GUM Offers A Track-By-Track Look Into 'Saturnia'

15 September 2023 | 1:50 pm | Jay Watson

The mastermind behind GUM, Jay Watson, has gone track-by-track behind the new release, 'Saturnia' on The Music.


GUM (Credit: Grant Spanier)

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1. Race To The Air  

Race To The Air is the most ambitious song I’ve made as GUM. I feel like it covers rock, electronica, soundtrack music, funk, choral music and hip-hop. It’s about feeling like the world is slipping away from you. 

2. Muscle Memory 

Muscle Memory started with the title; it’s something we say in music a lot, referring to the idea that once you put in the hard work learning something initially, it then comes to you automatically as muscle memory. I thought it was a cool phrase for a tough but electronic piece of music. My idea with this was Stevie Wonder meets Heavy Metal. It was also called Silver Surfer at one point. 

3. Argentina 

This song isn’t really about Argentina; I just want to say that I adore Argentina, and it’s one of my favourite places to go and play. It’s about letting ego take hold of you and not surrounding yourself with the right people. It’s more that I wanted to move to Argentina once and quickly decided it wouldn’t be very good for me and my ego. It features some great vocal parts from Harriette (Hatchie). 

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4. Would It Pain You To See? 

I wrote this in lockdown with my newborn son on my Wurli [Wurlitzer electric piano]. My songs are never really literal or with obvious meaning, but if I had to say what this one is about, it would be the conflict of apathy and caring a lot about something that’s inside all of us. It seems to be particularly confusing and crude in today’s day and age. I love the beautiful strings part and the playing by Jesse Kotansky

5. Fear Of Joy 

Fear Of Joy is probably my favourite song on the album; I worked on it for a while and then recorded it partly live at my friend Brod’s studio with James Ireland on piano. It reminds me and was inspired by one of my favourite records, Spirit Of Eden by Talk Talk.

6. Music Is Bigger Than Hair 

Music Is Bigger Than Hair is a funny title; I think it’s referring to me getting older and my hair thinning out and just being consumed by it and feeling like it’s affecting my music, as if it has anything to do with it. Musically, it’s one of my favourites because of Jesse Kotansky’s beautiful string arrangement. 

7. Real Life 

More great vocals from Hatchie. This song is in a weird time signature, but it came very naturally. I didn’t even realise it was 7/4 until later. I tried to make this song sound quite warm, natural and big, not too processed. 

8. Saturnism 

The ’title’ track of the record. This is about an obsession I had with lead paint, asbestos and invisible poisons that I thought were killing me and my family. Pure paranoia, and I feel like the sound of the song matches that. It’s supposed to sound like a lost alien cassette recording. 

9. In A Glasshouse (With No Light) 

I’ve had this song for years, as far back as the first record, the chorus anyway. I’m not really sure what this one is about. I often just let my subconscious write lyrics, and then I figure out later what it means. It’s inspired by Love’s Forever Changes album. 

10. It Lies A Lifetime  

This song is about the birth of my first kid and the avalanche of new emotions that come with that. I didn’t know whether to make it the opening song on the record or the last. Another favourite of mine. Probably the first time I’ve used shoegaze guitars on a GUM record.

GUM’s new album, Saturnia, is out now. You can listen to the release below.