Throughout the Pet Shop Boys'
career, Neil has always kept a diary just giving basic
details of each day's activities. Up until the end of 1994
he wrote entries into large table diaries; since then he
has written into his Passion organizer, and later printed
out the results. Literally,
Neil and Chris went through
Neil's diaries from August 1st, 1994 (when they recorded
the first demos for their new album) until June 10th 1996
(when they agreed a final album running order). You might
think that they just wrote twelve songs, and then recorded
them, but it is never that simpleHere is the detailed
history of the Pet Shop Boys' new record, and of the false
starts, strange collaborations, odd thoughts, chance
meetings and unfinished songs which diverted them along
August 1st, 1994.
New York. Chris and I
to Unique studios to start demos. Engineer: Void. New
"Discoteca". Hotel, Brett from Suede called.
Chris: I was already in New York on holiday. I'd been in
Los Angeles for the World Cup.
Neil: We decided to do
Chris: We thought it would be good to
work in America again.
Neil: And we decided to work in
Unique studios which is where we first worked with Bobby
'0', because we used to like working there in 1983. We
didn't work in the same room though. We worked in the
programming suite. The song, "Discoteca", was inspired by
a record which went "quell a cue passa qui e? Quel a que
passa qui". That had given us the idea to do something in
Spanish like that. So Dainton went out to the bookshop
down the road, and he came back with the Penguin
English-Spanish phrasebook, and another phrasebook, the
Berlitz one. And I flicked through these, looking for
Spanish phrases, and I thought, here's a good one: "Hay
una Discoteca por aqui7" That'll work as a chant. Then in
the personal section in the Berlitz phrasebook was the
chorus bit - "I love you. Do you understand? Tell me. How
long must I wait?" ["Te quiero Entiende usted? Digame.
Cuanto tiempe tengo que esperar?"] I think "how long must
I waif' was from the doctor's. And we did that in one day.
Chris programmed the rhythm, which is still the same now.
Chris did the verse chords, and I did the chorus, if it is
a chorus. At that point it wasn't going to have any more
words. I had sore eyes that day. I went to the New York
Ear, Eye and Throat hospital because I had conjunctivitis.
Unique studios with Chris Demo
"The View From Your Balcony".
Neil: That's a song we
Chris doesn't like it.
can't remember it very well.
Neil: He thinks it's a
bit Sixties, It isn't really.
Chris: Was it a bit
country and western?
Neil: NO, not remotely country
and western. It's not one from my country and western
product range. You're thinking of "You Only Tell Me You
Love Me When You're Drunk".
Chris: Yeah. You should
gave that to Dolly Patron.
Neil: I met Brett from
Suede that night. We went to the China Grill.
had a cold.
Unique with Chris. New
song, "Yes In A No Kind Of Way
Neil: We never finished
Chris: The title sounds like a Walker Brothers
title. sings in a deep melodramatic voice] "Yes! In a no
kind of way!"
Neil: It sounded like Madness, didn't
it? You kept going "One step beyond!" Never been recorded.
It probably will turn up as a B-side because it's not a
bad song actually. I've never written the words for it
Unique with Chris. Demoed "It
Always Comes As A Surprise" Dainton and I back to the New
York Ear Eye and Throat hospital Viral conjunctivitis
Neil: "It Always Comes As A Surprise" was a different
style then. It sounded more like Phil Collins. I'd written
all the words before we did the demo. It's a love song.
It's quite obvious what it's about. It's about the
excitement at the start of a love affair, when someone
seems magical and different. You're thinking: how amazing
I'm here with you. And it's two completely different types
of people, personality-wise, age-wise, culturally, so it's
a surprising pair of people. I wrote it in about May. It's
Chris: After that we went back to
Neil: We thought we had two good songs.
Chris: We thought about the tour and the album at the same
time, on this trip. We'd been to the Sound Factory bar the
week before. These Latin rhythms and the dancers. That's
when we decided we could do a tour of South America just
like the Sound Factory Bar, and also that we wanted the
whole album to sound Latin. And we'd decided that we
weren't going to go into a studio for six months and
Neil: We'd decided to do it in bits and
We introduced Elton John. We saw Sheboom!, these drummers
from Glasgow, and they made a really big impression on us.
We immediately, then and there, thought we should do
something with them. They started the show doing this
Chris: ...This really good rhythm. The next
thing I remember, we were on tour and we heard this record
all across South America with this rhythm, and that gave
us more ideas.
April 18th, 1995.
Taxi to Sarn West
Pete Gleadall and Bob Kraushaar in Studio 2. Chris arrived
from Blackpool Working on possible single version of
Neil: In the intervening months we might
have been writing bits in our various homes. We went to
Naples in March for a holiday. That was good. And we
already had was a lot of stuff Chris had written by
himself or with Pete Gleadall, and at the beginning of
this year Chris made a cassette of what he thought were
the best things he'd done there and gave it to me to
listen to. There were about nine things - some of them
were full songs, and some of them were bits and pieces. We
used a few of them. Two of them became "Before". One of
them is "The Survivors". And we still haven't done Chris's
dance version of "Climb Every Mountain". It's sort of
reggae-ish. For the anthems album.
Still working on "Paninaro".
"Paninaro '95',. Did most of the twelve-inch. Edited a
seven-inch of "In The Night".
West. Finished twelve-inch of "Paninaro" then recorded
demo of "The Survivors".
Neil: It took me ages to
write the words over the course of this year.
That was one of the selection of hacking tracks I'd done
for Ian Wright.
Neil: I think I started writing the
words on the train. It's about growing old, and that when
you've reached a certain age you've survived this far,
you're still alive. You know a lot of people who aren't. A
friend of mine committed suicide during this pan of the
year, which I was rather depressed about. She's referred
to in the song: "teachers and artists and Saturday girls".
I used to work with her, and The Saturday Girls were a
group she was supposed to be in. It's a sort of feel-bad
feel-good song. I think we both thought straightway it
would go on the album.
Chris: Yeah. It sounded
good, especially when we added those backing vocals.
Sam West Pete and Bob and Chris. Worked on "Get
On It" and "Latino".
Neil: "Latino" turned into
"Bilingual", which would finally be called "Single". "Get
On It" is one we haven't recorded. It's a good track.
[Sings] "Get on the move". It's another Ian Wright one.
Chris: It's really good, that one.
Sarm West with Chris, Bob and Pete. Worked on "Hope" and
Neil: I don't know what "Hope" is. On the
computer you have to give everything a title, and
sometimes they never get relabelled. Actually, I do
remember what it is. It's a bit of one of Chris's Ian
Chris: We never did finish a second Ian
Wright single. I don't know why. Put all the effort into
the first one. Didn't want to do it again. I don't know,
really. I'd rather do a record with Prince Nasseem. I've
switched. I've moved on now. But I don't know if I'm
worthy. Actually I've done a track called "Nasseem", just
all drums. It's very tribal.
Neil: You were going to
sample him, weren't you?
Chris: Yeah. He's very
sampleable. He's got so many one-liners.
transferred the data from New York for "Discoteca" onto
Chris's computer, and we decided to put a verse on it.
Sarm with Chris, Pete and Bob. Worked
on "Discoteca" and "Bilingual 7'.
Neil: I think "Latino"
turned into "Bilingual" at that point. That was the day we
pretty much wrote all the music for "Bilingual". I didn't
have the words for ages, I just had "Single, Bilingual",
which I just thought was moronically funny.
At home writing lyrics.
Neil: I don't know what
Chris and I to the Strongroom. Late
because the desk was being mended. Worked on "Discoteca"
Neil: At this point, we had a demo
studio that we'd hired in the Strongroom, a studio in East
London, and we stand going there to write. By this time
the two songs were continuous.
Strongroom with Pete GleadalL
"Discoteca", and Chris
and I worked on new guitar-sounding song.
Neil: I put
the guide vocals on "Discoteca". I had totally different
words, and the tune was different. I was trying to make
sense out of the whole concept of it, why it was in a
foreign language. At this point it started about being
lost in a country. Not knowing where you are. Someone
comes up to you and says "hay una discoteca por aqui?".
And I changed the whole concept of the song later in the
year. The "new guitar-sounding song" is "Up Against It".
Chris: I thought you said we worked on a new
guitar sound! That sounds more Brian Eno than us, doesn't
Neil: It always did sound guitar to me, that song, even
though it didn't have any guitars in it at all. Chris
wrote the whole music for that. Chris: I wrote it at home,
earlier in the year.
Chris in Paris for
Arsenal game. I did a demo of a song called "For ALL Of
Neil: It's a ballad. The son of song you'd
probably give to someone else really. A very sad song,
about love going wrong. [Laughs] About the pain and
cruelty of life. It's too personal to play to anyone.
Chris: We were playing Parma in the final of the Cup
Winner's Cup. I knew we were going to lose. It just didn't
feel right. I got Eurostar over very exciting.
Strongroom with Pete OleadalL Chris still in
Paris. Start demo of "You Only Tell Me You Love Me 1*'hen
You re Drunk".
Strongroom with Chris and
Pete, working on "Moonlight" and "How Lucky I Am Neil:
"Moonlight" became "Delusions Of Grandeur". It's called
"Moonlight" because it's based on the chord change of the
Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. "How Lucky I Am" was one of
Chris's home demos. It sounds a bit like "Lay Lady Lay" by
Chris: Oh yeah.
Neil: That's in the
musical file - songs that might go in the musical.
Strongroom with Chris and Pete Gleadall, Worked
Chris and I for meeting
with Howard Greenhlgh re "Paninaro" video, then for
Japanese noodles. Chris went home; I went to the
Strongroom to work on "Hit And Miss".
Neil: That's a
song I started writing on tour.
and I to the Strongroom, worked with Pete Gleadall on "Hit
And Miss" then "Love Your Enemy".
Neil: That's a good
track, "Love Your Enemy".
Chris: Oh, it is good.
Neil: It sounds a bit like Massive Attack. It's got this
really nice string bit. Its one of those tracks that's got
such a nice string bit and such a loose feel that you
don't want to do anything with it to spoil it.
Strongroom, working on "Love Your Enemy"
and guitar on "Hit And Miss.
Neil: Some of the things we
do at the Strongroom with Pete Gleadall end up on the
finished record. You can tell if something's like that,
because in the final credits Pete Gleadall gets an
Strongroom with Pete
Gleadall, worked on new song "Se A Vida S" until 6pm.
Neil: That's a long day. [Laughs] When you get there at
twelve, you immediately go out and have lunch, then you
sit around for a while, then it's time to go home really,
isn't it? The idea for the song came from an album by
Olodum that I bought in Sao Paulo. I was listening through
for drum sounds, for samples and to try to work out what
they did. I was thinking: how do you do Brazilian music?
And there was this song called "Estrada Da Paixao" and I
liked the bit where it went "Se A Vide" so I started to do
a cover version of it. Chris was in Blackpool, so I was
faffing around, really. I quite often go in on my own,
especially if I'm doing vocals. I prefer it if Chris isn't
there when I'm doing vocals, because sometimes he laughs
Strongroom with Pete Gleadall,
working on "Se A Vide t" and "Love Your Enemy". Put words
on chorus of "Up Against It".
with Chris Porter and Pete Gleadalt, starting to record
"The Survivors '~. Chris Cameron on keyboards.
This was the day we actually started recording the album.
Using Chris Porter was a very casual decision.
It was because of "back For Good" Neil: And also because
he was hanging around Sarm West. When we were in there
doing "Paninaro" he was always sitting around in front of
the television downstairs because he was working on George
Michael's album. George Michael was writing songs so there
was nothing for Chris Porter to do. Then Chris Porter
decided to leave George Michael's album, and as we liked
"Back For Good" so much, we decided to get him to work on
"The Survivors". Maybe it reminded us of that. Chris: I
just really liked the song of "Back For Good". I'd never
really thought about how it was produced. It just seemed
inevitable that we'd work with him, just because of the
Pete Gleadall connection - Pete Gleadall always works with
him. He just seemed like one of those producers that takes
what you've got and makes it better.
Neil: I think we
quite liked the idea that he'd bring in some musicians -
that basically we'd give him the demo and they would make
the record. That's normally how a record producer works,
really. And we thought "The Survivors" was that kind of
song - that we'd really done a very finished demo which
could have been mixed and made into the master, but we
thought it could go a bit further. So he really carried on
Sarm West Greg Bone came
into to play guitar on "The Survivors".
Neil: I always like that: meanwhile, the
record is being made.
Sarm West, doing
backing and Lead vocals for "The Survivors".
went to the opera in the evening, so I wasn't there that
Katie Kissoon came in to sing on
Chris and I shopping
and lunch on Bond Street. Then to Sarm, to start work on
"It Always Comes As A Surprise's with Chris Porter
Chris: "Shopping and lunch on Bond Street". That's how to
make a record.
Neil: This was in our intense
Nicole's-for -lunch phase when we used to go about twice a
week to Nicole's in Bond street for lunch.
turn up at Sarm with loads of shopping bags and slag off
the recording. Neil: For "It Always Comes As A Surprise &'
Chris Porter said, "well, if you want your album to be
Latin, why don't we try this with a Latin rhythm?" We
said, "Oh, that's a good idea". Because, us having decided
that the album's going to be Latin, we then just don't
apply it to anything. I don't know why. The Latin thing
was a pretty hazy notion anyway. It was just a starting
point for the album. Also, VERY was so traditionally pop,
although it didn't seem like that when we were making it,
so we thought if this time you had those samba drums as a
basis it would give you a completely different rhythmic
Sarm West: working on
"Surprise" with Chris, Pete Gleadall and Chris Porter. To
Angel studios to record strings on "The Survivors",
Neil: Two studios that day.
Sarm West. Guitarist and percussionist play
on "Surprise". Taxi to Versace shop for Elton John Versace
Neil: The percussionist, Robin Jones, is the
father of Mirelle, one of the dancers on the Discovery
tour. And it was quite a good party. Chris: I didn't go.
Sarm West. Meeting with Howard and
Megan re "Paninaro" video. Vocals on "Surprise".
Taxi to Sarm West. Working on "Surprise Left at
Neil: "Left at three! [laughs] Actually that's
because Chris Porter records on digital hard disc and
spends a lot of time flying things around and playing
around with things. It's quite frankly a bit boring
sitting there watching him.
working on "Surprise".
Pineapple studios to audition guy called Oscar for
Video shoot for
"Paninaro". Home at two in the morning.
Chris and I flew to New York on Virgin.
like Virgin. Though the head massage was a good idea, but
not very well done..
Neil: Did you have one? I don't
remember that. [Think Brian Eno has one in his diary.
New York. Chris and I to Bass Hit Studios.
Danny Tenaglia there. Keyboard player PeterDaou. Started
work on a new song, "Before
Chris: I always think it's
good to record in America, because I like the way they
record things. I like the sounds you get, and the
musicians that are available. You get something that you
wouldn't necessarily produce yourself. Danny Tenaglia was
a friend's suggestion, and we liked the idea because he's
Neil: It was part of the same philosophy as
the year before being in Unique studios. When we were in
Unique studios we felt like we were almost part of the New
York dance scene, and we wanted to work with a New York
house producer. We were going to work with Frankie
Knuckles, who we'd worked with before, and a couple of
days before we were going to go to New York and the whole
thing was booked, Frankie Knuckles manager phoned up and
said he had to do a party in San Francisco or LA and so he
couldn't do it that week. So we thought, let's work with
some other New York house person. We did also discussed
working with Junior Vasquez, but we liked the idea that
Danny Tenaglia was an up and coming person, whereas Junior
Vasquez was the king of the scene.
told us that morning that when we first went to Miami we
went into a club and he was DJing. It was a really good
club but we were getting hassled. We only stayed about ten
minutes. So we actually go back a long way with Danny
Tenaglia, funnily enough.
Neil: It was the same with
Chris: He said I've met you ages ago
Neil: He used to work with Shep Pettibone.
Anyway, we went there without a song which I always find
slightly terrifying and Chris always likes.
is a good idea though.
Neil: It is a good idea.
Chris: Because if you take your own poxy song along you
don't get anything fresh.
Neil: Having said that,
we took in some of your cassettes and out two bits of the
Chris: It was still like working from
Neil: Then suddenly I thought of "before
Originally it just went [laughs] "before before before
before". Then I got "you find your love before" and Chris
said, "oh, I really like that".
Chris: This was one of
those things that just sounded good from day one, I always
thought. It just sounded ace. We played the chords. Danny
Tenaglia had done lots of drum programming before we
arrived in New York.
Neil: He had a whole recorded
nine minutes of loops which sounded great.
he put on a brilliant bass part.
Neil: So I went back
to the hotel and wrote a lot of the words for it, the same
day. In New York you tend to work quickly - you don't piss
around. In the song I'm talking to someone about someone
else. It's saying "if you wait long enough..." it's the
same message as "Love Comes Quickly" but from a slightly
different point of view, really. When
down about love, when you're in a difficult situation,
suddenly things can straighten out. Suddenly the right
person comes into your life. The middle bits -"there's a
story of a man who loved too much" - are different.
They're about, I think, 0. J. Simpson because that was on
telly the whole time.
Chris and I
went to Bergdorf Goodman for lunch, then to Bass Hit.
Neil: Danny Tenaglia couldn't get his head around starting
work at midday. He normally DJs all night and goes to bed
at seven in the morning and gets up at four in the
afternoon. We didn't mind starting later as long as we
finished at our normal time of about nine o'clock. Hence
we had a very good working relationship; we weren't in the
studio that much. That day backing vocalists came in to
sing on "Before". They were a hoot. That was when "Before"
became the hook.
To Axis studios,
above Studio 54. Vocals.
Chris: It was good there. That's
where C&C Music Factory used to record. Francis Kervorkian
was there, mixing Erasure.
Neil: That night we went to
the Sound Factory bar for a party.
Chris: Not my idea
of a party. It was a load of DJs standing around.
Neil: Gossiping about being DJs. Anyway, we met "Little"
Louis Vega, and then Danny drove up around the Village.
Chris and I to Kaplan's Delicatessen
for lunch. Then to Bass Hit. Started new track, "The Boy
Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On".
Neil: We used to go
to Kaplan's when we were recording with Bobby '0'.
Chris: It's good, actually. Great pastrami sandwiches and
things like that. We couldn't find it at first.
All New York looks the bloody same. It's quite near
Bloomingdale's, but further over than you think. We sat
around for hours in the studio. Something went wrong.
Chris: They erased some of the vocal.
Neil: Then we
started "The Boy Who Couldn't Keep His Clothes On". The
song, again, comes from one of Chris's cassettes. It's
just about someone dancing without their shin on in a
club. It's about someone I know who can't keep their
clothes on. If it's hot, especially. Though now he doesn't
do it anymore - he says it's corny. That night we got the
overnight flight back to London. Waited an hour at
Heathrow for luggage.
My 41st birthday.
BIG studio. Started work on "Se A Vida S" with Chris
Porter and Pete Gleadall Barbeque in back garden.
BJG working on "Se H Vida P"
BIG, "Se A Vide P". Brass players. Mark Farrow in to
discuss Alternative artwork
BJG, "Se A
Vide S", vocals.
Chris and I to Nicole
'S for lunch Then shopping. Then to BJG. Chris Porter
mixing "Se A Vida A". Then to Face 15th Anniversary party.
Then to Browns.
Chris: There was a good DJ at the
Face party, who no one was listening to.
Started work on "Up Against ft,,.
"Up Against ft,,.
BIG. Johnny Marr in
to play guitar on "Up Against ft".
Neil: Then Johnny
Marr had this idea for the backing vocals at the end of
the song: "really coming up against it - oooh hooh hooh".
He said, "if you were being really Quinsy Jones you'd do
something like this". [said, "let's do that then". We sang
them together. I'd written the words for "Up Against It"
when I demoed it. The title comes from the title of the
screenplay Joe Orton wrote for the Beatles which was never
used. I thought: I need a four-syllable phrase to fit the
melody. And then [looked at the bookcase in my sitting
room, and there was Up Against ft. The song was originally
called "I Will Love You" - that was Chris's title. Having
decided on "Up Against It" as the tide, I'd also been
reading a book about London after the Second World War,
and the lyrics are sort of about postwar Britain.
about how people thought at the end of the Second World
War they were going to build a new Jerusalem, and how in
every era that you can remember everyone's being told to
tighten their belts and all the rest of it They were doing
that in the 40s, in the 60s, in the 70s, in the 80s, and
they're obviously still doing it now. You've always
marching there but you never actually getting anywhere,
are you? It always seems like you've got an economic
crisis on, and that sort of optimism disappears. The song
is absolutely saying: what a swizz. Everything in it is
quite logical - just in case you think it is a load of old
bollocks, as I sometimes do myself. The first verse -
"such a cold winter" refers to the legendarily cold winter
of 1947 I 48. "Printer" and "winter?' that's very Sting,
isn't it? The "so deep in quicklime" bit was because, when
I was writing the song, they dug up the bones of the Tzar
and his family in the woods in Russia. It's just saying,
communism was shit, wasn't it? Because that was the start
of communism. The song is just saying, politics is shit.
BJG. Vocals on "Up Against h", then we
did mix of "Confidential " for Tina Turner with the melody
played on the piano.
Neil: Tina Turner had
accepted "Confidential" but she thought the melody was
complicated and she wanted it played on the piano.
To Spain for a holiday for a week, first to Santiago de
Neil: That's the first verse of "To Step
Aside". They have this weird thing where all these
pilgrims walks 120 miles and they have these sticks, and
they all come into the square in Santiago de Composted
singing because it's the end of their journey.
Top Of The Pops for "Paninaro". Damon was there.
Shaun Ryder. Bez. Met Corona.
Neil: That's a good
entry: "met Corona". It was a classic
August 3rd. Went to house.
Neil: We decided to rent a house in the country,
because Chris had sold his house in the country, and the
Strongroom was too cramped, and we wanted somewhere where
we could write and record in a more relaxed way. We looked
at a loads of house and chose just west of London, near
Henley, because Sarm have a studio near there called Hook
End. That's where Morrissey always records. We put our
studio in an outbuilding of the Henley house. We still
wanted to write some new songs, and do some of the basic
recording and programming work there. We took a bit of a
break while the studio was being wired up.
Pete Gleadall and Carl finish wiring up the studio.
Chris and I start working with Pete Gleadall on the new
version of "In The Night" for The Clothes Show.
Carl's our sort of roadie. We redid "In The Night" because
The Clothes Show asked us for a remix.
Chris: Is that
the first thing we did in the house? It turned out rather
well, that. In fact it turned into a bit of an opus,
Neil: As you pointed out, it has symphonic
form. It's in three movements.
Chris: They played it
on Radio One in its entirety just before The Clothes Show
NNeil: Really? How amazing. Actually,
Radio One do play a lot of our records. One always forgets
that, kind of winging about everything. In fact our
records are on the radio all the bloody time. Last week I
went out into the garden to see what the workmen were
doing, and as I walked out into the garden -and they were
new workmen who I hadn't met before - the opening chords
of "West End Girls" came on the radio. It was really
funny. I nearly went into it. If Chris had been there we
could have done the video for them.
Henley. Finished "In The Night".
Henley. Start a new song called "Shame".
wonder whose title that was. [Chris laughs.] That becomes
"To Step Aside". Anything to say about that, Chris?
Chris: It's got a good chord change in it.
based on something you'd written at home on your little
keyboard. To get the title, again I needed a four-syllable
title, and so I again looked through the books in my
sitting room. And I again came across a book with a
four-syllable title: To Step Aside, short stories by Noel
Coward. A friend said to me the other day that he was on
the tube and there was a man opposite him reading Can You
Forgive Her? by Trollop. [Laughs] Well, you've got to
August 16th. Henley. Worked all
day on new song "How I Learned To Hate Rock 'n 'Roll".
Neil: Chris's brother, Tim, was here. You were loitering
around the pool and we were piecing together this song,
bit by bit.
Henley. Worked all day on
new song, "C Major
Neil: "C Major" turned into "Red
Letter Day". We were trying to write something anthem.
Chris: And we were into this thing of the baseline not
being the root note of the chord, which we learned off
NNeil: Apparently that's the basic
starting point for any bass player, someone told me. It
took us ten years to discover that. Also - as part of our
range of "take the chord change of a famous piece of
classical music and put it to a 4/4 beat and see what it
sounds like" - the starting point of this was The Song Of
Joy by Beethoven, wasn't it?
Chris: It's the same
chords, virtually, as "Go West". Only at the start.
Neil: And the bass notes make them different. It was a
real struggle that day. We both sat there endlessly trying
to write melodies for it.
Worked on new disco track, "Gorgeous".
becomes "Saturday Night Forever". It was called "Gorgeous"
because there's a line in it: "if you see someone gorgeous
then you think..."
Henley. Worked on
"Gorgeous" and "The Truck-driver And His Mate" and "How I
[Learned To Hate Rock 'N' Roll". Put vocals on the demos
In Budapest visiting Dave
Neil: That's verse two of "To Step Aside". Out
of the window you could see all the people queuing in a
very orderly way for all the buses. Verse two is about a
Henley. Working on "To
Step Aside" with Pete Gleadall.
Henley. Working on "To Step Aside" with Pete Gleadalt
Henley. Working on "Delusions Of
BJG. Chris Porter and
Pete Gleadall there. Tina Turner came with Roger Davies.
Did guide vocal for "Confidential".
BJG. Working on "Confidential".
BJG. Working on "Confidential".
BJG. Tina Turner came with Roger Davies to do vocal.
Neil: She always comes with her manager.
At home writing lyrics for "Metamorphosis".
Neil: "Metamorphosis" started out as a track we did with
Mark and Trevor [dancers I rappers on the Performance
tour; who later became Ignorant]. After the second tour we
decided we were going to make a record with them, and we
had this backing track we'd written when we were in
Scotland writing songs for Behavior That's how long this
song goes back. We had Sylvia come in and sing the chorus
bit, and Mark and Trevor write raps for the verses. It was
Trevor's title, "Metamorphosis". Then. They didn't like it
and it never got issued.
CChris: A shame, really,
because it was the best version.
Neil: If you
listen to their version, you can't understand the words.
Chris: It doesn't really matter, does it?
on their lamentably unreleased album, the first track's
called "Metamorphosis", but it's nothing musically to do
with this. I wrote the words for the chorus of the
original version - "you grow up and experience this a
total metamorphosis" - and they wrote words which led
towards that. It's a positive song, about not getting into
trouble with the police and stuff like that. We thought
about doing a version ourselves on the last album. It took
me ages to decide what I was going to write about. I
decided I was going to write a song about being gay. It
took me ages and ages over a period of years to write the
lyric. I had the first lines - "please allow me to try and
explain I'm living proof that man can change" - and then
it occurred to me it should be about being gay: about not
wanting to be gay, and then being gay, and all the rest of
it. So it is completely autobiographical and more or less
true. The thing about a rap song which I never released,
which has given me a lot of respect for people who do
raps, is that they eat up an incredible amount of words.
You talk very fast, and you have to write a lot of words.
Sarm West. Pete Schwier and
Pete Gleadalt Working on "Metamorphosis". September 26th.
Working on "Metamorphosis". Chris Porter came and
dropped off a rape of "Confidential".
Neil: At this
point we were trying to do a version of "Metamorphosis"
using the original backing track and Sylvia's original
vocal, with me rapping. We finished the whole thing this
Sarm West. "Metamorphosis."
Sarm West. I did rap on
Sarm West. Working
Neil: We went out for dinner round
the comer then we came back and Chris did some rapping on
Chris: I just did the odd line over you,
like those rap records do.
Neil: And you also say the
bit at the end of the chorus: "it's all about change -
it's a metamorphosis".
Sarm West. Finished off mix of "Metamorphosis."
Neil: A Saturday! We hardly ever work on weekends. Chris: We
weren't happy with that version of "Metamorphosis" when
we'd finished it. It sounded great in the studio, but when
we took it home it sound crap.
Neil: It sounded really
crap. I don't know why. It was irritating. It was too
slow. We were stuck with the original tempo.
loved the tempo of it. I love the Mark and Trevor version.
Still like it.
Neil: The problem is, Trevor rapped at
twice the speed. Unfortunately, I can't do that. At one
point I was going to do Trevor's rap, but I eventually
released, trying to do it in the privacy of my own home,
that I would never be able to do it.
Henley. Chris and I drove to Hook End studio. Chris Porter
and Pete Gleadall worked on "Up Against It".
Hook End. Working on "Up Against It" with Chris
Porter and Pete Gleadall. Finished the mix.
HHook End. Working on "The Survivors".
Neil: We had another go at "The Survivors" for some
reason. Just changing the drum track. October 12th.
Still working on "The Survivors".
Hook End. Finished mix of "The Survivors".
haven't used that mix.
writing new lyrics for "Discoteca" and "Bdingual".
NNeil: This is when I released that I should change this
literal approach for "Discoteca". I suddenly had the idea
that it would be about communication, and about how
difficult it is for people to understand each other, and
how difficult it is to understand yourself when you're in
a deep emotional situation sometimes. I took what had been
the second verse of it - "I don't speak the language, I
don't understand the words" - and I made those the first
line. I thought that was a strong line. And rather than
make it a description of something that has happened, I
made it general. The point of the song is contained in the
lines: "I'm going out and carrying on as normal". What do
you do when something terrible happens to you? What are
you meant to do? You carry on as normal really. That's
exactly the point.
I'm going out and carrying
on as normal i.e. you go out clubbing to try and forget,
to try and ignore what's happening around you. So the
narrator is saying "hay una Discoteca por aqui?' to the
people around him. Then in "Bilingual" the narrator is a
very glib Euro-businessman. Another reason we thought of
doing the album Latin was as a reaction against Britpop,
and that we like being part of Europe, and that we are a
very international group and we like that fact. In
"Bilingual" the narrator is a glib Eurocrat who flies
business class and likes all his privileges. He's trying
to pick up chicks at meet 'n' greets. He's pretending that
he's a sophisticated ladies man - he's single bilingual!
But he's not relay communicating, either, and he knows it.
In actual fact he's a hopeless, tragic wreck. He's a bit
like the person in "Let's Make Lots Of Money..." whose
never going to make any money. He's superficially got all
the right things but he's
just not getting there.
He doesn't understand why, but he knows he's not. Chris:
He doesn't understand that business class is a rip off on
a short flight. You get no more leg room.
Exactly. The song ends with a reprise of "hay una
Discoteca por aqui?" He could literally be going to a club
after his scenario, but also it's saying that he is a lost
and frightened person.
Worked all day on "Discoteca '7 "Bilingual".
Hook End. Worked on "Discoteca" then on "The
Truck-driver And His Mate ". Tony Wadsworth and Murray
from Parlophone arrived to hear some tracks and for dinner
Neil: 'The Truck-driver And His Mate is one of those songs
that was started in a fanfare of enthusiasm that by day
three had faded, really.
End. Drummers from Sheboom! arrive from Glasgow and played
on "Discoteca" and "Se A Vida A". Neil: There's about
seventy drummers in Sheboom! but we only had about twenty.
They're great. They make their own samba drums themselves.
They did it all in about four hours. Afterwards I said,
"would anyone like a cup of tea or anything?" and they
said, "do you think we could have beer, do you think?"
They drank two crates of Budweiser... Chris: ...From the
Neil: And went back to Glasgow.
HHook End. I did vocals on "Bilingual".
October 20th. Hook End. Chris arrived. We worked on
"Discoteca" and "Bilingual".! did vocals on "Discoteca".
Then we drove back to London.
End. Bob Kraushaur Carried on working on "Discoteca". More
Hook End. Working on
"The Truck-driver And His Mate". Neil: We all went to
the pub. Do you remember? You said, "we never go to the
pub anymore, do we?"
Neil: So we went
to a local pub.
Hook End. Continue
working on "Truck-driver". Chris and I drove into Reading.
Hook End. Worked on "How I Learned
To Hate Rock n 'Roll'. Bob Kraushaar started mixing
"Discoteca" and "Bilingual".
End. Bob still mixing "Discoteca".
Hook End. Finish mixing "Discoteca '7 "Bilingual". Chris
in London? Started working on "You Only Tell Me You Love
Me When You're Drunk".
Chris: You can tell when I've
(Disappeared. It's always the way. I'm safely on the way
back to London...
NNeil: And I'm recording a country
November 1st Hook End. 1.1 Belle came to
play guitar on "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're
Hook kid. Working on "Drunk"
Sarm West. Danny Tenaglia arrived
from New York with a keyboard player from Miami named
Eddie, started working on "Saturday Night Forever. Chris
Porter in Studio 3, remixing "Se A Vida t" to include the
Sheboom! drums. Chris and I left early for the launch
party of the Noel Coward biography by my friend Patrick
Sarm West. Chris
Porter finished mix of "Se A Vida P".
Michael was in the studio then, doing his album. He'd
heard "It Always Comes As A Surprise" and he kept telling
us how much he liked it. He'd come up and say, "Can I just
hear that track?"
Working on "Saturday Night Forever
Neil: I was
thinking of it as the sort of song that Robbie Williams
would sing in Take That. I wrote the words so quickly I
can't even remember what I was thinking. It's about: isn't
it great going to a disco on Saturday night? It's about
picking someone in a club. The twist on it is, it has a
cynicism about it, whereas a song like "I Want A Lover is
slightly more aggressive. Eddie from Miami thought the
chord change was brilliant, because it's incredibly
complicated, and the chords don't naturally fit together.
It's a classic thing where we wrote separate parts of a
song and shoved them all together. In the Eighties we were
always fascinated by the way Stock Aitken Waterman songs
would go into the choruses. Sometimes they would just go
up a half step, like we did in "Being Boring"; that was an
imitation of Stock Aitken Waterman, that. It always
fascinated us how you could just go from one thing into
another, and it just 'sounds natural sometimes. ?Saturday
Night Forever" is a very circular song. It just keeps
going round and round. It could go on forever, really.
It just goes from one thing to the next and back
again, and each time it's a bit of a surprise when it does
it. When we did it I thought "oh, we'll have to write
proper words for that", and Chris said, "no, it's great -
it just goes forever forever "
November 17th. Sam: West. Last
day on "Saturday Night Forever". Meeting with Radio One
producer about recording a show to be broadcast on
Went to see David
Bowie at Wembley Arena. Backstage, afterwards, met David
Bowie, Noes Gallagher, his girlfriend, Meg, Polystyrene.
Then I went to the Royal Albert Hall for the Black And
White ball Danny Tenaglia was playing. Chris and Dainton
Neil: Good night, that.
BJG. Chris Porter.! Didn't go. November 21st.
BJG. Working with Chris Porter and Pete Gleadall on "To
NNeil: 'To Step Aside" was totally
programmed and worked o~ in Henley. It started off as
something Chris wrote, then in Henley I worked on it when
Chris wasn't there one day and put the ethnic samples on
it. It's from some sample disc. I had the idea of the
Santiago de Compestela thing and I wanted it to sound like
pilgrims singing, so we got a sample of gypsies singing. I
had the title first) so I had to rationalize the tide into
meaning something. The idea I thought of was trying to
draw a parallel between my life and the lives of working
people in Europe, in peasant societies or proletarian
societies. So you've got Spain and post-communist Hungary.
And also the idea of people having faith in things. It's
really about faith, this song. It took me ages to write
the first Venn, and quite frankly I'm still not happy with
it. It's the idea that these pilgrims have walked 120
miles and it means they've attained eternal salvation, but
then there's pathetic Neil looking out the hotel window,
thinking how good it must be to have that kind of
How one doesn't have it, really. When I
talk about "If I decide to step aside" I mean from the
relationship I'm in, and also from the Pet Shop Boys
themselves, and also from my way of life. If I was to give
up the whole strain of being in pop music, how would I
deal with it? Could you actually become a person like
that, with a simple faith in one thing? Then the second
verse is in Budapest: "for market forces to provide I what
history's so far denied". It's sort of linked in with "Red
Letter Day". Everyone really only wants the same things.
They just want comfort, security, education. It doesn't
seem that much to ask, but it seems impossible to get it.
They didn't get it under communism, and now they're
waiting patiently for market forces to provide it.
Then I'm endlessly comparing it to what I'll decide to
do. Then the song moves totally into the personal, and it
gets very romantic. The reason I'd step aside? Because I
don't want to be changed any more by the experiences I've
been going through. I sometimes think I'd rather give up
the competition of the whole thing, and live quietly
somewhere. Live a simple life. Not try to be clever. I
think about it all the time. But I don't want to do it
either. I like the way that 'to Step Aside" is followed on
the album by "Saturday Night Forever". It asks a very
difficult question - are you going to step aside? - and
then you go out and carry on as normal.
BJG. Working with Chris Porter and Pete Gleadall on
"To Step Aside".
BJG studios. Did
vocal for "To Step Aside". Chris and I went to the
Coliseum to see Turandot.
NNeil: It was directed by
David Alden's twin brother, and Heather Carson did the
lighting, and we sat next to David Fielding.
November 23rd. BJG. Chris Porter Mixing "To Step Aside".
BJG. To hear finished mix of "To Step
Aside". Chris and I to Donmar Warehouse to see The
Rupert Street Lonely Heart's Club by Jonathan Harvey.
Neil: It was good, but not as good as some of his other
We'd decided to work with K-Klass on "Metamorphosis". They
were always very keen to work with us, and we'd met them
in Australia on the tour and we'd liked them. We actually
had asked Jam & Spoon to do "Metamorphosis" because we
loved that mix they did of "Young Offender" and they did a
very good mix of "Yesterday, When I Was Mad" as well, and
we thought we'd try and do Metamorphosis" in a very them
kind of way. But they didn't like the song so they didn't
do it. November 28th.
BJG. K-Klass. Sylvia came in and sang the vocals
this point we're getting there, and we're thinking of
releasing the album in April. That was the plan for a long
time. But the American deal taking so long slows that
BJG. K-Klass. Chris and I to
the Royal Albert Hall to see PJ & Duncan. We met them
afterwards, with Sean MacGuire, Boyzone, Deuce, Let loose
December 4th. BJG. K-Klass.
BJG. K-Klass. David Bowie phoned up re remix.
Neil: It was dead funny when David Bowie phoned Up. I was
at home. I was told he was going to phone in five minutes,
so I got a friend to answer when it rung so that they
could speak to David Bowie. Then I went in to see K-Klass
mixing "Metamorphosis". With K-Klass the way it kind of
worked is that they really did it all. They had their own
programmer, keyboard player, engineer. I just edited their
ideas really. They changed the music of the verse and I
worked out how to get from that into the chorus.
BJG. Bob Kraushaan K-Klass finished mix
of "Metamorphosis"; Pete Gleadall and Bob Kraushaar
started to mix "The Truck- driver And His Mate".
BJG. Heard Bob Kraushaar's finished mix
of "The Truck-driver". Worked on "Hit And Miss". I did the
vocals again and a few overdubs.
Neil: "Hit And Miss"
was never for the album. Chris never liked the song so it
was condemned to the B-side.
BJG. Bob Kraushaar. Heard finished mix of "Hit And Miss".
Mayfair studios. Started work on remix
of "Hello Spaceboy" for David Bowie. Chris and!, Bob
Kraushaar, Pete Gleadall.
studios. David Bowie came in and redid the vocals.
NNeil: That's when I phoned him up and said I'd cut up the
lyrics for a second verse. And thetas when he said, "it
sounds like I'd better come in".
Mayfair studios. Bob Kraushaar: We put together all
the vocals for "Hello Spaceboy". December 14th.
Mayfair studios. Finish recording "Hello Spaceboy". Bob
Kraushaar mixing it
Finished mix. Did a very quick twelve-inch mix.
The twelve-inch wasn't released in this country but it's
available on the Virgin America CD single. Its an extended
version of the seven-inch. It's quite good.
Radio One. Merry Pet Shop Boys show.
"Se A Vida t" video in Orlando.
Roundhouse studios. Tina Turner and
Roger Davies. Tina Turner re-sang the first line of
"Confidential". Chris Porter started to do remix.
Chris: Tina played us tracks off her album. We were all
grooving along in the studio to them. Neil: Chris and
I went for lunch and then went to see Mark Farrow about
the "Before" sleeve.
studios. Working on "Red Letter Day".
Neil: I had the
words now. It quotes the Bible, I'm afraid: "what on earth
does it profit a man?" What's the point of having material
wealth if you haven't got love? An old idea. It's about
waiting for someone to tell you they love you.
Roundhouse studios. Still working on
"Red Letter Day". Then to the Groucho Club. Met Jeff
Neil: I think I agreed that he'd do a video for
Roundhouse studios. Met Chris
for lunch at Nicole '5, then to Bridge Riley exhibition on
Cork Street, then to Gucci Taxi to studio. "Red Letter
MMet Chris and Dainton in the
Groucho Club. Drinks with Patsy Kensit, Liam Gallagher,
Robbie Williams. Then to Alastair Little, then we went
Chris: They went to see some concert at
Brixton. The Prodigy?
Neil: No. Someone funkier. I
think it was Black Grape. brFebruary 12th.
Edited "Ha/b Spaceboy "for Brit. awards. Carried on
working on "Red Letter Day". Changed the key. Did new
Neil: We did the whole thing, and I tried
to sing it, and I said, "sorry, the key's wrong, we II
have to change the whole thing". So we redid the whole
thing. That's when it stopped being in C major. That
evening we went to Chris's flat where we watched a video
of the TV programed about Upside Down. It's classic.
Roundhouse studios. Worked on "Red
Letter Day". Vocals.
Roundhouse. Mixing "Before".
Roundhouse studios. Mixing "Before".
Roundhouse studios. Mixing "Before"..
spent three days with Bob Kraushaar mixing "Before". Chris
didn't like the mix. Chris: [laughs] How many days? Three
Neil: It's a good mix, actually, Chris.
Chris: It's a terrible mix. I thought Neil had attempted
to change it into something that it wasn't and never was
going to be. Into a more strident, more typically sounding
Pet' Shop Boys record, with more of an arrangement.
Neil: I was trying to do that. [Laughs]
Chris: I just
didn't like it. I wasn't the only one. No one liked it.
Neil: No one else heard it.
Chris: Was it just me?
Well, I just didn't like it. And there was nothing, l
didn't like about the Danny Tenaglia one.
Neil: I like
the Jocy Negro one. I think the seven-inch mix is too
linear. Nothing else happens after it starts. I still
think that. But months later I realize that what I should
have done is to literally put the lines that I like on the
Joey Negro mix over the Danny Tenaglia mix.
Brit. Awards with David Bowie.
Ant & Dec show.
video shoot with Howard Greenhaigh.
Top Of The Pops with David Bowie.
Neil: Tina Turner
was there too.
Taxi to Sarm West.
Barbara Tucker, Karen Bernod, Ca role Sylvan sing on "Red
Neil: I did the lead 'vocal yet again.
Corrected the double track vocal on
"Red Letter Day "C Bob Kraushdar sorted out the slave
multi-track for Moscow.
Neil: If you want to record
vocals, what you do is do a mix onto two tracks of a
twenty-four track tape, so that you have twenty-two tracks
Sarm West Bob Kraushqar remixed
Neil: We weren't totally happy of
Chris Porter did of "Up Against It", so we
decided to have another go.
Bob Kraushaar remixed "Up
Sarm West Bob Kraushaar remixed "To Step Aside "t
George Michael was there. He played us some tracks from
Sarm West Bob Kraushaar
finished mix of "To Step Aside".
Neil: Now we think
the album is finished apart from "Red Letter Day". We were
going to have eleven tracks at this point.
Go to Moscow. Chris has gone to LICIS Vegas, via Los
Chris: I went to the Frank Bruno fight, and
I'd never been to Las Vegas because I'd never seen it.
Having seen it, I know I don't need to go back. I was
going mad by the end. You just couldn't escape the noise
and the sound of the money coming down. You couldn't even
go for a quiet drink because there wasn't a bar that
wasn't in a casino. In the end it became nightmlarish.
Neil: I flew to Moscow with Bob Kraushaar, and we were met
by this guy called Alex from EMI Poland who's from Russia.
The week before I went there was a big story in the paper
about two western businessmen being shot in the foyer of
their hotel in St Petersburg, so I decided I had to have a
bodyguard. Malcolm Hill from EMI was there with Jane, a
presenter from The 0-Zone, and Siobhan, the producer from
The 0-Zone. We went for a walk in Red Square, and we went
to a restaurant called Silver Age which was a restaurant
when the Tsars were there, and there were all these
gangsters sitting round. They have this thing where they
auction a flower, a rose, and as they've all got so much
money they say "twenty dollars!", "thirty dollars!", and
soon, bidding some ridiculous amount just to prove how
much money they've got. It's really pathetic.
They're sad, aren't they? There were a load of them in our
hotel in Cyprus, years ago. Dainton was there, and he
intimidated them so much that they quieted down. [Laughs]
They've got a lot to learn if they want to be westerners.
Bob Kraushaar and I went down Arbat
Street. Monument Park. Recording session with the Moscow
Choral Academy for "Red Letter Day".
street used to be the bohemian area, but actually there's
nothing to do. Really depressing. The Monument Park is
where they've put all the old statues. The funny thing is
that they haven't just put the old Stalinists there, like
they would do in some places, they've also got
Shostokovitch and Saicharov, who are the heroes of
dissidence. It's weird. The moral is rather mixed. The
recording session was at the State Broadcasting House. The
choir were quite young, about 18 to 30. There were about
forty of them. The 0-Zone asked a couple of them if they
liked pop music, and they went "no". Do you know the Pet
Shop Boys? "No." Do you like the song? "No." At the end of
the session Victor Popov the conductor, who's a major
classical conductor I think, said "work is work". The BBC
were there, and you had the engineer translating to the
conductor what we wanted the choir to do. There was a
score, and we had the guy who had arranged the score, who
was Russian but who lives near Heathrow airport. It was
all a bit unnerving. Nonetheless we got it done. At this
stage the song had a bit at the beginning which we didn't
end up using.
Moscow. To NK newspaper
Neil: It was amazing, this place. They
had bullet holes in the wall. When they had the White
House blockade they'd been in the thick of it, and had
soldiers shooting at them. There's a picture of one
journalist who used to work for the newspaper. He'd been
investigating corruption in the armed forces and he was
told there were secret documents at the station. He went
and picked up this briefcase, and when he opened it in the
office it blew up and killed him.
back from Moscow.
Sarm West. Working
on "Red Letter Day" with Bob and Pete.
Sarm West. "Red Letter Day".
West. Finish "Red Letter Day". Bob starts to mix it. Chris
and I got to see Transporting.
Neil: It was good,
I went to Sarm. Finished mix of "Red Letter Day". Met Russ
Finish mix of "Red Letter Day".
In Sarm West. Decide to start a new
Neil: This became "Electricity". What we
decided to do was to break all of our rules. Do you
Chris: Oh yeah. We weren't allowed to do
anything we normally do. So we started off with it being
Neil: It's 96 beats per minute, isn't it?
Chris: Yeah. Whereas we'd normally do it over 120. And we
decided to only use sounds we wouldn't normally use. You
just had to think what you would do [laughs] and then not
Neil: You weren't allowed to have a string pad.
Anyway, after a while we lost interest in all that, I
think, but that was how we started it.
decided to put a string pad in anyway. Also, in Los
Angeles I'd kept hearing the 2-PAC record, "California
Love", and there were quite a few good records like that,
so it's a bit influenced by all them.
Neil: I had some
words in my Passion organizer. When we were in Jamaica in
January 1 had a dream one night that we were making a
record with David Bowie, and when I woke up I remembered
the song we had written in the dream. It was called
"Friendly Fire", and I could remember it really well, and
in Jamaica I wrote words for this song that I'd dreamt,
and I put some of them into this. Things like, "I'm an
artist, honey..." The song is an interview with a drag
Chris: We were, "right, we need a sample on
this," and we just flicked through what was on telly just
then, and there was this film and there were two really
good bits: "get out of here and take this cake with you!"
Neil: "What are you doing here in San Francisco?"
Chris: And "What does it all mean? Actually, if you just
flick through all the television channels you will always
get a good sample.
Neil: There's always some great
line that seems very profound.
Chris: And sometimes
just by flicking from one channel to the next you get an
interest thing happening...
Neil: A dialogue.
Chris: . ..And you think, ooh, that works really well
Neil: Anyway, I wrote these words as an
answer to "what are you doing here in San Francisco?", and
make it about a drag queen. And I'd had this idea at a
separate time - "the greatest show with the best effects /
since Disco Tex and the Sex-o-lettes" so I put the two
lyric ideas together.
Sarm West. Did
vocals on "Electricity".
Neil: I had a really bad
cold. I couldn't really sing, so I sang quietly and my
voice had a funny texture to it. The chorus bits I sang
about eight times and we put them together, this sinus-y
chorus. Then we mixed it. It was all done in two days and
it sounded great, so we decided to put it on the album.
Bob Kraushaar mixed "How I Learned To
Hate Rock 'n 'Roll".
Sarm West. Did
two different running orders for the album.
was more commercial, starting with "Before" and "Se A Vida
E"', the other one started with "Discoteca". That day I
also corrected the rap on "Electricity", and made a couple
of changes to it. And that was actually the album finished
at that point, in theory.
Working on "Red Letter Day".
Neil: For some reason we
were never quite happy with "Red Letter Day" so I went in
t( do a different mix of it, but I couldn't make work.
Then we released there was nothing wrong with the
original. Sometimes you have to go through that - you have
to get a comparison - to realize there's nothing wrong. At
the same time I did a different album running order, and
we decided to call the album That's The Way Life Is.
Album cut at Metropolis studios with lan
Neil: At that point we thought the whole album
was finished. We had reference CDs made.
Meeting at Mark Farrow 'S office about the album cover
Sarm West. More backing vocals on
'Discoteca". Robin Jones added extra percussion.
The percussion had no top end on it at all, and I thought
it needed something like that. Also I was thinking, when
you have samba drums, they don't just play the drums, you
have people clattering things, and shaking things.
Added new mix of "Discoteca" to the album.
Result the album.
Extra percussion on "Se
A Vida P".
NNeil: We used a loop of Robin Jones'
percussion and added it to Se A Vida E". We had three
mixes of 'The Survivors" at this point - one from BJG, one
from Hook End and one from Sarm West. I got Chris Porter
to dig out the first one, and then I spoke to Chris and he
said that he'd always liked the first one anyway, so we
changed the mix. Around this time we also decided to
change the album title to Bilingual, which is what it had
been called originally.
June 10th Result the album
at Metropolis with the new mix of "Se A Vida E" and the
old mix of "The Survivors".
Neil: In the meantime we'd
spoken to Craig Kalman at Atlantic in America. He thought
that we should have more dance tracks near the start, so
I'd done a rough running order like that which Chris had
heard. Then Chris phoned up that morning and he said he'd
done a totally different running order.
only reason I did that is because I knew how to program my
CD player so I thought I'd have a go.
NNeil: What logic
did you use?
Chris: Basically, it's intuitive -
what I thought would be good after each song. At the
beginning, after the whole Discoteca business ("Discoteca"
I "Single") I thought it would be quite good to go into
the disco, and the most disco sounding one was
"Metamorphosis". It gets easier, because every time you
put a track down you've got less to choose from. Then I
listened to it, and it sounded quite good. Then [listened
to it again, in case I was wrong - I didn't dare say
anything to anyone before that. I might shame myself. Open
laughter. NNeil: Chris, really.
seemed like quite a radical thing to do.Neil: When I heard
it I thought it was interesting, so I cut that version,
and the previous one. [Liked the way in Chris's version
"Red Letter Day" was in the middle of the album; rather
than it being a grand finale it kind of re-kick-started
the album halfway through. I thought it sounded great. So
that's the one we decided to use.
Areagraphy Ltd 1996: All Articles have been
Literally 1996 Issue 16