Done. Done. Done.
Here's a little track by track run down for you.
We've talked about this one before. It dances, it sings, it'll bring the house down i think.
It's loud, it's scary, it's also covered in mandolins, mad baritone howls and a blistering B3.
Ghostly little number this - written as a kind of unwitting follow-up to Under the Folding Branches.
KILLED BY THE BOOM
A narrative concerning the death of a nameless vagabond with "The Dull Eyes Of A Steer And A Lion's Mane" set beneath a wall of guitars that sound like broken lightbulbs and a hammond being smashed to bits.
SIT DOWN BY THE FIRE
When it all goes wrong sometimes you have no choice but to just watch it all burn to the ground. That's the general idea anyway.
Big and quite, quite beautiful.
Not sure if this will make it onto the album or not, it's only a minute long and kinda ties the room together nicely.
THE HOUSE SHE LIVED IN
Anyone that came to see us play last year may recognise this little number. The story of...well, you should decide that for yourselves. She ain't coming home though I don't think.
IT HITS DEEP
As mentioned before, the word 'Libidinous' immediately leaps to mind when attempting to describe this. Music to make love and possibly even build a small fort to.
DESTINED FOR GREAT THINGS
Quite a departure for us this one, it reminds me a little of My Bloody Valentine crossed with Noel Coward. Make of that what you will.
Slow and very, very bare, probably the most naked my voice has ever sounded. It's sad, boy is it sad.
Those who came to our residency at The Enterprise earlier in the year will have had a sneak preview of this one.
Originally an hour long we managed to whittle it down to just under 9 minutes.
It's about writing, about giving yourself over to it completely and just going fucking barmy. Monolithic, a little scary and, we hope, very good fun indeed.
What would a Veils record be without the obligatory reflective closer? Sounds like an anchorman realising he left the gas on.
And there it is.
We're off to America now, come say hi if you can.
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Or, it was.
I carried a large Red Velvet cake on foot through the midst of the Notting Hill Carnival to the studio. It wasn't as much of a disaster as I thought it might be, given the trepidation I felt when I looked down Ladbroke Grove and saw a wash of people and felt my vision blur from the bass....The only dodgy moment was when a drunk senior citizen tried halfheartedly to relieve me of it. His challenge was easily deflected and I carried on, only to stop and gawk at an entire bus full of bored looking policemen. I was gazing absentmindedly at the array of kevlar when I realised that the one sitting in the very back seat was staring right back. When he realised I'd seen him he started smiling and leering. I found this surprising and was a bit on the back foot as to how to deal with it. When one policeman out of a busload starts making eyes at you, is it safe to flip him the bird? Will he scream HALT, and send his mates out to arrest me, and, worst of all, confiscate my cake?
I didn't know, and I let it go. But it was weirdly offputting. I guess I am a conservative after all. I'd expect that kind of behaviour from Firemen. But it would've been even weirder from an Ambulance driver.
Anyway. Finn seemed happy with his birthday, Graham's had a haircut, and Dan still hasn't gotten over an incident on friday night involving a misunderstanding between him and Henning about whether the Sinai where Henning goes on holiday is the FAMOUS Sinai. It ended with Dan viciously whipping a couch with a sweater screaming 'IS IT WHERE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS...' and Henning saying calmly 'but I go to the peninsula..I never went to a mountain..'
It is the same Sinai. But he goes to the peninsula, where the snorkeling is better.
We're nearly finished, both in terms of time we have and tasks we have to do. It's a funny feeling. Relief and terror in equal measures.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
It's nearly finished; it has legs, elbows, little hands and a heart.
One week left.
We've ditched a bunch of songs and some have been written in their place. A favorite is 'Destined For Great Things' which we are certain will live up to its name.
Ed has loaned us his ancient Hammond Organ which is possibly the greatest sounding instrument on earth. There is a video of him playing it on Three Sisters below.
God we're close.
God we're happy.
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Somehow, 'bass day', the day where I was supposed to be banging down tracks and fixing glitches in a wholly professional manner, turned Three Sisters from something Geoff optimistically called 'lively' into an ancient folk story about monsters remade in modern times with sub bass and set in the Californian desert. And that's nothing compared to what happened to Hanging Rock on the second day, that one's now a new song entirely.
And I'd like to take all the credit (at least I hope it's credit. We think it's credit), but it was Finn and Graham really. I just played stuff, and they seemed to run with it like...well, I spose it's time for an Usain Bolt reference. I read that he prepared for his race with chicken nuggets and telly. I told everyone that with as much glee as I read them Micheal Phelp's diet earlier this week, prompting a 'you're the athlete's diets expert!' from Ian.
Anyway. We're back in the studio en masse now, roundtabling issues of guitar tone and vocal harmony, where the snare should come in and how many strings an opening riff should be played on. Happily, there have been no major disagreements yet, which, after the infamous 'Jesus Fight' during Nux, is a relief. To explain a little further, there was a long, heated, and slightly, with the value of hindsight, melodramatic, argument between Liam, Finn and myself, sat around a swimming pool, about whether one moment in the opening of Jesus should be just piano, or piano and guitar. I believe the phrase 'it'll RUIN THE WHOLE SONG' was used, more than once, by each party. What I don't remember is who won.
The current obsession round here, internet-wise, is englishrussia.com. You can visit the mainpage and explore for yourself, or view these awesome highlights.
That's not even half of the best of it, but it'll do to be going on with I guess.
Also, I'm still watching the Olympics. So much, in fact, that my thinking is sports tinted and I've started seeing an awful lot of strange similarities between music and sports. But there are worse things to be tinted with, I suppose. Naturally, as soon as I didn't watch it, yesterday, New Zealand promptly won a bunch of medals, which I guess I should be proud about, but if I'm honest I got more of a kick out of watching the chinese girl gymnasts float over bars like hummingbirds in search of valuable nectar.
After all, aren't we all just hummingbirds in search of valuable nectar? Maybe not Dan.
I'm going to hand over to Finn now, we had a SPECIAL GUEST in today, and I think he has photos.
Sunday, 10 August 2008
I guess Westpoint studios just appreciates the Raishbrook mystique more than we do. We always thought he was just a grumpy midget with a salt fetish. But it turns out that when he's not eating cheese sandwiches (with extra salt) or trying to sneak Beatles riffs into Veils songs without us noticing (which he did on Nux, much to his delight, the bastard) it turns out that Dan spends his free time alternating between making decent money at online poker, and studying HOW to make decent money at online poker. He's been training Henning and Ian as well, which means he spends slightly less time hunched over swearing at a screen and slightly more time swearing directly at them as they once more forget the lessons he's taught them about early position. Needless to say, we're gradually coming to realise we're all going to be millionaires by the time we leave, though Henning's the only one who's so far been brave enough to test the idea. Dan effortlessly doubled Dietz' money in about twenty minutes, so I guess it's all on. We'll keep you posted.
More stories about larkspur:
Sarah-the-manager came down on Friday, to say hi and make sure we/Graham weren't royally screwing it up. We played her a bunch of half finished things, which she seemed to enjoy, and then the latest edit of larkspur. At the end of it, we turned to her, grinning like maniacs and said 'so whaddaya think?'
'I feel sick.'
She meant it in a good way. Or at least we decided she did.
But I know that probably people are quite sick of hearing about it/seeing pictorial references to it by now, and there's always that risk of bigging something up so much it can never quite live up to expectations (see also: New Years eve, dress up parties, every night out in east london ever) or just, you know, sounding full of yourself. So I'll stop now.
In between the Lark-madness we've been doing Other Songs. Also, a cookoff between Ian and Henning, or, between the contents of their lovingly prepared meals from home. Admittedly, pitting a large vegetarian shepherds pie against an intricately landscaped assortment of rice, vegetables (Ian : 'and toasted pinenuts!') and the most perfect egg rolls on the planet is perhaps a little bit apples/oranges. The outcome was uncertain. Okay no it wasn't. Ian won the presentation category by a country mile (Me: 'look at the SPACING of the BROCCOLI!') but a loud protest was lodged by the German camp on the basis of size (Henning: 'look how big this is! And it's got PARMESAN!') and taste. I did eat some of the pie, and it WAS amazing.....but......you just can't beat the Japanese lunch. It's a fact.
I've just realised that that last paragraph's got a distinctly sports commentator vibe. Sorry. We had a day off yesterday and I spent pretty much all of it watching the Olympics in bed. Turns out that women's lightweight weightlifting is one of the world's more surreal spectacles, though the bit where I got a little overexcited during the dressage and spilled the glass of water I'd been putting cigarettes out in all morning in my lap was pretty dramatic too.
And that's sort of it. Right now I'm sitting in the living room/hallway, listening to the early stages of work on Killed By The Boom. Currently, it's got a shouted Shane McGowan style drunken intro, courtesy of F.Andrews, some suspiciously bowel shaking subby drums, and a bunch of guitars that sound as though they're being dragged out of their lairs and vigorously shaken by rat hunting terriers. A good start.
Monday, 4 August 2008
I've eaten too many biscuits.
Ian (seeming genuinely a little affronted): 'I'm not sure about these biscuits. I think they're cheap biscuits DISGUISED as posh biscuits.'
Me: (swallowing): 'I quite like them.'
Finn and I spent this morning reworking an entire song as a paean to the process of renting out Tron. I'm not saying which one, you can take your guesses and wait for the limited edition B-side release.
In other news, Dan is indeed doing face-melting guitar work as we speak, though on Sun Gangs, not House She Lived In. We gave Henning the day off today, to make up for yesterday's hefty workload, and because after playing the song several times with him in it, we decided it was better with him Out. He's probably the only one of us that could take being told that, just sat smugly on the couch and began searching freecycle for baby supplies, secure in the knowledge that he's the shining star of pretty much everything else we've recorded so far. Every now and then he's spoken up to say 'yeah this is WAY better without me in it....and look! I've found a crib called the 'Dan Baby Cot!'.
Oh. Hang on. Henning's not being creepy or anything, he and his girlfriend Tania are actually having a baby, for those of you who didn't know. We're very, very proud. Feel free to suggest names and send gifts.
I think I'll keep up this links game, if only because it's quite handy. Bookmarks for the fundamentally lazy.
Apparently a lot of people have seen this, but I hadn't til yesterday. A friend of mine showed it to me and when I asked how she came across it all she could offer was 'um....I.....like pandas?'
TV On The Radio on Letterman is one of my favourite things on the internet. I love how at the end Letterman looks like he's trying to put his brain back together a little.
When you're away from home, it's comforting to read the headlines and remember that no country, no newspaper, does Weird News quite the way New Zealand does.
I'm actually quite proud to link this recording of a Tom Waits show plus links to a fake press conference cos I was really happy when I found it. So happy I haven't even listened to nor read any of it yet.
Sunday, 3 August 2008
Since everyone else is busy with recording and stuff it's sadly down to me (Dan) to blog today. Sorry. I'll be doing my face-melting solo on The House She Lived In next week but for now the real work's being done by the Other Three and I have nothing else to do.
Henning's played his drum part over and over, at several different tempos on several different drum kits. We worked him like a dog and then sent him out to pick up a takeaway. He'll be driving us all home later, too. He's a German saint.
Soph nailed her bass part in one take and now Finn's experimenting on the piano. Should he include a 'blue' note? Suggestions please.
Music aside, we've been distracted by
Ian's going to lend me A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich tomorrow so I'll do a school book report at the weekend.
Friday, 1 August 2008
So....recording. We went to a meeting at Beggar's (Banquet, the record label who partly funds Rough Trade, not some Doherty-sidekick-esque shadily employed friend. Guess I could've cleared that up by just writing 'Banquet' in the first place, but I've run out of the erasing typewriter ribbon. Excuses excuses. Hi all. It's Soph again. The anecdote this is so massively interrupting will maybe explain a bit about the interruption so maybe I should just get on with it.) the other day, about you know, the things you have meetings about when you're about to record and release an album, namely, what the website should look like....On the other hand it was probably the most fruitful and least excruciatingly awkward label meeting I've been to (despite THIS stunning evidence to the contrary, we're not, surprise surprise, the most articulate bunch, at times) and we came away from it (or, Finn and I did, since we were the ones who went) having agreed to take part in a Nick Cave doco that a woman called Jane and her friend Iain are making. I hope that's not giving away a big secret or anything. I also heard this week that someone else is making a SEPARATE doco about Cave, and his battle to have a large bronze statue of himself, naked, riding a horse, erected somewhere in Australia. Maybe it's the same doco. Who knows.
ANY.WAY. In the course of this meeting my now oddly oft-mentioned American tour blog from last year came up and they sort of sideways glanced at me and asked whether I'd want to 'get into doing it again, maybe, you know, a bit.' Don't spook the horses, like. And of course I said, yes, yes, sure, give me a keyboard and I'll just tappity tappity away, much like the infinitychimps - given the volume, I'm bound to produce something decent in the end..
On the other hand, Finn set up this blog ages ago and despite asking for me to take a hand in it repeatedly it's taken me til now to get round to it. But now that I've STARTED....I clearly have quite a lot of mixed up and inconsequential rambling to get out of the way. So you might have to bear with me a bit. I'll get to the concisely worded nuggets of pure gold at some stage, hopefully round about the time we head out on our NEXT American tour in a month or so.
Besides, the opportunities for glamorous hi-jinks in a small studio in Acton are limited. Don't expect Dan to be jumping into any criminals Porsches round here, and if he DOES, don't expect him to be coming BACK to tell the hilarious story. Also, the scenery is hardly stunning. So photographic opportunities are limited, unless you're interested in what Henning looks like with cake all over his face, or the blackberries we picked this morning in the carpark. Yes! In the carpark! Where I come from, if there were blackberries growing in a carpark, there wouldn't be, because someone's enterprising mum would've gone out and picked them. Maybe in England people prefer to pay £3.99 a punnet at Waitrose. Who knows. It seems I'm now someone's enterprising Mum though, which is a plus. I picked a load at rehearsal the other day and made pastries (Dan: 'Soph, these are a TRIUMPH. Could be saltier though') and Henning and Dan discovered today that the carpark at Westpoint is a veritable paradise of the plump little bastards. So the pastries, it seems, will be a constant.
Oh right. The album. Well, we've recorded some songs. We like how they sound. We haven't fallen out with Graham. We've made a new friend - Ian our engineer. His girlfriend makes him delicious Japanese lunches and we get jealous, and we introduced him to red velvet cake and liquorice Rizlas.
It's all laptops and snacks, really, making an album. So there's plenty of time to read about the man who murdered the guy on the Greyhound Bus (that was this morning. It's now 7.30pm and Dan just walked into the room and said slightly smugly 'he et him a little bit') and browse the internet for cheap laughs and horror stories. Because I'm by nature the sharing, caring type, I suggest you have a browse of these:
Passive Agressive Notes. I've been on here ALL DAY.
If an eight year old asks Charles Manson for advice, what happens? EXACTLY what you'd expect.
The Montauk Monster I was gonna put this under 'horror stories' to go with 'cheap laughs' but a decision CAN'T be reached on whether it's real or not and the fear of it turning out to be part of an ad campaign for Audi gives it a bit of a depressing edge.
Finn is idly tinkering with the piano in the room Henning and I are set up in. Graham would like us to play a song.
Me, in a pretty unfunny impression of an 8yr old to her younger brother: 'GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY ROOM! ITS MY ROOM! GET OUT!'
Henning, trying to get in on the joke: 'YEAH! Get out!'
Finn: 'Allright, allright.'
Henning: 'GET OUT, KIMBERLY!'
Henning: 'That's your name, isn't it? Kimberly? Your middle name?'
Henning: 'Is it not Kimberly?'
Finn's middle name is not Kimberly. Just in case you were wondering.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Saturday, 5 July 2008
I just got home from the studio and feel really quite SOMETHING.
We finished the 2 songs and I wrote another one which was hastily recorded and is, I think, VERY good.
Senor Geoff Travis came down and seems very happy, and it feels like we really began the album today. Great big fuzzy feelings of joy surround us like a big fuzzy joy-sack, complete with trepidation motif, wings, and a great fanged zipper of inexplicable satisfaction.
Just stick to writing songs and not prose? Deal.
Am listening to Street Legal and putting myself back in my place.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
We're going in the studio this week to record the two newest songs we have: 'It Hits Deep' and 'The Letter'.
Here are some notes on each:
IT HITS DEEP
It's in E Minor and centers around a particularly libidinous little drum loop.
It is sung from the perspective of a young man generally just fucking the pain away and wondering where on earth he left his keys.
The scene in the strobe lit bar in Fire Walk With Me is somewhat of an inspiration with much bowed bass and rough fun under tables.
"Welcome to Canada..."
This song is in one of the new records many 'Strange Tunings'. I'm not sure what it is but it has three G#'s in it. The drums are amazing.
We're recording them in a woody little den in West London with our dear friend Graham Sutton at the controls.
We're also each of us waking up every morning, staring at our reflections, and mouthing that sweetly enduring phrase: "Just don't fuck it up."