Two years ago British singer/songwriter Haydon Spenceley wrote a series of guest blogs for LTTM about his band Ghostree going to Nashville to make an album. In this honest and revealing first blog of a new series, Haydon starts the process again with a fresh set of ideas.

Around two years ago, I blogged a few times describing the experiences of recording the Ghostree EP with Kevin Bruchert and Brandon Perdue in Nashville, TN. The times and experiences those blogs chronicled were some of the most enjoyable and exciting, challenging and stretching experiences of my life. I loved the whole experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Reading the first blog back this morning, I remembered some of how I felt as I wrote. We were excited, we thought something was going to happen.

GhostreeWell, something did happen. The EP we made is, I think, pretty flipping good (I still like it, unusual for me!). We got some of the best reviews you could ever hope for, from all over the world. We’ve had opportunities to play and talk to a whole bunch of people, particularly at the wonderful Big Church Day Out this year (you probably didn’t see us, Rend Collective Experiment were playing at the same time, but we loved it anyway, and so did the discerning hordes who spent the afternoon with us). A lot of musicians from bands I have had fanboyisms about have told me they love our record. A lot of other people have too. But here’s the rub, pretty much no-one bought it. This isn’t a complaint. I’m not whining or muttering or anything else. We made a record, no-one bought it. Happens all the time. There are bands and artists massively more talented than me who will tell you a similar story. My point is that the something I was hoping for when Ghostree started, which was to build enough to have a following and make enough money to make another record, to do something that the Christian “scene” here hadn’t seen for quite some time, just never happened. It probably wasn’t ever going to happen.

Fast-forward two years, and I sit at the beginning of another recording process. Where there was drive and focus on the last record, this time I’m relaxed to the point of not even having written all the songs yet (we start tomorrow). This isn’t a Ghostree record. This is something else. Something new. Something that I’m very excited about. Friends from my musical past are joining together just to make a record and see what comes out. It’ll probably end up coming out as a solo record, but I really have no idea. There’s no plan. We’re actually making the music because we like making music. What a revolutionary idea.

There’s a tendency in my thinking as a kind of lapsed conservative evangelical to think that it’s only ok to do something if there’s a clear vision, or if God has confirmed the plan in triplicate. I don’t say this to be facetious. This is actually how I’ve lived and thought in the past, and I could happily proof-text you into the middle of next week with regard to why this is a good way of doing things. The thing is, the last two years have taught me (amongst a whole lot, I’d recommend a spell at theological college if you want your life turned upside down) that sometimes it’s ok to do things because we enjoy them too. I’m excited about this record. We have some really good songs. I’m more excited to hang out with my friend Kevin, and a bunch of other awesome dudes and their families for two weeks and to see what God is going to do.

I don’t get everything right. I get quite a lot wrong actually, but so much has happened over the last couple of years and I’m looking forward to sharing some new songs about all those experiences with you.

All of this might sound a bit serious. Sorry about that. It’s what training to be a vicar, getting engaged and realising you’re not as cool as you thought you were over the course of a two year period will do to someone. I hope that the record we’re embarking on will be something that people will enjoy listening to. I hope I’ll like it too (!) and most of all I hope that it honours God. It’s such a privilege to be given the gift of writing songs and the opportunity to sing them. It’s so much more of a privilege to have so many people who want to stand with me and make something from my ideas. When I started in bands back when I was 18 I would never have thought I would have had all the experiences I have had, and I’m profoundly grateful for them. If this is the last record I get to make, I hope it makes a difference somehow, preferably an eternal one, but I’ll leave how that happens to God.

So, I’m making a new record. Kevin Bruchert is producing. We’ve got a cast of thousands primed all over the world ready to be involved, and no idea what to do with it when it’s done. What could possibly go wrong?

Haydon Spenceley

Read the original post on Louder Than the Music