Henry Bateman | Breathing Underwater (new single)
Leading up to the release of his forthcoming fifth studio album, Leeds-based singer/songwriter Henry Bateman releases his new single, "Breathing Underwater," a beautifully cinematic and textured musical reflection about living during the UK lockdown periods of 2020.
"I think we all had that day - the first day where all of our plans had been scuppered, and we just had this potentially endless empty diary stretching out before us, somewhere around the end of March 2020. Well 'Breathing Underwater' was that day for me," muses 25 year-old singer/songwriter Henry Bateman.
"I'd been busy for ages - I had loads of song ideas kicking around that I hadn't had time to explore. The chorus of 'Breathing Underwater' had been cropping up in different ideas for a year or so, so I decided to sit down and use that chorus as a starting point and build something up," Henry comments. "The song literally fell out of me, words and all. There's something mysterious about it to me - the song completely sums up my life at that point, and completely sums up how I felt about being in lockdown. But I only realised that much later." Henry continues, "I think it was a song that I had to write - a really pure sort of expression. I demoed it and, to be honest, apart from having one of the best rhythm sections on the planet track on it for me, the arrangement changed very little from that point."
"Breathing Underwater" features reverbed guitars and crashing drums that beautifully juxtapose with ambient soundscapes, delicate acoustic guitars and layered background vocals, creating an anthemic, hopeful and mysterious-feeling musical journey. Think Radiohead and Doves meet "Nights in White Satin"-era The Moody Blues. This is absolutely one of Henry's most impressive single releases to date. Even Henry himself comments on social media, "Dare I say it, this is my favourite song I've ever produced."
Produced by Henry and Jacob Clarke and mixed by Patrik Phillips, of Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, "Breathing Underwater" features Greg Burns (drums), Frazer Kerslake (bass), and Hannah Lamb (vocals), and was mastered by Tayor Deupree.
Reflecting on his creative environment at the time "Breathing Underwater" began to take shape, Henry reveals, "In lockdown I was in this little house in the middle of nowhere completely on my own. It was weird. I had a great time, I just made music. I just wrote and wrote and wrote. And read a lot, and maybe drank a bit too much as well. I had the chance to really immerse myself creatively, to delve into lots of things I wouldn’t otherwise have had time to explore."
As many creative and introverted types can relate to, Henry comments, "I'm naturally quite a solitary person. In many ways, life is easier for me when I'm in a room on my own with a bunch of different instruments and a way to record stuff. I'm fine like that. As soon I step outside of that, life becomes a more anxious thing. But at least you feel stuff, you know? You have to step outside of that to feel anything. You've got to step out of it."
Thinking back to the lockdown-instigated underwater existence of the initial UK lockdown in March 2020, Henry remarks, "Lockdown kind of gave me an exaggeration of my life, and I realised it was a life I didn't want. That's what 'Breathing Underwater' is about for me - living a life that you really shouldn't be able to, having a sort of false existence. It shouldn't have been ok for me to spend three months on my own. I should have suffered a bit, but I didn't. So 'Breathing Underwater' is about that, realising I need to change something about myself to have a more fulfilling existence - which I can safely say I have now."
Splendid Isolation is the working title of Henry's new album, which will contain a total of six new tracks - narrowed down from what was originally about fifty! If "Breathing Underwater" is any indication of what the remainder of the album will sound like, then "splendid" is definitely an appropriate adjective to describe this forthcoming album.
For more information about Henry Bateman, visit his official website, follow on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) and find Henry's music on SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music.