I started writing the album that would become 'The Ballad of Jonas Scrim' back around 1995 / 1997 as a soundtrack to a script I have been working on for many years. So after about 17 years (Although to be fair I did take about 8 years away from it) its the album I am most proud of. Its fair to say that musically its my baby.
It also breaks the whole class system divide where its assumed only rich upper class white dudes can write a classical album. I may be wwhite but I am not rich and definitely not upper class as anyone who has met me will tell you. Bassically a lad from a tiny town in the north east of England isnt 'meant' to do clasical music. I see that as rubbish.
So what is it about then?
Without giving too much away (should by some miracle the script ever see the light of day), its about a man Jonas Scrim who while considered a fantastic stone sculptor suffers from serious mental illness and in many ways is a study in psychosis. While Jonas is doing sculptures he is sane and normal and his symptoms are minimal. When he stops or cannot for some reason they get a lot worse and Jonas is convinced he is living in a blade runner-esque universe where he is the last organic life form. In reality he is descending deeper and deeper into psychosis. He sees beings he names the 'screaming leprachauns' who in reality look nothing like anything remotely you would imagine. These increase as he gets worse and worse unable to sculpt.
Now to cut to the chase here his mental health problems get so bad that he runs away from his family and everything he knows. Although he is never seen, marble sculptures start appearing at auction houses around the world over the next twenty years at a rate of 1 a year.
When Jonas Scrims son hits the age of 18 he goes to try and hunt down his dad who is convinced is still alive. Meeting a girl in a coffee shop along the way he spends the next 2 years hunting down Jonas.
Of course he finds him and is surprised to find him living in a tiny caravan in the Montana wilderness... it turns out to keep his mental problems in check, Jonas sculpted over a period of 20 years a 400m long cave full of sculptures that is best thought of as a Sistine chapel of sculpture. Jonas son is amazed but his father becomes alarmed at his sons plans to turn it into a tourist attraction. Jonas blows up the thing keeping him sane and we end seeing him in a secure mental unit with his son leaving him forever seeing his dad now past all hope.
The big reveal of course is we then go back to the cave Jonas blew up containing his sculptures and pan to the left 500 metres.... and see a 2nd far larger unfinished cave contains a battle field scene called 'The attack of the screaming leprechauns' (which have been a metaphor for the symptoms of Jonas illness all along.)
A story that explores psychosis from both sides and how everyone cam be affected. That boys and girls is what the Ballad of Jonas Scrim is about.
So go and buy it on iTunes... there's a lot of work went into it...and do ya know... I don't think its half bad ;)