Inspiration for ‘From Great Depths’ Well’s Debut EP

I will go through these songs track by track, selecting key songs that I feel influenced elements of the song and motivation. This includes playlists of these songs.

Through exploring the inspiration for this record it has helped me to understand the common themes that run throughout ‘From Great Depths’ and what each song I feel expresses. This is just my opinion, and I want everyone to take from it whatever you want to, there are no wrong conclusions to draw.

I feel that there is a repeated theme of being on a journey, the music very much providing concepts of building and changing landscapes and worlds. They all are building, layer on layer changing the overall sound, dropping in instruments and out others to make sure that the songs never stagnate. Another part is how emotively driven the music is, seeking to invoke an emotion; be that comfort from ‘Optimism’ or anger from ‘Fearless’. On reflection, for me, the emotions I was feeling at the time of writing have emerged.

This is the full playlist of all of the inspiration tracks features below (plus a couple of extras).

Hope you enjoy! 🔊🌊


Inspiration for Optimism by Welll


Background

This song I wrote with the idea of travelling on my bike at night from the outskirts of Bristol to the centre, combining the tranquility of night with the energy it brings as people head out. The vocals you hear are one of my oldest friends OneSoul, who is an incredible singer. He came round and basically ad libbed, I cut it up and it took form from there.

This song I wrote with the idea of travelling on my bike at night from the outskirts of Bristol to the centre, combining the tranquility of night with the energy it brings as people head out. The vocals you hear are one of my oldest friends OneSoul, who is an incredible singer. He came round and basically ad libbed, I cut it up and it took form from there.

Optimism is the most positive song I have written to date, it is emotive and evocative of a hope that we all need at times. In this way it is soothing, yet still energetic. The strings and synths effortlessly fade in and out as the song goes through multiple transformations, with the drums rolling rhythm providing a sense of forward motion and the bass a grounding in the consistency of self. It peaks and then fades.


Bicep – Glue

This is an incredible track, taking the listener on a real journey with such a strong and recognisable drum line and melody. The pads give it an emotive feel, like the soundtrack to some sort of sped up film of your life story. It changes and you would be fooled into thinking that the song has run its course, then the vocal sample drops and brings the whole song together, as if the moment of the protagonist finds what they are looking for in life. This sense of emotive movement and discovery is what I find similar about Optimism.

Mark Pritchard – Sad Alron

Oh man, so good. For me the perfection in ambient electronica. It fills your mind with emotion and tranquility. Offering a simple answer to often the increasingly complex dilemmas of modern life. It is beautiful, and short and subtle and epic, all at once. I think it is this sense of comfort that inspired parts of Optimism.

Goldie – Inner City Life

One of the first songs that I couldn’t stop listening to when I was a youngster. It reminds me of the Drum and Bass music around me growing up. The rolling drums give it movement, which sits in contrast to very soulful vocals and strings. It is a record about comfort from being in the inner city, with all the noise and hassle that brings. The version I have chosen evolves and has other sections, showing the other part of life without the comfort of melody and strings to support. An absolute classic.

Bonobo – Kiara

An infectious tune that immediately draws you in. The use of the vocal sample and strings combined are similar to that of Optimism. It also manages to feel positive, emotive and still have a strong energy. I could have chosen one of many songs by such a prolific producer to include, who I would say has been my biggest musical influence for Welll ever since I helped him carry his bags to a gig in my younger years.


Inspiration for Factory by Welll

Background

This was the beginning of my interest in 808s, and loving the way that they really push a sound. I was playing around with synths and basses that had a stronger club orientation, to take the forefront when they drop. When I wrote this the penny had just dropped that I didn’t need to just build, that once you have sufficient ideas, you can let the different combinations of these shine. I did that with just dropping back in the bass and drums. This was also written at the time of the major Brexit debate, which I was equal measure incredibly angry and sad about, I think it came across in the song.

This song utilises a really wide variety of synths and sounds. Combining driven drones, with subtle plucks, old skool down-sampled roll beats with heavy 808 kicks and harsh snares. The main bass is club orientated, but then it builds to a melodic chorus. It is woven and complex, with an energetic melancholy that is both engaging and alienating.

Clams Casino – The Blast

Amazing use of a vocal sample, with the drums and synth sounds complimenting each other to create an epic and haunting atmosphere. There is strength and softness in the sounds, drops together so well. I feel like this use of harder sounds and subtle elements it has in common with Factory

A$AP Rocky – Wild for the night

Absolute banger, its intro is so well done and when it drops is the best of Trap and electronica combined. Deep 808 complimented by high synths typical of the best of Skrillex, the double pitched vocals is truly inspired. I’d say it is the use of the building small elements and the 808s that this has in common, especially when the beat first fully drops in Factory.

Phaeleh – In the Twilight

Classic tune from a Bristol producer whose music really inspired me to make the kind of music I make. There is nothing quite like local heroes to make you feel like you can achieve and push the envelope. It’s so well produced, using the vocal samples so effectively to not over dominate the track, still allowing the guitar melody to own the song. It then drops with punchy bass that gives the sound such depth. Again both melodic, deep and rich in sound, which is a big inspiration for Factory.

Hudson Mohawke – Chimes

One of my favourite producers of all time, I love the way this song has different sections to it, that all fit together really well, the more melodic being broken by an awe inspiring heavy brass/synth line and the 808s pulling no punches. It’s a master class in how Electronic music can be danceable and listenable, varied, melodic and heavy all in one song. I hope Factory goes some way in doing this.


Inspiration for Fearless by Welll


Background

This is a bit serious, but I wrote this after the terror attacks at the Bataclan music venue in Paris. It’s message is about defiance against the forces that seem to divide us. It is as much as releavent about Islamo-fascist terrorism as it is about the current wave of Right wing popularism. I will not be intimidated by the tales of the ‘others’ and will not be silenced. Heavy stuff I know, and was in two minds to make this more jolly, but that’s the honest origin.

The song combines elements of beauty and darkness, building in stages, as if waves crashing individually against the shore. It’s my only song so far with my vocals on it, which are intentionally distant in the mix to allow the music to speak for itself. The bassline drives and holds the track together, providing the backbone for the intricate songs to drop in and out. It is melancholic yet intriguing.


Zomby – Reflection

An amazingly atmospheric track, with a remarkable amount of similarity to Fearless (unintentionally), with the gun shot sound in particular and the use of distant vocals. This song creates a mood, and energises without the drums in at anypoint. It is dark, brooding and at times menacing, with a complimented beauty provided by the combination of the high and string synths.

Patriotism – Company Flow

A fairly unknown song in Company Flow/El-P terms. This was a big song from my teenage years, as it was on the Soundbombing 2 compilation. El-P is possibly my favourite producer, with his sonic dystopia coupled with songs of defiance about the state of America. This is a protest song, as is Fearless in its own more subtle way.

Killing in the name of – Rage against the Machine

Fearless I hope harnesses the same energy, of anger and defiance. Ever since I first heard this song it massively resonated with me, an absolute classic still as relevant both musically and politically today as ever.

Joker – Tron

An absolute banger from a Bristol dubstep producer. The song combines the quieter more melodic aspects with a punch in the face synth line that captures all frustration and anger possible. Its energy is infectious, and uses the combination of quieter parts and these heavier moments to take the listener on a real journey. I hope this song does the same.


Inspiration for Thaw by Welll

Background

Started this song in Edmonton on my way back from Canada, I was in the airport on a transfer home for about 4 hours, so decided it was time to make a beat. It happened fairly quickly, and then when I decided to actually do the EP the song really came together quickly. 

Builds slowly in sections, getting more intense with each cycle, countered by subtle sounds dropping in and out, with deep 808 bass providing a depth of song. It culminates with the main melodic hook which is as enticing as it is mystic. The drums pound and provide a constant energy that compliments and brings together the whole track.


Meet Ur Maker – Shlohmo

Not sure when I first heard this song, but it has stayed with me (which is a bit of an oxymoron). I think it’s massively under-rated, I love the moving parts of it, and how they all duck in and out. It has such movement, like a living dancing object, guiding you through a journey and then at the end the final drop is just pure audio pleasure. I tried to incorporate elements of that into this song, filled with dynamic energy and strong melody, as well as the subtle nuance.

Four Tet – Two Thousand and Seventeen

A modern day classic, I first heard it on BCC 6 Music and was instantly blown away at how strong a melody can be. The rest of the song really compliments that melody, letting it shine. Again I hope that there is a similar idea of balance and strong melody in this song.

Vangelis – Tears in the rain

One of my favourite songs of all time, from a movie (Blade Runner) that I feel represents a visual aesthetic that compliments all good electronic music. Futuristic, emotive but still with gritty textures. The vocals perfectly compliment the mood, providing a euphoric escapism, that is in all the best music. All these qualities I strive for and hope can be found in Thaw.

Boards of Canada – Reach for the Dead

The ability to build something so gradually and engagingly is aweinspirating, giving complex finely tuned layers of synths. It eventually drops into dusty drums, as if the end of a long climb up a steep hill to see something magnificent. 


Inspiration for Tobias by Welll

Background to Tobias

I wrote this song quite a while ago and was sitting on it. It was written for Lamp Lighters, my other Hip-hop orientated project.  I finished the first draft of the beat and realised that there was not just no room for vocals, that actually it actively didn’t need them. This was the beginning of Welll, a sound typified by layered driven synths, haunting pads, rolling rhythms and deep bass creating epic electronic landscapes; constantly building, twisting and evolving with cinematic tension.


The Who – Baba O’Riley

This was one of the earlier rock songs that I was just amazed by, as I never knew that Rock could be this epic and emotive. I’d grown up on Hip-hop and Drum & Bass, so when I heard this it was a game changer. I think it’s the synths in the background, that sort of arpeggiate, and the dynamics in the song that I think I can relate to Tobias. Also added to that the strong sense of melody really drives the song to something amazing. It’s the definition of what I think is an epic song.

DJ Shadow – Bergschrund feat. Nils Frahm

This is the combination of 2 of my favourite producers and the song doesn’t disappoint. The song changes throughout adding in and dropping out sounds, and breaks into a more euphoric section towards the end. It combines synths and percussion in such a dynamic way. In some way I feel that Tobias twists and changes on its journey.

Fuck Buttons – Hidden X’s

As soon as I heard them I loved the building nature of the songs, the sonic overlapping energy. If you jump to the middle of the song it makes no sense, a bit like a novel. It wasn’t conscious but I realise now I wanted to recreate that kind of energy with my own sound. Also, I think it’s secondary, but the fact they were from Bristol just gave that extra connection, even though I didn’t know them at all. Seeing them live at the Trinity Centre, commanding a 90 minute set, was very inspiring.

65 Days of static – Radio Protector

A friend of mine recommended them, he was more of a math rock fan, so I wasn’t totally sure whether I’d like them. I loved them from first listen, the dynamics of how it is heavy and emotive at the same time. It changes throughout, adding and ducking out sounds and instruments, giving fascinating and hypnotising textures throughout.