the other member of the band was. It doesn't sound substantially different
from the demo, though we remixed it and Chris did some more programming.
Chris: Not much, though.
Neil: It's my favourite track on the album. There is a sample from a Mahier
symphony, but I can't remember which one. Sometimes we just play another
record over something to see what it sounds like, and I had this album
of Mahier adagios, slow movements from symphonies, so we put that on and
a bit of that sounded good, so we sampled a few bars and repeated it.
It gives it that very eerie quality. It's a song, which fits very well
into the Pet Shop Boys work because it's about being bored.
Chris: "Canon" is the right word to use. The Pet Shop Boys canon.
Neil: It's a song about being bored: "it's very nice but it's not
what I'm used to - time on my hands". In fact in my notebook I had
two different titles: "Time on my hands" and "It's very
nice but it's not what I'm used to", which obviously we'd thought
of at some silly moment, and so I just put them together.
Chris: What do you do when you have time on your hands? I can only think
of one thing. Watch the television.
Neil: "70, 80, 90..." is Chris's. It's meant to be the Millennium.
Chris: It's one of my inimitable vocals.
Neil: I read in a review that we'd jumped on the electro clash bandwagon
with this track. I'd just like to point out that it was done at the end
of 2000, 50 this predates us jumping on the electro clash bandwagon.
Positive role model
Neil: When we were going to put out greatest hits in 2000...
Chris: The last time.
Neil: . . .we had this idea. It was at the end of Nightlife, when we did
"Happiness is an option" and "Somebody else's business".
We did three songs that sampled things: "Happiness is an option"
samples that Rachmaninov thing, "Somebody else's business" started
by sampled the Isley Brothers, though it got taken out, and this was Barry
White, "You're The First, The Last, My Everything".
Chris: I'm always listening to Barry White The Collection. It's a must
have, really. Also, we always liked that Tamperer record.
Neil: We recorded it with Chris Zippel over two visits, but then we decided
not to put out a greatest hits that year. It originally had a different
bit in it, and that was the version we performed live at Glastonbury.
It's a satire about rehab, about people going into the Priory and coming
out and going straight back on drink and drugs. Hence the "back on
everything" thing, though "Back on everything" was also
a separate song title I had. It was a spoof on that whole culture of famous
people saying "I think it's really important to be a positive role
model for kids", which kind of makes you want to throw up a bit.
Then it ended up in Closer to Heaven - it was supposed to be a song that
Straight Dave had written so I rewrote the words. I always Thought that
it didn't seem to make any sense in Closer to Heaven but no one seemed
to care because it sounded right and gave it a finale. This is the original
Try it (I'm in love with a married man)
Neil: We'd always like this song. It's a song written by Bobby 0 in, I
think, 1983 and it was recorded by a group he had called Oh Romeo which
was some session singers. I think it came out just when we got to know
Bobby 0 and we always really loved this record. By his standards it wasn't
at all successful but we always remembered it. We had actually suggested
to Tina Turner she should record it when we recorded with her in the mid-Nineties.
She wanted to do a big stopper but we didn't have one so we suggested
this. I still think it would have been a hit with her singing it but she
didn't like it.
Chris: I love this song. And sung by a man it's extremely risqué'.
I just love that line: "do you think about me, darling, when you
make love to your wife?" How good is that? And also "the world
doesn't understand my affair with a married man".
Neil: I remember the first time I heard it I was quite shocked by that
Chris: It's got all the elements.
Neil: It's a very good lyric - even sung by a woman it's very, very daring.
It's kind of like a country song. You could imagine Tammy Wynette singing
it. For our version we couldn't work out what the words in the middle
bit were so I've sort of made them up. I love the sound of
it. What's interesting about electro clash is that it's brought back the
Chris: It's brought back lots. It's brought back cowbells, Linn drums,
tom fills - all the things we like. All sorts of things that have been
expelled from the face of the earth for nearly two decades
London (Thee Radical BlaMite Edit)
Neil: We met Felix Da Housecat when we were
in Denver on tour. We wanted him to remix a
Song for us and we knew this was coming up as a single so we asked him
to remix this. He's taken a sample of my voice and he's made a different
record really. For the CD we edited it down because it was quite long.
Chris: It's very Eighties sounding, which is good. It sounded so different
to anything else on the album that Tim who mastered our albums did a very
good job making it sound part of the same album.
Somebody else's business
Neil: This was written in 1999 but it didn't have a verse, and the first
time we worked with Chris Zippel in Berlin in 2000 we wrote the verse
there. It's about a placid man dealing with his angry girlfriend. It's
saying that she's great really, because at least she's not boring. I've
always thought this was very catchy. Chris Zippel had a lot of computer
plug-ins - what a lot of people call, rather annoying in my opinion, "the
Cher effect". I want to know whether people say that to Madonna when
they're listening to "Music":
"oh, that flaming 'Cher effect' again, Madge". I love the bit
in the second verse where the car drives off.
Chris: We hadn't done that in a while. I remember writing it, taking the
Isley Brothers sample, just the first two chords of "Behind A Painted
Smile". I would always leave them in but Neil would always rather
take them out.
Neil: It also samples "Love comes quickly". We took it off Discography.
It might have been Chris Zippel's idea, or I might have been starting
to sing "oooh"s and said, "these sound like 'Love comes
quickly' - why don't we just sample them?"
Here (PS B new extended mix)
Neil: Since we first did "Here" Chris said he could imagine
a remix of it.
Chris: The version on the album was sort of day one of recording. It just
seemed like you could dance it up a bit. This will be the last house-y
trance-y thing we ever do'. [laughs] Because we now hate house music.
And we'll never do
ever again. The future is clear. The filature is 1980.
Neil: Or' specifically, 1981 is the filature. On the vinyl version, on
what we call the dub, there's a new keyboard riff we came up with which
just goes all the way through.
If looks could kill
Chris: This was started at Ray Roberts' studio...
Neil: . . .in about 1983. About the same time as "Rent" and
Chris: It was jam.
Neil: I was singing with the microphone and playing the echo unit and
shrieking very loudly and Chris was...
Chris: ... I was vamping out.
Neil: I was playing the piano as well.
Chris: Not at the same time?
Neil: I did, Chris. I literally picked the microphone up and walked across
the studio and do the [mimes piano part] We wrote two songs the same day
- this and "A powerful friend". We always liked them because
they were a bit bonkers - we always felt they sounded a bit like late
Soft Cell. We endlessly talked about doing it over the years. Anyway,
we dug out the demo last year and did a version for John Peel and then
we decided to take it more electronic-y. The original demo had no words
really, apart from "if looks could kill..."
Chris: "...they probably will".
Neil: I was doing something that sounded like words but wasn't actually,
so I had to write them for the John Peel show. It became about confronting
a very bitchy person. A very, very bitchy person who gives you those looks
that could kill. The song is saying: I don't care - you don't scare me,
Sexy Northerner (Superchumbo mix)
Neil: Tom Stephan suggested remixing this track because he liked it. He
saw us in concert when we were playing the original version.
Chris: What's interesting is that he's actually kept quite a bit of the
original, which is unheard of for Tom. But he's made it deep and tribal.
Home and dry (Blank & Jones mix)
Chris: This came about because during the university tour we did one last
gig in Cologne and in the Mercedes on the way back to the hotel they had
a very good sound system and I put the local radio station on - Neil was
in a different car, but everyone in my car said "let's face it, we
all love a bit of trance; who cares if it's not trendy". And we turned
it up fill whack and had a really good journey back to the hotel. And
after that Mitch phoned up the radio station to find out who was the DJ,
which was Blank & Jones, and the next afternoon she was having lunch
with them and a remix was being spawned. And this is it.
Neil: At the last moment, when we decided to call this album Disco 3,
we just thought back to the other Disco albums, and it just seemed obvious
that this should be on as well. At this point we realised that in doing
the "Here" remix we d used the drum sounds from Blank &
Jones, and they had an identical beginning, so at the last minute we had
to go back to the cutting room and trim off the start of "Here"
because it had exactly the same beginning, which was very finny.
London (Genuine piano mix)
Neil: This was totally done by Chris Zippel.
Chris: And his pianist.
Neil: When Chris Zippel has got your stuff over there on his computer
he endlessly works on it and keeps sending endless things over, which
is actually quite nice.
Chris: It's always work in progress.
Neil: Until you say "stop it!". Even then he carries on. He
remixed "Positive role model" for this album. For this, he got
a pianist friend in and he re-harmonised the whole song. It reminds me
a bit of Ryuichi Sakamoto: "Forbidden Colours". He did it with
the original vocal and you could hear the microphone stuff on it and also
there was one note I just thought sounded weird against the new chords
he put in, so I sang it again. We considered making this the version on
Release; on this album it sort of functions as a chill-out track.
Areagraphy Ltd 2002: All Articles have been
Taken From Literally 2002 Issue 26