“Will My Son Go To Mars?”: Liminal Drifter on the making of his fourth album, ‘Connected’

Words by Liminal Drifter.

Will my son go to Mars? What a mad question. Maybe it is, but this was one of the thoughts that were going through my head when my son entered the world. Poor lad, if he ever reads this when he is older, he will think his father is barking. “Why wasn’t he thinking about feeding me or what cool threads to buy me or get me a decent baby haircut?” No, I was thinking about what became the single, Choir on Mars, off the new album Connected. I’m a sci-fi nerd and I was having vicarious future visions of my son building civilization on another planet. What would it look like? For some reason, I could see a church because; some reference to a higher authority, and enclosed mono-rail trains connecting all the oxygen-sealed settlements on Mars. And then I heard the Choir singing… Choir on Mars. The trains ended up in the video.

“The tunes are about the emotional journey of my family”: Liminal Drifter walks us through the impact of fatherhood on his new album, Connected.

When was all this vision-questing happening? Once Charlie, my son, was born, I was doing a lot of feeding, nursing etc. and he would often fall asleep in my arms. It was in those quiet moments when I would stick my headphones on and work on sketching very quick and dirty song ideas. I would often only get 20-30 minutes at a time and then it would be time for Charlie’s bath, bottle, sleep, poo and repeat… and then I might get another 30 minutes the next day… and so on.

It was a very unconnected way of writing because, usually, I had forgotten what I was doing by the next day through lack of sleep or projectile vomit cleaning duties. I had to embrace a new writing norm, being very connected to my son, but not necessarily my song continuity. I had to actively embrace the happy sonic accidents that naturally occurred through a very disjointed writing process. You really must let go of any quality artist writing time when your baby is screaming for food or needs a poo.

I can’t really articulate the feelings that early fatherhood brought into my life, maybe and mostly, sheer panic at the responsibility of it all. By way of distraction and sheer-bloody-mindedness, I thought all this rollercoastering emotion would be a great writing tool. I wanted the album to be an emotional imprint of my journey during early fatherhood. It was all about those entirely new feelings of being “Connected” to a new little person.

There are no pink and fluffy images of parenthood on this album or Wiggles tributes as some have opined but the raw, daily ups and downs of early parenthood. The tunes are about the emotional journey of my family. Each track has a cue from a specific moment or emotion and those moments were unconsciously documented as I was sketching song ideas.

Choir on Mars is about wondering whether my son will ever get to go to Mars and what he will find there. This Is From Earth, the wonderment at the process of human birth from an alien perspective. Braxton is obvious, written while my partner was having those very experiences. We Funky, the diversity of humanity, the untainted funkiness of childhood. Happy Garden of Life is a happy-to-be-sad ironic reflection of what might await my son when he grows up. Sheep Radio, he was loving cheesy commercial radio music, particularly Smooth FM and sometimes it was the only way to stop him crying when he really young and teething. I’ve been a long-time advocate and researcher for community radio in Australia so this was difficult to take… in the funniest way.

Connected is available now. Listen above.