“If You’ve Been There” EP back on Spotify and other platforms

Hi. So I was hoping to post this on Monday but the distributor wasn’t having the artwork! “Too low-res!” they proclaimed, no matter me protesting that I have no issue with that myself, in fact I prefer it because the pic is so pixelated, after all it was a screen shot of a video I shot on a typical Sunday in Yoyogi Park on a Kodak Z740 in 2008!

Anyway, after about a month they have seemingly backed down, and so here it is, where it all started, “If You’ve Been There” EP on all your favourite new fangled 20s interweb platforms, including Spotify!

Released originally on 21st September 2009, this is a very special EP to me. All songs were written as a wide eyed 23-24 year old wandering around mostly without much plan in Japan during the best part of a year over there. The title track, “If You’ve Been There” is the first ever Glass Ankle song, written on the roof of Khaosan Annex Hostel in Asakusa, Tokyo (RIP) whilst waiting for my washing to finish. It captured how I was feeling on my own at that time, it’s still my favourite song out of all the songs I’ve written.

Second, “Rules” is a playful comment on the different cultural rules over there when it comes to politeness and how it was easy for me as an ignorant gaikokujin to break them, particularly after eating a bowl of ramen comparable in spiciness to a Vindaloo!

Still the ‘rockiest’ Glass Ankle song, track 3, “The Gokiburi (cockroach) Song” allowed me to channel some frustration about the state of some of the ‘affordable’ accomodation aimed at foreigners I endured while trying to gain a foothold in Tokyo, searching for teaching jobs. Still, it was all good fun really, and all part of the journey 🙂.

I wrote all 3 songs, like so many, on my beloved Breedlove Passport C25t travel guitar. Recorded mostly during a bitterly cold winter in the flat I eventually got once securing a job in Matsumoto (felt the cold full on because all I had was an electric heater, and was advised my parents to avoid the paraffin heater based solely on what they were like back in the 60/70s 😂) using a tiny Boss microBR 4track. Overdubbed bass, harmonica, shaker, some extra acoustic guitar and bvs in Cubase SL3 when I got back to Macclesfield. True lo-fi bedroom vibes!

And so on to the other people that feature on the EP! Firstly, there was Miyuki Tani: drummer extraordinaire, I’ve never seen someone hit a cajon so hard, and with so much conviction and feel: you were ‘baka’ in the best possible way. We lost touch a long long time ago, but I hope wherever you are you are happy and still drumming, you were too good to not have kept going! Also props to my old ETC colleague and good friend Mami who I was able to catch up with for the first time in nearly 10 years last year! I know you were a little reluctant to record at first, but your vocals on the end of ‘Rules’ really elevate it to something more special. And then there was Hiroki Sonehara who jammed on the songs on bass with me. Shout out to Jonathan too for being like a big brother out there to me, itsumo arigatou-ne x

I remember playing these songs at various open mics in Manchester when I got back… think the bits of Japanese bits confused quite a few, probs came across a bit pretentious 😬😂. Then Chika came along and made them sound ace.

Anyway, enough babble, to anyone who hasn’t heard it before, I really hope you like, some Sunday listening for you! If you’ve already heard it I’d love to hear what you think / remember. Does anyone still have an original CD-R copy knocking about? All my best,Greg.

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