With the flowing interconnected tracks of Outer Monologues, Podge Lane draws us into the story of a lonely southern city night. Told from the point of view of the narrator, he moves through anxiety, tension and vulnerability. Set to swells of alt-country and folk instrumentation, the album is as much a journey, as it is a listening experience. A completely DIY record, the album highlights Lane’s storytelling ability and musicality. We had the opportunity to talk to Podge Lane about the album, his creative process, influences, back catalogue and more.
OSR: Was there a moment or experience that left you feeling that you wanted to make music in the future?
Lane: I was a sporty kid, and I was also terrible at sports (so that was interesting). When I was 17, I was made to sing in a class and after the song a couple of people came up to tell me “Oh you’re a really good singer”, and I thought “oh cool, people think I’m good at this. I want to keep going with it”. Once I started playing guitar, and actually writing songs, I had this feeling of “Oh no, this is all I ever want to do”. So, from there I immediately knew I just wanted to be a songwriter and performer.
OSR: In November 2021, you released your debut album Outer Monologues. What made you feel this was the right time to do so?
Lane: I’ve always had a fascination and love for albums, especially during winter. I’d go for these long walks, either early in the morning, or late at night when it was dark out, and I would listen to a full album. I remember there was a day when Mick Flannery, Conor Oberst and Kings of Leon all released albums on the same day. I walked for about four hours and listened to all those albums back-to-back. It’s one of my fondest memories, listening to music on a walk during winter. I wanted to do that for people. I wanted to be someone’s music for their late winter walks. That’s why once I finished the album, I wanted to release it in late November.
OSR: The tracks on the album are all interconnected and follow a story told by the narrator, how easy did you find it to create such a connected album?
Lane: It really came by accident. Originally, I had an entirely different concept for a flowing album, that was based on more broader scenes. I tried to connect all these scenes together and while I was writing this piece, I sat down one day and just wrote the song ‘Survive’ in one go. Once I had written that song, a couple of the other fragments for the album started making sense, but as a completely different story. It came as an accident that the story was so insular and based on this one-person narrative.
OSR: As the tracks are interconnected, what was your creative process for creating the album?
Lane: I tried to stray from my normal habits, which would be writing a song on acoustic guitar and then expanding it and fleshing out the song. Instead, with this album, all the songs started with a drum track. Then I built bass and guitar lines around the drums. I felt the songs showed up, rather than me trying to look for them. One of the best examples of that happening is when I was writing the chorus for ‘The Party’. It was completely different, a kind of stomping Killers-esque rock song. Then, when I was looking through my drum samples, I found I had this crazy, shaky drum that I put down and immediately ‘The Party’ took shape as a new song. That happened a lot throughout the album. I would have these samples, take fragments, and try to piece it together, like a puzzle.
OSR: Was there something that prompted the story woven into the album?
Lane: I have always found it interesting that on a night out people can act so differently on the outside as to how they are feeling on the inside. We can all have these thoughts of “oh I hate it here”, “why is that person looking at me”, “am I doing something wrong”. I wanted to voice all those thoughts in one story, hence the name Outer Monologues. I’m literally taking my inner monologues in these awkward situations and voicing them for everyone to hear. So yeah… I don’t see myself getting any invites to parties anymore.
OSR: Your sound draws on folk, country, pop and Americana tones. Is this the sound you knew the album would have or did it evolve through the creation process?
Lane: Not at all. I had no idea what I was making when I started. I can have certain ideas, but I’d let the songs kind of show me where they’re going. I did have the idea of putting certain restraints on myself, because I listen to so much music all the time, I wanted to avoid having too broad of a canvas. That’s why I decided that for this album I would ban the use of electric guitars (on the same week that I got a new electric guitar, which was great foresight from me). I felt that helped with the process. I was also at home during the start of the pandemic and was listening to all my old country records and felt “Oh yeah these are awesome”. Being around my old CD’s and magazines helped with the style, but again, no idea where I’m going when I start.
OSR: Each track on the album is emotive in its storytelling, but which would you recommend to someone who can only listen to one song off the album?
Lane: That is a very tough one, but off the top of my head I’m going to say, ‘The Party’. For me, it was the centrepiece of the album. It’s a song explaining, “hey I’m gonna make jokes about myself because, no, not everything is as serious as it seems”. For some people ‘The Party’ might seem that I’m trying to say, “all parties suck”, in that old cliche way, but I’m calling myself out. I’m trying to show how that mindset of the party being awkward could be explained as “hey, the party didn’t suck; you were there for the wrong reasons.” The whole album is really me pointing out the humour, and the sadness, in yourself.
OSR: How do you feel this album as a whole compares to your back catalogue of EPs?
Lane: I’ve always loved when artists keep their back catalogue online, even when they’re not happy with the quality of the recordings. I look back at some of my songs and I feel they could have been recorded better, or have a different quality, but I love the fact that you can clearly see me evolving as a songwriter. There are instances of Outer Monologues throughout all my early EPs, and even the live album with some of the jokes I made. I feel Outer Monologues is the most succinct I’ve ever gotten my style to as an artist and my honesty towards myself in any record.
OSR: What is the one thing you would like people to feel as they listen to the album?
Lane: That, no, you’re not the only one thinking stupid thoughts when you’re walking around, or when you’re alone. And yes, everyone is an idiot, but you are also an idiot.
OSR: What do you feel is the biggest influence on your music?
Lane: Oh, that’s a difficult one. I’ve always been very proud of the fact that I will listen to any music I come across. I honestly cannot pinpoint one specific artist or style. Something that I always find influences my music is listening to someone speaking honestly and truthfully about themselves, no matter the genre. If I know that the person is being honest, even if it’s not about them, that is the most important and influential thing to me. Johnny Cash didn’t write ‘A Boy Named Sue’, but when you listen to it you really believe that that’s him. For example, on Outer Monologues, I was really inspired by Buffy Sainte Marie’s Power in The Blood, John Prine’s The Tree of Forgiveness, Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run and CLPPNG by clipping. Again, they’re all some pretty honest-speaking artists. But if we were to name all the albums that influenced my music in the last year alone, this segment might become a 17-part series directed by Peter Jackson.
OSR: What else can we expect from you in the coming year?
Lane: I have my album launch show coming up in Winthrop Avenue, Cork on March 23rd. It’s sure to be a fun show, and I would know, I’m the dude on the poster. I’ll also be announcing many more dates for my upcoming tour promoting the album. I’ve also started work on either album #2 or EP #something, so there will be a lot more music and such coming from me in the not-so-distant future.