Though some of the songs that
Fundamental were written back in 2003 (and
one of them, "Numb", was recorded in its near-final
version back then), most of the writing and recording took
place during 2005. As usual, Literally has Neil's full
diary of its sometimes meandering progress as it took
January 17th, 2005.
Beginning work in the
Pet Shop Boys'London studio with Pete Gleadall. Wrote
basis of a new song called "I'm with stupid".
Worked on "For every moment".
wrote this song in 2003 and we've written three versions
of it. We ended up giving it to Alcazar, though they've
now split up. We were always revising it, never happy with
it. We wrote "Luna Park" and "Casanova in Hell" at the
Worked on "Unbelievable
Neil: This was based on an old demo from 1998.
Back then we wrote it thinking of it being for Robbie
Williams, because even at that point there had been
murmurings of us working with him. Anyway, we turned it
into a new song which became "Fugitive".
Continued with "Fugitive" and started to write new song,
Continued working on
"Psychological". Gwyneth Paltrow came into the studio.
Neil: Our studio is in the same building as Sam
Taylor-Wood's studio. Gwyneth Paltrow came to be
photographed and Sam invited us upstairs to have lunch
Started writing new song,
Finished "Ring road".
Neil: It'll probably be a b-side. It's a sort of rock
Started writing a new
song, "The performance of my life".
Finished "The performance of my life". In the evening,
went to see A Minute Too Late, Simon McBurney's Complicite
Neil: There was a drinks party afterwards, and
then Chris walked across Waterloo Bridge.
Started writing a new song, "I made my excuses and left",
linked to a song Chris sung on his mobile last night.
Neil at home with flu - lay in bed
and wrote lyrics for "The performance of my life" and "I'm
with stupid". Chris in Paris for the Dior Homme show.
Neil: He phoned me up at one point from the Georges V and
Kate Moss came on the phone and sang "Careless Whisper" to
Still had flu - more lyrics for
"I'm with stupid" and lyrics for "I made my excuses and
Back in London studio. Added
middle eight to "Psychological".
Vocals on "I'm with stupid".
a song called "One way street".
Turned an idea of
Chris's into "Girls don't cry
Neil: "One way street"
was later turned down by
Chris: Not that
they'll ever hear the end of that.
Finished demo of "Girls don't cry". Made it
electronic-sounding. Vocals on "Fugitive".
Finished vocals on "Fugitive" and worked on "One
Worked more on "One way
street" then wrote most of a new song, "Integral". Chris
went home to get records because he was DJ-ing.
Worked on "Integral" then put a vocal on
"I made my excuses and left".
Worked on "I made my excuses and left", making the track
more electronic-sounding and writing a new section. Put
vocals on "The performance of my life
Went to the NME awards to present the Godlike
award to New Order
performance of my life
to "Integral", "I made my excuses and left" and "One way
street" then wrote a new song, The Resurrectionist
Neil: That's one of the songs where I gave Chris the lyric
and he wrote the tune.
Flew to Naples.
Went into the studio in Naples and meet Luca
Baldini. All our gear has arrived. Started working on a
new song, "Dirty tricks
Worked on "Dirty
Neil: We worked very slowly here.
Worked on "Dirty tricks".
working on a new song, "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show ".
Wrote chorus lyrics then came back from lunch and sang
Worked on "The Sodom and
Wrote the verse lyrics and sang them.
While Luca worked on "The Sodom and Gomorrah
Show ", changed some lyrics. Then started a new song
called "Indefinite leave to remain
Worked on "Indefinite leave to remain ". A lot of sitting
around. Then finished the words and sung vocals.
Worked on "Indefinite leave to remain
was fun actually being in Naples.
Finished off "Indefinite leave to remain" - edited the
middle bit and changed the bass and drums. Decided that
was the end of working with Luca. Neil: That night we met
Sondre Lerche - saw his concert at the Theatro Nuevo, and
had dinner with him beforehand. Then we took the rest of
the week off, went to Pompeii.
to London from Naples.
Back in our
studio. Breakfast with our manager and discussed maybe
Trevor Horn producing the new album. Started writing a new
song called "Minimal".
"Minimal"; finished words and put on the vocals. Went to
Finished "Minimal" and
started reworking "The
Sodom and Gomorrah Show
Did seven-inch edit of "No time for tears" with
Pete Gleadall then carried on working on "The
Gomorrah Show ". Went to the
National Film Theatre
where we bumped into
Neil: We were
discussing at one point releasing
"No time for tears"
as a single.
Put vocals on "The Sodom and
Put vocals on "One
Put new vocals on "The
Resurrectionist", then Chris reprogrammed "Indefinite
leave to remain" and I re-sang the vocals.
changed the rhythm track, didn't you? Chris: Yes, it was
fast, originally. We slowed it down.
Changed the lyrics to "The Sodom and
Gomorrah Show" and
Did a demo of a song for
Sondre Lerche, "Dancing In The Dusk". Went to see Rufus
Wainwright in concert.
Neil: Sondre Lerche asked us to
take this song he'd written on acoustic guitar and make a
demo of it so it sounded like Heetwood Mac, so we paused
the whole writing of the album to do this. It's quite
Wrote a new song called
Neil: Afterwards, rather appropriately, we went
in a taxi to Mr Chow's where we had dinner with Gary
Started writing a new song,
"After the event".
Worked on "After the
Finished writing "After the
event" then went to a charity preview of the musical Billy
Worked on "After the event".
Started writing a new song called "The
former enfant terrible
former enfant terrible
Lunch with our
Worked on a new song
Put vocals on "Twentieth
Century" then started to rework "After the event". Neil:
"After the event" is one of those songs we keep changing.
It's sort of good and sort of not-good.
General election. After voting, we worked on "After the
Chatted to Trevor Horn about the
Went to see Kylie Minogue in her
Showgirl concert at Earl's Court.
working with Trevor Horn at Sarm West on tracks for the
new album. I went to see a performance of Shostakovitch 's
Seventh Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall.
this point we obviously think we've got enough songs.
Worked on "Luna Park" with Trevor Horn.
Sang new backing vocal idea.
Worked on "The Sodom and
with a drummer called Cliff Hewitt.
Chris: He'd played with Apollo 440.
Neil: Some of it is
still there on the track.
At Pete Gleadall
's studio, recorded chorus vocals on the track "Throw" by
Dan Fresh then went to Sarm where we worked on "Luna
Worked on "Integral" with Trevor
Worked on "Integral" and started
work on "Casanova in Hell ". Corrected and re-sang lyrics
in "Casanova in Hell" and "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show".
Worked with Trevor and Dave Clayton on the
overture for the album.
Neil: That bit was never used.
Met with our manager about the Battleship
Potemkin release and decided to release "No
tears" as a single. Played Wolfgang
tracks from the album.
Met Yoko Ono at
her hotel in London and dis
cussed performing with her
at the Meltdown festival, then went to Sarm. Tessa Niles
came in and sang backing vocals on "I'm with stupid".
Worked with the programmer Dave Clayton on the
introduction to the album, "The day before yesterday
Edited "Men and maggots" from the Potemkin
soundtrack at Pete Gleadall 's studio for the album
release. Went to Sarm where Trevor was working on
"Integral". When we left Trevor was doing bass on "Luna
Neil: We actually listened to all of the
Battleship Potemkin tracks to decide what we'd edit down,
then decided not to edit anything apart from that.
Tim Weidner, the engineer started to do a
seven-inch mix of "No time for tears
Worked on "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show
Tim finished his
mix of "No time for tears" and
we adjusted it slightly.
Went to Metropolis to master "No time for
tears" and remaster the Battleship Potemkin album. In the
evening, we went to the ballet to see Swan Lake.
Worked on "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show
Recording "some Arabic flamenco nonsense vocals"
for "The day before tomorrow", then we went to see Guys
And Dolls with Ewan McGregor in it.
on album introduction with Trevor and
Worked on "Luna Park". Put backing vocals on
it. After dinner worked on "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show
In Pete Gleadall 's studio worked on our mix
of "Walking On Thin Ice" for Yoko Ono's Meltdown Show then
went to Sarm. Tessa Niles did backing vocals on "The Sodom
and Gomorrah Show
I presented the BP Portrait
Prize at the National
Worked on "Luna Park", putting back Chris's
bassline. I played acoustic guitar on it.
worked on "The Sodom and
Gomorrah Show "focussing on
An orchestral session at Angel
for "Integral" "Luna Park" and
Neil: As covered in Literally.
At Sarm, Trevor had Phil Palmer playing
acoustic guitars on "Luna Park". Went to Music Bank and
rehearsed with Yoko Ono.
Neil: As also reported in the
last issue of Literally.
Decided to not
go into the studio and let Trevor
Horn get on with it.
Sang harmonies on "Casanova in Hell
Put new parts on "The Sodom and Gomorrah
Chatted to Trevor about producing
more tracks. Then we decided to take a break and let
Trevor vibe out on the tracks.
Neil: This is where we
decided to make the whole album with Trevor.
Fred Applegate, an American actor who's in The Producers,
came in and did the spoken introduction to "The Sodom and
Gomorrah Show ". Then we went to a rehearsal for Live 8.
Live 8 rehearsal.
Meeting with promoter Walked
Neil: We were going to rehearse there,
didn't in the end.
at the Live 8 concert in Red Square.
from Moscow to Paris.
Dior Homme show.
Jason Shears there with David Furnish. Hedi Slimane's
birthday party, which Pete Docherty was at. We saw The
Paddingtons play and ended up chatting to them in their
Back to London.
Woke up to the news that there'd been blasts on the tube.
Worked on "Minimal" and listened through
"Psychological ", then worked on "Indefinite leave to
Worked on "Indefinite leave to
Press day for Battleship Potemkin,
then went to
see The Paddingtons play in a pub at
"Indefinite leave to remain"; sang two new vocal parts.
Worked on "Indefinite leave to remain" then
started to work on "Twentieth Century"; sung some new
vocals on it.
A new keyboard player Pete
Murray, came in and played on "Indefinite leave to remain"
and "Twentieth Century
A harp player and
singer Lucinda Barry, played harp on "Minimal", "Luna
Park", "The Sodam and Gomorrah Show" and "Casanova in Hell
and then sang ad-libs at the end of "Luna Park ". Pete
Murray worked more on "Twentieth Century
Failed bombings on the tube. Worked on "Indefinite leave
to remain" and re-sang some vocals. Pete Murray played
keyboards on the end of "Psychological".
Worked on "Indefinite leave to remain ". In the evening
saw the play Telstar, by Nick Moran, about Joe Meek.
German interview for Battleship Potemkin at
EML Phil Palmer played acoustic guitar on various tracks.
Worked on "Minimal". Trevor got Phil Palmer
to play guitar on it, and sped up the track. Worked on
"The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" making the new rock feel
work better Meeting about the Newcastle Potemkin concert
next May A drummer called Virgil Howe came in and played
on "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show".
Worked on "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show
Neil: Then we
went on holiday for all of August.
to Frankfurt for the start of the Battleship
tour in Germany.
Flew from Hamburg to
Back in Sarm West. Worked on
"Psychological" and edited the end. Two musicians arrived
from Los Angeles - Earl Harvin, who played drums, and
Jamie Muhoberac, who played keyboards. Neil: They were
there for two weeks, pretty much, playing on tracks on the
album. They've played a lot on Seal's records but they
also play with Air as well, and, I think, Beck.
Talked to Trevor about producing "I made
my excuses and left". Jamie played on "Psychological" and
"Luna Park". Earl and Trevor played on "Luna Park" and "I
made my excuses and left".
Neil: Until this point we'd
thought that "I made my excuses and left" would be
produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto, but he never seemed to quite
Jamie played on "I'm
with stupid" and
"Indefinite leave to remain
We had two studios on the go by this point.
Jamie played on "Twentieth Century" all
while we worked on "Integral". Earl Harvin put
Simmons drums on "Indefinite leave to remain
Earl played marimbas on "Minimal" and put
Simmons drums on it. Jamie worked on
being done. Jamie finished work on "Integral". Meeting
with Nick Ingman about string arrangements for "I made my
excuses and left" and "Psychological". Earl played vibes
Neil: The vibes are still very
noticeable in the choruses.
A lot of
sitting around. I sang "sun, sex, sin, death and
destruction" 40 times for choir backing vocals in a
Neil: Guess what that was like.
I went with Trevor to Anne Dudley's
house and discussed orchestral arrangements of "The Sodom
and Gomorrah Show" and "Indefinite leave to remain
In Sarm. Not much happening.
Robbie Williams phoned. Listened
through to Nick Ingman 's orchestral demos of
"Psychological" and "Minimal".
Neil: Nowadays when
people do a string arrangement, they play them on a
keyboard so you can hear them.
Talked to Nick Ingman about orchestral arrangements.
In Sarm. Not much happening.
In the evening I did watch the Bob Dylan
No Direction Home.
orchestra at Angel studios for "I made
my excuses and
left", "Minimal", "Introduction" and "Psychological Neil:
The instrumental that would end up being called "God
willing", and which was "The day before yesterday"~ is now
"Twentieth Century", simplifying the middle bit.
That's where we made it just all acoustic guitars.
Stripped it down.
Worked more on
Put item on website.
had been told at Chris's birthday party about the two
teenage boys who were executed for being gay in Iran - I
put an item about it on our website and phoned up Pete
Tatchell about it. Fundamental is dedicated to them:
Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni.
Recorded strings at Angel studios for "The
Gomorrah Show" and "Indefinite
leave to remain" with
Anne Dudley conducting.
Recorded brass parts on both
Mixing. Work on mix of "Luna
Park" and add more spoken vocals to the end of "The Sodom
and Gomorrah Show". Changed the beginning of "Indefinite
leave to remain" to just brass.
mixing "Luna Park"~ Rob Orton mixing "Minimal ". In the
evening, went to see a concert by Ryuichi Sakamoto and
Neil: We met Ryuichi Sakamoto at the
aftershow party and he said he was sorry he hadn't been
able to do "I made my excuses and left" but he'd been
doing this tour.
Tim mixing "The Sodom
and Gomorrah Show". Meeting with manager Played him "Luna
Neil: When we played it, we thought the mix
wasn't right. You could tell he wasn't knocked out by it.
Interview with Radio One about John Peel.
Neil: Chris and I have to hang around the
studio when they're mixing. That day we got bored so we
went to see Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist which we didn't
think was that good.
Rob finished the mix of "Minimal". In the
evening we went to see a play called Flanders
starring Keith Allen.
Mixing. In the
evening, we went to see a new
production of Hair.
Neil: Which we didn't like.
"Indefinite leave to remain ". Tim still working on "The
Sodom and Gomorrah Show ". We worked more on "The Sodom
and Gomorrah Show" with Trevo, putting a high string line
and other stuff on it. Went to the Turner Prize preview.
After we went, Trevor sang some new harmonies on "The
Sodom and Gomorrah Show".
about touring with our agents and managers. Worked on "The
Sodom and Gomorrah Show" mix with Tim. I copied Trevor's
new harmonies and took his voice out.
Worked more on "Luna Park".
Neil: This is when we
decided to strip it down
and make it more electronic.
We had a day in
Trevor's little back room, working on
We went to Diane Arbus exhibit
at the V&A and then went to Sarm. Another engineei Taz
Mattar did a mix of "Luna Park" which we made some changes
Taz still mixing "Luna Park";
we made further changes. Rob mixing "I'm with stupid".
Rob finished "I'm with stupid" and
started "Twentieth Century ". Taz finished "Luna Park".
Neil: That mix, in the end, wasn't used, although it was
quite a good mix.
Taz working on
"Psychological" mix - two
young girls come in to sing
Neil: One still sings on the end of the track.
Went to our studio and wrote a song with
Back to Sarm. Tim
mixing "I made my excuses and left". Rob finished
"Twentieth Century". We adjusted the mix slightly and made
some suggestions to make the "I made my excuses and left"
mix more climactic at the end.
a flu jab. Worked in our studio on the
demo of the
track we'd done with Robbie
Rob mixing "Psychological", Tim mixing "Casanova in Hell".
We worked with Trevor on "God willing ", now the title of
the introduction. I suggested an album running order In
the evening, we had a drink with Bananarama.
Listening through to my running order with
Trevo, then we all changed it. Suggested
Tim remixing "Casanova in
Hell" - we went
back to the original demo drums in the
More vocals on "God willing
Tim finished mix of "Casanova in Hell". Chris heard "God
willing" vocals and we decided to dump them.
was a sort of spoken thing on "God willing". We decided
that it was pretentious, although Trevor actually quite
Went to the National Army
Museum for the launch of a book, Last Post. We were in the
same room as the only surviving veterans of World War I.
Afterwards, went to Sarm and listened to new mix of
"Integral" and "God willing", which Trevor had put the
spoken vocals back on. Neil: Two of the people at the book
launch were 105 and 109 years old.
Coffee with Sam Taylor-Wood and Patrick Cox re the stag
night for Elton and David. Rob finishing the final mix of
"Luna Park" and started new mix of "Integral", making it
more electronic. Worked more on "The Sodom and Gomorrah
Show"; changed the introduction with a heartbeat.
We had a great faff - we walked up to the Electric
restaurant on Portobello Road to record the ambience for
the start of "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" because we had
the idea that we wanted you to walk into the club and hear
it. I don't think we used it in the end.
Worked more on "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show" and
Neil: We recorded me walking on Basing
Street into Sarm at the beginning of "The Sodom and
Gomorrah Show". That is still there - that click is the
door of Sarm West.
Went to Manchester
to see Little Britain.
Worked more on
"God willing ". Both Chris and I spoke the lyrics, then
rejected them. Sang the second line of "Numb" again to
make it sound more English. Had a playback of the whole
album in Studio 2 - Chris, Trevor and I - and decided what
we wanted to change.
the stag night. In the evening went to Koko in Camden to
see Madonna launch her album. After we went to the Groucho
club with Bernard Sumner Neil: Bernard, mysteriously, was
at the launch. He had a slightly better ticket than us.
Playback of the album for our management
and various friends, including Dainton, Pete
Janet Street-Porter and Mark
Parlophone have a playback of the album at the Electric on
Neil: The album now is officially
finished. Nothing else musical is going to happen on
Start work on a remix of
Madonna at our own studio.
Neil: We do
that for the next three days.
at EM!. Turner Prize dinner
"Sorry" at Sarm West with Goetz Botzenhardt engineering
while Trevor did a seven-inch mix of "Minimal".
"Sorry" took three days at Sarm. The mix of "Minimal"
didn't work out.
Went to Paris.
Meeting with Dave Dorrell and EM!
France and played them tracks from the album. Train to
Played tracks to the German
EM! staff then
flew back from Dusseldoif Told by phone
Madonna loves our remix.
Meeting at Radio 2 about doing a concert with
Concert Orchestra in 2006. Lynne
Easton 's funeral.
Rehearsal for stag night.
Elton John's and
David Furnish's partnership party.
Sarm West for a seven-inch edit of "The
Neil: Then it was Christmas.
minor adjustments were made in 2006. At the end of 2005,
the album's running order was set as follows - "God
willing", "Minimal", "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show", "I'm
with Stupid", "Psychological", "I made my excuses and
left". "Integral", "Numb"~ "Luna Park"~ "Casanova in
Hell"~ "Twentieth Century" and "Indefinite leave to
remain" - and the earliest promotional copies were in this
order. (At this point, the album's first single was also
scheduled to be "Minimal".) In early 2006, the running
order was changed to its final version, some transitions
were edited accordingly, and the album was finished.