People often get the impression I'm a recluse. I can see how it might look like that but it's far from the truth. My reclusiveness began at the age of 19 out of circumstance. Within months of starting my first job after leaving school I became ill with what was at first diagnosed a "mystery virus" by my doctor and then later put down as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. In truth, I don't think the doctors really had any idea what was wrong with me. Ten years after this when spirituality came into my life in a big way, it became clear to me it had been a spiritual thing all along and not a medical illness. Some sort of pre-cursor to the big awakening shift I went through in 2007. The best analogy I can think of is like the rumblings of an earthquake before the volcano erupts.

During that ten years between 1997 and 2007 I drifted into a kind of reclusiveness because my job history was pretty patchy and nobody could really understand what was happening to me, including myself. Everybody else of my generation was just getting started in society while I felt like I was being pushed out. I tried my best to fit in but it just wouldn't work for me. Since I didn't know what was wrong with me I couldn't explain properly to anybody what I was going through. I didn't have the vocabulary for it at that time. Anything I did say sounded vague, leaving me feeling like I was making excuses. People were always making digs at me, often hidden in humour, and I was just expected to take it. I couldn't come back with anything because, as I say, I didn't know myself what was happening. So it became easier to avoid certain social situations. I only really felt comfortable with people I knew well and those who had some sort of understanding of what I was about. Mostly I was judged and made out to feel I was lazy or a waster. So, in those years, that was how my reclusiveness began.

In the build-up to the SoulJahm period it felt like the beginning of a more outgoing phase and things started to go that way during the SoulJahm years. Well, Kate and I were going outwards but people were mostly running away from us! When that period ended, I found myself back in Edinburgh with literally nothing. The only possessions I had were what I could carry - an acoustic guitar, laptop and a case of clothes. Furthermore, I had no contacts in Edinburgh. I had lost contact with old Edinburgh friends years earlier, a natural progression of the different life paths we all started to go on. Going to continental Europe during the SoulJahm era was partly an attempt to try to find like-minded souls. So returning to Edinburgh felt like a backwards step but I went with it and tried to make the best of it.

I had a huge backlog of songs that we intended to work through, and we had lots of ideas for how we saw ourselves living, when we went to Budapest in 2014 as SoulJahm. I tried to carry this on after returning to Edinburgh with mixed results. I did encounter a few people who seemed to intuitively pick up what SoulJahm was about and who wanted to be part of it only for them to suddenly decide they didn't want it for whatever reasons. During those years I was socialising a little more but soon found that's all people wanted to do. They wanted my time and energy to chat, drink, eat, whatever but nobody wanted to help me with anything more meaningful, like making Music! At least not in a long-term sense. I'm all for socialising when it can be mixed and in balance with making Music but if its only that then I'm not up for it because I have this work to do and I know I must fulfil that. Work and leisure are almost the same thing for me anyway.

In more recent years, its gotten more acute because I've literally had to do everything single-handedly. That's all very well if that is what you set out to do. It's pretty normal now for indie musicians to be solitary but I always saw myself being part of a group set-up so everything I was doing was geared towards that reality. To suddenly be forced to make an adjustment to doing it all myself at this stage was quite a big task, especially with full-on Kundalini awakening symptoms an ongoing thing. I've realised if I don't do this nobody else cares. They don't want to or can't see the importance of it. That means lots of time working on songs and recordings and little time for anything else. To move into a new phase, I first have to clear the way and there is no shortcut. Playing live has come to a halt because of the limitations and restrictions in real life society and the unsatisfying experience of livestreaming. To make records is all that's left at the moment and that takes time.

As with buses... none show up and then they all turn up at once, I find that I can go for long periods where nobody contacts me or seems interested and then as soon as I get enthusiastic about something I want to do, suddenly people pop up and want to interact with me again. When I deny them, so I can get on with work, people often assume I am a recluse and want to live this way. No, it's just that this phase of trying to clear the backlog has dragged on for so many years I've forgotten what it feels like to be out and about and more social! I can't wait to complete this phase and move on, starting afresh, and its been a constant frustration to me that it's been such a slow process.

In parallel to my personal story, there is also the way the world has went. That is a big factor in my reclusiveness. It's generally not as much fun as it used to be hanging out with people when the opportunity does arise because people are often so extremely unbalanced these days. Very few people are chilled out and enjoyable company. I guess because I've been used to a more solitary existence for many years now my way of dealing with this is to remove myself from the madness and just do whatever brings joy, which inevitably involves Music, and hope some sanity returns to people soon.