Ever since the Scottish “soaring-ambient-dreampop-experimental-folk” band began releasing music more than three years ago, Constant Follower’s emotionally honest and pain-stricken, yet warm, lyrics have become one of the project’s most endearing and beloved qualities. The name of the outfit itself is a reflection of those things that we carry through life, for better or worse, that ultimately define who we are.
As a teenager, McAll woke in hospital to find he had survived an attack by a gang that left him with a catastrophic head injury and every memory of his childhood gone. The next decade was spent in a cabin on the West Coast where Hebridean air was whipped in with the time to reflect and recover, eventually allowing him to begin songwriting again. The songs were originally recorded as raw ideas – thoughts and feelings forged in fleeting moments and recorded onto old cassettes as the wind howled outside.
Weave Of The World (Video Premiere)
“I wrote it during a period of anxiety or maybe mild paranoia. You can hear that in the words. But it’s taken on a new meaning for me, since what I must have thought might happen, didn’t. There’s still a lot of darkness in there, but the song reminds me that feelings are real but they aren’t facts. Even when you think things are going very wrong, there’s always a way to turn it around.”
The accompanying film by Martin J. Pickering, renowned for his work with Dua Lipa, Paloma Faith and Lethal Bizzle, is an ephemeral ode to the passing of time. Growing up with McAll in a tough neighbourhood outside of Glasgow, the film was intended to re-establish some of the memories McAll lost after his head injury – some of the good times they shared during the hazy summers and long days away from the housing scheme where they lived; seen through the eyes of their children; the making of memories.
The band’s debut album, Neither is, nor ever was is co-produced by Scottish singer-songwriter Stephen McAll and renowned producer and Shimmy-Disc founder Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500, Will Oldham) and will be out on October 1st on Shimmy-Disc and Joyful Noise Records.
The recording for the album began in early 2020 at La Chunky studios in Glasgow with engineer Johnny Smillie. This was interrupted by the birth of McAll’s daughter (if you listen closely, her cries are just audible during some of Kessi’s backing vocals on ‘Little Marble’), and shortly afterwards by Covid 19 restrictions. McAll began recording the rest at his own CFFC studio in Stirling. The resulting recordings were then mixed and mastered by Kramer at his Noise Miami Studio, to breath-taking effect.
Each album track will be accompanied by its own short film. McAll sought-out the most exciting new talents in Scottish film and animation and invited them to be part of the album project. Each video, the artist’s personal response to the song, with no direction or interference from the band, resulting in incredibly moving and enchanting short ‘films’ in their own right (with multiple film festival considerations including Edinburgh International Film Festival and Manchester Film Festival in process).
1. I Can’t Wake You
2. The Merry Dancers On TV
3. Set Aside Some Time
4. Spirits In The Roof Tree
6. Weave of the World
7. One Word Away
8. Little Marble
9. What’s Left To Say