• Bryony Dunn

Old Magic - Song Story

Written some time between the 2nd and 3rd of January, Old Magic, was born from hope more than anything else. The kind of hope you grasp on to and speak into the world in the blind desire to make it real. Jake, Luke and I had spent New Years Eve playing at a party at the local pub and New Years Day laughing with friends over brunch, then cheeks sparkling with tears reflecting the light of a cinema screen showing ‘Little Women’.

Old Magic was written very quickly and not altered much from it’s inception. I began writing it, late at night, hushed tones over quietly plucked acoustic guitar, by the morning it was done. ‘Old Magic’ vaguely came from the ancient magic that broke the stone table and the sacrifice that saved the boy who lived. My childhood obsession with magic has no obvious roots, but it was everywhere. Fairies adorned the shelves of my childhood room, shared with my sister. We would run wild through the woods, fairy wings, secured with elastic, attached to our backs. My mother swears in another life she was a wise woman or a healer and is always proving it with the remnants of her witchy powers showing up in surprising ways. Like calling just when someone is about to call her, or fixing someone’s ailments with one touch of her magic hands. So it was always left unquestioned.

Another thing that was always there, was my simple yet devastating ability to fall head over heels for someone and to let it completely consume every waking thought. A different kind of magic, I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to suffer that particular affliction.

We had band practice a few days later and I sat cross legged on the floor and played the song, hands trembling from nerves, because it is a strange thing to unfurl a song to the first ears that will hear it. Especially when it’s so fresh out of your brain. We set to work straight away, adding harmonies, drums and bass. Initially, Luke played the post-chorus riff on a penny whistle brought back from Ireland by Jake and Luke’s grandparents and given to them as a gift, but soon realised real life whistling was much simpler when attempting to play the drums at the same time. We worked it into our set and played it around town, including at our monthly night at the ‘Spotted Dog’ in Dorking and at our first headline gig at The ‘Boileroom’. Dark winter evenings loading gear across rain soaked pavements and driving home through shrouded forests are my resounding memory of this.

In the summer, living on top of each other in my parents house, we set about recording it. It was a very hot summers day and the room with the triangle window could get very stuffy. We recorded the bass, drums and acoustic guitar all at once, squeezed in around the drum kit which dominated the room. We re-recorded the acoustic guitar but on one take we forgot to shut the window above my head, opened in an effort to cool our bodies and minds a little. Thus, bird song was very prominently dispersed throughout the recording completely by chance and we left it all in, in place. My particular favourite is the crow right at the very end (#GameofThrones).

My sister, Gina, was also at home with us during Lockdown and so was her boyfriend the musician and cocktail maker extraordinaire (among other things) Jack Merriman. We managed to rope Jack into giving the ‘whistling line’ a go on his flute and that was the finishing touch, sadly we couldn’t find a place on this EP for his excellent falsetto or flute beatboxing…

‘Old Magic’ is out now… listen here: