The idea came organically going back and forth with major contributor Joe James – initially, the plan was to release West Ham as a single. But, I felt as it would be my first release on Spotify, Apple Music and other digital streaming platforms in a while, I should make it a two-track single. The beauty of Joe and I’s relationship is he’s Essex born, but grew up in London. Whilst I’ve been in-between both most of my life.
So, the moment I told him we needed to make a track called Basildon, he understood what that meant. SSS, (Shoeburyness/Southend-on-Sea) came at the same time as Basildon – I sent him two instrumental options and Joe’s workmate meant two tracks in one. Understanding we essentially had three stops on the c2c now, the concept loosely had already presented itself. So ultimately, we just needed to work on more stops, I had to figure who else to feature on the project and how their inclusions made sense for the journey.
Going song by song, SSS embodies the seaside trips in the morning/afternoon contrasted by seeing the Southend FC fans at the end of the night. Basildon reflects puppy love, basically an Essex teen love story. Barking/Dagenham is more country to concrete – growing up, drifting further away from Essex to London to make money and date London girls.
West Ham, one of two Newham stops on the project, I wanted to sound as cinematic as being in Newham at night actually feels. But it needed the contrast caused by the distraction of a pretty girl on the train ride.
Stratford Interlude with The Rayf feature was another proponent of the mellow grime sound with the sentence “Got one life and living it ain’t easy”, yet things only seem to get harder the further down the line you get. Woolwich Arsenal is a necessary literal diversion on the project, the train metaphor wouldn’t have been complete without one.
Fenchurch St. is the last stop on the C2C line and the outro on the project. The song is literally the whole project condensed into one. Meeting a girl on the train in Essex & trying to move to her the whole journey.