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Writing by Bel Kil

We’ve all been stood up or disappointed by a friend before, this was the essence of my new single Backup Plan, a pensive track that explores the emotions of being disappointed by a friend or loved one who repeatedly stands you up for better plans.

The song came about when I was walking home from the studio on a balmy Friday afternoon, excited to have a beer with a friend, only to receive a text saying he couldn’t make it. I thought, ‘bugger you,’ and before I knew it had sung most of Backup Plan into my voice memos by the time I got home.

I was a lot more focused on guitar and bass tones with this track than in the past. It was nice to take a step away from producing more electronic songs in Ableton and go back to how I used to write with a guitar before I knew how to produce.

I wanted to capture a slower, contemplative, dreamy and slightly psychedelic feel. I started with the guitar chords and built the production around there, using midi drums originally and my guitar as the bass. I added virtual strings, synths and layers of vocals. I played around with panning and effects. I worked backwards, producing the whole track in the box and then overdubbed my friends, Tristan Courtney on bass guitar and John Vassallo on drums, to achieve more of a ‘live feeling’.

In a way, the outro feels climactic and chaotic, but it’s intentionally ordered chaos, the way my head was feeling as I reasoned with myself and didn’t let the disappointment get me down. I wanted it to feel like a journey. The song starts out reflective, but by the time we reach the peak, there’s this epic hopefulness.

For me, I’m a bit more of an “in the moment” kind of person, especially as I have a habit of throwing myself full throttle into projects or things I’m excited or care about. I’m also not one for making plans in advance, I definitely take each day as it comes, which is great in some ways but in the case of Backup Plan, I had been working hard in the studio recording and mixing my EP, neglecting my social life and by the time the weekend came round I was exhausted and counting on that drink with a friend. It was just a little thing, but sometimes it’s the littlest things that count.

There are times I would have let it get me down, but I wasn’t going to this time. Singing the words to this song began as a light-hearted vent. By the second verse, I was drawing from different experiences of a letdown, reflecting on those moments and how we have the power to either feel down about it or turn it around.

We all have those friends who can feel a little flakey, but I think we also need to be giving and patient. A friend may be flakey. However, they’re also an incredible friend in other ways. I think it’s important to take these experiences with a grain of salt. Despite feeling like I was their backup plan at times, the friend who inspired this song is a great person and loyal when it really counts. They’re also a lot of fun and, in some ways, like a sibling to me.

I guess, like any relationship, talking is so important. We all have our flaws; I have plenty, and sometimes we just need that wake-up call or, in my case, writing a song about it to get it off my chest.

I think at the end of the day, we can only be in control of ourselves, and we can either get down about plans changing, or we can try and have a positive outlook on things. Communication is key, and there may be a really good reason a friend bailed, and if there isn’t (in your eyes), then you should definitely talk about it!

Bel Kil

Bel Kil is the solo project for Melbourne based artist Annabel Kilpatrick. Bel has navigated pivotal moments in her life, from changing her path as a visual artist and having to re-learn how to sing after a major bike accident. These experiences have shaped her into the multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer she is today. Bel. Her songs are incisive perceptions of life, love and dreams, laid bare on a backdrop of cinematic, rousing, spirited beats. Her laid-back vocals and sweeping, anthemic choruses are fused with catchy hooks and witty, reflective lyrics. Bel Kil strikes the balance between youthful nostalgia and hope for the future, making her forthcoming, debut ep ‘My Year’ the perfect soundtrack for summer.

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