Glasgow’s Toy Mountains release their new EP ‘I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again’ today (Friday, 25th November) via Crooked Noise Records, and not only can you hear the full thing below, but the band’s Greg Leyden has talked us through the entire thing, from unexpected opener ‘Hard Done By’ to difficult finale, ‘Sight Reading’.
“The initial thing we are hearing back from many reviews is how emotional the EP is on the whole,” says Greg. “We just want it to be clear that there is a lot of personal progression that comes from writing these songs. We all use songwriting and listening to music as a way of dealing with the problems we are faced with.
“Without sounding too dramatic, writing this EP was nearly a form of therapy for us and I can wholeheartedly say that if I didn’t have this band as a creative outlet then I would struggle to get by in life. So, however seemingly depressing it may sound, it is – ironically – an extremely positive outcome.”
HARD DONE BY
We decided to open the EP with this song as we thought it would be something unexpected. It starts out with a lone drum beat rather than the common instrumental or bursting opener.
The song helps introduce a lot of the musical ideas and lyrical themes that we wanted to portray throughout the EP, the main one being how the way someone else can see you, and how going against what they want for you, can affect how you see yourself and how that holds you back. I think the music reflects this idea, sounding at times dark yet fragile.
Being the shortest song on the EP this is basically an outburst of heartfelt emotion. A sort of straight to the point, get in and get out, type of song. When writing the lyrics I wanted to just focus on saying what I had to say and leave it at that. No sugar coating. The song is based around the idea of someone going fully circle on how they view their self-worth and that is where the title comes from. At the half way point in the song the lyric “you’re more than I deserve” is the most direct way of describing the relationship. However, this is the turning point of the song which lines up with a musical change. From that moment on, the lyrics change direction, rather aggressively building to the epiphany of “I’m more than you deserve”; a complete reversal of viewpoint in less than a minute.
As a whole ‘Old Friends’ is about people who were once a large part of your life moving on, who are now buying houses, starting families; the societal expectations for people in their mid-twenties versus the reality of what it’s like for most people in our generation. It is also about owning up to your own faults as a human. Admitting that you have done wrong and trying to find a way to move forward. We decided that this would be the first single to release off the EP as it is the perfect example of how we want to write music. When writing, we always want to be progressive and not stick to the typical verse chorus verse chorus type structures whilst still creating memorable hooks with honest human emotion.
‘Everything Ends’ is about an inability to fulfil the expectations people had for you. Most of us having dropped out of uni and having nothing handed to us, are living life very much close to the edge and it is a pretty chaotic way to exist. I think musically the song is a pretty close metaphor for how much this lifestyle can affect you. It’s about questioning yourself on if you have made the right decisions. Should you turn back now? Could you?
Sight reading started out the way it does on the record, as a piano piece, and it was important for us to keep it that way. Unlike the rest of the EP, it was put together in the last couple of weeks before recording. In fact when we started to record it, it was only Grant’s (bass) second time playing the song through fully. We originally planned to use another song that we had recorded before but after working on it we felt there was no way it could be left out. I think the small amount of time, for this type of song, between writing and recording actually helped the feel of the song. The wounds were still fresh from the content and it was our hope to capture this in the recording.
We recorded the opening verse completely free time just plugging in a guitar and mic, turning off the click and just going for it. So it sounds the same way as it did on the day. Letting people know just how awful I am at playing guitar.
Lyrically it has always been a hard song to talk about. Even at the point of writing the first line I didn’t know if I had gone too far. I have always used song-writing to air my deeper darker thoughts but I worried about it actually hurting the people involved. The song itself scares me. It was only after showing it to the rest of the band and them showing an excitement about it that I agreed it should be part of the record.
Toy Mountains’ EP ‘I Swore I’d Never Speak of This Again’ is out now.