“Among Horses IV”, the stories behind the songs…
A farm in the middle of nowhere in northern Catalonia. two singer-songwriters from opposite sides from the world who just met. Seven days. Sixty horses grazing on the hills. A room full of old microphones. That was how it all started for “Among Horses IV”, the EP by Lydia Cole & Hailey Beavis. We asked them to write a small diary. These are the 5 stories behind the 5 songs of the little gem they made in the hot summer of 2018.
“23 July 2018. I’m writing this on the first day of Among Horses but I’m pretending it’s the last. It’s been a hard week full of challenges I couldn’t foresee. Sometimes I coped well and other times I simply couldn’t. This project had the shakiest beginning possible but we did it. And even though it was hard and I’ve felt like a mess, I’m proud of myself. I came here broken and naked with these people, holding on to a scrap of hope, and faith. Not faith in myself really, but faith in music – that where you have vulnerability and willingness, music can be born.
I want this project to be an eternal reminder to me that my vulnerability is my strength. I don’t have social charisma, a thick skin, a laugh a minute or a stable mind, but I have my vulnerability and I want to offer this with open hands, even when it hurts to reach out.” – Lydia Cole –
Talk To Me
“To me this song feels like a pure balance of Hailey Beavis and I. It really feels like a weaving together of light and dark, delicate and deep. I think of this song as a wise friend, someone who would sit with you for a doctor’s appointment. The kind of friend who isn’t afraid to be with you through the changing terrain of life.” – Lydia Cole –
“We were building a method as we went along. For this song I had a starting point: a chord, a phrase and a feeling. We talked a lot. Again, not really about how to collaborate, more about the weight of feelings. You can’t write a song with someone without exposing quite a lot of yourself I think. Another deep conversation against a back drop of everything green and murmuring with life. Lydia took these threads of feeling and saw how to tie them together in a way I couldn’t, both lyrically and musically. Where my ideas ended hers poured and a song began to tumble out in harmonies and rhymes. I feel like if we have a sound, this is it. This is the most us.” – Hailey Beavis –
Tape on the Reel
“Tape on the Reel crept up to us on the first day. The guitar part bubbled up and I played it to Hailey. She pressed me for what it meant, what I was feeling in the music. We had an extended (and hilarious) conversation about many things, and the next day she came back with the most beautiful lyrics. I truly felt like she had understood me on the deepest level, and written in what sounded like my own voice. Very special. We then tinkered with the lyrics until it felt complete.” – Lydia Cole –
“The first morning of the project was a daunting place be. 3 days to write an EP together. We spent a little time gathering ideas separately, and later took a walk into an unimaginably beautiful meadow. I remember feeling a little out of control, I had written some words but somehow I knew they were wrong, and I couldn’t invite Lydia in with what I had come up with. But we started talking and somehow managed to hold off the pressure of time. By chance (or grand design) we had a real connection and a desire to know about each other. After a long chat, we hit upon a direction that was real and about that moment. Sitting in my room, I could just hear Lydia’s gentle guitar form on the balcony, and I began to make our conversations into song.” – Hailey Beavis –
“I had a lot of fun playing with these lyrics, chasing a sentiment initially laid out by Hailey in some of our chats and her screeds of writing. We spent plenty of time singing the chorus that week, polishing the timing and melody as we went. It was a lot of fun. My personal highlight was during recording when a bag of cornflakes became a percussive instrument. Yes, it ended up all over the floor.” – Lydia Cole –
“From the beginning of the week I had been playing around with this guitar part. It felt great to roll it out in the morning sun, before Lydia and I started working on other songs. It seemed to suit the landscape, vastly undulating away form the balcony, where we did so much of our writing and talking.
Images of home and the connections there began to emerge within the lyrics that passed back and forth between Lydia and I, until the song seemed set and recording commenced. Improvising a jangly bass drum with a box of cornflakes was certainly one of highlights in recording it.” – Hailey Beavis –
“On the last morning of writing I overheard Hailey sitting on the porch outside my room, playing the guitar part. Something in it clicked with me, and an hour later the song was written. The most special memory in this song for me is the tiny, thousand-year-old chapel where we recorded it, just over on the neighbour’s property. It was mind-blowing to record a day-old song about wishing to forget the hard truths of life, while standing inside a structure that has survived so much. It was a very memorable day.” – Lydia Cole –
“One morning after breakfast, towards the end of the week, I was sat outside with my guitar. A solum riff was slowly lurching around the strings beneath my fingers, and it grabbed Lydia’s attention. “Play it again?’’ she asked, emerging with her guitar, ready to go for a walk. She took a sound recording of the riff and disappeared up the dirt track.
Wafts of guitar and Lydia’s gentle voice carried back to me on the breeze from time to time throughout the morning, and when she arrived back, she arrived with a fully formed song. The way you do when something is really ready to be said. The next day, the song was recorded in a tiny chapel some thousand years old.” – Hailey Beavis –
“I could tell from the beginnings of The Key’s creation that @haileybeavis had a very strong vision for it. This song was her baby. I took it as an opportunity to sit back and watch her pour out all her enthusiasm and energy. There was something electric about this song, and Hailey’s focus was something to behold. It seemed to carry something essential for her.” – Lydia Cole –
“We knew a storm was brewing above us, we just didn’t know how big it was going to be. The air was so hot and heavy I could hardly breathe. I took a walk up the mountain. I remember Lydia being mildly concerned because the sky was changing so fast. I knew I needed to work quickly. I think being close to Lydia and her approach to writing had an effect on me, because I craved to simplify and condense my thoughts into a whisper of words. And as I was writing this, I could imagine our voices singing it together.
Thunder cracked as I walked back and the swollen sky eventually buckled.” – Hailey Beavis –