Willkommen Collective proudly presents The Good Ship by The Climbers, a Willkommen studio project featuring members of The Leisure Society, Sons Of Noel & Adrian, The Miserable Rich, Shoreline, Christian Silva, Absentee and more. It’s a bit live, a bit lush and hopefully more than a bit rewarding.
The Climbers are named after annual trips to the Lake District taken by chief songwriter Tim West and his musician/producer school friend Christian Hardy (The Leisure Society). Tim and Christian’s friendship began on their first such excursion from their home town of Burton Upon Trent, a school field trip during which they found a shared fixation on OK Computer, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, mountains and death.
It was an alliance which quickly bore fruit, (when Christian released his first solo EP on Something In Construction back in 2005, several of the songs were co-written with Tim). Meanwhile Tim was to introduce Christian to Nick Hemming, ultimately leading to the formation of The Leisure Society. This move undoubtedly slowed down work on Tim’s record as Christian and Nick forged their own musical relationship within the South London house the three of them were sharing. However, Christian believes this long gestation is ultimately one of The Good Ships’s strengths, ‘The record was started about 6 years ago but it just ended up taking more time to complete as Nick and I got involved with making The Sleeper, as a result on Tim’s record you can hear a happy mixture of very early raw recordings with the relatively sophisticated production techniques we learned more recently.’
Another benefit of this long game was that the burgeoning Willkommen Collective became an integral part of The Climbers story, as Tim invited a vast array of singers and musicians to collaborate, resulting in a kind of Willkommen ‘supergroup’ studio project which features members of The Leisure Society, Sons Of Noel and Adrian, Shoreline, Absentee, Sharon Lewis and many more.
Snatching windows of opportunity through 2004 to 2009, Tim was keen to instill an ethos of collaboration and experimentation, as such The Good Ship was recorded predominantly in hired cottages in Wales and Devon (with additional sessions in South London, Brighton, Burton-On-Trent and Northumberland). The result is an unashamedly live-sounding debut, produced and mixed by Christian to capture in full the sounds of houses packed with friends making music, as it happened. Tim explains the approach; ‘the plan was that we could share in a kind of ’working’ holiday experience where the resulting record was very much a product of its environment’. ‘These were deeply happy trips for all of us, unforgettable really’ Christian concurs.
With early enthusiastic radio plays from broadcasters such as Guy Garvey and Jon Richardson, a pre-emptive BBC 6 Music session in February 2010 described by host Marc Riley as ‘Breathtaking, remarkable, really really amazing’ and two highly successful debut shows as part of The Willkommen Orchestra under their belt, The Climbers plan to play live whenever the touring commitments of their many members permit. In the meantime Tim hopes that audiences will find a kinship with the record that he and his friends have been making over the last six years, ‘It was really important to me, right from the start, to make an album, as opposed to a disparate collection of songs. I remember from a young age, the roller coaster of emotions that you could get from listening to an LP in its entirety and how various albums related to particular childhood journeys and despite the varied contributors to The Good Ship, I think we’ve achieved that.’
The Good Ship will be released by the collective’s very own Willkommen Records in May 2010.