Well, it’s June, and that means we’re starting a new album. It’s been a long time coming this one. What with so many and varied Hope and Social projects this past year, Si and his many theatre things, and Goff being totally immersed in art in Berlin, we just haven’t been able to get a time that works for us all.
Oh, and on that, we do have some rather significant news coming… but more on that soon.
We’re so excited to be making a new record. Feels like an age since we were holed up in the crypt just the 6 of us making something… So that’s good!
Throughout the writing of this record so far we’ve all been wanting to approach things in a different way than we have with everything since we recorded April back in 2010. We’ve made the last few albums so quickly. Most of Sleep Sound was tracked pretty much live. I think when we made All Our Dancing Days we had a total of 35 working days from not a note written to album signed off. Crypt Covers was by definition made in 10 days (plus one day for mastering at the end). Cotton Wool and Knotted Wood was fast and mainly live tracking. Bring the Happy was super-quick too. So, we want to try something a bit different…
As we’re talking around what this record should be, we keep coming back to that more considered, constructed sound of early Kate Bush, of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” (we also talk about Prince, but we’re just not that funky).
We like records that sound like people have made decisions about them, so we’re placing some constraints on our process. We’ve been constrained in the past – by time mainly – and that’s led us down the line of recording fast, and live. This time though, there’ll be more *building* of a song – from its components. We might start with a drum pattern say, then get Si’s vocal down and assess; see what else the song needs. It could be an acoustic guitar part and all the backing vocals first. Day one today, and we’ve tracked the first bits of New Album – a track with the working title “Feel”. Kit, then bass, toy piano, and moved quickly into backing vocals before laying a guide guitar track down. It’s not right yet. The groove isn’t there. We’re still constructing the song.
It’s a luxurious a situation that we’re in – we’re un-beholden to anyone when it comes to making that art we make, and doing it so differently this time well, it’s a bit daunting (I’ve barely slept this weekend – and when I have, it’s with a knot in my stomach). This’ll be the first time us six have made an album in this way; where the songs aren’t yet fully written, where we haven’t just jammed it out in the room. And jamming it out in the room means we can all respond to each other straight away in real time. If Ed’s doing a middley chordal thing say, I know there’s some spangly melody space (tastefully, in-between the vocals like) up top for me. We’re good at being a band that moves as one, breathing, living thing.
This is different. The process itself feels like uncharted territory, that’s before you even consider that we haven’t even got the songs written yet. [gulps]
So why put ourselves through this then? Well part of it is that we just *want* a change of process, but more than that, we want to make something that’s got a bit of a twist on your everyday Hope’n’Social fayre. Si keeps on saying “I really want to make *a thing*”. A cohesive piece of art. A work that hangs together.
We still want to make an album that is a record of where we are as a band right now, but we want to be able to consider things a smidge more. We want to use a different palette. And we want it to feel exciting. And new. And different. And great. It’s got to be ace.
So it’s June, and we’ll steel ourselves. Hunker down. Try to keep things lean, efficient. Make stuff *feel* right.
We’re on our way home now. Contemplating, wondering “what kinda album are we actually making this time?”. That and cracking monkey nuts to share in the car as crawl through the traffic on Leeds’ ring roads.
Wish us luck will ya?