I thought I would write a little blog about The Sore Feet Song (a song from my first album that was subsequently used as the opening theme tune to Japanese animation Mushishi) as I’ve been asked occasional questions about it over the last few years however this recent series of questions I’ve received via Youtube is a little more involved and got me thinking that I’d like to explain more about the song, how it came about and so on just in case anyone is interested. So, here we go. This was posted as a comment by Youtube user tsbskier:
Hi Ally! Found this song through Mushishi and now I have some questions out of pure curiosity.
1. It seems unusual that an anime would use non-Japanese music, how did your song get chosen for Mushishi?
I was told by someone involved with the animation in Japan (I can’t remember who) that either the producer or the director (or some creative decision maker) of Mushishi had my album (Calling Out To You), liked it and this song fitted what was being sought at the time. So, timing is everything and I’m very lucky in this instance. Oh and another Scottish band called The Delgados had one of their songs used previously in a Japanese animation so it does seem to happen.
2. Does it bother you at all that this has become commonly known as the “mushishi song” rather than by its original title? Do you think the communicated message in this song changed by being associated with the anime?
It doesn’t bother me at all. I love writing music and I want people to hear my songs and using the song in this way allowed people to discover my music. Anyone that likes the song can quickly and easily find out who wrote it and what its original title is. My hope is that they enjoy the song and then go and check out any of the other 34 or so songs that I’ve released. The song was cut for the opening credits of Mushishi and lyrically this new edit fits and so it works within this new context. After this first half of the song though of course it all gets a little strange… :P
3. What is the inspiration for this song? While watching the anime I thought it was in the spirit of I’m Gonna Be 500 miles, where the guy’s walking “just to be the man… to fall down at your door.” But after hearing the full song, it seems a lot more desperate… I mean he’s running around stealing money, eating rats, and killing bears. Anyways, thanks for this song! I’ll go check out your other work.
This is where it gets weird:) I wrote this song one Saturday lunchtime on acoustic guitar and the music and the sentiment came together, immediately, out of nowhere. In fact, I remember that musically the song was written very quickly. Almost at once, as many of the music of my songs are. So the song took a few minutes to write, just singing over this music that I was plucking out the guitar. I think the lyrics arrived quickly too, certainly the theme or feeling of the song came to me at the same time as the music. The imagery is fantasy of course; it’s pretty absurd, dark, silly, funny, sad, surreal, crazy, heartfelt, irrational and more desperate and emotional as the song progresses. Much like long distance love can be and can make you feel.
At the time that I wrote it I had no record label and no audience, but I wrote it and kept it as it was written. For some reason I had a habit of rarely changing lyrics from the first thought, from the first time it came out my mouth then was written on paper and engrained in my head and I’d sing it over and over then that was it, the lyrics stuck. Since then I’ve taken a stricter editing approach to lyric writing with the last album Viva Melodia, though I often find it hard to move from the original lyric or thought sometimes. Anyway, I digress. When I went into the studio I think I recorded it almost completely unchanged. I honestly had absolutely no expectations or any idea that people would hear it.
I hope this little blog explains a little to anyone interested. Of course I want those who like this one to check out others of mine, and I honestly and sincerely think that if you like this one song there’s many others I’ve written that you’d enjoy equally or more. I’m always pleased when folk tell me they’ll check out my other songs after discovering this one, so thanks Youtube user tsbskier, whoever and wherever you are.
Thanks also for asking the question and getting me thinking about the past for a little while and how it’s affected the future. It’s something I don’t do often enough as this song I wrote for my last album is testimony to.