Mountain Top was inspired by a scene in the film Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, and as a child I absolutely loved that movie. I used to imagine what it would be like to be in a world that’s set inside of a music box. I think there would be a sort of feeling that you’re not quite awake and yet not quite asleep, and any light would be glowing softly and distorted. Shadows would abound. It’s important to me that instrumentation represents the surrounding scenery, that it also plays a roll in telling the story. So in this song it was really a lot of fun to create a mechanical sort of atmosphere that intersects with the dreamworld I had in mind.
The studio production which is on my EP Misfortunate Tales, captures this atmosphere perfectly. Producer Andrew Hunt deservedly won the UK MPG Breakthrough Producer of the Year for his work on this song - I needed a specific atmosphere in order to tell the story correctly.
Being able to bring it to a live audience, where only five people are playing was a brand new kind of challenge. Reducing the amount and types of instruments in order to make it viable for performing on small stages was interesting, to say the least (although this is true for every song we perform live)…
But it’s all about setting the scene and telling the story, isn’t it? We have someone who wanders into a forest on a mountain top. Lights flash and the wind speaks to her. Her feet no longer touch the ground. We are asked where dark dreams come from and are advised not always to trust the light. Alien abduction? Devil worship? Simply fallen asleep on the way? I leave you to decide your own ending.
To me, Mountain Top is simply about getting lost in a kind of seductive darkness and rather enjoying it.
Here is a link to a live performance of Mountain Top for Whispers and Hurricanes by Chaos Theory at the Strongroom Bar, London. Mally Harpaz is on percussion, Aine McLoughlin on accordion, Matt Constantine on cello, and John Atterbury on guitar. Video by Peter Junge - Record Mixing.