A/V Room









Kathryn Williams introduces Over Fly Over (track by track)

Story: Jack Foley

THIS album started its life a couple of years ago- I got the regular band together and we rehearsed for a week above a pub in Newcastle; it was the first time that we had taken the time to hone all of the instrumental parts before going into the studio.

On previous records, I have always brought people in one at a time, and built the parts up that way.

At this point, I had lots of songs written; I was swimming in a whole load of new songs. Naturally, faced with this sea of my own material, I went and recorded an album of covers [last year’s critical favourite, Relations].

That decision actually worked out really well, as it meant that I could release Over Fly Over on my own label, Caw Records [the previous record had come out on Warners]. It wasn’t premeditated that way, but I feel pretty smug about that now, as Caw is the natural home for my music, and I’m happier working this way.

So once promoting Relations was all over, I went into the studio to begin work on the new album.

I recorded a load of material, and had to decide which songs were to go on the record; I was a bit overwhelmed with the task.

I had developed a good working relationship with Darius, our live engineer, and he said that he’d love to work on the records as well. At this point, it’s kind of like you’ve got a whole pile of bricks and you’re thinking 'there’s a house in here somewhere, but I don’t know where to start'.

Darius and I have got a lot of trust between us and we set about making these songs into an album. We finished off the final bits of recording, and as we were doing that, I annoyingly wrote and recorded a few more songs to add to the pile…

Track by track

Dave and Laura were jamming on one riff and I told them to keep going while I wrote the song. It wasn’t really a song but a journey in a line and then all these intensely bitter and melodramatic words came out of me. Then I muted the words that were too much in the chorus; I know that they are there. It was like taking the time to make a painting, then putting a big black stripe through it to obliterate the details. So there’s just music where those words are erased, and the line ‘If only you could hear what I think’.

Indifference #1
Me and Dave were messing around and I was showing him my impression of John Lennon during his Plastic Ono Band album period. And then out of this comedy - this song sort of grew with the chorus: ‘Indifference is everywhere but it doesn’t really matter’, which somehow came out like a quintessential John Lennon chorus in the original version of this song. Thanks mate!

That song came straight away. It was similar to the song Flicker (on Little Black Numbers). Sometimes songs just appear and play in my head like a radio, full and complete and all I have to do is write the song down. Breath was one of them.

Old Low Light #2
I seem to write songs from the titles of my old albums. Old Low Light was the name of my last album and on that record there was a song called ‘Little Black Numbers’, which was the title of the album before. There is new love which overwhelms you, and there is love the daily and yearly kind within you that sits like a warm electric fire glow. That’s what I call Old Low Light.



Just Like a Birthday
I wanted something like the sound of Metal Mickey. I can’t read music properly, so I was directing Dave, Laura, Jonny and Alex to do mad riffs during rehearsals. Me and Darius (co-producer) wanted the drums to be hard- I’d never used hard drumbeats on my records before. Alex rose to the occasion- he even used a different drum kit. We told him to play as hard as he likes. I played with the placement of the lyrics so it sounds like I’m saying one thing but it’s a new sentence without a pause, like 'with a whack of a hammer I’m feeding you lemsips'.

Shop Window
Alan McGee heard this and told me that I wrote a pop song. I had no idea that I did. I just write them not thinking ‘Oh, I’m going to write a pop song’. If that is what it wants to be, I just let the song be and go where it wants to go. I wrote this in my old house. To get that really sixties beat, we had Laura stamping on my wooden floor and clapping her hands in time. It took six tries to get the demo right. I’ve got a picture of Dave playing the organ during that song, he looked like a mad vicar in a red jumper.

Laura was playing piano and daydreaming, looking out over my garden. As she was doing that she started to play this amazing riff on the piano. I started to write the words. There was an urgency to get it down there and then- we both felt like we were really capturing a moment. Darius wanted to bring in a bass clarinet for this. I didn’t even know what one sounded like but I said yes. We found Keith and he was amazing. It was the first time I had heard a bass clarinet or seen one played.

Beachy Head
I wanted to write a sunny suicide song. When I wrote this I imagined something very cinematic - like Blythe Spirit- you know an old black and white comedy about death. I was also thinking about the Beach Boys; how Brian Wilson wrote such sunny music like ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and ‘In My Room’. But his life was dark and he was being manipulated and mistreated. I enjoy the innocence and beauty of the Beach Boys music juxtaposed with the darkness behind the scenes.

City Streets
I had this song for awhile. I gave Darius all of the songs that I had been working on. He got stuck on this one. He came in and said ‘I really feel this song and you should finish it!’ It’s about when people leave a town or a city. The line: ‘Starlings roost as dusk sets in’, is the answer to someone who has left asking “have things changed?” It’s something that happens everywhere and it’s a romantic sight. And everyone understands how it feels to watch birds coming in to roost as a sky darkens.

Untilt the Dark
I wanted to write something without words. It reminds me of storm clouds on a blue sky. I think it fits really well in the album. It’s not what people expect, this orchestral chamber pop darkness.

Baby Blues
This has to be one of my most intense personal songs; I had to really trust my producer and engineer when I was singing it. I had written it two years ago but because of the subject matter I was unsure what I thought of it. I think that songs that use life experiences can be so personal that it’s hard to use them, but they are the most beautiful and haunting songs. I played this to the person who I wrote the song about and told them if they didn’t want it on the album I wouldn’t put it on. They said yes.

Full Colour
I wanted to write a quintessentially English song, like the kinks would. But what was also important was to write without vanity like Lou reed did on Berlin. It’s supposed to be a kind of “this is proper England, but I’m invisible and so are lots of people”. There is nothing unified about a nation of people; for every crowd there is a break away. The line ‘People like you and me, could leave this world and go unnoticed in another’, is kind of bitter, kind of upbeat; like “two fingers to you England!” The end of this song is meant to sound like the feeling of a TV switching off to a dot in the centre of the screen; you know it’s been there, and you feel its absence.



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