Monday, 22 June 2015

An introduction to 'Bearpark' - and a look ahead to 'Wilderness End'

The debut single 'Boxers' is released today and is available as a digital download through all the usual platforms. It will be followed by the album 'Wilderness End' in the autumn. We thought it might be about time to find out a bit more about all things Bearpark - so here's the man himself:

I borrowed the name Bearpark from a remote village near Ushaw Moor, County Durham, home to my late Grandad. It's a quiet, windy place between moorland and collieries, where miners were born and no-one goes - it seemed strangely fitting. 

The songs on Wilderness End document a turbulent decade through the eyes of a rural Essex boy colliding with the glittering noise of London. This is mostly an album about the things we do when we're kettled in together, all doing our best and trying be happy. I think we are wild animals at heart, not designed to live in cities. But live in them we do, with strange consequences. There are unrequited love songs, songs about depression, songs about lashing out, looking out and the changes to ourselves that we don't even notice until we try to return home.

It blends the pastoral, hymnal Americana of The Low Anthem, Bon Iver or Wilco with the distorted romanticism of Ed Harcourt and Sharon Van Etten. There are touches of colliery brass and the sad synthiness of Radiohead and John Grant, all held together by a deep love of words. 

It's been a while in the making, because I spend a lot of my time playing keyboards with London band Revere, occasionally guesting with Gabby Young, and playing everything from guitar and piano to accordion and scissors for Scottish singer Kat Flint. Because I am a megalomaniac I initially planned to play everything; because I am part of an incredible scene in London (and a shit drummer) I leant on others - so Revere drummer Marc Rollins-McKie played drums; Revere frontman Stephen Ellis lent his celesta skills (and his celesta) and violinist Ellie Wilson played some violin. Then I enlisted the help of Kat Flint on vocals (she also designed the sleeve art). 

Like its songs, the making of the album itself was pulled from city to countryside and back again, written in many locations - from a remote recording studio in Invernessshire (while making Revere's first record) to London, via the sofas of friends, exes and parents. Produced by Dave Moore (Revere, Polly Paulusma, The Laurel Collective), the songs were recorded everywhere from my flat in Brixton to analogue wonderland Urchin Studios in London Fields (which houses an amazing 19th century pedal organ used on album tracks Turn Around Take a Bow and Little Black Holes).

I don't know where it's meant to live: in the city or in the country… or maybe somewhere in between the two, at the edge of the wilderness.

I hope you like it. 



Nicholas Hirst is a London-based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. He has spent most of the last few years playing with London band Revere and Scottish-born singer-songwriter Kat Flint (to whom he is also married). He was born in Essex and grew up between Colchester and Detroit, and now lives in Brixton, London.

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