Diving At Dawn has always been a frustrating stop-start affair for me. I’ve never been able to be genuinely productive and build momentum with it because I find working alone so tricky. As part of a band or production team, I’m pretty efficient, but when the responsibility falls solely upon my shoulders, I become a procrastinating perfectionist of epic proportions. The lack of productivity in my solo work has caused me a fair bit of anxiety over the years, but I’ve always been busy enough with other projects to distract myself. However, in 2022 my anxiety levels went through the roof. Unfortunately, age, experience, budget constraints, and technology have all conspired against me, thus turning Diving At Dawn into a genuine one-person band.
Mrs. Penny was one of those teachers you remember – she encouraged me, enjoyed my stories, and often read them to the class. She told me to study sciences for a better-paid job, and off down that road I skipped studying engineering. But as Iggy Pop once quipped, if you’re creative, there’s something inside you, and it needs to get out…
Million Pebble Beach is my chosen “Nom de Guerre” – a nod to a local artist and the area (Pete Codling’s One Million Pebbles project in Portsmouth).
The Pilgrim is the artistic name I gave myself as a singer-songwriter and guitar player because I’ve done and studied so many different stuff, lived in many places, traveled and changed my life more than once. I’ve lived many lives in one, in the search for myself, guided by inspiration, challenging myself, learning so much and preserving my essence and sensitivity.
I live for freedom, truth, justice, compassion and altruism. I want to get moved, I want to cultivate special experiences, relationships and feelings, I want to investigate the dark sides of the soul.
They sat in that window seat for 5 days as we moved through the house as normal, 106 Erlanger Road in London. We had a pact in that house that came from somewhere deeply rooted, you could feel it in the wooden corridors, in the table, the cups and furniture, it said, you’re ok – whatever is happening inside and outside, we got you.
15 of us shared the space, the landlord, living out in the countryside, set it up years before to be a kind of sanctuary I guess. They interviewed prospective tenants and also trusted friends of friends to fill the rooms.
Music ebbs and flows, back into time immemorial and forward into the unknown future. I was late to the party, learning instruments and theory as a self-funded young adult long ago.
After many years of compiling former band and personal demos for my own interest, I thought it was time to finish an album for release. Sea to City began with a bunch of “lost” songs from other abandoned collaborative projects and a cover concept. The songs seemed to join hands as a thematic collection, so I then wrote into the spaces, and painted the cover to go along with them.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson – the great American Individualist and Transcendentalist – once said: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better”. And so, the new Zonn mini-album “Songs Of Truth And Freedom” started off, as many experiments do, with the inventor watching the world around and perceiving that something needed to be done. This approach, coupled with my fondness for re-writing old tunes, led to the interpretation of a 1980s new-socialist stalwart into a novel anthem for the 2020s.
Some of my favorite moments and memories consist of being out on the road wearing a hat over greasy hair and some of the same travel clothes for days. Stepping out of the van barefoot to see the sights, the wind blowing my clothes as I look out over the expanses, I feel free of earthly possessions, free of the need to control how I look and feel, and free of the expectations of the outside world. Truly anonymous in a hat, I travel from town to town in and out of diners and cafes with my face slightly obscured. I’m just a traveler blowing through, never promising anything to anyone. I’m a transient presence for a moment and then I’m gone.
The songs in “Notes From Planet Earth” include Indie Folk, Rock, and Country styles. They deal with the disastrous direction our world seems to be taking driven by the likes of Trump and the GOP, and their kind worldwide. The songs are grounded in the understanding that without a major change of course, we’re in the process of degrading and destroying the world we live in rather than passing it on to the future in good shape. I hope these songs touch some hearts and that we pull off that change of course successfully.
How long does it take to write a 3-minute song? In the movies they dash them off in a couple of hours or during a long night with a bottle of scotch. And it’s true, sometimes they come quickly. This one did not. We spent hours and hours, days and days spread over months and months trying to coax a good song out of hiding. We got pretty close in the end, but it finally took our co-producer and mixer a little bit more deft knife work to turn it into the finished product that appears on our debut album The Weight of the World.
When you cue up a song titled “Highway 1”, you probably anticipate a great driving song. Greg Connors delivers with his new single, which if you let it, will take you on a journey to both your own bitter end and recreation.
“Highway 1” manages to relentlessly unbalance and rebalance its discord and flow. The lyrics have that signature Connors flair, the mercurial duplicity and winking turns of phrase. —