Badhands releases third album The Wheel
Award-winning composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Fitzpatrick, aka Badhands has released his third studio album, The Wheel .
The Wheel was recorded in January 2022 – three months before the release of Badhands’ second album Far Away .
Unlike previous Badhands records, which were meticulously planned in the recording and songwriting, The Wheel was conceived and recorded largely on a whim and in a very short time frame. The idea to record was initially inspired by Peter Jackson’s 2022 documentary, The Beatles: Get Back , which focused on the making of Let It Be .’
Watching this intimate, ostensibly mundane, footage of the band aimlessly struggling in the studio, but ultimately wrestling an album into existence from inauspicious beginnings had a cathartic effect on Fitzpatrick and the band (Aoife Ruth, David Tapley, Chris Barry, Ken Mooney).
So with only a handful of complete songs and other ideas they went into the studio and began rehearsing and shaping an album over the course of two weeks, which was then recorded, predominantly live, over three days at the Meadow studio. The previous Badhands albums had each taken close to three years to complete.
The result is a looser, more collaborative effort, which saw Fitzpatrick composing predominantly on piano rather than guitar. The compositions continue to demonstrate the influence of Fitzpatrick’s scoring work, with the album at times sounding part dystopian soundtrack, part early 70s Leonard Cohen, the Goo Dublin magazine described the single ‘Movie Nights’ as a mix of Blade Runner , Springsteen’s Born To Run , and The War on Drugs. That single was also named Track of the Week on RTÉ 2fm by Beta DaSilva.
Daniel Fitzpatrick says: “This album was much more of a band effort, with an emphasis on recording live where possible. I wanted to make a record that was a bit less dense than my last one, with fewer layers and overdubs. We had all been really inspired by the Get Back documentary; watching The Beatles flounder and struggle, but ultimately pull it together, and this provided the impetus for starting the project. The process of making our record was comparatively a fairly quick and painless one, thankfully. On previous records I often built the recordings up gradually, but this time the songs came together much more naturally playing with the band. I was composing mainly on piano at this time, and the lyrics on some of the songs reflect the strange circumstances of life trying to get moving again after long periods of isolation. Hopefully these will be my last batch of pandemic influenced tunes for the time being.”
Much of the lyrics are inspired by patterns of repeating thoughts and behaviour, and the difficulty in escaping them. These themes are represented in the album’s title The Wheel , and encapsulated by songs like ‘Head in the Clouds’, which describes a person operating in a dreamlike state of denial about what’s going on around them, and ‘For a Little While’, which describes a person mindlessly and perpetually wandering the same empty streets.
Badhands’ 2022 album Far Away was praised by The Irish Times for possessing “a wonderfully rich sound inspired by mid-period Scott Walker and blue-chip legends and luminaries such as Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Lee Hazlewood.” Totally Dublin called it “luxuriously cinematic”, so appropriately a track from Far Away features in the the new series of RTÉ series, Smother .
Badhands has spent the past number years composing scores for wildlife documentaries in collaboration with some of the world’s largest TV organisations, including the BBC, PBS, and RTÉ. He soundtracked the BBC series The Wild Gardener in 2022, and some of his songs were recently used in Tommy Tiernan’s Epic West . In 2019, his score for the Wild Cuba documentary won an award at the prestigious Jackson Wild Film Festival in the U.S., as well as winning Best Score at the 2021 Green Screen Wildlife Festival in Germany.
Badhands also collaborates with artists in theatre performances, working with Maud Lee and Zoe Ni Riordan on some of their acclaimed theatre productions, such as the recent launch of their Irish Language project Éist Liom in late 2022, along with Glasshouse ensemble, at the Project Arts Centre.
Fitzpatrick is currently finishing work on tracks for a documentary on the Islands of Ireland which will air on PBS in the US later this year, and has begun working on album number 4.
Badhands will play live dates in Derry, Dublin, Kildare, Cork and Mayo throughout May (see dates below).
Friday, 5th May 2023 – Derry – Bennigans
Saturday, 6th May 2023 – Dublin – Workman’s Cellar
Friday, 12th May 2023 – Newbridge – Flanagans
Saturday, 13th May 2023 – Kinsale – Prim’s Bookshop
Saturday, 20th May 2023 – Cavan Town – Cavan Arts Festival
Saturday, 27th May 2023 – Louisburgh – Big Style Atlantic Lodge