GRANT NICHOLAS – Yorktown Heights

Track-By-Track zum Solo-Debüt des Feeder-Frontmanns….

Dieser Tage erscheint das Debütalbum von Singer-Songwriter GRANT NICHOLAS, aus dessen Feder schon die größten aller Feeder-Songs stammten. Mit Yorktown Heights, einem vorwiegend akustischen Werk, schlägt dieser jetzt einen ganz eigenen Weg ein. Für uns hat Nicholas nicht nur exklusive Kommentare zu den Songs verfasst und die jeweils zentralen Textzeilen hervorgehoben, sondern ebenfalls einen sehr persönlichen Vorspann, der einen Eindruck über den Arbeitsprozess sowie die Beweggründe und Intentionen zu seinem Solo-Debüt verschafft. Hier gibt es den Text sowie die Kommentare – im Original und komplett ungebügelt…

WHEN: I started writing songs for Yorktown Heights 18 months ago. I didn’t have big plan, had a bunch of songs and an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound. I wanted to go back to basics and make an album that was a bit more acoustically based. Something a bit different from the FEEDER songs I write. I started work at home on a J200 Gibson. I had no initial game plan, or record company. I wanted to have fun and do some experimenting. It was really about going back to what I love about songwriting. Doing it in a very different way. Keeping it very simple and organic.

WHERE: I started recording the album in the UK. I firstly went to Konk Studios, which is very close to where I live, and we started preparing some drum tracks (which we subsequently didn’t use). I then went to Angelic Studios in Banbury, a beautiful residential studio. There I started to work with Karl Brazil on drums and then I came back home again to do some more work on the tracks. I then decided I needed to get my head in a different space and went to visit an old friend of mine called Brian Sperber in upstate New York, where he has a studio in his house called Tiny Pocket. Brian is an old friend, but one who has mixed many great records and has worked with FEEDER extensively over the years. My plan was to do most of the vocals with him as I wanted someone to understand what I was trying to achieve with the record.

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS: As I said, Brian has a studio in his house in upstate New York. It’s only about an hour directly north of Manhattan but you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. I liked it a lot. The area is called Yorktown Heights and, of course, it is where the album title comes from. It sounded like the perfect title to me and encapsulated my thinking around that time. Being there made me think differently, opened my mind, and inspired me greatly, being out in the sticks, being remote. I arrived in deep snow, it was pretty desolate. We would start at 9am and finish at 7pm. We would work all the way through without a break often. I did most of the vocals there as well as sketching out most of the tracks which I then finished back in London when I returned home.

THE TREEHOUSE: I then came back home and worked in my little studio at home called The Treehouse. It has lots of trees around it and when recording picks up all the birds singing outside on the mikes. It has been an important space for me…really inspiring. I wrote a number of complete tracks there. “Broken Resolutions” was recorded totally at The Treehouse, as was “Good Fortune Lies Ahead” and “Counting Steps”. At the time I wrote these tracks the album was finished but I kept writing and we decided to put all 3 on the album as they came out so well and had the slightly more stripped back acoustic sound I liked to balance the album.

LYRICS: I don’t like to go to heavily into explaining the songs on the album. It is up to the listener to make up their mind, the pictures they see from the lyrics I write. There are maybe a lot of dark moments on the album. There are songs about love and city life. There are songs about alienation in society. There are also good old fashioned songs about family. This record is very important to me. I’ve spent a lot of time on it and I want people to hear it. And if it takes off, then of course that’s a nice problem to have.


I started to write a few more songs for the album while I was in New York. One of those tracks was Soul Mates. A very simple finger picking song. Nick Drake was an inspiration for sure. A simple sentiment. Even though it’s just an acoustic guitar and a vocal, it’s immediately got a reaction from people. It’s easy to criticise simple songs, but if you strike a chord with someone its gold.

“…let’s pack our bags so we can sail away, sail away, leave the city for the sea, the oceans calling me…”


”Hitori” reflects on life, loneliness and relationships. To be honest it’s a combination of my own past feelings and what my friends are going through right now or have been through in the past. I know it sounds weird, but as a songwriter I feed off of those emotions.

“Sorrow will find me everywhere I go…don’t leave me the ashes of what could have been our life…”


I wrote another song while I was out in the US, called “Tall Trees”. I wrote it on acoustic initially. It was this sense of isolation -surrounded by nothing but woodland and the roar of passing pick-up trucks – which resulted in the haunting nature of the track. It is kind of a love song, but also touches on the afterlife. It is an interesting song, dark and uplifting to. I am sure that too much drinking and cabin fever may have also added ideas to the songs, but whatever it takes to get the inspiration…

“When you hear a voice calling, through an open door. You’ll know that I will be waiting where the trees grow tall…”


”Joan Of Arc” is a mixture of influences – everything from Johnny Cash, to spaghetti Westerns to Paris. I think it would work perfectly on a film soundtrack.

“Caught in a trap about to breakdown, voices in my head sing out…”


I guess it is a noir-ish nod to my songwriting past. It’s about a girl who feels she’s surrounded by the wrong people in the big city. She feels lost and awkward in society. It’s almost a love song as i feel i am talking to this person to guide her in some may ,almost as if i was a fly on the wall.

“so ask the question don’t compromise, you promised yourself for so long…”


Robots was written at my home in London. It has a slight flamenco influence mixed with some electronic elements. It is a song that touches on the daily routine and frustration of city life. It was inspired by events happing both in the UK and around the world at that time.

“…hoping the worst is behind us. We carry the scars that remind us…”


This song was recorded in my treehouse studio apart from the drum track. It expresses the feeling we go through during relationships and when those feeling get tested there is still hope and a future together if we try hard enough.

“…no more demons inside me, no more voices to guide me…”


This again was written at home and it is a song about fatherhood and the relationship between father and son. It’s really a journey and reminder of how fast life can flash us by… I wanted the song to be intimate but also a celebration and slightly anthemic in some way…

“…wisdom and the ways, hands to keep you safe…”


Recorded totally in my home studio. This was one of the last songs i wrote and recorded for the album. It’s a song about life and contemplating the future together.

“…I want to spend this life with you, there’s nothing I would rather do…”


Recorded in a day again at the treehouse it touches on the pitfalls of addiction and depression . It has a slight country influence in the verses which really set the mood of the song. The chorus is more uplifting and reflects the more positive message i was trying to portray as the song grows.

“…together we have found a place, somewhere we can call our own. Me and you. You and I…”


A very simple finger picked song that is about a young girl becoming a mother for the first time. It touches on her emotions and fears but also the future and positive journey ahead.

“…there’s a happy place that you must find…good fortune lies ahead…”


The vocal was again recorded in New York state USA and is was of the more uptempo songs on the album. It is a about the importance of old friends and family especially when you experience hard times or situations. It’s kind of a flash back to my youth, small town life and where i grew up just over the Welsh border.

“…eyes full, lips dry, I felt alive…”


We recorded the drums for this in the UK but the vocal and a majority of the overdubs were tracked in New York State USA. This is one of the darker songs on the albums but also sonically one of my favourites…

“…it’s the final showdown, there’s no use looking back. Focus on the positives, live behind the rest…”

Yorktown Heights
(Popping Candy)
VÖ: 15.08.2014

Autor: [ von der Website]Friedrich Reip[/EMAIL]