Song Deconstructed: ‘Don’t Tempt The Shadow’ by Sailing Stones
The indie-pop songwriter, Jenny Lindfors, tells us how her new single started life as a poem inspired by Jungian psychology
Bristol-based singer-songwriter and musician Jenny Lindfors performs under the pseudonym Sailing Stones and has been diligently working on her debut album Polymnia. The long-player is due for release in the spring of 2020, but we get to hear a taste of what to expect with her latest single, the alt-pop gem Don’t Tempt The Shadow.
Here Jenny explains – in her own words – the song’s genesis, where the words came from, how the music came together and her thoughts on the final result…
I think it was Bob Dylan who said that a good way of writing songs is to write the conversations you can’t have with people in reality. This was definitely a forbidden conversation with a friend who had gone into a bit of a twisted place. I was trying to get through to him. I later learned about the concept of the ‘shadow’ in Jungian psychology – and that if we’re not ready to look at the concealed parts of our own psyche, we’ll see those traits very easily in others. In hindsight, I’m sure there was a lot of that going on too!
The lyrics to this song came first – originally as a poem. I didn’t think about putting them to music until they were finished. Sometimes if the melody comes first, it can limit you a bit lyrically as the words have to fit a certain melodic rhythm. It can be a bit like a puzzle, whereby this was just words that didn’t have to fit into any framework.
When I put the song to music, I remember thinking it had a distinctly hip-hop feel to it. I sang the words over the same three chords over and over again, and it became very hypnotic. It took shape from there. It evoked a very New Orleans feel for me.
In The Studio
It was recorded mostly live at Vale Studios, late in the evening, with TJ Allen on production/bass, Dan Moore on piano/synth and Daisy Palmer on drums. The brass section was added later and TJ added synths, harp and other bits at his studio after the initial session. I did the backing vocals at my studio, which basically involved me layering tracks where I screamed as loud as I could from a distance, drenched in reverb. Luckily my studio neighbours were out, otherwise they might have called the police.
I think TJ nailed the production on this, as it really captures the essence of the song. I’m so happy with how it came out. It sounds spooky, unnerving and slightly melancholic to me, which is exactly what I wanted.
Don’t Tempt The Shadow is out now as a single release. To find out more about Jenny, head to thisissailingstones.com