“What if they had the opportunity to tell their story…” The Story Behind- The World As I – And the EP Artwork.

The Story Behind ‘On And On’

On And On was one of the last stories I gathered and unlike Four Weeks (Hyperlink to last blog) this one definitely resisted being born. It tells the story of a young woman, single, director of her own company and homeowner, who once earned a living taking her clothes off for paying customers.

She told me stories of the corruption and what can only described as prostitution that went on in the stripping industry. Of girls agreeing to meet clients after work for more money. Of girls tricking guys into paying more with the promise of post work connections and then sneaking off home without fulfilling their part of the deal. Of girls allowing guys to break the ‘no touching’ rule in the hope that they would receive a big tip. Of girls paying off the bouncer with oral pleasure so that he didn’t mark down their private dances and thus they would avoid paying commission to the club. These were all risks and violations that she ‘hand upon her heart’ never did. When asked, what was the strangest thing you have ever done, she replied: “One guy, during a private dance, asked me to spit into his mouth. It was so strange but he agreed to pay another £100 if I did it, so I tried my best to muster up some spit… I had the driest mouth and I was struggling to get any saliva up.” It took her a while but she managed to complete his strange request after all and got her £100 as promised.

Aside from all these eye-opening stories that she told the thing that grabbed my attention the most was the battle of dominance that went on between her and the client. It struck me that in a world in which you would assume the male was the dominant by character, in fact the female actually held a significant level of control. The job is essentially women being ogled at by men and being paid to take their clothes of and dance around for men. You would be forgiven for thinking that females were the weaker species here. But in many cases, you would be wrong. When I talked with this young woman it became clear that the power actually jumped continuously between the two of them during the course of their interaction. I found this to be very true to every day life for most of us: The male/female divide; the constant comparison and competition between the sexes and the way in which we use our sexuality to manipulate each other. The stripping environment held a magnifying glass to the subject!

With the artwork for On And On we wanted to capture the sexual nature of the manipulation between them combined with the battle of wills. We opted for skeletons because they are of indeterminate sex. I found the subjects in this story to display androgynous characteristics. I always like to see barriers broken when it comes to gender stereotypes so I wanted to enhance this in all aspects of the song; from audio to video and to the artwork itself. We also wanted to portray the alternating dominance between the stripper and her client which was tricky with a static piece of work; To do this we positioned our models in a pose that could be concluded as both sexual or aggressive.

On and on_thinLogoTitle

Although the topic of stripping may seem somewhat derogatory to women I wanted to approached it with a sense of female empowerment and do justice to the strength and drive of this young women, who now, 5 years on from her stripping career is an accomplished business women with her own property and company all through her own hard work and self belief. Having said that I still wanted to capture the sordid and sexual nature of it. Which I believe is where the problem lay…

When I began putting this story into song I had the notion of ‘girl power’ in mind and it just became a bit of a cheesy pop song! This was not at all reflective of the subject matter, I wrote, and rewrote and rewrote again and eventually I was left with about 5 or 6 half finished attempts and the idea for a song that didn’t really know what it wanted to be. Needless to say we parted ways for a while.

It wasn’t until I got into the studio with Dan Goudie that I was really able to give it the life it has now. By this point, Dan and I had a few songs under our belt and we had carved out a solid, trusting working relationship, which enable us both to take more risks than maybe we would have on day one. I explained the situation with the song to Dan, I talked him through the story of the young woman and he set to work on a beat as I sat attempting to write and rewrite more lyrics. Struggling still I was getting frustrated with both myself and the song, had I read the book ‘Big Magic’ before then, I may have just taken a moment to have a strong talking to my ‘inspiration’ and tell it to ‘show up and do their part’ because I am here slogging away trying to make this work while it was seemingly nowhere to be found! Then Dan’s beat came together and it was like a light was switched on, like the song had been waiting there in the shadows the whole time and this beat was like a huge floodlight that exposed every inch of it. I wrote and wrote and ‘On And On’ was FINALLY born!

 

Watch On And On performed live for Band Vault TV.

Lyrics and Artwork below:

 

ON AND ON

Watch them hover round for a fallen glass

Are you gonna make me dance

Tailored to a roll in this tender war

Let me leave you wanting more

 

We lost we made on and on and on

Power display on and on and on

Private vultures on and on and on

Dry mouth conscious on and on and on

 

You don’t want to play that game

Hand upon my heart I will make you pay

Dripping down into your mouth

You are gonna freak me out

 

Hands on straight laced on and on and on

I turn you may on and on and on

Two faced drink first on and on and on

Six hour secrets on and on and on

 

on and on and on

on and on and on

on and on and on

on and on and on

 

Witness every inch of me

Feed me with your fantasy

Now you are mine

Elevating masculinity

Covering your fallacy

Trolling your mind

 

We lost we made on and on and on

Power display on and on and on

Two faced drink first on and on and on

Six hour secrets on and on and on

 

Come up on distortion fall every night

Independent parasites

My nails down your back hold you to the vow

You’ll repay the debt somehow

You cannot tell the colour of my eyes

Intentions overcast your sight

Line up in daylight and I’ll pick you out

Forcing you to take a bow.

 

 

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