Eat the dark, and show where I stood: a 2017 ramble/round-up

I was thinking about doing another Songs Of The Year post like I did this time last year, but decided against it – this year my listening has trended much more towards mainstream pop or at least bigger artists (the ones who aren’t were also on last year’s list!), and it sort of feels like it defeats the point when I’m not signal-boosting people you wouldn’t know about otherwise. If you do check out one record on my recommendation, though, make it Romaplasm by Baths, and if you want a realistic listening experience a la Emma Deerful, put track 5, ‘Adam Copies’, on repeat until you feel physically sick, as if you’ve eaten too much of something delicious.

The last few months have been slightly fallow ones for me musically speaking. I gigged myself out a bit by playing six? seven? shows in October and then went dark to work on my thesis. It’s funny how a little bit of distance from music made me think ‘oh, it’s been a quiet year, I haven’t done much with Deerful’. That’s not really true.

I released my first album. It got some press coverage, it got a tiny little bit of radio attention, it seems to have made a few people very happy and more people quite happy, and that’s not too bad a result overall. A very dear friend recently told me all you need for an album is three hits and the rest will work itself out. I’m not sure if that’s true, but if it is, I don’t think Peach was quite there. I’ll let you know if the formula works for album 2.

I played 22 shows, according to my Facebook events. That actually doesn’t sound like a lot. If you’d like me to play a show near you in 2018 please get in touch and let’s see if I can outdo myself. Of those 22 shows, a few stand out – Blissfields was my first ‘big’ festival as a solo artist and to have been asked to play by Beans On Toast of all people was a huge honour. I also played a full set at the Union Chapel, under the Daylight Music banner, for the first time as Deerful rather than in somebody else’s band, and it was just a beautiful thing. I’m still amazed at how many people came and how I didn’t feel too tiny for the stage in the end after all.

I blew up on YouTube a bit this year, which still surprises me – by YouTube standards a thousand subscribers isn’t ‘blowing up’, not really, but by my standards it’s unbelievable and I can’t believe that many people want to watch me cover songs I like on my weird boxes with lights on.

I did some of my favourite interviews ever this year. I also repeatedly confirmed to myself that if you ask me about my work (or anything, really) I can’t shut up. I’m sorry. It’s who I am.

I submitted my favourite piece of production I’ve ever done, ever, to a compilation which was meant to be out by now but has been pushed back, so I’m afraid you’ll all have to wait to find out what it is.

I did a lot of thinking this year about creativity, and work, and art-as-labour, and being a beginner, and how your brain can facilitate that or get in the way, and how sometimes you can do something about that and sometimes you can’t. If you follow me on Twitter you will know I occasionally discuss this stuff there but lately I’ve been mulling over it more internally. I’m not sure what I’m going to do those thoughts yet. Something.

It has been a dark year, politically and globally speaking. I can’t really do a Taylor Swift and say that it’s been the best year ever for me personally in spite of that, though there have been some very bright spots. As of the last few months I’m in the best health I’ve ever been in, which opens up more possibilities for the future, and that’s a really brilliant thing. I am very grateful that despite the darkness of the outside world you have all been here with me, listening and feeding back and attending shows and chatting to me. I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of it.

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