The twelfth instalment of Darren Hayman’s Thankful Villages project
Welbury (North Yorkshire)
Welbury is the first village I stayed in overnight. I wanted to capture the villages at every time of the year, in all weather and at different times of the day.
I was also starting to think about my interaction with the villages and the villagers themselves. Sometimes, like with Aisholt and Stocklinch I want to be welcomed in; I want to sit and talk, listen and learn.
With Welbury I wanted to move about like a ghost, silent and unseen. For a few years now I’ve been interested in the idea of wordless music describing a sense of place. This idea is at the heart of the Thankful Villages project, that the location should inform the music in some way.
I wandered through the village in the dead of night. Interior lights glowed red and orange through thick curtains. A few houses had modest Christmas lights wrapped around trees even though it was October. I thought about the idea of ‘home’ and ‘warmth’. I remembered my first job as a paperboy and doing the same thing, staring at the house lights and being jealous of those on the inside.
I imagined how different all those living rooms would be to each other but all representing safety and security to someone. I went back to my room and set up a small studio with a Moog synthesiser and a nylon-strung guitar. These machines make me feel at home. I tried to make comforting music. I wanted repeated refrains that were all similar, yet slightly different.
I recorded the phrase over and over at incrementally slow speeds so the melodies gently collide and overlap.
In Welbury I was on the outside, dreaming of the inside.
Darren Hayman is currently on tour, and supports British Sea Power at Hebden Bridge Trades Club tonight. See all dates here.
Thankful Villages was featured on the LRB blog last week. Read here.