mm_1MAN & MYTH was started in 2009, or thereabouts, when I finally freed myself up enough from on-going label duties to realise that a new record was almost beginning without me… The idea had been slowly moving up the priority list at Science Friction, our cottage industry record label, and it moved into gear when I had a chance meeting with Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde at a Jonathan Wilson gig in London. I’d come to London to see England play Pakistan at Lords Cricket Ground. It was the first time I’d met either Simon or Jonathan, but the meeting was obviously serendipitous. Jonathan invited me out to California to ‘put some tracks down’, which duly happened in March 2012.

I’d wanted to record ‘Heaven Is Here’ out there, but Jonathan said he’d rather record some shorter songs. He went off to do a tour in Europe, so I wandered the LA hills for a while, wrote three songs and finished another. When he recovered from his jet lag we recorded them. I had a good time over on the West Coast, as I usually do, and I brought back some great tracks to work on at home.

After a Summer of festivals and writing, I started work on recording ‘Heaven Is Here’ at Lettercollum Recording in Timoleague, West Cork. The studio is run by my long time friend and sound engineer, John Fitzgerald. We also worked on the tracks from California. Eventually, through passages of mist, the album I could hear in my mind began to take shape.

I love the songs. I am in them. I can be the enemy, the lover and the ancient dreamer. I’ve always been critical of human politics, and always detested attempts at social control by means of totalitarian religion. Our heaven is here. It’s nowhere else. Each one of us has a brief glimpse, by the nature of what has been developing here for millions of years. A long striving for consciousness, and an increasing ability to interact with our environment. Finally, I am the exile. I’ve long known exactly how that feels. Perhaps it’ll change someday, but it’s my most serene default position.

Songs and poems have a life of their own when they become public. At that moment they’re set in stone. They can be changed, but everyone remembers the original. They arrive by chance, like children. And just as randomly. There are a thousand other thoughts occurring at the same time, but the chosen one emerges to become a song, and a member of the family.

Sometimes you may refuse to own a particular song, and it may wither a bit. But every song has its day, and some you may think are lost gain a new context in a later age they happen to fall into. I will obviously spend the rest of my days writing from my dreams. Suffice to say my dreams for these songs have all come true.

 

Roy Harper Shop