Ailie Blunnie

Songwriter :: Singer :: Musician

Beat of Your Heart, single release

Posted by on May 1, 2017

Hello! Happy May Day! How are ya? Just a quick blog about the second single release last week. Here it is: I didn’t choose that thumbnail photo – that was YouTube’s decision. It looks like I’m about to burst into a bit of break-dancing, doesn’t it! I’m very happy with this song! I was anxious about releasing it because it’s got a different kind of sound than my EP songs. But it felt like the right way forward. I’ve been surprised by the reaction. Very supportive. Thanks a million for your messages and comments! I was thrilled too that it was included in Nialler9’s Irish Songs of the Week in the Irish Times. You don’t think of those things when you’re writing a song, but it really is very validating when there’s a positive outside response. So thank you. It took quite a while to get the final version of this together: we started with the piano and voices, then added some guitar and percussion, and then cello, trombone and double bass. I had in my mind that the song should strike a balance between destabilising, and soothing, so that by the third verse (2:40), you’d feel a bit like you were firing things around the kitchen, but in a cathartic rather than a frustrated sort of way!* Did it work? ..or am I just talking singer-songwriter nonsense? ;-) In terms of the words, the song is about letting someone go who isn’t doing you any good in your life, and it feeling like you’re abandoning them (rather than the other way round – or that you might be abandoning yourself by not doing it). I remember describing the feeling to someone (of letting that person go) as like clutching a baby really close to you and then stretching out your arms and dropping them into a river. And I can’t remember their exact response, but it was something like “but he’s a grown man..”, which was very true :-) ..but it wouldn’t have mattered what he was – objectivity had left the building by then. It’s very easy to fall into bad patterns with relationships, isn’t it.. especially in your 20s, I think. But anytime probably. I sometimes think you shouldn’t be allowed near another person until you both pass a rigorous battery of healthy-boundaries tests first! I suppose you have to learn to do that for yourself along the way.** Anyway, God, I just got awful...

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Background to ‘Beat of Your Heart’, the next single

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017

Background to ‘Beat of Your Heart’, the next single

Hello, How are things? Gorgeous bit of sun these last few days. I hope you’re getting to enjoy some of it. I’m in the process of getting the second single, ‘Beat of Your Heart’, ready for release. We’re working on the video at the moment, and aiming to release it in early April. It’s upbeat, and has a bit of an electronic and grungy edge to it – a slightly new departure. I started writing it on the way home from work one day last year, just as I was beginning to feel the early phase of a migraine coming on. (I’m prone to migraines. Info below if it helps you*) While not positive experiences, some of the things that happen during that early phase – the aura or ‘warning’ phase – can be kind of funny! That day, I had just finished teaching an English class, and somewhere along the way home, one of the pronunciation exercises we had been doing popped back into my head. Not a problem under most circumstances.. The problem was that it replayed itself at the same volume and enthusiasm-level as the real-life version. My auditory world spontaneously filled up with a chorus of just-landed-in-the-country Brazilian and Pakistani voices, diligently chanting elementary English phrases, while I walked like an otherwise normal-looking person past the local Bingo Hall in Cabra (“WHERE are you FROM, WHAT’S your NAME, how OLD are you..?”). It was like chunks of time had been copied and pasted on top of each other and put on a loop. Absolutely bonkers. So, in this new song, I’ve tried to channel a bit of the sense of disorientation you feel at those times, but in a tightly-structured way so that it might also be soothing for people for if their own life feels a bit out of control. I’m hoping it won’t actually give people a headache.. :-) Aside from that, I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about what to do after the album. I’m conscious of feeling a bit directionless.. like the way you hear of people planning a wedding or something, and then coming down like a tonne of bricks afterwards. So I’m trying to get a few things lined up. College, for one, but in terms of music, maybe getting onto the support circuit and doing some opening slots for more established acts.. or writing music for different types of projects and/or collaborating with different...

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‘West to the Evening Sun’ single // process (pt 2, video)

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017

Hiya, In the last post, I talked a bit about the song and the musical elements. I just wanted to add a quick note about the video. The video had a few incarnations: I originally recorded it very simply, with just clouds going across the sky in my garden in real time. I really like simple videos. But actually, that one ended up looking a bit too simple, even by my standards :-) So I decided to try out a different idea, and made a stop-motion one about a little cartoon girl who lost her balloon: I spent the whole Christmas making that one! ..but then I saw this cool thing on Wonders of the Universe (Brian Cox, BBC) – a wall of towers in Peru which was built as a giant sundial – and that made me think about the cloud idea again, but with some sort of sundial idea incorporated into it. I started looking up homemade sundial videos on YouTube and had all sorts of elaborate plans to construct one out the back. But I figured it would have to be vertical to work in the video (..my skills are limited in these areas), so I decided it’d have to be the window and some whiteboard markers.* The main concern for me with the video was that it would just kind of float by as you watched it, and not take up too much of your attention, so that you could hear the layers and atmospherics in the song properly. I hope you like it, Ailie xx * Incidentally, whiteboard markers work great on windows! (but don’t tell any children) ** I should probably also add: as a sundial, it’s not exactly scientifically...

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‘West to the Evening Sun’ single // process (music)

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017

Hello! How are ya? It’s been a big week here with the release of ‘West to the Evening Sun’, the first single from my forthcoming album. Here it is: It’s about.. do you know when you’re a bit fed up and you just want to get in the car and drive away.. forever? I was feeling like that at the time. I wrote some of it in Dublin, and some of it in Sligo. It’s a bit different than previous releases for me, because it’s the first time I’ve had producers on board (Daragh Dukes, Eoin Coughlan). I’m very touched at the response it’s getting: some nice media attention and airplay, and my mammy really likes it.. :-) I never really understood the role of producers; I just thought they were people Michael Jackson had to tell him he was doing grand and keep singing away there.. but I can confidently say, they do more than that! At least in my experience. We started by listening to the bare song (just piano and vocals) and then I told them a bit about the emotional stuff behind it, and discussed a few reference tracks and ideas to give them a clearer picture of the sort of feel I wanted (e.g. folk, Irish, natural, chant-like, ancient, modern, a bit magical, ambient, expansive). After that, myself and Eoin recorded a basic track with piano, vocals, and bodhrán, and then we honed in on the individual instruments and sounds, and started experimenting and metaphorically throwing muck at the wall. We recorded everything a load of different ways – vocals were sung, spoken, whispered.. guitars were strummed, scuffed, e-bowed.. we were hitting ourselves all over for percussion (we must have looked insane) – all to try and get a good, tangible feel for how exactly the palette of sounds I had in my head for the song, was going to be created. The best way I can describe the atmosphere in that studio is like a great big steam engine, fueled by imagination, energy, a lot of suggestions, a load of opinions, mutual respect, a touch of magic, and a fair bit of feeling uncomfortable. It’s actually not that pleasant sometimes – even though it probably sounds kind of rock ‘n roll and all that’s missing is the cocaine.. After that then, the song was gradually crafted into the version you hear. Daragh, the producer/engineer, is brilliant. I’ll link his website below...

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