My brother has been working for a few months on a new mix + master for the vinyl release of this record. It sounds much cleaner and louder now. I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Finally, after roughly 18 months of writing, recording, mixing and mastering, I have finished what I can say is my proudest achievement. I have never attempted anything this complex or grandiose, and to have finally seen its completion is an overwhelming and wonderful feeling. My name is Kiran Leonard, and I turned 16 last September. This is my album, Bowler Hat Soup, and my first record that could be considered a 'pop record'.
I said much the same thing about my last album the Big Fish - the ridiculous length of time it took to make (with that record, it took 8 months longer because I nearly finished it and then started again), how great I felt about finishing it; but with BHS I have tried to address the two major shortcomings of that album, which I have identified as such -
1) THE PRODUCTION LEAVES MUCH TO BE DESIRED. I'm not saying don't go and listen to it, but I feel I need to identify the faults with something I've made. The Big Fish was not formally mixed, rather tidied a little and patched together through a series of recordings, some of which no longer had ProTools session files for me to play with. As a result, the levels are of a very poor quality, and it detracts somewhat from the experience of listening to it. So that this didn't happen again, I mixed Bowler Hat Soup over the course of two months. Me and my brother Max began work on the mix in November, but eventually I decided to finish the mixing on my own so as to not further take up my brother's time with the project. As a result, the quality of the mix isn't fantastic, but it sounds a lot better than the Big Fish. I tried my best, Internet, so be kind.
2) IT'S NOT COMPACT ENOUGH. Writing a 26-minute prog/jazz 'epic' is great fun and looks good on a CV, but it leaves you feeling quite bloated and bored afterwards - I believe the medical term is 'looking like a pretentious arsehole'. As a result, I tried to stick to shorter and more densely-packed songs rather than long stretches of soloing (although there's still some of that). Bowler Hat Soup is just under 10 minutes shorter than the Big Fish, but has eleven more tracks, and there's much more going on.
The music in Bowler Hat Soup, as I have said, is much more accessible, more popular music than jazz, and has a wider textural palette. I think I play about two dozen instruments on it, but that does include 'radiator' and 'grill', so that's much less impressive than it sounds. As on the Big Fish, my friends Ben, Seth + Amanda helped out with various bits, as did my friend Harriet, who is the female vocalist you hear on 'Hoopla Reprise'.
As for the lyrical content, an overarching theme was originally non-existent, but towards the end of the record (the songs were written roughly chronologically), I began to semantically group certain themes - songs about my family and friends, of love and war, and also alcohol consumption, and try to tie them all together. It's not like I set out to write a record on a particular subject, merely happened to write about certain things a lot.
Oddly, after waiting to write this introduction to Bowler Hat Soup for so long, and finding it tough to contain my excitement of showing the world what I've made, I have very little to say about it. I think that the music speaks for itself, really, and if I write anymore it will probably become far too self-indulgent for any reasonable human being to bare.
Any feedback (be it hideously negative or day-makingly positive), please send to me through my tumblr, or my last.fm
page (username: volta1995). Either way, I hope that you listen to this record, and I hope even more that you enjoy it, and spread it to others.
- Kiran (22/1/12)
released 12 October 2012
kiran - vocals, piano, drums, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric guitar (w/ screwdriver, plectrum + fingers), banjo, mandolin, synthesizer, Wurlitzer electric piano, cittern, ukelele, reed organ, grill, handclaps, cajon, shaker, bongo, radiator, wall, toms, VSTs, radio
seth - euphonium (6-8, 10, 12)
amanda - violin (2, 7), plundered vox (4)
dad - plundered vox (4)
ben - vox (10)
harriet - vox (15)
kelly - album cover
thank you to dad + max for helping with the mix. recorded in dobcross and in comares and in huddersfield.