Asleep On The Sidewalk

Photo by Cal Fernie

Interview with Ben O’Connell
by Abel Ibáñez G.

How did the song change during the process of writing, producing and recording?
We were jamming one night at Wills house. The song started off with the drum and bass as the foundation. We wanted something that you could stride down the street to, something that was fast and lively. After playing the first section through a few times, we explored some different ideas rhythmically. This then became the bridge, where we broke off into the swing/instrumental section and then finally back into the main riff. We wrote the basis of the song in that one night, it didn’t change drastically after that.

Who collaborated in the process of writing the music, lyrics, production, recording, mixing, etc.?
Harry and Will arranged the song, wrote the music and set the tone we were trying to go for. Max wrote his guitar part, Callum played drums and I wrote the lyrics and played rhythm guitar. When it came to recording we did that independently at Harrys house/studio. Will and him added the final touches with synths and percussion. Then, Harry produced and mixed the track and after that we sent it off for mastering.

How was the recording session for this song? What was fun, interesting, weird or intense during this process?
The cursed blackout! We were on a demo recording trip at our friends barn in the country and on the first day a large storm hit and the power went out for three days.

What were other options for the title of the song and why was this one chosen in the end?
I never thought about it to be honest. When the guys were jamming, I was scrambling through my notes to find lyrics to sing and I stumbled upon Asleep On The Sidewalk. From then it just stuck I guess, a bit like velcro.

What’s the story behind the lyrics of the song?
It was more of an observation, someone walking through the city late at night, observing the quietness in the streets and alleys in that hour before dawn.

Were there any influences or musical references that you used during the writing and recording process of this song?
We all listen to different sorts of music, which makes it exciting because everyone has there own spin on it. Maybe subconsciously the guys had something in mind, you’d have to ask them.

I was listening to a lot of Big Thief at the time and I love the simplicity of a one note solo which they do a lot. So, at the end of the song the lead guitar just hits the one note, which I felt gave more feeling, instead of a flashy solo.

What was the biggest lesson during the writing and recording process?
Make mistakes, sometimes mistakes are the best kind and other times they’re garbage and are truly mistakes.

If could have collaborated with anyone for this song, who would that person be and why?
I wouldn’t want to have done it with anyone else but my friends… But maybe Brian Eno, he’s great.

Which is the biggest challenge of play this song live and how have you resolved it?
We recorded it how we play it live. But I enjoy being able to have fun with it and it not being a concrete thing we have to follow every time we play it live.

In a playlist, which song would you play after this one?
I don’t know, something fun. Maybe something from Robert Wyatt’s catalogue of songs.