As the internet grew in strength and Tom’s skills flourished he was even able to share with me, via Soundcloud, the epic robotic inspired continuous mix – Days of Robo-Apocalypse Past, which I loved, and that’s when it came. In May 2014 Tom sent me an email outlining his plan for My folks prefer the clone a musical tale about Andrew Autumn and, ultimately, his replacement in life: the clone. By this time I was living in Australia and so there was no way I could just visit Tom and record the voice of Andrew Autumn for Track 7 of this EP and promo for the forthcoming EP3: Small Town Justice. However, Tom had the answers and they were found in technology.
Using an iPad I downloaded Garage Band and under Tom’s instructions experimented recording my voice at different times of the day, in different rooms and when in different moods. Tom had asked that I use no effects saying “You are the voice of the lead character (Andrew Autumn) who has just had a proper shitty time (his clone has just killed his family) – so there’s your motivation”. Pretty strong motivation, hey! Recording the script Tom had sent me in full and also line by line I even did a few takes after a gym session when my voice was hoarse and tired. Eventually when I was happy the Garage Band files I had collected were shared with Tom over the 12,000 odd miles using Dropbox.
Then with Tom’s magic, Track 7 of the new EP, Grasslands introduces Andrew Autumn and welcomes the listener to what’s to come (Listen below):
It was fun being part of this project. I now sit eagerly in my home awaiting the Australian Summer to kick in knowing that sometime soon I will have helped bring a character to life, for I am Andrew Autumn and one day soon I will have to take the blame and I’ll have to run…
Grasslands EP2: My Folks Prefer The Clone is now available to purchase in all major digital stores including iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, plus free streaming on Spotify. Get it cheaper in the Grasslands Music Store.