Brayden Sibbald, songwriter and producer from Dunsborough, WA, is releasing today his latest EP, We Can Only Move Forward. This follows on from Float, which was released in 2018. One of the singles from this EP, “Thin Air” has already racked up over 100,000 streams.
We can Only Move Forward is signature Sibbald. His voice effortlessly hits the turbocharger into a falsetto that sends shivers. His honest songwriting readily connects. This EP is one which we can all identify with, the gentle introspection inspired by a trip to Iceland in 2019 providing the groundwork for a concise yet high-quality body of work.
Brayden has kindly provided us with a track-by-track breakdown of the EP. So settle down, have a read and have a listen to We Can Only Move Forward.
Track By Track – We Can Only Move Forward
‘We Can Only Move Forward’ is a collection of songs written over the past 2 years. A lot of the record was heavily inspired by a trip I took to Iceland in early 2019, where I instantly fell in love and was heavily inspired to write by the sweeping, epic, empty landscapes. I found a lot of parallels in the isolation to growing up and living in Dunsborough – a rural town on the South-West corner of Australia. I worked with Matt Gio (producer/mixing engineer) at RADA Studios who had a massive impact on the EP. The songs are about what I was going through at the time – about the realisation that I was thinking too much about what I should have done in the past or things I would have changed instead of looking ahead. That only dwelling on the negative things sets you back. That we cannot go back in time – we can only move forward.”
I wrote Afterglow during a time last year when I was feeling really unproductive and unmotivated. I realised that it’s okay to cut yourself a bit of slack – you have had achievements and done things in the past that you can be proud of and you will do things like that in the future – that it’s okay to just ‘be’ for a while. I struggled to find a feel for the song that I liked when I wrote it and it almost didn’t make the cut of the EP. We almost culled it again in the studio after trying a number of different versions and making no headway but once we cracked it it’s become one of my favourites from the record.
Thin Air is a track about letting go of the self-created pitfalls that hold you back and prevent you from moving forward – and that sometimes it’s hard to do that and it can make you feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things – but you can either let that control you or just go for it. I find it really easy to create things or situations in which I hold myself back from further development and I think writing about it is my way to make myself really aware of it and try to catch myself doing it.
We went through a number of different versions of the song and I re-wrote the lyrics to fit three or four times – eventually settling on a more simple sound and scrapping a lot of the unnecessary parts – which also fits with the theme of the song. It’s also a bit of a return to more organic-sounding elements with the acoustic guitar. The final version of the beat was influenced by ‘California’ by Childish Gambino.
I wrote an early version of Sparse on my trip to Iceland. I felt like there was something special about how bare everything felt but how perfect it seemed in the emptiness, like everything was meant to be. I tried to relate that to how I was feeling before I left on the trip – which was that nothing was going for me, but then everything seemed to fall into place. This was one of the easier tracks in the studio and the one that really stood out from the demos as a single. We ended up keeping a lot of the parts from the demo I did at home in the final version.
When Did the Sun Rise
This was the easiest track to write from the EP, but one of the hardest to make. I found half the chorus hook when I was looking back over all my voice notes in my phone while I was in Iceland and it just stuck with me until I got home where I finished writing the rest of it really quickly. I wanted to write a different kind of love song. It was originally going to be the lead single and it was the first song we started working on – but when we got in the studio it just wasn’t clicking. We ended up finishing a few of the other ones and then re-visiting it and completely changing it a bunch of times until we settled on the final version.
I Am The Master Saboteur
I came to the realisation only recently that you are the only one that can control yourself – you are the only one that can change things; for better or for worse. You cannot control how what is going on around you but you can control how you react to different situations. I found that I was always sabotaging myself by either reacting poorly to things or not taking responsibility for things that I have to power to change.
This was a fun one in the studio – it’s pretty similar to the demo version so we just needed to polish it up a bit – once we found the drums for the end section it all kind of fell into place.