With the impending release of their much anticipated concept album, ‘Seven Rages Of Man’ – Blue Gillespie frontman Gareth David-Lloyd gave Meghan Player an insight into the idea behind the album, and the stories throughout.
“I have always wanted to tell some kind of story based on ‘The Circle of Life’. No, it wasn’t the Lion King that planted that particular seed, more a piece of art I saw at the Tate when I was 18. In my ignorance I can’t remember the artists name but it was a piece that consisted of three screens in a row. The first showed a camcorder recording of a birth, the second an underwater image of a messianic figure plunging into water over and over again and the third a recording of the artists mother slowly dying in hospital. It had been timed so that at the end of the 30 minute presentation we were left with an image of a newborn baby’s face and the lifeless face of the artists elderly mother. Without any special effects or CGI for an instant the baby’s face and the face of death were exactly the same. I was left feeling better about the world. It seemed that wishing oneself young again was the same as wishing to be old. I was less afraid of death and since then I have wanted to create my own piece on the same subject matter using craft of my own.
The idea for Seven Rages came to me in Newport Library after sifting through As You Like It. I felt a little empty. I had no work and was desperate to find something to occupy my mind. There was a lot going on in the world at the time particularly a lot of dark shit. I won’t bore you with the child abuse, rape and murder stories that were inked upon the local rags at the time but everyone seemed angry or wronged and believe me some people were. But, the more I noticed it the angrier people seemed, and not just about the things that mattered – some people were angry over any old bollocks: “I’m fat”; “I’ve can’t afford a haircut”; “It’s raining”; “I haven’t got any tobacco”; “I’m having trouble motivating myself in the morning”; “I can’t afford to go shopping”; “I think I’ve got a weed problem”. The more petty moaning I heard the angrier I became: “STOP EATING PIES”; “GROW IT”; “GET WET”; “GIVE UP”; “GO TO BED EARLIER”; “DON’T GO SHOPPING”; “FUCK OFF”. How could people be so angry about such utter shit when there were so many real things going on in the world? Then it struck me that I was getting angry about the fact that people were getting angry about trivial shit, which meant I was getting angry because of their trivial shit as well as my own, WHICH MADE ME FUCKING ANGRY! AFTER ALL I’VE GOT MY OWN TRIVIAL SHIT TO DEAL WITH. (breaths)
With all this flying around my mind I looked up and saw an image on the wall. A seven headed beast. The Hydra – a ferocious mythical beast that when beheaded grows two heads in replacement. At that point everything seemed to come together. If I could illustrate the seven ages of a man who whose life was steeped rage in one image it would be the Hydra. The poster bitch for Seven Rages of Man. I gave the band a text briefly describing the concept and the ball was rolling on album number two.
After discussing it we decided that no one man is constantly in a state of rage throughout his entire life but people do get angry at some point at each of the seven ages and,of course, not always about small issues. It had to be huge, but I knew if anyone was capable of translating such massive subject matter into music without losing its scale, it was the three musicians I know fondly as ‘the boys’.
We decided to tell multiple stories involving multiple characters that would weave and intertwine with each other over the course of the album. We needed a birth that became Prologue and a death which is now Epilogue and seven raging acts in between which would represent the ages. What we didn’t want to lose sight of was that Blue Gillespie is about venting the darker side of emotion through music so this couldn’t be an album that would encourage rage in the listener but would rather quench it. It had to leave people with a similar optimism for life that I’d had after seeing the installation at the Tate. Like Shakespearean tragedy we wanted to leave the audience with a glimmer of hope for the future. The messages we wanted to give were basically: fight or vent your wrathful demons or they will control your entire life; and search for the positive even in the darkest of situations. In the stories within the acts there is nearly always a point where the characters learn to do just this but are pulled back into the dark side at the last minute. The only point where rage is truly let go is in Epilogue when a character smiles at the fact he was about to get angry for living a life dominated by anger – the final irony. He dies enlightened.”
Stories and Lyrics
The stories I chose for the ages were all based on true events and on real people mainly from articles I’d read and documentaries I’d seen. I even started to write the stories out in an abstract fashion and put them on the website. I put this on hold for the same reason I won’t release the lyrics as a separate element until the album has been out for at least six months. When you tell a literal story about other people it is not the audience who are the central characters but rather the people who the stories are about. The lyrics in VII ROM describe the journey of emotions felt by the characters in the story rather than tell the story itself. That way the story can morph and change easily to suit each individual listener. If someone says Act III: Sullen makes them think of a lover in their teens I want it to be about that and for that person, only that. I don’t want them to have in the back of their minds that it’s really about a Russian woman called Svenja (it’s not but you see what I’m saying?). We want people to develop their own emotional relationship with VII ROM before we give away the details of ours.”