Track By Track Guide: Scrimshire – Nothing Feels Like Everything

Producer, songwriter, DJ, and label head Adam Scrimshire has graced us with a track-by-track guide of his soon to be released (it’s out tomorrow) sixth album Nothing Feels Like Everything.

The project has already garnered support from radio stations worldwide, including top-tier BBC broadcasters such as Gilles Peterson, Huey Morgan and Jamie Cullum.

Nothing Feels Like Everything features a wealth of collaborators, including Cleveland Watkiss, Ursula Rucker, Jessica Lauren, Miryam Solomon, Nat Birchall, Faye Houston, Emanative, Vince Vella, Idris Rahman, Pie Eye Collective, Bev Lee Harling, Huw Marc Bennett and more.

In explaining the LP, Adam says, “The album attempts to capture the sense of being overwhelmed by too much and too little, sometimes at the same time. A kind of pendulum swing of emotion I’ve felt very powerfully throughout lockdowns and the world we’ve all been surviving through.”

From the cinematic soul sounds of ‘The Pile’ to dramatic orchestral arrangements of ‘Within Without,’ this stunning array of music keeps the quality and range high from start to finish.

Get a little taste of the album below, and then scroll down for Scrimshire’s track-by-track breakdown to get a glimpse of the creative process behind each individual cut.

The Pile feat. Cleveland Watkiss

I picked up my guitar expressly wanting to create something long and exploring, something that built slowly and developed into something big. I was inspired by the second half of the track “Lost In Space And Time” off my previous album. But I’d also been listening to a lot of Charles Stepney and David Axelrod at the time and I think that’s all in there, in its own way.

The first discussions I had with Cleveland about collaborating on this track happened when they impact of George Floyd’s murder was still very early, but we were also seeing outright denial of racism in the UK through a bogus racism report commissioned by the government. To say we felt anger is an understatement. That report was another act of violence to marginalised communities, we needed to speak about it and Cleveland found the words to do it.

Heron feat. Miryam Solomon

I first wrote the music for this song very early on in the sessions for Believers Vol. 1. We’d actually recorded the drums in the very first session for that album, but it just became less and less comfortable in that record and I eventually put it to one side. During that time I’d begun working with Miryam on the Huw Marc Bennett record. We hadn’t even confirmed doing her EP at that point. But we got on really well and I could hear her on this song. The strings are provided by Bev Lee Harling and Frank Moon, two friends of mine who I’ve worked with for years on Wah Wah 45s. Frank also provides the beautiful solos on the Oud. I’d been mixing Bev’s album which has Oud on it and I was hooked on the sound.

In Circles feat. Idris Rahman

This is all composed around the guitar riff, really. I barely remember making this song. I just had a little guitar loop going round in 5/4 and I love 5/4 but rarely write for that time signature. There’s something everflowing about that extra beat in the bar though, when done right. You’re always being pushed forward. The melody was evident in the guitar and it was as simple really as repeating it over and over on different instruments to create the main sound. Idris was a late addition to this, literally days before finishing the album. We’d already written Love In Dreams together and I just wanted a little extra Idris to round everything off.

I Hear You, I See You feat. Nat Birchall and Faye Houston

This was really just one of those ones that comes out of the air. I found the chords one day with this particular piano sound. I was working on a writing project for a brief where these chords would have just been way too jazz. So I made a note of them and carried on with my work. After finishing the other song, I came back to this in the early evening, and the song just came together in less than an hour, including recording the percussion. I sent it to Nat that night to see if he would be interested. He listened, played a single take, sent it back to me and that was that. I could hear the lyrics and melody for the words already and sent over to Faye to see if she could capture it, which she did beautifully. If only it was always this easy.

Within Without feat. Jessica Lauren

This took a while to come together. Not least because I made it quite complex and a little beyond my own abilities when I wrote it. One of the things I needed to do was sort the string arrangement and I desperately wanted someone to do it for me, but I don’t really have the money and means to keep hiring arrangers for these things, so eventually I sat down and over a few days wrote this string arrangement. I knew from the beginning how the structure of this song would be, so that was never a problem. I can often visualise the whole song like that first, and then I have to bring it into reality. I was lucky to have friends like Huw Marc Bennett (bass), Jessica Lauren (Rhodes), Nick Emanative (percussion), Chris Boot (drums) to help me make it real. The Parallax Orchestra were recorded remotely one night as part of a session a friend of mine was doing. I managed to grab 40 minutes of their time to record all the parts for this. Incredible really.

Boldly feat. Ursula Rucker

Writing this song was very quick. I had no energy and I needed to make something soothing one morning. The more remarkable thing about this is the work with Ursula who is a massive hero of mine. We began talking to each other at the end of 2020 and it was months before we committed to recording for this. The process of getting to know each other is something I will cherish forever because it was so special and we would never have made this without that time to understand and care for each other. I love this because whenever I hear her voice I remember those conversations and it feels so personal. It’s an incantation for others but I think she said these words for both of US too, something to remind both of us it was ok, it will be ok, just hold on.

Morning Affirmation

Back in 2020 Hector Plimmer asked me to make a piece of music for his Soothing Sounds radio show on Worldwide FM. I was up early one morning, turned everything on just before 7am and began making this. It was done before midday in pretty much the form it is now. I can’t remember what came first or what order, it just flowed and kept catching me by surprise. I’m starting to realise there was a lot of that this time. Which I’m pleased about, it’s growth for me.

Love In Dreams feat. Idris Rahman

Again, one born from another. I was working on a project where I’d made the synth sound you hear at the beginning of this. I really enjoyed the sound but couldn’t explore it much in the other project, so carried on after I’d finished that song into something new. I didn’t expect it to become jazz, but this is probably the most jazz I’ve ever been, I think, so it’s a strange origin. The melodic development was a back and forth between me and Idris, he sent ideas, I edited them and added more, sent them back to him and he layered and developed further. The energy levels just kept going up. I love where this gets to. Definitely would like to make more music like this.

Discussion feat. Pie Eye Collective

This was one of those times of sitting and improvising. Something nice was coming out, so I hit record. I really loved the descending keyboard riff. At one point I spent some time trying to work out how this would work with a beat, but I have absolutely no idea how to do it. The original version was twice as long, but I cut it down to get everything on vinyl. I felt like the track needed more magic and had asked Matthew Gordon aka Pie Eye to do a couple of tracks on the album with a modular synthesiser set up he had at the time. This is beautiful though, just perfect. There’s no tempo and we weren’t playing together, so he just had to get the vibe and play along and he did wonders.

Pre-order Nothing Feels Like Everything from here.

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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