Okay, I know what you're thinking:
'What the hell kind of name is Pagan Wanderer Lu?'
What's a lu? Is this guy a real pagan? Does he have a beard and walk in the woods making love to trees? Is his music whimsical folk peppered with that awful 'inside a soapy fish tank' synth effect used on every new age cd ever? The answer, sadly, is no. Though I am currently sporting a beard.
The name? Come up with a theory yourself, I'll reveal the real reason for it at the end of the blogging week.
Let me introduce myself properly. My name's Andy Regan (this is not a secret), I'm a 26 year old songwriter born in Bolton and currently living in Cardiff. This week I released what is, from the outside world's point of view, my first album. It's called 'Fight My Battles For Me' and is, in reality, my third or possibly fourth album - depending how you count. Over the next week I'm going to give you a short guided tour of the past nine years of my life and give you a few songs to listen to for free.
Here's a cake I made to celebrate the album release:
I'm always at a complete loss when someone asks me to describe what I do. But for you, kind readers of the Independent Online, I will try. I write songs which are basically indie-pop with a hint of folk, then I cover them with electronic sounds. Cheap, character-filled drum beats from old keyboards. Obsolete electronic instruments like omnichords and stylophones. Modern and old skool synthesizers. I re-write the structures so things don't go as expected. I sabotage things so they don't sound quite right. All in the name of trying to make something which meets halfway between the classic British pop songwriting which I love and which got me into music (we're talking Jarvis Cocker, Stuart Murdoch and all who came before them), and the electronica which I immersed myself in later.
Lyrically I try to be honest. I write about whatever I'm currently interested in. Often this gets me tagged as a 'political' songwriter. Though I always resist this because the moment I see 'political songwriter' I think 'boring' and click onto the next page. It's more important to me to write a good song than to make a political point. When I write a political song it's because something has caught my interest enough to write about it. Because I hope I have something interesting to say on the subject.
Here's the best example of how I try and go about writing. This song is 'Our New Hospital Sucks'. It's the song that caught the attention of Brainlove Records, the label I now work with, and it's based on a chapter in the book 'Captive State' by George Monbiot. The book is about Private Finance Initiatives, which are a really cool and innovative way for the government to hand vast amounts of taxpayers' money to private companies in the name of making savings, fobbing off responsibility for new infrastructure, and appearing to be making investments in public services.
This is my attempt at a 'satirical cartoonist' style decrying of PFI.
Satirical cartoonists are crap, aren't they?
PFI is a blight on the economic landscape, a black hole into which increasing millions of pounds are needlessly shat year in year out. They are also incredibly boring to explain - a fact Monbiot acknowledges in his book. I thought to myself 'what's a way of making PFI matter to 'The Kids'? Write a pop song about them!'.
Actually I thought no such thing, I just wrote the song and this occurred to me later. The lyrics are self-explanatory, and hopefully amusing. There's always a point where something becomes so spectacularly awful that you can't help but laugh. My lyrics aim to occupy this space.
MP3: Our New Hospital Sucks
However, not all my songs are about politics. Far from it... This is a song I released in 2007. This song is about a recurring dream my mother has in which she has murdered someone - perhaps in a previous life. She's been having the dream for years. One day when workmen were digging up our back garden she was overcome with this really strong feeling that 'oh my god they're going to find the bodies...'. Thankfully they didn't.
The song also touches on ideas about karma, and how best to live a good life. Is it best to shoot for your dreams at all costs? Or better to allow yourself to settle into a rut, as long as it's a happy rut? This is one of many recurring themes for me.
MP3: Perfection Or A Simple Life
Hopefully by being honest about what I'm trying to do with my songs I can leave it to others to decide whether I've succeeded? Rather than being all coy and artistic. Then I can just get on with writing the next song, always the most exciting thing.
That's enough for today. I'll leave you with a video I made myself at home for my single '2.0///The Bridge of Sighs'. Go easy on my film making skillz, at least I got some kittens in there.
You can buy 'Fight My Battles For Me' here. And see you tomorrow for the next installment!