Project 17

by Dan Kempster

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about

Project 17 is my debut solo album. Written through 2012 and recorded in late 2013, it's a twelve-track concept album inspired by the events of my life between 2006 and 2011. In a hugely ambitious move for me, I wrote, played and recorded everything you hear on this album. It's a huge personal accomplishment, and I'm very excited to share it with you all.

There's no set price for Project 17. You can download it for free if you want, or you can choose to pay however much you think the album is worth. A limited run of physical CD copies of the album is now also available, and can be purchased for a minimum sum of £5 plus P+P while stocks last.

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released December 16, 2013

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about

Dan Kempster Tring, UK

I'm a writer based in the town of Tring, United Kingdom. When I'm not writing fiction or playing drums with the rock covers band Sudden Gunfire, I like to pretend I can play guitar and write songs.

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Track Name: Overture '06-'07
*Instrumental*
Track Name: Seventeen Again
I had it pretty rough in the back end of '06
A year of breaking up and breaking down
But granted one more year, my head began to clear
And my feet at last made contact with the ground

I built a new life
With all this insight
No need to take my cues from you

With everything in ashes, like a phoenix born anew
I gaffer-taped a broken heart, I mended and made do
Kept telling myself good things were just around the bend
And now when I look back at then
I wish I could be seventeen again

In need of a new focus, I picked up a set of darts
And started working to a whole new dream
Every Tuesday night, I'd pack my stems and flights
And throw to represent my local team

I built a new life
On all those late nights
And counting back from five-oh-one

The smell of smoke and taste of beer, I never could forget
Nor the eccentricities of characters I met
Those nights felt so perfect and they never seemed to end
And now when I look back at then
I wish I could be seventeen again


When Joe brought his guitar to school and said 'let's form a band'
I instantly agreed to learn the drums
We found ourselves a space, enlisted Jash on bass
And wrote a bunch of really rocking songs

I built a new life
Keeping that band tight
And letting loose a 'crash-boom-bang'

We may have just been kids, but we were kids living the dream
With vision and ambition and our youth to keep us keen
Treading that fine line between what's real and pretend
And now when I look back at then
I wish I could be seventeen again

I built that old life
Time took it out of sight
And left behind this almost right
But not quite
Replica

These days all those things are lost, with nothing more to gain
Though I've still got darts and drums, nothing feels the same
What makes a moment special is the time, the place, the friends
I'll always look back at then
And wish I could be seventeen again
Track Name: Lured By The Siren's Cry
We started out as a small-time band
Thrashing out chords on a cheap guitar
With nothing more than a few songs planned
We had our sights set firmly on the stars

Our first attempt distilled ambition
Into an Archive's Remnant parts
We gigged and wrote, self-styled musicians
That's where the down-turn of this story starts

We got into this with the music in mind
And a vision to keep us on track
But circumstances conspired against us
And painted that vision black

Locked on a crash course
We continued on blindly
Resigning ourselves to our fate
We felt the full force
Of our reckless abandon
But we left our atonement too late
We suffered hard times
And then acted surprised
When we dared our ambition to die
No escape this time
As we wrecked on the rocks
Lured by the siren's cry

Our new plans hit adversity
As our commitments clashed with choice
Southampton University
Claimed our guitarist and musical voice

Absence made things complicated
A singer still eluded us
Undinal Songs disintegrated
The start of our indefinite hiatus

We got into this with the music in mind
And a vision to keep us on track
But circumstances conspired against us
And painted that vision black

Locked on a crash course
We continued on blindly
Resigning ourselves to our fate
We felt the full force
Of our reckless abandon
But we left our atonement too late
We suffered hard times
And then acted surprised
When we dared our ambition to die
No escape this time
As we wrecked on the rocks
Lured by the siren's cry
Track Name: Three Doors Down
Shipped off to University in September of '08
Already I'd begun to think I'd made a huge mistake
I found myself surrounded by drunks and drugs and worse
Good thing the girl from three doors down was who I spoke to first
Stranded in that unfamiliar town
I made a pact with the girl who lived three doors down

I knew that things would happen the moment she decreed
The only Who song that she knew was 'Love, Reign O'er Me'
We stayed up all night talking, she leaned in for a kiss
My naive mind misread the signs, I thought my chance was missed
My head was reeling, spinning round and round
I'd fallen in love with the girl who lived three doors down

With her auburn hair and bright blue eyes
She was equipped to draw me in
To a battle between two lovestruck hearts
That I was never going to win


Another guy cross-campus appeared upon the scene
Two polar opposites, two men that she was torn between
She finally made her choice upon a dark November night
When she took me by the hand and slowly led me out of sight
Kings of Leon were playing in the background
When I first made love to the girl who lived three doors down

With her auburn hair and bright blue eyes
She was equipped to draw me in
To a battle between two lovestruck hearts
That I was never going to win

The autumn term was over, Christmas came and went
She waited until January to make clear her intent
We sat and talked and both agreed to put aside what's passed
And stepped into 2009, hand in hand at last
I felt so high, I was walking on a cloud
I'd ended up with the girl who lived three doors down
Track Name: Process
I'm not dancing through a fire
I'm not trying to catch a flame
I'm not looking for something higher
I'm just glad to know your name

I'm not trying to lose me to find you
I'm not seeking out a key
I'm just doing my best to remind you
That you mean the world to me

And everything I know was taught to me
By St Peter and St Paul
How to take emotions and lay them bare
To captivate and enthrall
To understand the way I'm feeling
And force my heart down into my hands
To show you that I love you
Track Name: Annexed
*Instrumental*
Track Name: Tangled Up In Orange
I spend my mornings tangled up in orange wire
Then pass the afternoons doing my best to recover

Light on, light off
Another early morning
Sign on, sign off
Another weekend lost
Switch on, switch off
Another floor is spotless
But to what end, and at what cost?

And when I come back tomorrow
It'll be as if I did nothing at all today
I'll have to do it all again
And when I come back the next day
It'll be the same as it was the day before
And it'll make me wonder
If all this is worth getting tangled up in orange for

I abuse my body just to bring home pocket change
Squander my earnings in a bid to keep myself sane

Plug in, plug out
Machine's hypnotic whirring
Tune in, tune out
Monotony distilled
All in, all out
My life is not my own now
Surrendered to my nature's will

And when I come back tomorrow
It'll be as if I did nothing at all today
I'll have to do it all again
And when I come back the next day
It'll be the same as it was the day before
And it'll make me wonder
If all this is worth getting tangled up in orange for

There is nothing
Self-affirming
In clearing up your shit...
Track Name: An Intellectual Affair
Lady writer, let me step inside your head
Stimulate my mind with all the things I never seem to get at home
I'll buy the coffee, you tell the tales you've spun
Eloquently rolling off your sweet Norwegian tongue

You name the time and place, I'll make sure not to miss this rendez-vous
Because I am dying for an intellectual affair with you

My girlfriend's everything a man like me could want
But she'll never understand what it's like to go through writer's block
She's suspicious that there's something going on
But if we only meet to talk, then how can this be wrong?

If it's nothing physical then why does this arrangement feel taboo?
Is it because I'm dying for an intellectual affair with you?

Lock away my good sense, bury it at sea
Torture me with pure poetic prose until I hope to lose the key
Lady writer, you're a muse made manifest
But if I try to use the muse, my home life could be wrecked

This could get messy, so I'm going have to stop and think it through
And subdue my desire for an intellectual affair with you
Track Name: Smoulder
The fuse is lit
In yet another one of our twisted games
The sky turns red
As two young hearts go up in flames
You say I did
I swear I didn't but I've got no proof
I sense your doubt
Refusing to believe I speak the truth

Right down to the wire
We've lost all our fire
We're spiralling out of control

We'll do what we've always done and let the problem smoulder
Put it on the backburner 'til it gets out of hand
I've lost all the fight I had and you've grown even colder
Burned away and stretched so thin I don't know where I stand

The embers glow
A hand comes out of nowhere, strikes my face
I know that I
Can't stay another minute in this place
I say that's it
My fingers touch the handle of the door
You scream goodbye
I don't know how to feel any more

Right down to the wire
We've lost all our fire
We're spiralling out of control

We'll do what we've always done and let the problem smoulder
Put it on the backburner 'til it gets out of hand
I've lost all the fight I had and you've grown even colder
Burned away and stretched so thin I don't know where I stand any more
Track Name: Exeter
Early morning sun parts the curtains
Light descending onto your face
You sleep soundly beneath your halo
An image of perfection in this unfamiliar place

I lie beside you in the half-light
And gently place a kiss on your cheek
I watch you sleeping in pure serenity
Your breath betraying feelings I know you could never speak

This south-western autumn air
Is playing havoc with my mind
My judgement's clouded by the mists upon the lakeside
Am I seeing what's not there
Inventing phantom threats to fight
Or am I simply growing blind to what you need?

This stolen kiss breaks the hold of slumber
And rewards me with your open eyes
You speak to me in intimate whispers
Though we're disconnected in a way they can't disguise

Our fingers interlock by lovers' instinct
As you guide my hand across your skin
I sense reluctance in your touch and motion
But I put my doubts aside as I let you draw me in

Was it lovestruck oversight
When we both promised to commit
As rain anointed us, two lovers at the lakeside
Rings we exchanged on that night
Have now grown loose and cease to fit
Just as your patience has outgrown my selfishness

Which is why I'm feeling lonely in Exeter
On this cold October day
Because although I'm here lying next to you
I couldn't feel further away
Can't help but feel I'm seeing the best of you
As you start to see the worst in me
So I lie here feeling lonely in Exeter
Where nothing seems to fit
But we wear it imperfectly
Track Name: This Is How Love Dies
*Instrumental*
Track Name: The Wicker Man
Open your eyes, look into mine
Focus and let yourself lose track of time
Dwelling on all of the memories made by us two

Taste of your kiss, scent of your hair
Seeing a smile that I know isn't there
Something keeps telling me as I sit here missing you

You could be missing me too
Living the way that I do
From one day to the next with nothing but hope to cling to
Hoping you're missing me too

You were the fire that took hold so fast
Turned me to wicker, held flames to my heart
Never relenting as you tried to tighten the screw


Those days are gone, time's moving on
I search for truths in the words of a song
While you feign happiness hiding behind someone new

But I know you're missing me too
Hard to confess to what's true
Carry on honey but it's not that hard to see through
I see you're missing me too

If you were missing me too
You'd take back all you put me through
So cut out this cancer and exchange these black skies for blue
Tell me you're missing me too