They say a change is as good as a rest. That might be true if any one of us Boys in Blue actually know what a rest feels like. That aside, we decided it would be a good idea to migrate from the safe haven of our trusty Crypt Studio, and inject a fresh outlook onto the initial writing process of our new Album. After some social-media wrangling (big shout out to @MarriotGraphic) we managed to get access to the lovely second-hand Bookshop within the grounds of the idyllic Harewood House (I also managed to get some old copies of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers-Tolkien inner geekery sated – Gary). And so in late February we set up camp for a month within the picturesque setting of Harewood House to start Album Whatever…
Our idea/theme for this new Record was that of ‘Bar-Band’. If you’re a bit unsure as to what that is (as I was), then it’s essentially Bands you’d hear on a night out in a Bar; think The Strokes/Dexys/The Hold-Steady-basically a bunch of musos in a room playing balls-out music live. And to this notion the Bookshop was the perfect place to set up and just play: with it’s wooden floor, sprawling window that overlooks the woods and the book-lined walls for inspiration (or distraction in my case) this was a place far removed from the dark and damp of our Crypt studio and a natural inspiration to play some music.
*note: we love our Crypt for the record (budum tish). We’ve done many magical things in there. But we also like sunlight, an easily accessible toilet and water too. ;)
Working 9-5,what a way to make a living
And so to the process. The working day. The 9 to 5. First of all it is a real buzz to drive through the Arch that leads into Harewood House knowing you’re going there to ‘work’. That in itself puts you in a good mood for the day, coupled with the drive down to the Bookshop (passing innumerable Red Kites on the way and thinking you’re in The Hobbit). Add some Hipster breakfast from Stonegate Bakery and Tim Rothery as our very own George Martin and these boys are ready to fire on all cylinders! This all sounds pretty peachy up to here huh?
So the process begins thus; we all fall into a groove that sounds pretty cool. We jam that for long enough to just lose track of time. If the groove is kinda working we then we might try to run with it and come up with another section and try and structure the bones of a song from that. If it’s not move on. Next idea. Next beat. Next riff. That’s pretty cool Fletch, play that again. That’s nice James. A bit jazzy but pretty. Rich, that’s a cool f*cking riff with some notes that haven’t even been invented yet. Si-play that E chord a bit harder…more…more. Gaz, can you…Gaz. Gaz! Stop reading John Buchan, we’re trying to make a record! Ed. Oh you’re still trying to find THAT sound on your keyboard. And. LUNCH. Pub lunch. Well we are making a ‘Bar-Band’ record, it’d be rude not to…
Afternoon. Right, none of that’s working. Let’s try something else. Gaz, let’s take your hi-tom away. Si, just guitar. No piano. James, just piano. Rich. First two strings only. Ed. Keep finding that elusive tone. And…RING! 5pm. This record making is difficult…
Although the writing process for our Albums pretty much does happen the way described above, being able to have a new space to play and write-a space as lovely as the Bookshop-was really helpful and useful for us as a bunch of musicians and-as importantly-a bunch of friends. Even though it’s hard to escape a familiar way of working, having a bright space in the middle of nature with a good sounding room and a chance to be more relaxed and have time to be more than just a band, really was beneficial to the fun of playing and writing these new songs. I hope some of that comes across in this new Album.
Big thanks to Zoe, Jane, and all the team for making our time at Harewood so amazingly awesome.