Welcome To The Neighbourhood – Greg U Interview

Greg Ullyart, usually of brilliant indie-pop band Night Flowers, set about making a song a day during quarantine which eventually morphed into the album ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’. I had a quick chat to him about it; have a listen to the album while you have a read!

What inspired you to record this album in the short timeframe you did?

“Hey, thanks for having me! Well, like many of us I suddenly found myself with a bit of extra time on my hands. I thought writing, recording and releasing a song a day would get my arse into gear, teach me some new tricks and also inspire something spontaneous.”

“I wasn’t exactly planning an album – I wasn’t exactly planning anything – but after 15 days it felt like I had a nice collection so I put it all together and then took a break, which is still continuing because the weather has been so nice. I have been steadily writing and recording bits since but I thought I’d let these songs have their little moment.”

What’s the inspo behind the title?

“It’s a line in a song of the same name. The line is spoken by a character in the song and it’s a kind of sarcastic, slightly droll statement but it’s empathetic too. It’s like someone hugging you and saying, ‘Oh, you’re having a bad time? Welcome to my world, buddy!’ You’re down but you got an ally.”

“On a more basic level it also simply relates to the fact we were stuck inside and all our immediate neighbourhoods got a lot smaller. So the only people I was seeing in reality were my housemates, my neighbours and the characters who passed by my window, some of whom made it on the album.”

“On an even more basic level still, it works neatly as an introductory title for a debut solo record so I went with it.”

What other things have you been listening to that might have fed into the album?

“Well, for the most part i was just trying to cast a line out and seeing what came back and a lot of what came back was inspired by a my good old favourites.”

“So I went with it, embraced my love of britpop, indie rock, folk, punk and hardcore and just ran with whatever seed of a song I had that particular day. So I had a Blur influenced tune next to a Bad Brains influenced tune next to a sonic attempt to resurrect old Weezer from the dead.”

“From that point of view I’d say that Graham Coxon’s recent soundtrack work for ‘The End of the Fucking World’ was probably a minor inspiration. Listening to it recently had me thinking about how it’s fine not to be beholden to one sound even within the context of an album, and that songs didn’t even need to be ‘songs’, as I’d ordinarily perceive them, for them to have a worth.”

“So thinking like that was quite freeing and helped me not overthink things like I usually do and just crack on.”

I really like the richard thompson cover, what made you choose ‘Beeswing’?

“Thank you! Well it’s just a beautiful, timeless song isn’t it? Even though it tells a specific story and is set in an actual time haha”

“I first heard The Futureheads’ cover of it on their brilliant accapella album ‘Rant’ at some ungodly hour in the morning at the end of a party. I think I’d just come out of a break up and was having a lovely time on some drugs and in that moment it really resonated.”

“I tracked down the original soon after and it became one of my favourite ever songs, so I thought I’d give it a go. My finger picking skills aren’t so hot so it seemed like a decent challenge in the spirit of learning new skills. Richard Thompson’s guitar playing, as my friend Chris put it, is no joke, but I had fun arranging something I could just about pull off. “

You can buy and stream ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ here.

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