When one reads the word “guts”, we think of human anatomy, or to simply out pour, such as when one “spills their guts” to share things about yourself, particularly the more intricate and buried parts of ourselves, in hopes that the person receiving this information will understand you and your life, a little better.
My name is Eleni Drake and I wrote this song “Guts” as a love letter if you will, for my partner at the time – in a way that was true to me. I didn’t want to take the route of saying “i love you“, “you’re everything to me“, but instead one that followed a more mindful path about how they made me feel in moments of vulnerability and expression, and how they held space for me in a way no one had done before.
They wanted to understand the way my mind worked, and why I am the way I am, what walks through life brought me to that point, and wanted to know the makeup within me that made me unique. I remember one specific night, when I was in a disarray of emotions, and they simply told me to put some warm clothes on and go for a walk in one of their favourite spots in London.
They knew I craved solitude and didn’t/don’t do particularly well in crowds of people as I get easily overwhelmed, and to my surprise they took me to a beautiful park in south London, where no one was around except your occasional dog walker, and a handful of people walking through the park path to cut through to the other side.
Silence – and a stunning view of the skyline of London. Of course it helped that it was close to midnight and most people were inside their homes at this point in the depths of winter. So, they sat me down on a park bench, and wanted to hear it all. And the rest is history.
They made me feel so understood, and valued, and dare I say, “not crazy” for feeling the things I did. It was an emotional night for many reasons, but a memory that I will hold with me. Though we are no longer together, they remain to be one of my closest friends, and I cannot express enough thanks and gratitude to them for giving me such love.
The song itself came together pretty quickly. I felt engulfed with beauty, stillness, and happiness. I was sitting at my studio desk strumming some chords on my guitar, and the melody came together pretty quickly in synchronicity.
The next thing I know, words are pouring out of my mouth, and within 10 minutes, the song was practically finished. I then continued to fine tune some lyrics, changing a couple of melodies here and there, and moving onto the next step – recording.
I started off with the main guitar, and added some midi drums for some understanding of where the song was moving. I played down some plucked guitars and slide guitars, then moved onto the bass, and then finally sang and recorded the main vocals.
As I had finished all of that, I added some backing harmonies that are threaded through out the song (and God damn it, I’m a sucker for a harmony, so I really don’t know when to stop), and then I left it, knowing I would return to it at some point.
Having taken a couple months off, I returned to it, and it was as if no time had passed. I was still excited about the song, and that’s a rarity for me! I started mixing all the takes, and producing all the parts, adding different effects and plugins on the guitars, and backing vocals, and making sure everything was placed where it needed to be without any instruments over shadowing others in the wrong way.
It was finally time to send the track to my drummer, where I had asked him to copy the pace of the beat that I had initially played with my midi drums, but to add his own flare to it, and a couple weeks later, I was there sitting, mixing drum stems and making sure once more everything was balanced. I gave the song its final master, and a few months later, it was released into the world.
If I was to play the first voice note recording of this idea, and the final product; they sound pretty identical minus the production behind it – which I think is pretty cool. The song is, as it was always meant to be. Steady, consistent and sure.
So I would like to say thank you to my ex partner for the inspiration behind it, thank you to my drummer for breathing new life to it, thank you to my distributor who thought it deserved enough recognition to be a single on the album, and thank you most importantly to the people who listen to my music, find solace in it, and help my continue to do the thing that I love.
I hope everyone who has listened to it, or is reading this, resonates with the song in some way, and that they find a friend, family member, or lover to share it with.
Listen to “Guts” below and stream it everywhere else here.