WPGM Commentary: Carmody Explores Family Ties On Her New Album ‘Imperfect Constellations’

Hi, my name’s Carmody, I wanted to share a little bit about my debut album Imperfect Constellations. The record is predominantly about family. The family we are born into, the family we create, and the lovers and people we meet who all interweave and mingle to shape who we are, and who we become.

It explores how we carry experiences from past generations that can dictate our present narrative and affect how we relate to the world. I was inspired by the concept of constellation therapy. I thought it was fascinating to put strangers in a room and ask one person to map out their relationships using people they had never met before, in the hope that they would be able to unravel something about their history.

During the 3 years of writing the record, my family constellation changed dramatically. I sadly lost my father in 2019 and three other relatives in the space of a year, this changed the direction of the album as I wanted to incorporate my grief into the record in some capacity.

I also remember reading about the constellation Orion when my dad was dying. They said that one of the brightest stars on Orion’s belt was fading and that its disappearance would alter the whole skyline and the way it looked.

I thought this related to dad, as when someone dies it changes the whole infrastructure within a family and you have to explore who you become without the constellation you created together. So I ended up adding more songs than I had originally intended for the record.

So the album is split into 4 different constellations, I started by releasing 3 songs about ‘memory’ as this is where I feel I am now in my life, then I released 3 songs about ‘grief’, and then, moving further into the circle towards the woman in the artwork, I put out 3 songs about ‘family’.

The last songs to come out with the album were about the universe and beginnings. Each song is represented by an individual symbol and I wanted to use one word for each title, as it felt more star-like that way. The idea is that all these songs and themes combine together to make a tapestry of constellations and themes that move in and out of each other.

I worked on the album with two amazing producer/songwriters Avi Barath and Calum Duncan predominantly. It was also wonderful to work with Tom Misch again on two of the tracks “Well” and “Morning”, and have some additional production from Conor Albert.

I also released a song called “Memory”, which was written with Alfa Mist years ago. Laura Misch had been telling me for a long time that I needed to put it out in the world, she added some sax, which really brought it to life and I finally got to release it on this record.

I also worked with an incredible producer/songwriter Patrick James Pearson, on the tracks “Strange” and “Replace”. We wrote “Replace” in a really interesting way, just gathering images on bits of paper that went along with the melody and then putting them together randomly, it was such a compelling way of writing and really emphasised the chaos that I wanted to bring out in the music.

The song “Mother” was one of the last to come out. After our recent heatwave it feels important to talk about this song now more than ever. I wrote it as an apology to mother earth. Although I know there are changes we can make as individuals, it is so disheartening to see larger corporations not taking climate change seriously. The planet has offered us so much, and I haven’t yet found a way to live that doesn’t negatively affect it.

The outro chorus is inspired by the lines of Bertolt Brecht, “In the dark times / Will there be singing? / There will be singing / Of the dark times“. Because despite all the sadness and apocalyptic feeling swimming around our atmosphere, there is still some hope and a lot of beauty left in the world and in humankind, we just need to act on it, I really hope we do.

Listen to my Imperfect Constellations album below and stream + download it everywhere else here.

Words by Carmody // Follow her on Twitter + Instagram

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