Having been featured on NARC Magazine, The Verbally Withdrawn Music Blog and BBC Introducing (to name but a few blogs and radio stations), J.P. Riggall returns to the music scene with his solo album Hotel Wilderness. We speak with the Teesside trouvère about Hotel Wilderness, creative processes and production challenges.
What can you tell us about the album Hotel Wilderness?
It’s a concept album born from the ideal of loneliness and wilderness. Very much spurred on by Covid, I was working from home and isolated which already suited the songs. There’s still ideas within the album itself; there’s two songs that are happening at the same time – ‘Deep Dive’ and ‘Of Course I Still Love You’. The latter is about an astronaut missing Earth and coming home, and the first is about a set of divers who find the returning spaceship thanking its aliens. All the songs/stories happen within the same fictional place, kind of like a Twin Peaks setting.
Did you face any challenges when writing and recording Hotel Wilderness?
The only main challenge was really not being in the same room as my friends when they were putting parts down, but that worked in our favour in that you’re forced to be creative and hope the next person likes your part and that when we do play these songs live we’re not already bored of them.
Do you have a favourite track and which is it?
I do love ‘Moosejaw’. The first line has been in my head for years. I wrote a similar version we used to play in my last band, but I love how this version has come out. Can’t wait to play the rest live, particularly ‘Keep Your Lamplight On’ and ‘The Vagrant’.
What is your creative process?
I generally write a song on an acoustic or piano until I have enough to record it with a guide vocal. Next, I’ll put down some drums or a beat and maybe some guide electric guitar. They then go to Ian Dixon whose been putting some bass down, normally with some direction to “make it sound like the Beatles” or “make it pounding”. I’ll then get Snowy to play some guitar over the top, it normally either needs a riff or some synth-type guitar ambience. Finally, it goes to Martin Trollope at Harbourmaster to mix it and send ideas back until we get everything just right.
If you could change one thing about Hotel Wilderness what would it be?
This is the first time I’ve recorded a group of songs or an album and when I’ve finished I’m 100% happy with the whole album. It’s an absolutely massive album and I can’t wait for people to hear it and eventually see it played live.
Which is your favourite review to date?
Music is so subjective that anytime someone wants to write about mine, that’s brilliant. I’m lucky to say I’ve never had a horrid review. Very good question though, so I’ll say this one.
Describe your music in one sentence.
Alternative isolation blues that will take an eerie surreal turn.
Do you have any future plans?
Hopefully next year I can get a band round to these and do some live shows. I’ve already got the next album written pretty much.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Really hope you enjoy listening to my music and hope the music has contributed to everyone staying sane during the last wild 7 months. Stay safe!