As I walked into the Mirth, Marvel and Maud cinema in Walthamstow for my final performance of Pastoral, I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure change. My anxiety and strange feelings intensified as the staff member set up for the show. I couldn’t shake off this feeling of unease, even as I tried to focus on the performance ahead.
It was during a conversation with a friend, Alexander Tucker, that I realized the source of my anxiety and fears – ghosts. The feeling had been building up for years, ever since the birth of my first child in 2016 and the recurring dreams about a possessed ghost that would levitate my body violently. This experience was not unfamiliar to me, but it was only after this performance that I realized that my next album would be about ghosts.
I began researching ghost-hunting technology and discovered many connections between audio technology development and spiritualism. From there, I traced a genetic pathway of music through people like Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, and the Radiophonic Workshop – sounds and machines with a supernatural heritage. My search also led me to the women’s rights movement which was heavily influenced by early spiritualism because of women’s role in it. Women were given a platform and power through spiritualism that they couldn’t find anywhere else at that time – the power to transform themselves into another world or recessive place where they could scream and be crazy without fear or shame.
The result was Black Dog’s album which was an emotional response to my own fears and lifelong psychological state. However, making that initial connection between technology, women’s rights, and ghosts blew my mind! It was fascinating how these seemingly unrelated concepts intersected in such profound ways.