Just Tell Me What I Gotta Do is out now!
Image: Alex Bennison
The musical project of Papa VS Pretty's Angus Gardiner, A Twenty-Two Letter Phrase has unveiled his debut EP, Just Tell Me What I Gotta Do. If you're loving the release and want some insight into each track, we've got you covered! The singer has treated MILKY, taking us through the EP track by track.
To celebrate the release, the musician will be hosting an exclusive YouTube live stream tomorrow night. Kicking off at 9pm, the event marks the debut live performance from A Twenty-Two Letter Phrase, with Gardiner set to perform tracks from the EP.
I wrote this song in a hotel room in London mid 2019, and the backing vocals from that demo are still on the finished version. It’s a pretty raw song and possibly the most direct about the passing of my dearest friend Luke Liang in 2018. The song is about how we seem to have made such a massive mark on eachother’s lives. I knew him since he was 14 when he’d only just started playing guitar and he was so incredibly talented that he inspired me to work at my music making. He was a real inspiration and a real idol, as well as my dear friend. I also asked him to join my old band Papa vs Pretty in 2013 and all of a sudden we were on tour together, doing gigs together, subbing for eachother’s gigs. I felt like I lead him into this world and he lead me into mine, and I often feel like I let him down, but I know in a way he’s still here with me and I’m still with him.
THE LITTLE THINGS
This is a song I wrote some time ago but I’ve always loved and had been sitting on my hard drive. I remember showing it to Luke and trying to explain what i thought was a ‘tricky’ guitar riff to him and him just picking up the guitar and being like “oh… like this?” and playing it perfectly. I never really had the confidence to release the song until now. The song is quite self-reflective, and is about finding confidence in yourself. I think it might be the best one on the record, as in… my favourite.
DON'T STOP SPINNING
This song is about rhythm and how it relates to our human experience… in our bodies, in our daily lives, in our emotions, in our persistence, in the solar system. Cosmic i know. Sorry. I guess I wrote it while I was doing a lot of running. I wanted the song to feel quite visceral and concrete. I like the way it sort of gracefully bounds along. Miles Thomas played some great drums on this song and the part I sent him is sort of this kick drum pattern that is a bit like an off-set heart beat.
This is another raw one. I wasn’t going to include it because I thought it was a bit too raw… and i still get a little bit cringey with it… is it too much etc… But the people who i’ve sent it through to have assured me it’s not. It’s probably the most straight up indie rock/alt country arrangement on the record. I like the weird harmonic turnarounds and the backing vocals. The lead vocal is an original one take guide vocal off the demo that never really got re-done. Maybe it should have been re-done but I find it a bit hard to judge my own vocals and no one else who i showed it to seemed to mind too much.
This has been the main single off the record and the last song I wrote for it (i think?). This one I wrote with my typewriter and pen and paper more or less before i picked up an instrument. I think the verse guitar riff may have been floating around a bit before that. The result is i got the disjointed, slightly contrived vocal melody result that I wanted. I wanted it to feel quite deliberate, and a little bit non-instinctive. That and the slightly weird chord progression i think makes it feel a little uncomfortable, which, weirdly, I like. The song to me feels a little bit dramatic, a bit musical-theatre-y or something which isnt’ really something I’ve ever gotten into but listening to Rufus Wainwright or Burt Bacharach maybe i can see where they’re coming from.
This was fairly directly inspired by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds music especially the recent albums Ghosteen and Skeleton Tree. It’s about the inherent segregation that happens between your mind and the outside world, or your mind and someone else’s. Trying to understand what someone else is experiencing or doing, but never really ‘hearing’ it - thus ‘Working Silently”. I went pretty hard on the cello at the end. I just wanted to get every ounce of desperation that I could into that sound.