I’ve always found that I’m more honest with myself in my writing than I am day-to-day, and “Midnight” is a perfect example of that. Written on a keyboard above a pub in South West London – my first flat in the City – the track went from being a catchy chorus idea to a full-blown lament in a couple of hours. This song is so special to me for a number of reasons: it’s rare for me to write on a keyboard; it took a few days to finish fleshing out (also rare; I tend to sit on a verse!) but was first performed over 3-years ago, and it’s so honest that looking back, I wish it was less honest. That’s the thing with letting yourself be vulnerable though, isn’t it? It’s not easy.
I’ve been on the brink for a couple weeks
I might just up and leave
The song is rooted in London, and the toll it can take on the young people that live there. I moved to the capital at 19, and within a year had already learnt more about myself and the wide-open-world than I had done in my final years at school. However, the ideal of coming to this great, big city with hopes of pursuing your dreams doesn’t come without anxieties. In the first line of “Midnight”, I state it plainly: things were getting to be too much, and I needed to escape.
The days are getting harder
There’s no stardust in my pockets
At first, I felt London’s magic coursing through the streets. The people were different here. There was so, so much to discover. But, as normality seeped into my new-found life in the City, that magic soured. To me it was as if Peter Pan had crashed through my window and told me about Neverland and that I could fly, except the fairy dust worked for all the Lost Boys but me.
The voices are loud
They’re screaming at me and I’m crumbling
Under a shroud of The Slumber; it thunders and growls,
It sunders and ploughs;
Our songs exist and take place in The Slumber: a semi-fictional songwriting universe. Everyone’s Slumber is unique. For me, The Slumber is an upside-down version of London: dark, gritty and littered with demons. For one to exist in The Slumber, they must be afflicted with the Gloom – all those anxieties I mentioned. The Gloom and The Slumber go hand-in-hand. They’re all-consuming, and break us down without remorse.
It’s Midnight in the morning
And I waited up to see you smile,
Dear Starlight, I’m yawning
But I haven’t seen you shine in a while
The saving grace in The Slumber is Starlight – a goddess-type; the embodiment of nature, peace and beauty. The escape I was looking for when I penned “Midnight” was a simple one: I needed to get back to my Dad’s place. I needed to relax – to take a minute away from the unrelenting City. When I was studying and things got heavy, I’d go back to my Dad’s, he’d get a braai (a South African barbecue) going, and we’d start a small fire. Those nights under the stars with friends and family really are the crux of my well-being.
Since I wrote “Midnight”, I’ve fallen back in love with London. Our track is a snapshot from my own growing process; a reminder to take a step back every now-and-then, and to forsake the demands of modern day life for the little things when they’re just the remedy you need.
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