Daniel Shipley and the Sheffield Inspiration
Sheffield Unchained speaks to singer songwriter Daniel Shipley about his new album Climb The Wall, his ongoing love affair with the city of Sheffield and collaborative work with the Old Pig Farm recording studio.
Coming full circle, Daniel Shipley’s latest album Climb The Wall (May 2015) was conceived in Sheffield, written while backpacking around the world, completed in London and recorded at the Old Pig Farm studio back in Sheffield. This is the second album he has recorded in Sheffield, and it reflects Daniel’s deeply personal journey through loss, separation and relocation.
He describes his first album Find a Way Through (2012) as a love letter to the city of Sheffield, with the song Steel City describing his experiences of Sheffield after relocating from his home in Nottingham. The album received a nomination in the Sheffield Scenester annual awards, which he says gave him the confidence to persevere with songwriting.
Daniel attributes the folk, rock and soul influences of his music to American singer songwriters John Mayer from Connecticut and Philadelphian Amos Lee, in addition to growing up listening to the Beatles, The Who and The Kinks. The rich musical heritage of local Sheffield artists like Joe Cocker, Pulp and Arctic Monkeys provided additional inspiration during his time in the city.
The process of songwriting is a solo project for Daniel:
When I am composing it’s just me and an acoustic guitar.
However Climb The Wall is the product of a collaborative process, with multi-instrumentalists John Sephton and Steve Goodison from The Old Pig Farm studios arranging and producing the album, as well as contributing bass guitar, keyboard and drum skills. Daniel says of both his albums:
They help me kind of thrash it out. They add flesh to the bones.
The album tells a story:
…. of running away from that “same old, same old” of living in the same town, mixing amongst the same people, but at the same time longing for that sense of familiarity again.
Daniel says the first song of the album, Forgotten Son, was written while traveling and explores his conflicted relationship with home.
I love my home city of Nottingham, but it is Sheffield that always seems to champion my music and I felt that I was Nottingham’s “forgotten son”. If I had tried to record my songs in another city, I genuinely don’t think I could have done it to the same standard.
Despite this Daniel says he has subsequently had some positive reviews and interviews from Nottingham newspapers; which he says is “really flattering”.
Daniel currently lives in London, working as a hospital pharmacist specialising in HIV, which is “really quite intense” and has not allowed as much time to perform live as he would like.
Song writing remains a therapeutic activity for Daniel, who says:
I purely write for myself but if people like it and want to share it, that’s a bonus really.
Perhaps the therapy is in the listening too!