The final performance of my tour for Pastoral took place at a cinema in Walthamstow called Mirth, Marvel and Maud. As soon as I walked into the building, I felt a sudden change in the atmosphere. I became anxious and uneasy, and asked one of the staff members if the place was haunted. They looked at me a bit surprised before responding that they had never experienced any paranormal activity there.
Despite this reassurance, I couldn’t shake off the feeling of unease that had settled over me. It was a feeling that I was all too familiar with. Over the years of creating and performing Pastoral, I had struggled with postnatal depression following the birth of my first child in 2016. This had led to recurring dreams about a ghost that would possess me and levitate my body violently. After the gig in Walthamstow, I was talking to my friend Alexander Tucker, also known as Microcorps, who was telling me a ghost story completely out of the blue. It was then that I realized that my next album would be focused on ghosts.
I began researching the technology behind ghost hunting and discovered many connections between audio technology development and spiritualism. From there, it became clear how music has been used throughout history to explore supernatural themes and concepts. Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, and the Radiophonic Workshop are just some examples of musicians who have made use of these sounds and machines to create music with roots in something supernatural. Even women’s rights movement has been influenced by early spiritualism because of its role in giving women a platform and power that they didn’t have beforehand – something I could relate to deeply as an artist myself.
What ended up coming out on Black Dog was an emotional response to my own fears and lifelong psychological state but also an exploration into these interconnections between technology, women’s rights, and ghosts.
It blew my mind how much thought went into making this album but ultimately it turned out to be an amazing experience