John William Richard – Song for a Ghost (Video)

“-John William Richard- wrote a real fairy tale story, like Alice in Wonderland, immerse yourself in the rabbit Nora. Melodic piano, so calm and meditative, soothes and beautifies. Beautiful, warm and a little melancholic, dive into a beautiful story created by the author.”

“-John William Richard- написал настоящую сказку, слушая которую ты, словно Алиса из Страны Чудес, погружаешься в кроличью нору. Мелодия пиано, такая спокойная и медитативная, манит тебя, успокаивает и убаюкивает. Прекрасное, доброе и немного меланхоличное погружение в красивую историю созданную автором.”

Drawing influences from the likes of Olafur Arnalds, Erased Tapes and Erland Cooper as well indie artists such as Wolf Alice and War On Drugs, John William Richards unveils his final single ahead of his debut album release, with a stunningly animated video from Rachael Olga Lloyd.

“When John and I first talked about making the video he told me he had based the whole album on his beautiful old collection of photos. I used this for inspiration, recreating the items from the photos like the chairs, gramophone, boat and headphones.” explains Rachel, “I wanted the whole video to feel like you were chasing these memories from the photos in an attempt to connect with the people there in the past. But the memories like the rooms start to break down and we can sadly never truly connect with the people in them as they are just out of reach. If you watch carefully you can catch these ghosts disappearing into the shadows of the rooms!”

Often things come full circle. As a child John William Richard’s love affair with music began as a classically trained musician, with hours spent studying both the piano and cello. However a lifetime has been spent elsewhere, from, amongst other things, fronting a new romantic group, managing artists, starting a label and running a nightclub. With the release of his debut album, Song for a Ghost, this November, John William Richard returns to the rigour of the Classical tradition, mixing that with flashes of contemporary electronica, creating something that is both intimate and breathtakingly cinematic.

“I think in film images when I write and as the world comes into focus the scene emerges and the internal director takes over. But really it was not until the tracks started coming that I got more confident in how it might work out. The title track, Song For A Ghost, however gave me the key to unlock the vision of an album based on memories from various childhoods mixed with a cinematic imagining of their performance. As the recording developed, the more focussed these all became”

Much of the recording was done in his home studio in Bath, but from early on one of his main concerns was to breathe some organic life into. To get the piano sound he wanted he decamped to the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales.

“I set off to Rockfield in search of the grand piano sound to replace some of the main piano parts. This proved a success but a challenge musically as by then I had managed to get some great cello and trumpet parts played by Michelle Packman in LA and Ryan Svendesen in San Francisco respectively. Playing to a grid is fine but I do like the music to move fractionally and almost stumble where needed, so to reproduce that after the fact so to speak is fun to say the least!”

With over 20 compositions recorded and ready to go, and a growing list of collaborators, both home and abroad, including the introduction of Bruno Ellingham (Massive Attack, UNKLE) to mix the record, John William Richard’s return to his musical roots is taking on a new life of its own.

Reviewed by Nagamag on November 4, 2021