Ever wondered what your favourite artists think is the best song they’ve written? How about the meaning behind it? Well don’t fret because we at AltCorner have got you covered! Here vocalist James Lascelles of Wheel takes us behind the scenes on his favourite song!
What is your favourite song you’ve written?
It’s probably the lead track, ‘Please‘ from The Divide EP.
What inspired the song?
Musically, I came up with this mean sounding groove for the drums and bass in fives that was the jumping off point for the track – I had been trying to write some new music for the EP for some time and this idea came at about 4AM after a long and previously fruitless night sat in front of a Pro Tools session. The next day, we jammed it out in the rehearsal room and Mikko, our bassist came up with an equally bad-ass chorus sequence that was the perfect compliment to the track’s main riff. After this point, it took us an additional 4-6 months of collaboratively tweaking the structure and arrangement to get the most out of the two core ideas; like most of the music we have made with Wheel, we were using some weird and unfamiliar poly-rhythms as the bedrock of the track and they took a long time to feel organic to us.
Thanks to the long time we were playing around with the instrumental parts of the song, I had ample opportunity to come up with the vocal melody/lyrics and inspiration hit like a wave when I came across an article online. During the height of the Syrian refugee crisis a few years ago, there was a British news outlet that referred to the influx of people into Europe as a ‘swarm’. This seemed like such a deliberately negative and divisive term to use about victims fleeing a war zone that I started considering the wider use of binary and over-simplified rhetoric in mass media; similar criticisms could be made regarding the way news coverage operated around Brexit, the Trump election campaign and many other complex issues.
As a band, we came to the collective conclusion that the public are far less stupid than these media outlets assume and that more in-depth discussion would greatly benefit society as a whole, helping us to make better decisions for our countries overall and increasing our empathy and understanding for people who may have views that clash with our own. ‘Please‘ became a therapeutic rant about this.
What is it about the track that makes it so special to you?
In Wheel, we pride ourselves on being as democratic as humanly possible and if any of us want to change something within a song, it has always been a conversation about how we do so rather than if it needs to be changed. The creation of this track was this process in action and we were all super happy with the way it turned out. We grow enormously as individual players/composers and as a cohesive group every time we challenge ourselves with creating new material and despite it’s relative simplicity to some of the other songs we have produced, this one was one of the hardest to finish.