IMPORTANT. You can play the Shapists tracks using the soundcloud players below, but the most up to date mixes of all the songs are on Bandcamp here.

I uploaded the tracks to soundcloud pretty much the day they were considered finished, but I carried on making changes to all the tracks sometimes years later and those are only on bandcamp as it's not possible to upload an edited track to soundcloud.

7th February 2024 I am selling my copies of the 7 inch vinyl "The warning" and "Dust index" on Ebay and Discogs

15th June 2015 "The warning" and "Dust index" 7 inch vinyl is available for purchase on Bandcamp.

12th June 2015 Jill is interviewed about the vinyl and The Shapists on Revenge of the 80s radio

6th June 2014 "Daddy I'll drown" is available for listen/purchase on Bandcamp here.

28th March 2014 "Trees and flowers" is available for listen/purchase on Bandcamp here.

3rd February 2014 "White horses" is available for listen/purchase on Bandcamp here.

13th December 2013 "Dust index" had its first worldwide airing on Revenge of the 80s radio

13th December 2013 "Dust index" is available for listen/purchase on Bandcamp here.

30th September 2013 The Shapists now have a facebook page.

The Shapists

28th September 2013 "The warning" had its first worldwide airing on Revenge of the 80s radio

31st August 2013 "The warning" is available for download on Bandcamp here.

2nd August 2013 "In my head" is available for download on Bandcamp here.

27th July 2013 "King of the world" had its first worldwide airing on Revenge of the 80s radio

19th July 2013 "King of the world" is available for download on Bandcamp here.

6th July 2013 "Change your mind" is available for download on Bandcamp here.

5th July 2013 "Change your mind" had its first worldwide airing on Revenge of the 80s radio

Jill is being interviewed on the show and talks about her artwork, The Shapists and other Strawberry switchblade related stuff too.

10th July 2013 I started building The Shapists website.


Around the year 2000 I recorded a girlfriend's basic song (guitar and voice) and made it into a complete song with drums, bass, synths etc.

I deliberately tried to make the song sound similar to Strawberry switchblade (One of my all time favourite bands).

On March 18th 2013 I started a musical collaboration with Jill Bryson from Strawberry switchblade, so you can imagine how amazed I was to be in that position.

Jill is currently in London and I am in Fife so we worked via the internet. Jill recorded her guitar, melodies and harmonies and her daughter Jessie's melodies and harmonies.

I then added my own guitar parts, drums, synths and harmonies. I was also involved in arranging the songs and making some changes to lyrics.

I've probably done what a producer, sound engineer, musician and arranger would do to eventually end up with complete songs.

Me and Jill used teamviewer online meeting software a lot to talk about and work on the songs including some recording sessions where I have been a virtual producer.

In a couple of the songs Jill is playing the very same melodica that was used in the excellent Strawberry switchblade song "Being cold" which was written by Jill.

Jill also plays her Guild guitar on some songs which was used on Strawberry switchblade's album and can be seen in a few of their videos and TV appearances.

Jill's daughter Jessie Frost (from her marriage to Frog from the band The farmers boys, another band I like a lot) is also singing and has a nice voice that's very similar to Jills.

This is Jessie's first experience with recording, I hope she continues to be interested in music as she comes from an exceptionally good musical pedigree.

The songs have lots of changes and they all keep building to the end.

"Dust index" and "Daddy I'll drown" were both originally written by Jill soon after leaving Strawberry switchblade in the mid 80s.

They were recorded onto a demo tape using a different producer/musician and had backing vocals/harmonies from Jill's friend Robin Brown.

So we've recorded our own new versions of those two songs.

"White horses" is our version of the UK theme song to the 1965 television show "White horses".

"Trees and flowers" is our version of Strawberry switchblade's first single which came out in the early 80s. The chords melody and lyrics were written by Jill about her agoraphobia.

It's one of my favourite songs of all time so I was a bit worried to say the least about working on a new version.

The original song was professionally produced at great expense so there's no way I could compete with that.

I aimed to end up with a different or alternative version of the song, and I changed the ending to repeat "I get so frightened" instead of the "Ba ba"s.

Each track was uploaded when it was first considered as finished, although I usually used Chris Cordani's upcoming show as a deadline to push me along. But even years later I might still make slight changes to a song mix every now and again.

In February 2016 I made the drums a bit louder in "Change your mind" and "Daddy I'll drown".

In March 2017 I also made the drums more prominent in "White horses" and added a xylophone at the start. I always upload the latest mix of each track on Bandcamp.

It's not as easy to upload a newer mix in soundcloud so you will be able to compare the mix between soundcloud and bandcamp.


I've never put so much work and effort into any other project than this. I spent up to around 3 and a half months, all day, 7 days a week on each track, developing it from just one acoustic guitar and vocal, into a full production.

I sometimes worked on up to four tracks at the same time so I would skip between working on certain parts of certain songs

If I wasn't working on a mix or recording parts I would be listening only to the latest track over and over, whether I was out walking, cycling or in my car.

I would go to sleep with that track playing in my mind and would sometimes wake up with an idea for a change or new part.

When first starting on a new track I would sometimes feel overwhelmed by how infinite the possibilities are.

There's so many options with different synth sounds, drum kits sounds, guitar effects etc., then there's limitless possibilities with what melodies or rhythms can be added. I wouldn't know where to start.

I would maybe record myself trying stuff out on a synth or guitar with the chorus on a loop, and I would either gradually develop a melody or solo, or I would listen later to what I had recorded and see what parts stood out.

I might spend 1 or 2 weeks on one part like the drums or a guitar solo and I would keep making changes until I felt like it didn't need any more changes.

But maybe weeks later I would notice a part that I thought was completely finished, still needed changed once lots of other instruments were added to the mix.

I would keep adding more and more sounds or harmonies etc. till the whole song felt complete. Then I would listen to the mix in extreme detail for any clicks or thumps that needed repaired.

If the slightest thing caught my attention I would fix it, so that might include adjusting a single note or drum hit by the tiniest amount in the mix.

Eventually I would listen to the mix from start to finish and would find nothing at all that needed changed, then I would know it was done.

Because I took so long on each track and worked on this for over 2 years, I might have bought a new instrument or upgraded my music software/hardware when I moved onto the next track. So it could be done in a completely different way.


Music that causes "Shivers up the spine" or "Goosebumps" is known as the holy grail of production/mixing. Nobody knows how to create it, there's no particular chord change or combination of sounds that can be used to guarantee shivers, it just happens.

Lots of my favourite songs are favourites because I get shivers when I listen to them. I don't get goosebumps, I get shivers up my spine and it can happen just once or it can keep repeating and getting more and more intense and can carry on for over a minute.

So I am very pleased that some of The Shapists songs give me shivers up my spine every time I listen to them.

Daddy I'll drown at 4:26 when the "Calling you" vocals come back in, Dust index at 3:30 when the drums come back in again, Trees and flowers after 4:00 when the "I get so frightened" ending starts, In my head after 4:00 when the double time "In my head" ending starts, and White horses at 4:41 when the violins come in during the fade out.

I don't know how much this is caused by the fact that I made up all of the melodies that the violins and other atmospheric synth parts are playing. I spent a lot of time making sure it was the best melody or notes I could come up with. I would try that melody out with lots of different sounds or instruments to get the best sound.

Just like sculping with clay, if I added a note or sound that I didn't like, it would be removed, ending up with only notes and sounds that I was happy with. So I don't know if it will be just me who gets shivers at those parts or if other people will be the same.

A lot of songs that give me shivers have violins or synth strings playing long notes and that was an important part that I added to a few of The Shapists songs, mostly in the song endings.

You can find out more on The Shapists website or facebook page.

The Shapists

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