Preface to entry from december 1st 1999:
this diary is long overdue - sorry - i'm not sure why it's been so hard to post something. alot of it probably has something to do with the way that we have been working over the last six or so weeks.tracks have had to be completed and approached in new ways so that up until last week we hadn't actually played together in a room since thom's b/day in early october. so at times the process has felt quite disparate but then that's part of being in the studio.
so hopefully this is now going to be a daily update.
Undated (mid-november 1999)
, posted on december 1st 1999
-i've tried to write something about what we've been doing in the last five weeks - there have been the day-by-day accounts which have been of the 'we did this and then we did that' variety..........all incredibly boring to read. then there have been a couple of 'essays' written whilst stoned late at night, only to be re-read the next morning. pretensious old tosh. all have been discarded. it's easy to get extremely self-conscious doing this. we're in london at present and nigel is mixing; he has been for three days. which means that we have actually finished six or so tracks. this has been our life for the last five weeks - we had a list of about ten songs which was then further narrowed down to six. they are definitely different....................there's an eight piece brass ensemble in a charles mingus style on one - eight 'jazzers' came down for the day and blew their stuff all over 'everyone - the national anthem'
. they were fantastic............thom and jonny conducted. what a day. there's 'optimistic'
, there's another which started off as a thom doodle on the 505
........there's also the paris version of 'lost at sea'
.........the batsford 'morning bell'
.it is different. but that's what we do. what has also become evident is that the summer panic that led to two months rehearsal may have been a little premature.....or at the very least a little on the hysterical side.there was some good stuff recorded in paris, copenhagen and batsford. i've been listening to alot of the copenhagen tracks and out-takes and the overall sound is great. pretty dark but then that session was hardly a chuckle-trousered affair.
tuesday, november 23rd 1999
, posted on december 1st 1999
not such a great start to the week. of those six songs that nigel mixed only one is right - kid a
. but nigel is pretty optimistic about the others, he knows what he wants to do with them. so we draw up another list of songs to be worked on in the next three weeks.next a meeting with chris, bryce and brian (the management). they've left us alone up until now, realising that we needed time - time basically to sort our shit out. i think their aim was to refamiliarise us with the workings of the this industry that we operate in. for instance nowadays if we want to tour, about five months notice is required, for booking the venues, notifying our crew, etc. it seems like a long time for just some gigs. part of the problem is we've really given it no thought at all - and suddenly you're presented with these facts of life. we want to do gigs,but we have to make this record - and then we don't even know whether they'll work as a live entity. sometimes it seems like it's so fucking complicated.
wednesday, december 1st 1999
phil is presently putting down drums on 'how to disappear'
- we're doing a demo of the song to present the song to an 'orchestral fella'. we've kind of shirked away from strings in the past as they seem to have been recorded in the same manner for the last 30 years (ever since the beatles). jonny is particularly keen to use an orchestra but not in the standard cliched way........more like the end of 'climbing up the walls'
. thom's vocal on it was jaw-dropping. it's very strange to be playing that song again as we played it frequently on the ok computer tour.......................... suddenly you're back there.
thursday, december 2nd 1999
more work on 'how to disappear'
... after phil did his drums last night, jonny came up with an outrageous martenot part - multitracked it sounds like the string section from mars. jonny has this uncanny ability to bring in weird chords, that at first distract you but after a couple of listens completely make sense...it's just a matter of getting on his planet. brilliant. coz and i tied up our respective bits and it's sounding fairly complete. not bad for a demo. thom was immersed in protools/cubase land in the other studio. the song now has a really strong arrangement and the rhythm track is pumping...........onwards to friday.
friday, december 3rd 1999
spend a good hour remodelling the live room for that authentic olympic studios circa '66 vibe(....!??). not really..... simply tidied it up. played 'i will'
live but decided at the end that the copenhagen version had something to it. it's incredibly evocative of that whole time out there minus all the baggage.so that's good. redid the loop on it, thom even played some great drums and proceeded to do the vocals. he hasn't sung like this for a while.............not bad for a friday night when things tend to slow down in anticipation of the w/end. time to go home.
monday, december 6th 1999
it was my dear uncles's funeral today, so i didn't make it to the studio until late.........too tired and depressed so went home. there was some good stuff done - cozzie put down his funky bass part on a track. and apparently there was a bit of a playing session in the evening.
tuesday, december 7th 1999
spent an hour playing around with cuttooth
. came in and heard phil on drums and thom on rhodes going through it. it's one of those moments when you hear something being played and all you want to do is pick up a guitar and join in. so i did......it's only three chords so not too taxing even on my very limited music theory. looked at 'you and whose army'
again from two weeks ago. tried this 'different' vocal idea that thom and jonny had been going on about.....three part but with a very low bass harmony, kind of inkspots-esque. this is always dangerous territory ie there would be nothing more fucking sad than this slick sophisticated 40's vocal group sound... mind you there's not much chance it could be slick....but you know what i mean. anyway sounds alright and the rest sounds better. thom is now doing a vocal comp of 'i will'
........it's 2am and this is his idea of fun and relaxation..........strange
wednesday, december 8th 1999
started by playing 'cuttooth'
again - the song needs stamina - sounding better than yesterday....just have to keep playing it. one of those days when it doesn't feel as though we've done much. maybe it's because everyone's tired. there was some protool arranging on 'follow me around'
and an attempt to do vocal, piano and drums on 'egyptian song'
. was sounding ok. tried playing 'keep the wolf from the door
but it's too late and needs thom's rant on it. a bitty day. time to go home. saw only four hours of daylight - how do they cope in scandinavia during these months?
|thursday, december 9th 1999
first 'live' performance in front of an audience for exactly (and strangely) a year........it was early morning so it was the 10th. it started with jonny (aka DJ REQUIRED) and thom's dj set and then a last minute executive decision was made to play 'knives out' around the xmas tree. 'amateur hour' will hopefully become a regular night for us - but will be different each time - there will however be ongoing items like phil's puppet show. for those who don't know what i'm going on about - we did a live web broadcast to about 250 people - courtesy of tim bran and those lovely people at the ninja tunes label.
phil and thom also nailed a wonderful version of 'egyptian song' during the day. thom thinks it's the best thing we've committed to tape, ever.
friday, december 10th 1999
still high from the night before. you have no idea how excited we are about this. it's a bit like having our own tv station for three or so hours. there was little/virtually no planning for it, so everything was done on the hoof. so refreshing to do as it seems to take an eternity to get anything done quickly in this business.....and yes it was completely shambolic at times but surely there's nothing wrong with that. i'd love to see more people doing this - can you imagine tony blair and his boys and girls doing a similar thing..........prescott on the wheels of steel: "this one goes out to ken, this is 'going underground'........". 'egyptian song'
sounds even better today.
monday, december 13th 1999
last day and like school we didn't do any work.....had a chat about what we wanted to do next year, vis-a-vis gigs and recording. finished off the day with xmas dinner, completely ruined by the fact that there were only four crackers to go around the eight of us.
hope you have a relaxing xmas and new year.........and if it is bollocks, be assured that you are not the only one having a shitty time. it's the time when most families break up...........xmas after all is for the high street................if it was to celebrate the birth of christ they got it wrong. xmas was an old pagan festival and christ was supposed to have been born around september time. here endeth the lesson. bah humbug.
i have just had a thought........still excited by last thursdays live webcast .and thinking about ways it could be developed......i think it could be very cool to play new stuff by unsigned bands, musicians, collectives (ie bands not on major labels - small indie is fine).if any of you are making music, have mates that are or you just think that this music that you are in to deserves to be heard then send it into me at our po box address, which is po box 322, oxford, ox4 1ey. i like all kinds of shit so please don't just send in guitar band stuff. anything. spread the word. alright that's enough for now. happy xmas... and a very merry millenium.....