The People’s Choice Award: Philip Roy
70: Philip Roy
Produce a 19-track debut album of original songs
As a songwriter, I’m inspired by the myriad directions just one chord progression, melody, or lyric can take me. A single song may suffer through many identities as I follow leads that may go nowhere, before arriving at a form I can call finished. I like to compose music for a quartet because I write with the intention of performing live, and three other people seems like enough to keep track of, and plenty noisy. But technically, I love weaving the space for each instrument to sit individually in the mix, adding its own flavor that makes it an essential member of the song. That said, I will also strive to ensure that each song can stand on its own while performed on solo acoustic guitar. I realized early on that a song isn’t much good if you can’t sing it around a campfire, and I find that is a helpful ‘railing’ to keep my composing on track.
My goal is simply to encase these songs in the amber of a ‘proper’ release. I believe the way they interrelate in an LP format creates a whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts. As my debut album it will give me a reference point to share my work, and to further explore the craft of songwriting. I’ve acquired a backlog of projects and collaborations that are awaiting my attention, not the least of which are a slew of newer songs I’m very eager to dive into. But I’ve recognized that this album will never live if I don’t give it my full focus, so I’m finally allowing myself the discipline that entails.
With its release, I can show the music to prospective bandmates, with the goal of performing these songs live. This would allow me the opportunity to incorporate video artwork as live visuals for the show. I’ve designed an audio reactive setup, using three projectors, that can run on its own to create a unique visual component to the live music.
My hope is that an audience for this album would find it interesting enough for repeated listens; enough times to single out and follow each instrument through its journey from start to finish. That is something I’ve done countless times through my favorite albums, and if just one person can have that experience through something I’ve made, provoking a genuine emotional or intellectual response, then it will be well worth the effort.
“Police Blotter.” This song is about helping a friend de-escalate with policemen. When good intentions mix with feelings of helplessness.
“Dim the Moon.” This song is about the intense feelings of invincibility and devotion that accompany a passionate new love.
“This Sanity Bag.” Song navigates the slightly different rules of a foreign land with unreliable travel partners, recreational substances, and labels in broken English.