This is the first in a series of blogs exploring the songs on the Shooting The Messenger album. Nick Toczek explores the origins of the lyrics for the tracks while Signa Alpha's Matt Webster details the creation of the music. Introductions to each track are by Nick Toczek & Signia Alpha's Facebook page editor, Liz Austin
Liz: 'You can hear the frustration of lack of communication in the lyrics. The pounding bass and drum is that frustration being hammered out. The flute is like the calming influence. The rest is the hustle and bustle of everyday life that continues all around whilst you wait, frustrated.'
Nick: ‘The hidden theme of ‘Shooting The Messenger’ is how we receive or transmit information. While all the other lyrics were drawn from my pre-existing work, ‘No Messages’ was specifically written on that theme for this album. The lyric begins with people waiting, uninformed, at an airport for news of the fate of passengers on a plane that’s failed to arrive on time. It ends with a dysfunctional and deteriorating personal relationship in which communication has broken down.
‘Coincidentally, while we were working on this project, my mother died and left me one of her favourite possessions, knowing that I also liked it. This is a bronze statue of Mercury, fabled messenger of the Gods. Made in 1910 by the famed French sculptor, Raymond Sudre, it’s well over two feet tall. Photos of it feature in the artwork of both the CD and the vinyl editions of ‘Shooting The Messenger’, in memory of my mum.’
Matt: ‘This was recorded during sessions for a song by guitarist Jack Atkinson. I had previously played with Jack in a rock and blues covers band The Johnny Gray Band in 2017 and he later asked me to record and play on a track he had written. While we were working on that track, I asked him to jam along to a drum beat I had and he came up with the main riff for what became ‘No Messages’, the first of two on the album (three on the CD) that Jack plays on. I added the bass later before Nick did his vocals.
‘The last thing to go on No Messages was the fabulous flute played by Chris Walsh who I had been in the band Nowt with in the early nineties. Prior to that he had been in Bradford combo Handful Of Dance in the ‘80s. I always loved his playing and was really pleased with the parts he came up with for this song and the others he plays on.’