Some time has passed. In 2019, my friend Steve and I sat in the studio and decided to listen to some of my older back catalogue. We listened to songs that I wrote long before Steve and I met. I realised I still had several songs stuck inside 'demo stasis' this evening. This is a strange phenomenon for me. The easiest way to explain it is that the song has all the emotion and potential I had hoped for, but it is encased inside a dated and futile production against the current Hurt Records catalogue.
It was a strange time for me; we set up the newly revised Studio A, and I decided to test the studio to see its capabilities. Of course, we also had a worldwide pandemic that kept us all separated. I asked Steve to come to the studio to record a few songs. These two songs later became 'Victimised' from The Disgraced Henry Langham and 'When the Doctor Leaves' from Overcast. The drum tracks then laid dormant for another few years, and I then asked Steve to complete the rest of this EP. Only last year did I add a few extra songs from my back catalogue to create a fully-fletched extended EP.
I wanted to go back to the drawing board with everything. The only things I was happy with on the original release were the vocals and bass. The rest sounded dead and dull. I decided to open up each song and listen to each song one final time. I then deleted the originals from the Pro Tools session and re-created the guitars (from memory) to fit into the world of Z. This EP exists in the no-mans-land between Z.3 and Z.4, so the guitar work needed to fit precisely. It took some work, but finally, I was excited with the guitars. I asked our engineer Matt O'Sullivan to come and spend some time with me in the studio where we could really hone the guitars and bass. The drums were already on point (it's Steve Muncaster), so I wanted to satisfy. I'm a rhythm player and wanted to make the guitars more rhythmic and exciting. In later Z albums, I experiment greatly with the colophony of sound that comes from bending certain strings within a chord - more of that soon. So, I was glad to implement some of those connective tissues here.
This remake came at a cost, however. I've never been one who enjoys commenting on the misdeeds of others, and I always knew there would be some upheaval from re-imagining some of my older songs due to other parties involved at the time. You may have noticed that over the years, I have never publicly shared my personal issues with others online, so my side of every story is rarely - if ever- shared. I never imagined it leading to the situation I experienced in the last few years. Living a good and authentic life comes at a cost, and I always wonder what advice I would give to those who have gone down ulterior paths. Sometimes, people are so far away from help that it seems almost pointless to intervene in certain situations. All I can say on the matter (and I have explained this in-depth in a statement posted in our Patreon Discord) is that disappointment doesn't cover it. My experience with the person involved was a short session over ten years ago, and I have had little contact with them since. I have heard many things over the years and chose explicitly to not involve myself. Last year resulted in a total disconnect on my part.
In recent months, the person in question has continued with their assault on both myself and other members of the Hurt community. This person, who, as far as I am aware, claims themself a Christian, has harassed and used the internet as a method to try to extort their permission. This is after illegally releasing my music for personal gain. Others have come forward in the last month with recounts of profoundly troubling and illegal behaviour in the form of interaction with underage members of our community, and I am sickened by what I have been told. To go back to my sentiments about sharing advice with the person involved, I would say always be authentic and strive to be better - every day. It will help your future self immensely. Humans sometimes fall into a cycle of wanting to be considered victims, and we see that more every year. Life is a series of lines you can connect however you want; we make our own luck with hard work and perseverance. The past is dead; go forward, hoping to achieve incredible things.
This leads me to the final reason for re-imagining my older songs. It comes in the form of cleansing them. With the love, time and dedication I/we put into these songs, I now feel proud enough of the works that I would happily place them in a playlist with other Z songs in the knowledge that they have been purified and made good.
I can only thank you for your incredible support with everything. I took the time to list all of you who have helped with Hurt and some of the aforementioned fractious interactions over the years. You are all family to me, and I wanted your names to be immortalised to show just how fond of you all I truly am. With you, I am doing what I can do at Hurt Records.
Any profits made from the streaming side of this release will be donated to a fantastic charity, but if you have the time, please consider donating directly to Warchild, UK.