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Side-by-Side vol. 4

Track By Track

Coming this summer, Come Play With Me Records release the fourth volume of Side-By-Side, an album designed to champion the best up-and-coming women and non-binary artists in Yorkshire and the North. Here, the artists guide us through their contributions, track by track. 

The Goddess Collective - Thunder 

‘Thunder’ is named after its brewing energy and the stormy December day it was recorded on. Gathering inspiration from the likes of TC and the Groove Family, Ezra Collective and Fazer, it takes you on a jazz fusion journey into an otherworldly heavy-hitting groove. The opening driving boogie-woogie beat (laid down by out double-drumming rhythm section) is the head-bopping foundation for the might horn lines and sick guitar ostinato heard throughout the track. An incredible solo from trumpeter Fee Buckton, builds into the tense marching-style stab section, finally releasing into the chilled out metric-modulation; a technique favoured in contemporary alt-jazz. We had a blast in the studio working alongside Leeds-based Producer/Engineer, Chris Sharkey, using multitracking to add claps, layered percussion and horn swells — the thunderous powerhouse sound which Goddess Collective is best known for. 

Fig By Four - Only Skin 

‘Only Skin’ was written after an evening spent with a friend one uniquely magical night, spent weightlessly on the grounds of a farmhouse in Leeds. Speculating about the future, we lay amongst fireflies in the form of hazy LED lights, bodies at full-stretch on rugs draped over dry dirt. With themes of appreciation and endurance, the song is about making the most of the day-to-day among incomprehensible noise and infinite dialogue, with acceptance of change and the value of patience. The demo had this really innocent-sounding guitar which I wanted to carry over into the sessions; the cruising drums are kind of relaxed in a way, which I hope can provide a sort of reassurance next to the playful synths and keys. The chorus reminds me of something that could be on For All My Sisters by The Cribs, while the verses are a place for bringing focused thoughts of virtuosity and what it means to ‘do your best’. The way everything opens up into full force by the end — driven by escalating bass — makes it really enjoyable to play live. 

Shaene - Tom 

‘tom’ is about one of my closest friends, who I met at university. We used to play together in one of my previous projects, but after uni he decided to move back home. Life after uni felt so up in the air and like everything was changing so drastically so quickly. I felt lost and uprooted and in the middle of that, I felt like I was losing my closest friend too. At it’s core, ‘tom’ is about seeing an old friend who you haven’t seen in ages and realising that after everything that has shifted in your individual lives, nothing has changed between the two of you. It captures that feeling of falling back into sync and realising that you’re still just as close. 

Lauren Mikki - Anything (Live Version) 

‘Anything’ is the collaborative effort between myself and some of the most talented musicians I have had the pleasure of working with. Adapted from my single ‘Anything (For You)' released on my debut EP These Feelings Are Fleeting, this track exchanges intricate production and vocal layering for solid grooves and tight hits. Translating polished studio singles from recordings to live is a process that paves a deeper insight into understanding an artist’s sound and emotional vision. The live version of 'Anything' seemed too raw and special to keep to myself; it really reflects the vulnerability of the song and provides an intimate perspective on the feelings I experienced whilst writing it. I am so excited to share this piece of me with the world! 

HGREEZY - Soul Ties I made 

‘Soul Ties’ in my uni bedroom after being dumped by a medical student who was giving me the best sex of my life. I had never experienced a woman like this before, and our situational ending was not something I ever wanted to happen. So, while feeling sorry for myself, I came across a beat on YouTube called 'Soul Cries' and asked myself the question, “Do you believe in soul ties?”. I laughed to myself (because I do), put the beat on, and my response was: “Soul ties? Soul tied to you, and now my soul cries for you”. Writing the song was easy because I sang exactly what I was feeling at the time. I still felt a strong connection to this person who no longer wanted to explore me the way she once did, and that made me want more. R&B gives me the space to express my emotions while still keeping my sound quite playful — this track is meant to be a love letter to good sex and an affirmation to have more of it in my life. 

Helen Edgeworth - Second Place 

My track, ‘Second Place’ was conceived during a feverish episode as I recovered from an illness in the winter of 2020. Amidst the haze of recovery, I found myself in a state of contemplation, contrasting current and past relationships. It was during this period of introspection that I realised my tendency to romanticise a situation with a loose footing on reality, a feeling I would now describe as limerence. The song’s main character is that of the ‘cold sore cowboy’; tethered loosely to individuals in my own life, it’s a caricature of a paradoxical figure, equal parts paranoid and yet alluringly promiscuous. 'Second Place’ professes a profound yearning to break free from the grasp of this cowboy, and embodies a tempestuous desire to assert control over a relationship characterised by volatility and longing. 

Maddie Lara - Let Go 

‘Let Go’ is a track of reflection and lessons, and is about the choice of whether you let your dreams ‘burn or illuminate’. It is also about letting go of old habits or people that may be holding you back and not letting the noise of everyday life let your dreams pass you by. Set to a backdrop of synthetic soundscapes, fingerpicked and distorted guitars, ‘Let Go’ is a pretty good introduction to my world.

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