"It's written in the stars..."
By October 2019 quite a lot had happened in Across The Sea…
1 EP, 1 album, 1 standalone single and 134 live shows to be precise.
By this point, our sound, the thing we’d stumbled upon almost by accident when we wrote Wanderlust, was well established and very clear to us, and feeling inspired and energised off the back of a successful summer we knew exactly what the next chapter in the Across The Sea story should be. It was time to revisit an idea we’d had in the back of our minds for a very long time.
There’s always been a narrative aspect to what we do as a band, with our songs tending to be more concerned with the literary than the literal. This approach is perhaps most notable on Masquerade, our contribution to that much underrepresented genre ‘Victorian Gothic Revenge Murder’... However, with a full concept album being a far greater undertaking than anything we’d attempted before, we thought it best to do some homework first.
And so, we must take another brief detour to Worthing Library to empty the shelves of anything relating to fantasy, folklore, fairytale, mythology and philosophy (including the rather fittingly titled ‘Beyond the Looking Glass’ ).
A person who goes on a journey
a: a picture (such as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side
b: something composed or presented in three parts or sections
Before we go further, there’s something we should mention. The Wayfarer Triptych was originally envisioned as a 3 track concept EP (ironically, Infinite Worlds was meant to be an EP too before the song lengths pushed it into album territory…) and we honestly can’t remember when exactly in 2018-19 the decision came to expand 3 tracks to 3 sections (each containing 3 tracks) and turn Wayfarer... into a full album. The number 3 is referenced in the title itself of course, and also dotted throughout the album narrative (an album which is our 3rd ‘proper’ release…), and so we were very interested to learn throughout our research of its importance in so many mythologies and religions from around the world.
Right, back to our homework…
On 6th October 2019 we sat down in Pete’s flat, surrounded by half of Worthing library, a few books from our own collections, and two large takeaway pizzas. We began making our way through each book, jotting down anything we thought might be useful. This process was repeated several times throughout the first half of October (minus the takeaway pizza, the budget for which ran out after that first session) at which point we had amassed 23 pages of notes on Will-o’-the-wisps and World Trees, Tir na n’og and Thra, Plato’s Cave and Nietzsche’s Will To Power, Cowherds and Weaver Girls, and all manner of other things. All the while, ideas were building in our minds as to where our own story could go, and how we could take the initial basic idea Pete had come up with all that time ago and combine it with everything we were learning to create something unique of our own.
The following few weeks involved a lot of brainstorming, and a lot of trial and error; on one day, we more or less deleted everything and started again; on another, Hannah received a message from Pete with a story idea that excited her so much she yelled “YES!” while in the middle of a pub. And slowly, but surely, it all started to come together.
It is not the purpose of this blog to reveal the story told in The Wayfarer Triptych, for that you’ll need to wait until October 1st we’re afraid. But we can tell you that by early November, about a month after our first research session, the initial draft was completed (albeit one that would be tweaked regularly throughout the songwriting process). The various plot points were then organised into 9 parts (one for each song), and each given a single word working title (all of which would remain for at least another year or, in the case of Prologue, permanently):
Well, that all looks good on paper. We’d better actually write the songs now hadn’t we?
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