Shapes is a sort of continuation of Interplay, but one where we felt we could be a little more informal and release some things which were rawer and more experimental, alongside more ‘worked-on’ tracks such as Vapour Trails.
We’re still on the case – there are lots of ideas, approaches and ideas for approaches, that we haven’t got to yet. It would also be good to involve Hannah and Serafina and Rob Simon and JeanGa in recording, too.
Well it’s certainly a sort Tabla Rasa of that particular phase of recording and writing – all the ideas we generated on the first sessions in Benge’s studio – but certain new strands and unexpected developments did begin to crop up…
Yes – I think we got more assured and were able to take more chances second time around. Songs like ‘The Shadow of His Former Self’ and ‘Falling Away’ for instance. They took some really unexpected shapes when we worked on them. Very exciting, ‘Shadow’ also developed exponentially when we played it live – Hannah’s violin was a revelation. Got to use more of that. Delicious.
Oh it’s just you!
They are interludes –- intended to surprise and refresh the palette before the next course. We really enjoyed recording them – there’s certainly something emerging there – another thing we can develop. A future album of wee delights.
Oh yes – we’ve now got to the point of enjoying the rough bits – the stuff you might work out of songs and recording if you refine. I’ve always hated the sound of overworked tracks – but you do need some courage and confidence to keep your anxious little thumb off the re-record button. I guess that comes with experience – and certain tracks from the past that you always want to kick across the room.
Oh, it’s there all right, and it’s the same – I always write from there. It’s the Quiet Man, really – along with his viewpoint and relationships with the city, trying to maintain dignity against the odds, ever hopeful of romance.
But the point is – these relationships and their nuances are changing all the time. I see new aspects and incoming dilemmas becoming apparent as I get older and the city changes and perspectives alter. Some things I wouldn’t admit even to myself, I can write about through these lenses. They’ve always been incredibly useful.
Absolutely. It’s all Benge’s fault – he simply will not use anything that’s not analogue. Always patrolling the border. So Digits won’t do, and we became the first Post-Digital band on the planet – by necessity.
Suited me just fine – I’m pre-digital myself. Needed a bit of a reboot and Benge’s studio certainly did the job. But not – I repeat – not for nostalgia’s sake. I’m not at all nostalgic. Truly hate all that crap. So does Benge. The sirens go off.
The real reason is to make an expedition to see what you missed the first time – technology was primitive then, and you couldn’t really hear what as going on properly. Now even domestic sound systems are 5000%+ better than studio systems in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Digital technology also swept analogue quickly away, before analogue could be properly appreciated or explored, so it all got forgotten for decades. You know the scene – A ruined city in the jungle. Legends abound – it’s full of exotic lifeforms that could save the planet, make us into demigods and replace Viagra and school…Then someone finds an old map clutched in a dead man’s hand…
Well, Benge already had the equipment for a wee foray, so off we went, like deserters from Dad’s Army. He was Attenborough and I was Captain Mainwaring. Interplay was what we came back with. Better than a stuffed monkey, any day.
I do like to hide behind effects. Feel a bit naked at Paddington station otherwise. But I also love what effects can do to perspective and texture and harmonics. As for lyrics, I think they’re absolutely vital – but I also know that texture rhythm and form are what hit you first and most people seem content with that.
So lyrics are certainly a second-wave impact, but if they’re good, they are what makes a song truly effective and beautiful. Otherwise it’s another gift-wrapped pair of Argyll socks!
Excellent. Thanks. Well – we imagined it might get a couple of polite reviews, with everybody else either locking the door or jumping up and down on the cot. So it was a great surprise, and something of a relief!
Oh yes. Crash helmet on.
We’d all love to, and we’ve actually managed to do some of that in the UK and Europe. It was really exciting. Pure electricity. Best band I’ve ever worked with. Serafina and Hannah are magnificent – howling violin and wild chords – Benge isn’t bad either!!!
But the price of working with truly excellent people is that they’ve all got projects going on. Even trying to get them all together in one room is like knitting fog. Hannah is touring with a 30 piece choir and writing for Sadler’s Wells theatre, Serafina is recording with Jarvis, Benge is recording with Tara Busch, then there’s a queue of about thousand requests for productions and he’s also flying in and out of Los Angeles like a Peruvian chemist. So we’ll have to see…
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