Singled Out: A Thousand Lights' Love Songs For The Lonely

K. Wiggins | 11-13-2019

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A Thousand Lights

Finch's Daniel Wonacott has returned as A Thousand Lights and just released his solo debut album "Love Songs For The Lonely". To celebrate we asked him to tell us about the title track. Here is the story:

I wrote this song in early 2019, having been busy writing for other artists I was looking for an honest place to begin writing my own record. I had already developed five or six tracks but I was not happy with the direction of my material yet, it was feeling a bit forced and polluted with that sense of "trying" to write something that popped. "Love Song For The Lonely" really kicked things off for me, as I felt like I had found a vibe I could run with for an entire record. I made the decision that I would not go through a typical demoing process on this record, I was intent on writing a semi-complete arrangement of chords, lyrics and melodies on my acoustic guitar and I would simply record a voice memo of the idea on my phone. If the idea felt like it had merit, I would hop into my studio and attempt to track the final version of the song and work out the kinks as it was being finished.

"Love Song For The Lonely" started as a garbled voice memo with me singing gibberish over a simple set of chords. I recently listened back to that voice memo and it's almost nothing like the finished track. The chord progression is there, but not much else. This is not typical for how I usually write, I usually know pretty early on in an idea what the hook and the chorus and the lyrical content is going to be. Musically I was inspired by the Killers record "Sam's Town" to write a simple set of chords that have just enough left turns to keep it interesting and let my voice tell an honest story and find a great guitar hook. I don't have a clear memory of tracking and finishing the arrangement, I think I was in a manic zone, I know the song was done by the end of that same day. The bridge of the song would end up getting repeated as the song "Lonely Like Me", it's the same chords and virtually the same melody. I wanted the two songs to have a connection.

I do remember working out the lyrics at the same time as I was tracking it, so I would take breaks from tracking, get a cup of coffee and sit on my porch and refine lyrics. The song is really about a friend of mine who was going through a messy divorce, me listening over the phone to all the pain and frustration of a broken relationship. I was working alone on my record, my friend was alone after the divorce, and the story came together with the phrase "sing a love song for the lonely ones" and it seemed to tie my chorus together and it ended becoming the theme of the entire record.

I ended up tracking the final vocals a few weeks later at my friend Rory's house, I was frustrated trying to record my own vocals, it's a hard thing to produce, engineer and perform at the same time. With guitar, bass and drums, it's easy for me to do that and get the takes I'm happy with. I wanted to be pushed and be able to put my full concentration on getting the takes that the songs deserved. I tweaked a few lyrics here and there during the final vocal session, but for the most part, the song I put together in one day at my house, remained intact, and I think I captured a moment, which is kind of the whole point, songwriting and recordings are photographs of your mind at a certain time in your life.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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