The self Help Group was formed in 2009 by songwriter Mark Bruce. The band had plenty of success via BBC 2, with their Not Waving But Drowning LP, but the single “Tillie’s Dream” never made it onto an album. Sumsuch heard The Self Help Group perform it at a live show and it immediately stood out to him. “I loved the song just as it was, but right then and there a different version popped into my head, virtually fully-formed; something that’s never happened to me before. I begged Mark for the parts and got to work right away”. “Tillie’s Dream” is the perfect track the long days of 2020.
Big drums and warm, rolling synths dominate Sumsuch’s remix, juxtaposing the delicate vocals and ukuleles of the original version. His is a complete reinterpretation of the track, changing the chord progression altogether and showing flashes of Flaming Lips- esque alternative Indie alongside his usual soulful sonic palette.
Mark Bruce wrote ‘Tillie’s Dream’ in appreciation of a beloved mural in Asbury Park, New Jersey (known as Tillie), which was demolished in 2004. Summoning up images of faded seaside grandeur, it’s is a sweetly wistful and powerfully evocative folk piece, ending with a truly infectious vocal refrain.
Quote from Will Sumsuch
I’ve been sitting on this remix for a few years now, waiting for the right moment to let it out there. A lot has changed in the few months since BBE agreed upon the release date, but it feels like maybe the timing is actually pretty good for a world in lockdown, as this is just a warm hug of a song with beautifully evocative lyrics, transporting the listener to a seaside dreamscape in some bygone era. I first heard the original at a ‘Self Help Group’ gig in Brighton UK, and I was instantly captivated by it. As I recall, the idea for the remix came to me right there and then, and I begged songwriter Mark Bruce for the parts as soon as he got off stage. Later I found out the song is a tribute to the famous ‘Tillie’ murals painted in Asbury Park, NJ, which I love- the quirky subject matter somehow makes it feel even more heartfelt and touching. As someone who’s lived in fading seaside towns for most of my life, I really identify… I really hope you enjoy my take on this beautiful song. Do make sure you check out the original too, as it’s a gem. Thanks for sharing this- I sincerely hope and your readers are staying safe and well during these strange and unsettling times.
1. The Self Help Group – Tillie’s Dream (Sumsuch Remix)
2. The Self Help Group – Tillie’s Dream (Original)