SIT DOWN – And Enjoy The Painkillers
THE PAINKILLERS is the solo project of Welsh singer songwriter Jason Hughes — the former guitarist and co-songwriter of The Holy Coves.
Despite living with a degenerative back issue which has left him unable to perform live, he has somehow managed to write, record, produce and release, ‘Sit Down,’ an album full of grand, distant echoes of many of the greatest North West bands from the late ’70s onwards.
A remarkably frank album, both moving and inspiring, with production values of the highest order, and somewhat difficult to believe this is a first attempt at writing and producing a record entirely on his own.
“I’ve had a right shitty couple of years from a personal perspective,” he told me. “I’ve had to deal with coming to terms with being disabled due to some surgery that didn’t really go well for a degenerative condition I have with my spine. It was like a 20% failure rate, and I was unlucky to fall into that statistic. On top of all that I’ve gone through a divorce and being left with four kids to bring up and provide for, so I haven’t really had the opportunity to wallow in self-pity and let it all get on top of me.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to write and produce music properly on my own, so I’ve kind of used the drive to learn about how to do it as a way not to get to not get bogged down in all the crap going on. So yeah, I’ve ended up with this album as a result. I feel it’s kind of helped me stay positive and the feedback I’ve had has been amazing, it’s definitely helped me from a mental health perspective to stay positive and realise that I’m not as useless as I feel I am sometimes.”
Jason spent the past few years learning how to record and produce music at home and his debut solo album has quite rightly been rewarded with any number of positive reviews — particularly the albums standout track, ‘Night and Day.’
“I was just thinking about all the things I miss about my partner when we aren’t together. She’s been so amazing supporting me this year, so I wanted to write something to show her that she’s on my mind all the time.”
Having built himself a home studio, Hughes now believes his production skills are at a level where he is confident enough to fulfil a lifelong ambition and release music to a wider audience.
“The production has been a lot of trial and error on how to mix and record live instruments in my living room! My eldest daughter is studying sound engineering in Uni, so she’s been great in showing me how to do things in Logic on my Mac and I’ve got a few books that I’ve read on recording and best practices.
“I’ve found it really cool to be able to put it all to use and end up with a really good sound. I like to think I’ve made this production hard to tell that I’ve done this at home from my sofa. I’m super proud of how great the feedback on the production side of things has been.
“But I’d have to say the drums are probably what I’m most proud of! I’m no drummer and spent hours on programming the drums in logic on my Mac I think the intricate fills and cymbal work sounds great. Overall, the mixing was another area that I worked really hard on, I’ve been studying how to mix and master properly, and I think all of this has really taken my home studio work to another level.”
A fan of Joy Division, The Doors, David Bowie and The Brian Jonestown Massacre among others, it is perhaps no surprise Hughes and ‘Sit Down’ extends more than a casual nod towards The Psychedelic Furs and Manchester’s seminal, Magazine.
“I think from a nostalgic sound side that’s just the music I enjoy and want to listen to, so I’ve gone out of my way here to just make a record I would listen to myself and one I can say to my partner “I’ve written some songs about us,” and not be embarrassed about it.
“I still find it hard to take on board all the amazing feedback I’ve had, it’s crazy, and to be compared to some of my favourite artists and bands is just awesome, I can’t get over it. I’ve always struggled with confidently saying to people I write music and my own songs, but I feel with this record I can finally do that and not feel daft about it.”
Discover more about THE PAINKILLERS here: The Painkillers | Linktree