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The Darker Side…the story behind the song

It’s Saturday, the weather is beautiful and I’m sitting outside with a glass of wine… and coffee….life is good! Wine, coffee…sunset…perfect moment to write a blog. Writing this blog has been going through my mind for a couple of weeks now, so it’s time to get it out of my head and get the story written!

A couple of weeks ago Robb Murphy’s song ‘The Darker Side’ was added to a playlist called ‘Music to Grieve to’ on Spotify. A playlist with beautiful songs from well and less known artists:

This got me thinking about the story behind this song and that it would be nice to share a bit more about it and write a blog.
The Darker Side is the only song from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’ that was not written in Italy. Robb wrote the song in May 2013. Around that time he was preparing the recordings for the album Sleep Tonight. He wrote blogs about the songs for the album and shared a lot of demos. I remember that Robb told me that he wrote The Darker Side, it came together very quickly and when he shared the demo with me I remember him saying that it was kind of a heavy song. I listened and loved the song right away. I could relate to the song, it’s a song that brings comfort. Shortly after Robb wrote the song, he shared the demo online, not being aware of the effect that this song would have on people and what this song later on would mean for himself, because a couple of weeks after Robb wrote this song, his mother unexpectedly passed away.

In the past few years we received a lot of good feedback to ‘The Darker Side’, but not only that. More than once people have shared their personal stories and told us how much this song has helped them while dealing with loss and grief or going through dark times. Those stories make us aware of how powerful a song can be. Robb writes a lot of songs, all written, composed and created from the heart and for himself. Only a small amount of songs make it to an album or EP. Sure we hope that people will listen and will like the music when an album, EP or song is being released, but we’re not aware of the effect that a song may have on other people at that time. That only happens when people share their stories and tell us how a song has touched or affected them. Whether a song has made people do a happy dance, has put a smile on their face, helps them through dark times or people simply can relate to a song…it’s special to hear those stories and it shows the power of music.

Back to ‘The Darker Side’. It’s a song that has developed a lot over the years and there are a lot of different versions of the song to find online, but it all started with this demo:

Robb and the band started playing this song live, but it wasn’t until 2014 before the song was recorded as part of the album ‘Sleep Tonight’.

Robb finished the recordings of the album at the end of July 2014. It was sent off for mastering and right after that he and his fiancée (now wife!) went on holiday. During their holiday they filmed several acoustic videos of songs from the album Sleep Tonight. One of those songs was ‘The Darker Side’. A different version of the song was born.

The album ‘Sleep Tonight’ was released in March 2015. Not long after the release of ‘Sleep Tonight’. Robb was invited to perform an acoustic version of ‘The Darker Side for The Arts Show (BBC TWO). The producer of the show had seen the acoustic video recorded in Italy and said that that version would be a good song to replicate. Below the result:

Due to the great feedback Robb received on this performance he decided to record and a release a new, stripped back, acoustic version of ‘The Darker Side’.

While rehearsing and playing the song live, it kept developing. The next version of the song was recorded during a live session for Live uit Lloyd, RTV Rijnmond in Rotterdam.

‘The Darker Side’, a song that can be played in many ways, full band or just stripped back with only a guitar and vocals… a song that has touched and helped people… It was nice to see that ‘The Darker Side’ was added to the ‘Music To Grieve To’ playlist on Spotify. Hopefully the song will reach and help a lot more people in the future.

The Darker Side – lyrics

When the night falls in and the nightmares come
When there’s fading light and the day is done
I will fight you ‘till the morning comes
I will guard my heart and steady my head

‘Cause there is hope for all mankind
If we let go of the darker side
There’s nothing here to hold us back
And everything is open wide
If we let go of the darker side

Down the hill and through the pastures
To the old stone smokey house
I’ve not been here for years
Afraid that I will not confide
Not let go of the darker side

Here I am I come to you
With an open hand but life’s tattoo
I will fight you ‘till the night turns day
Everything is open wide
If we let go of the darker side
If we let go of the darker side
If we let go of the darker side

The Darker Side

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Take A Stand – 5 years

Take A Stand…Robb Murphy’s solo career started with this…the album was released 5 years ago on the 27th of April. Something to celebrate…and to write a blog about! I’ve been looking back into the blogs I wrote over the past few years, but I didn’t write a blog about Take A Stand and how this album came about. This 5-year anniversary sure is a good reason to do that!

‘Take A Stand’ is an album with an electronic pop sound. Robb had no intention to officially release it. It was all just something he did, because he liked it. It was an experiment for himself to get familiar with the studio programs that he was using. He sent a rough copy to BBC, not expecting to hear back from them. Robb then went on holiday and while he was away a few friends told him that they had heard his songs on radio and that a few DJ’s had been saying really positive things about it. In the next months BBC Introducing played a lot of the tracks and Robb made the decision to officially release the album. Robb was invited to do a live session for BBC Introducing and at that stage he didn’t have a band yet. The opportunity was reason enough to get a band together and do the live session for BBC Introducing, which was recorded and broadcast in the UK.

‘Love in Abundance’ was the first single Robb released. It wasn’t until later when the video for this single was released, filmed and edited by Carl Best, lead roles by Kelly Long (HBO Game of Thrones) & Ignacy Rybarczyk (BCC Ripper Street/Faraway):

The story behind the video is guy meets girl in a coffee shop with a twist. The male lead played by Ignacy Rybarczyk (Ripper Street/Faraway) is dumped by his girlfriend, seeking solace he heads for coffee and encounters Angela, played by Kelly Long (HBO Game of Thrones) who is on a blind date. He is mesmerised by her and when her date doesn’t show he ends up being the one sharing coffee. The concept for the narrative of the video was developed by writer/director and DOP Carl Best. Together Robb and Carl worked out the ideas, keeping the plot line simple to reflect the simplicity of this song.

‘Love In Abundance’ got a lot of attention and great feedback over the years. Recently the song was used for the documentary ‘Love In A Day’ on BBC Northern Ireland.

The next single Robb released from the album was ‘On My Side’, released in March 2012.
For this video Robb teamed up with award winning short film director Patrick Maxwell of Headline Films. He captured Robb and his real life girlfriend (who is now his wife!) over the course of a day in Belfast for the video of the single ‘On My Side’.

The video starts showing a young man shifting his weight, filled with the excited nerves that come before a big date. Will the following hours hold the potential for intimacy, indifference or even rejection? He resolves to rely on his tried and tested formula — ‘We will talk and I will smile’ — after all — he’s ‘got an act to keep up dear’. But what if he just goes with it and sees what the day holds. Could it live up to his expectations? Or even surpass them? Message of this video…Stop imagining. Drop the act. Be yourself. And she might just surprise you.

The last single of the album, ‘What Do I Say?’, was released in February 2013.
Robb teamed up again with Patrick Maxwell for the music video.

‘What Do I Say?’ was filmed over a six month period at various locations in and around Belfast. This music video was created using time lapse footage mixed with a real time performance by Robb Murphy and his band at a show in The Black Box, Belfast.

The artwork of all singles and the album were created by the very talented Ronan Reid.
Ronan Reid is an artist originally from Ireland, who lives in Melbourne, Australia. His work is really amazing. Whatever idea Robb has in mind for an album or single artwork, Ro is always able to translate those ideas into amazing covers. Have a look!

Take A Stand…5 years…a milestone! it’s good to look back and write about how the album came about.
It makes me think how much has happened since and how much has changed as for Robb’s music, but that’s a different story…
Time to end this blog and celebrate this milestone with a glass of wine! Cheers!