Creating The Triptych
"Beyond the sunset they dream..."
As we reach the final chapter of our ‘Creating The Triptych’ blog, we are just 3 days away from the release of The Wayfarer Triptych itself.
Friday 1st October 2021 is a day we’ve been building towards, in one way or another, since January 2018, when Pete sprinted back along Worthing seafront, his buzzing excitement at the idea he’d just had matched only by a paranoid fear of forgetting it before he got home.
So what else is left to say?
Well, since we began working properly on Wayfarer... in October 2019, a combination of researching, conceptualising, writing, demoing, recording, and mixing (all undertaken during a global situation where everybody was advised or obligated to stay at home) hadn’t made us the most sociable of creatures…
In September 2020 we were therefore very excited to both get outside properly for the first time in months, for a photoshoot with Across The Sea’s Official Photographer: our very good friend, Neringa Thompson of NG Photography.
Why were we posing for photos in September 2020 for an album that won’t be released until October 2021?
Well, as mentioned in an earlier instalment of this blog, we were both convinced back then that the album would be ready by Christmas and all would be well in the world. And so, with winter beckoning, we decided to make use of Hannah’s day off from vocal recording to take advantage of the last days of good weather and get some fresh air and some brand new, album specific promo shots.
And so, on September 25th 2020, we spent a day wayfaring around the Surrey countryside with Neringa and her camera. Having spent the morning in Bourne Wood near Farnham, we drove to the nearby Waverley Abbey, because it’s not an Across The Sea photoshoot without a few shots of us standing next to medieval ruins…
However, once we arrived (and Hannah had changed her outfit), we discovered something altogether more exciting…
Last week we briefly explained a little about The Myrehsia Tree, which features so prominently in the album narrative and on The Triptych itself. And so, stumbling upon a magical old yew tree in the grounds of Waverley Abbey, one which is thought to have been there when the abbey was first built in 1128, and still remains very much alive amongst the ruins, suddenly made our location choice even better, and even more Wayfarer…
Following a brief stop off at the nearby Mother Ludlam’s Cave (which legend tells was once home to The White Witch of Waverley) for ‘The Most Metal Across The Sea Photo Ever’, Hannah changed her outfit again and we finished off the shoot atop the Devil’s Jumps in Churt, witnessing a rather spectacular sunset – the perfect way to cap off a thoroughly successful outing.
Fast forward many, many months, and we fortunately still look more or less the same as we did last September, and so the photoshoot has become a vital part of our overall aesthetic for The Wayfarer Triptych.
Of similar importance is the music video we released just last week for Nightfall in the Labyrinth, which was filmed and edited by Ollie Dolling Productions. However, unlike the photoshoot, the video shoot actually took place in recent memory – on August 18th 2021.
We’d known from a fairly early point in the writing of Wayfarer… which track would be the lead single. Aside from Prologue and Swansong which (like Aurora and Into Infinity before them) are very much bookends to the album as a whole, Nightfall in the Labyrinth is the only track under 8 minutes long, and even has a chorus of sorts. Which by Across The Sea standards makes it practically a pop song…
From a narrative standpoint, the plot of Nightfall… is simple – a girl fleeing through a ruined city at night time. And that, combined with the punchy, direct nature of the track itself, meant we knew it was the best choice for a video shoot.
The chosen location was Lewes Priory Ruins, which offered a suitably atmospheric backdrop for the video shoot, an effect further enhanced by the smoke machines and purple lighting provided by Ollie.
Our previous video, for Shadow of the Moon, starred Hannah (and only Hannah) wandering lonely around Worthing before disappearing beneath the shadow of the moon. This time round, knowing we wanted a live performance element to the Nightfall... video, Pete made his onscreen debut, in the complex and multi-dimensional role of ‘Pete – Guitarist in Across The Sea’. Not to be outdone, Hannah took a dual role, as ‘Hannah – Singer in Across The Sea’ and ‘The Girl’.
To portray ‘The Girl’ required Hannah (in her 256th outfit change of this week’s blog) to cut up an old shirt, rub it in some dirt, and then wear it as she ran around, jumped over things, rolled on the floor, and hid behind walls. Did you know Hannah is a self-confessed clean freak and hates running? Never let it be said we don’t suffer for our art…
Nightfall in the Labyrinth (the song) concludes with ‘The Girl’ running into the great wall of mist which surrounds the ruined city. Similarly, Nightfall in the Labyrinth (the video) climaxes with Hannah (as ‘The Girl’) darting through an archway into a thick wall of ‘mist’ created by Ollie’s smoke machines and two smoke grenades Pete had turned up with. And that was that, and filming was wrapped at 3am (sorry Ollie…)
A few weeks later, Ollie returned his incredible final edit of the video to us (including a 35gb 4K version which took about 20 hours to upload, download, and import to YouTube). Please take a few minutes to watch it in all its HD glory here.
What Ollie has achieved with this video, like Angelina’s artwork, Augmented Sounds’ master and Neringa’s photos, perfectly aligns with our overall vision on this album, and to have had the opportunity to work with such talented, creative people on this project is something we are both very thankful for.
And that perhaps best encapsulates this entire experience for us, for amidst all that has gone on elsewhere over the past 2 years in the world, the music industry, Across The Sea and our own lives, creatively speaking The Wayfarer Triptych has been an absolute triumph.
Every sound you hear on this album, every note, every lyric, every story point, every idea - it was all created by us, and us alone. The 9 tracks which make up the album are entirely the result of two people pushing themselves further than they ever thought they were capable of going musically, artistically, sonically and personally. And we genuinely believe, in all humility, the end result is something truly special.
Thank you for joining us over the past 8 weeks as we looked back on our journey to bring The Wayfarer Triptych to fruition. The story told in ‘Creating The Triptych’ now reaches its conclusion, but please don’t go away. For on October 1st another story, and another journey, awaits…
“One shall emerge from the veil of grey
Light the world with wisdom’s flame…”