When the pandemic hit the UK in January 2020, DD Allen’s world started to unravel. An immune response condition led to a long time in isolation. Headline shows got cancelled. The funding fell through to record the debut EP. He became ill and depressed and started drinking too much.
Desperate to find a way through, Allen spent several months in deep introspection, analysing his mental and emotional processes, trying to make sense of the turmoil.
What emerged is a visceral body of work that reflects the most vital stages in the songwriter's life. It's how Allen sees the world and why everything we experience in it matters.
Each song represents a theme DD Allen believes "grounds us, binds and helps us feel connected": Freedom, Love, Camaraderie, Hope and Nostalgia.
“Rebel Hero was the catalyst for the whole EP. During the darkest times, I experienced in the early lockdown months, I got back into a book by Huey Morgan called Rebel Heroes. The heroes are the renegade artists of yesteryear, and Huey gives his personal insight into why we still need them. The stories about Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Prince, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and others cut to the core. These amazing people endured incredible battles, and their lives were cut cruelly short in most cases. A wild free-spirit thing was happening, and everybody was in it for the music. Rereading the book put my problems into perspective. I started thinking less about what I didn’t have and more about what I could achieve. I realised that life is all about perceptions — how we interpret and personalise the things that matter. That’s when I started thinking about the new EP as a storybook centred on individual themes. And I wrote this song for Janis — the epitome of freedom.
Born To Love You
"Love is the most intense emotion. It’s not something you can simply turn on and off. Lockdown and living with social distancing led to people all over the world becoming separated from loved ones. Some experienced loss. For me, the separation led to drinking. I think the sense of helplessness makes separation such a relentless experience. I mean, what can you do? Except live in the hope that it won’t last forever. Born To Love You is a personal snapshot in time. But it’s something I’ve experienced more than once. I guess everybody does."
Sunday“The sense of camaraderie you experience as a musician is extraordinary. You create unforgettable memories when you experience the highs and lows together as bandmates. It’s the same with music producers. Most fans aren’t aware that a producer often turns a song’s bare bones into magic. I started working with Mark Tucker shortly after putting a band together. We were introduced by Vaughn Pearce, who was managing Show of Hands then. Mark heard what I played solo and was keen to make a couple of demos with the new band. We were totally unprepared, but that first band session at Mark’s Green Room Studio was inspired. We cut two demos over a long weekend, Show Me a Little Mercy and Holborn Avenue. We were so excited we refused to leave on Sunday until we’d got a CD bounce to play in the car on the way home. These kind of memories stay with you forever. Green Room started as a personal message of thanks to Mark. It was just a raw acoustic home recording, with lyrics that captured what it's like to experience a mystical place where the magic happens. Daniel Lanois, another great producer I admire, calls musicians “soldiers of the road”, and I always wanted to weave that line into a song. One week later, Mark sent this complete midi recording back with drums, bass, keys, and a message that said, “This song’s fucking amazing. We need to record it properly”. That moment lifted my spirits. It reminded me why I started this journey in music.”
“Bob Dylan said, “Take care of all your memories, for you cannot relive them.” People say you should keep pushing forward in life and never look back. But nostalgia can be a powerful thing. Nostalgia gives you that sense the good times can come again. Holborn Avenue is a tale of first true love. In my early twenties, I’d been in a relationship for a couple of years when we both decided to move to Woking. My girlfriend worked for an airline, and I took up a job at McLaren's production line. The flat overlooked the train station, just around the corner from Paul Weller’s Stanley Road. My girlfriend moved on to the long-haul flights, and we started seeing less and less of each other. I became homesick, and this was the period when I began writing. Within a few months, we’d gone our separate ways, and I’d returned to Bournemouth. I wanted to capture the experience of those early years in a song. Maybe I just wanted something to hold onto. I never released Holborn Avenue. But in lockdown, I found myself thinking back and finding comfort in the sentimentality. It’s a beautiful song. The new version has some re-recorded parts. But we kept the original guitar and drums as these were part of the magic in that early Green Room session.
I See You In The Dark (Revisited)
“The sense of camaraderie you experience as a musician is very special. When you experience the highs and lows together as bandmates you create unforgettable memories. It’s the same with music producers. Most fans arnen’t aware that it’s often a producer that turns the bare bones of a song into magic. I started working with Mark Tucker shortly after putting a band together. We got introduced by Vaughn Pearce who was managing Show of Hands at the time. Mark heard what I played solo and was keen to make a couple of demos. We were totally unprepared as a band but that first session at Mark’s Green Room Studio was inspired. We cut two demos over a long weekend, Show Me a Little Mercy and Holborn Avenue. And we refused to leave on the Sunday until we’d got a bounce on a CD to play in the car on the way home. These kind of memories stay with you forever. Green Room started as a personal message of thanks to Mark. Just a raw acoustic home recording, with lyrics that captured what its like to be a musician and record music. Daniel Lanois, another great producer who I admire calls musicians “soldiers of the road” and I always wanted to weave that line into a song. One week later, Mark sends this complete midi recording back with drums, bass, keys, and a message that said “this song’s fucking amazing, we need to record it properly”.That moment lifted my spirits. It reminded me of why I started this journey in music and why I should stick with it.”