It seems entirely appropriate that when I ask for a band photo for Stafford Glover’s latest music project, he’s the only one of the band masked by a plume of smoke.
You see, Stafford likes to hide away from the limelight, keeps himself under the radar, that kind of thing, all the while busying himself with incredible music offerings like his latest album, My Days Are Gone Like A Shadow.
And it’s not even his day job!
Based in Cairo, Egypt and Colchester Essex, LIGHTENINGS is Stafford, alongside Daniel Merrill (Nujumi, Dead Rat Orchestra, Sons of Joy) and the Rev’d Matthew Simpkins (Rev Simpkins, Sons of Joy), creating a heady mix of experimental folk, disintegrating beats, soaring fiddles, whispers and chants, squalling guitars, and ethereal pipe organ.
Stafford says: “We’ve been friends for a long time and I like to take holidays in obscure parts of the country, so I persuaded them to join me on one of them with the idea of making some music.”
They ended up in an out of the way Devon village called Shebbear, home of the Devil Stone. Legend has it that the stone marks the resting place of the Devil after he was cast out of heaven by the archangel Michael, to whom the parish church is dedicated. Michael then trapped him beneath the ground with a stone. The stone, which weighs a tonne, does not match any local geology. At 8pm on November 5 each year, the church bells are rung discordantly and the stone is turned by six locals to ‘keep the devil down’.
“Nothing had been written at all before we got there,” Stafford adds, “but it was a pretty fluent work process and we got five tracks written quite quickly, working half days and then going for long walks.
“We were inspired by the local folklore and Matt managed to persuade the local vicar to let us use the church organ. We also forgot our microphones, but the pub round the corner helped us with that too.”
As with his previous releases, My Days Are Gone Like A Shadow is available as an exclusive Lathe-Cut vinyl and Bandcamp download from Stafford’s own Hypostatic Union label.
To date, the label has released 17 recordings on a variety of formats including cassette, lathe cut EP, LP and digital.
“It’s always been a fantasy of mine to have my own label,” he admits, “but Hypostatic Union came out of a solo project which kind of came out nowhere. At the time I didn’t think anyone would want to listen to it but a good friend of mine called John Hannon encouraged me to publish it. His knowledge in the studio was invaluable and it’s still continuing to be a big learning process for me.”
Other releases include the compilation tribute album to The Cure, How The End Always Is, which came out of the lockdown when Stafford asked 17 different artists to record their unique versions of Cure tracks, with proceeds, of course, going to Cats Protection.
To date, Stafford’s records have been bought by music lovers in such far flung countries as the US, Australia, China and Argentina, as well as closer to home in Europe.
By his own admission, Stafford, who many will know as the Executive Producer at the Colchester Arts Centre, has been in bands ‘since forever’, including, among many others, The Doomed Bird of Providence, Silent Order and Extreme Noise Terror.
“I did my first gig at the Arts Centre when I was 18,” he smiles. “Chris Secker doing the sound, and I’ve always kept my hand in playing.”
His latest being a gig this month in Sydney Australia for UK-based Australian experimental/folk/psych/indie/noir musician, Michael Plater.
Next year, Stafford looks as busy as ever, not only with the day job at the Arts Centre, but more releases on their way including, among others, a second full length album of his own.
For more information, or to order copies of releases, go to www.hypostatic-union.com