words by rob and kate flynn
2016 was a year of rebirth for The Winter Passing so to speak. We had released our debut album the year previous, toured consecutively in new environments, discovering and adapting to the music world in a new light. Our interest, ability and confidence in The Winter Passing had increased a lot. In and out of tours we were rehearsing and hanging out every week in Smithfield, Dublin so we had been writing a lot of new material during that time with the initial intention of the work being our sophomore album. Separate to the music, TWP encountered many struggles in our personal lives in 2016, mental anxiety was at an all time high and we honestly only had each other to cope with it all. We wanted to document our feelings and emotions more specifically than previous works with our new music. We wanted to write a record that was almost an open book but journeys through the struggle of mental instability/anxiety in search of a better version of ourselves. We had been exploring new song structures, more melodic organ sounds and guitar tones to the music.
6131 Records had pitched the idea of TWP recording a new record in America with J. Robbins, which we thought was the best idea for the next recording and really put the whole thing into perspective. We had over 20 demos/song ideas and started to get over critical about some of the material we were working on, we felt like one bunch of songs was perfect for a release and the rest was a work in progress. We all collectively decided one night that we wanted to do an EP for next release and not an LP. 6131 were comfortable with our intentions and we moved forward with our plans. We travelled to Richmond, VA in early October 2016 a week previous to recording in Baltimore, MD to further work on the EP with our dearest friends James Goodson & Keith Sidorowicz who performed on the rhythm section of the record with us. We spent a weekend in Richmond at a rehearsal space doing literally 12 hour days reworking the music and further enhancing the material before going to the studio. TWP have always had a love affair with Richmond, Virginia so to speak, we feel like it’s home away from home for us when we’re in the states, it was almost poetic that “Double Exposure” truly came to life in RVA.
Rob: I’m sure some musicians are similar in this sense but I go through periods of writing lyrical content almost from zero to 100, I write a lot at one particular time and sometimes go months without documenting a thought. This song for me is so special because it just came out of me, it’s like I could already hear it in my head. It’s a song about the only girl I’ve ever written a love song about. We spent a lot of time apart travelling in 2016 and this song documents my emotions during that period – my way of sending a love letter. This was the first song we wrote for Double Exposure also.
Kate: It’s a sad story set to happy music; a love song about losing the comfort, normalcy, and safety net of a relationship, and how you can adjust to that change. It can make it difficult just to cope with daily life, but it can also make you realize you’re ready to be something more for someone.
Rob: Significance is a song of acceptance and I guess, the realization of self-belief and your ability to believe in others.
Kate: With this song, I tried to convey the dilemma of wanting a feeling to ‘stay’ but knowing that it shouldn’t, no matter how right it may feel. Sometimes the smoke & mirrors of feelings for someone or their feelings for you inhibits you from seeing what you really need and what they really need.
Rob: She Was A Rose is about trying to show someone their self worth in the eyes of another. In the mirror they see themselves as this rusted tattered and torn thing. However, through the eyes of someone else they are everything and perfect. The song is about the person finding it hard to take this compliment and continuing to doubt it. The intro/verse is a metaphor that sort of means just because a bike is rusted and worn or shiny and new, it’s still the thing that gets you from A to B that you always count on.
Rob: Like Flowers Ache For Spring is the breaking point in the record. It’s where the mental instability and anxiety is most prominent. It’s mainly focused towards people of authority in every day life such as bosses in work places and those who think they’re better than you. It documents a bundle of emotion and the expression of wanting to be alone from human contact.
Kate: This song, for me, both recognizes the faults of being an introvert but also celebrates it, musically. For me, the song symbolizes that leaving my house is sometimes, not only a real ordeal but also something that doesn’t happen very often without anxiety. It talks about how sometimes we feel stuck in time while the world is moving quite rapidly and how daunting it is when you feel like you’re not doing very much.
Kate: This is definitely the most difficult song I’ve ever written. Recording this in front of people wasn’t very easy. I don’t cry in front of people all that often but after I had finished singing the final take, I had to take a couple of minutes to myself. I wrote this song to myself & it deals with how I was very much in denial about how deep I was hurting during a time that I really didn’t understand. I let those feelings & thoughts fester & eat into a lot of my close relationships. The thing about sadness is that it would be ignorant to assume it doesn’t affect the people around you as well. I guess you could say this song is also an ode to the people who stood by me & took care of me when I most needed it.
Musically, I wanted this to be very minimal. I went to America with a sort of skeleton of this song & it became ‘a thing’ in the studio, although I love how we decided to leave it as a skeleton – minimal. I wanted it to slightly build but never going anywhere significant in the vein of one of my favorite bands The National. It only needed a handful of extra instruments to feel complete and a shake of reverb, so Jamie played long droney notes on his guitar with an E-bow and Keith performed Timpani to the end section. The percussion on this song was one of the final pieces that Keith tracked on the record before he left to go back to New York & I remember feeling like he had given me a parting gift by doing so.
Rob: I wanted to write something that concluded the sadness inside Double Exposure, something that seemed like we were moving past the bad feeling. It was kind of like a synopsis of the past year in my life, the process of creating Double Exposure and everything that had brought me down but lead me to where I was at that exact time, lost, unmotivated and standing still, I’m never standing still. It’s about stepping outside the box and taking a look at your life and realizing it all for what it is. I shouldn’t be so low and life isn’t as horrible as I think it is, I need to keep doing me.
Kate: We got the song title for this song from our friend Jake. We were sat in 821 Café in Richmond VA on a Sunday morning after waiting so long to get a table big enough for the whole gang & James had got a coffee mug that said “Virginia said so”. Rob said “we should call the last song on the record that”. Jake said “call it – so said Virginia”. So we did because we love our friend Jake. Richmond will forever be our home away from home.
For me this song depicts the fear of life altering circumstances such as jobs, moving house etc & how scary that can be but behind all the fear, it’s probably just what you needed. Life upheaval can be daunting but sometimes, very needed; so your thoughts & perspectives can become clear & refreshing one you kick the rut.
“Double Exposure” is out now – you can buy it here