Component#4 present ‘A Sentence’ EP on Friday 27th April, via us. It will be available on CD + Digital Formats. (see listing). Here are some words written last year by Mike Rowley discussing his project.
From Wednesbury to Berlin: Component#4 and the post-industrial landscape
I grew up in the Black Country town of Wednesbury and at the time it was one of the most deprived areas of the country. Of course, when you’re growing up you don’t realise it, but it sinks into your consciousness and the environment shapes the type of music that you make.
My first album Into Memory is about that childhood, and most of the tracks are biographical.
The final track, ‘Christmas Day’, is a diary entry; an extremely vivid memory. At the age of 22 I was single, I was working in a call centre, I was living with my parents, my recording studio business had gone bust, I was in debt and I spent my weekends getting pissed quicker than any of my friends. Christmas Eve was no exception. I was hammered and I stormed out of the pub and set off home on my own. The twenty minute walk to my parents’ house was filled with ghosts: factories now closed down, the bus station where I was nearly mugged, the row of shops where I’d once been jumped by a gang and kicked around the floor, the primary school I went to…many of these memories surface on Into Memory.
On Christmas day, hungover, I turned on the computer and booked the cheapest flights I could find from Birmingham, which happened to be to Hannover. When I arrived in Hannover I immediately booked a train ticket to Berlin and upon arriving there I felt an instant, strange familiarity with the streets, the graffiti and the post-industrial surroundings. However, there was a freedom and a sense of belonging I had never felt before. The trip to Berlin had affected me in a way I couldn’t quite fathom. When I got home I began to immerse myself in the history of the Cold War and I empathised with the people of east Berlin and their need to escape. I stopped getting completely drunk all the time, I met my partner and I successfully applied for a teaching position at a prison for young offenders.
I worked there for four years and this has formed the basis of my forthcoming EP. It’s a concept piece from the perspective of a young character who feels frustrated with his life. One evening whilst out with his mates, he’s over the limit and he crashes the car, his friends die and he is sent to jail. The forthcoming EP chronicles his experiences; the hospital police interview, being taken to prison in an armoured vehicle, bullying and intimidation from other inmates, finally being released on tag, and his anxieties, depression and shame.
Every sound on the EP tries to capture the atmosphere of a prison; the claustrophobia, the concrete, the bars, the gates, the officers, the paranoia. Like my previous releases, the tracks are conceptual but the emotions are very much my own. When I worked there I too felt trapped, I was essentially locked inside myself for 9 hours a day. I struggled to find another job so for four years I willingly handed myself in to do my sentence.