Braver Times was born out of a late night studio session with producer and synth-guru Darius Timmer. We had put together the groove and were jamming, him on Rhodes and me on bass, until we had pieced together this bass line and Rhodes progression that got us both really excited. Before I started writing the melody, we got into a discussion as to what the song would be about. We both felt it had a brooding, almost threatening quality to it and at the same time something kind of intoxicating.

I had just finished re-reading one of my favourite books of all time, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, and I suggested that maybe this song could be based on the factory-like, brainwashed society described in the book.

The idea was for the verses to be the sneaky, whispering voice programmed to brainwash kids in their beds (In early sleep / there comes a whisper from your pillowcase).

We had the verses down quite quickly, but we didn’t have a chorus yet. We tried out about five different chorus ideas that built on the same mood as the verse, but none of them felt right.

It got really frustrating and felt like a dead end, so we thought: Let’s just totally change it up for the chorus. We replaced the Rhodes with big, majestic strings and ditched the bass guitar for a heavy bass synth, and starting playing with new chordal ideas. Then suddenly this grand chorus started to unfold, and we thought: this is it!

The switch from the intimate verse to this elevated chorus felt like a cool trigger for the lyrics: to contrast the brainwashing whisper in the verses, the choruses could represent the emotional voice of the reader, looking down at this society moving in cold, structured unison and pleading with them: ‘can’t you see what you’re doing? Wake up!’

The huge scale of the story was a big inspiration for us in fine-tuning the arrangement. There’s a lot of weird, sci-fi sound effects in there, but also big, powerful synth beds and Darius’ emotional outburst of a synth solo to send the story off into the sunset.

1/5 of the ORBIT Augmented Reality exhibition, a new music and art release. This work is interactive, and will come to life in sound and vision with the use of the "Someone presents: ORBIT" app.

Giclee on fine art paper. Signed by the artist.

Download the app here, free of charge.