At The Sky – the evolution of a song

Today marks the official release date of our debut album “Time and Tide”. The album contains 10 tracks and comprises all of the material written from the band’s conception up until its recording. After reaching this milestone, it seems a good opportunity to look back on the history of one song in particular.

“At The Sky” was the first song we wrote together as a band at the beginning of 2012. Its origins actually go back a number of years further. The first two verses were originally part of a much longer and quite different piece called “Symptom X” written back in 2004 for a band I was in called Jigsaw Culture, which was a kind of experimental progressive rock band.

When we first started Dawn of Elysium, we were originally a 5-piece and the band was called “The Wraith”. The band consisted of myself, Emma, Phil Holroyd on drums, lead guitarist Paul Stefan Gill and singer Paul Brannan. This line-up and name only really lasted a couple of months before the two Pauls left. During that time a number of primitive rehearsal recordings were made and subsequent demos were recorded at Paul Stefan Gill’s home studio. He played all the instrumentation and Paul Brannan later laid down the vocals. At The Sky was one of the first such demos. It went in a slightly different direction to what was perhaps intended but it is interesting to hear their interpretation of it after all this time. None of the rest of the band performed on this recording. The two Pauls went on to write a few more songs together with a view to carrying on under the moniker “The Wraith Within”, some of which can be heard on a Reverbnation page created for the band and also Paul Brannan’s personal page. Unfortunately the new project never really saw the light of day but the music has been left online for posterity.

Some months later, the song had been reworked slightly and was recorded at Voltage Studios for our first EP “Sense of Belonging”. Phil was still playing the drums at this point and so this EP doesn’t really sound representative of what we were to become.

After Phil left in February 2013, I quickly set about programming drums for all the songs and At The Sky was the first one I did. By the time we started recording the album in 2015, we were playing the song much less at gigs and have since only played it once or twice. Although she likes it as a song, it is Emma’s least favourite one to play and probably the one which took the most takes to record. It was also Martin’s least favourite when producing the album as he said it reminded him of Marillion, a band which he hates but one which have been quite an influence on me (Fish era only however, not a Hogarth fan).

We will be playing it at the album launch gig simply because it has been a while. Although it doesn’t get much of an airing these days and in some ways doesn’t fit as much as it did, it will remain an important track to me and one which holds a few memories dating back over 12 years.

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By Alec Posted in Blog

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