||As is traditional following the
release of a new Pet Shop Boys album, Neil has shared from
his diary the pertinent details from the period
which Electric was written and recorded. These follow,
with occasional clari?cations and comments from him and
Chris. First however, a recap.
As the writing of
Elysium and Electric overlapped to a signi? cant and
unusual degree, the genesis of some Electric songs can be
found in the Elysium diary published in the last issue of
Literally. Here are the most important details of what had
Feb 4, 2010: Return home from a
drunken night out in Berlin and begin “Axis
11: Still in Berlin, begin writing“Vocal
Do more work on “Axis speeding it up.
June 23: In
Glasgow on tour with Take That. Work on “Shouting in the
Oct 3: In Berlin. Change some “Vocal
”lyrics and put down a mix of “Axis
Dec 12: In
Berlin. Start working on a new song, “A dream
12, 2011: Begin work on “Vocal” with Andrew Dawson in Los
Angeles. And now the diary picks up where the
May 20, 2012.
reading Nice Work by David Lodge.
Neil: I'd always
heard that it was a really funny book, and I’d read one of
his other 1980s academic comedies, Changing Places, which
Pet Shop Boys go to
Pete Gleadall is studio to work on “A certain je ne sais
Neil: Which became a b-side.
Finish working on “A certain je ne sais quoi ” and get
up “The way through the woods adding the long intro and
outro sections. Bob Krausaar mixes “A certain je ne sais
Finish “The way through the
woods ” and start to work on a cover version of “I started
a joke ” by the Bee Gees.
Neil: As-«a tribute to
Robin Gibb who had died at the weekend.
Finish “I started a joke ” at Pete Gleadall is studio
then take taxi to Bob Krausaar is studio. Listen to his
mix of “A certain je ne sais quoi ” and tweak
it a bit;
listen to what he has done so far on “The way through the
In Berlin. Listen through to
Turing music written on last Berlin trip. Look through
photos sent by Gareth Pugh of clothes for the Olympics and
choose ones they like. Discuss what the Elsyium album
launch events should be. Chris starts to
something he wrote on the piano, then download a piece of
music by Michael Nyman, - “Chasing Sheep... ” Chris makes
a version of it while Neil writes lyrics. After dinner
Neil adds vocal to track that is now called “Bourgeois
Chris works on music for “Bourgeois
Neil re- sings some lines with lyric changes. Put down a
mix of “Bourgeois
parts of “Bourgeois ” to Pete Gleadall in London so that
he can do a mix of it. Then Chris gets up his new track
for the Turing piece but the gear doesn ’t work.
Neil: This was because on the computer I had pressed...
Chris: ...the mute button! Without telling me!
Neil: I think the phone rang and we were talking and there
was music playing and I just muted it. And then we came
back to work and it wouldn't work. So everything came to a
Chris: Anyway, you learn. I now know to
look at the mute button that someone might have pressed.
June 12. _
Gear still not working so Neil and
Chris’ catch a train to Wittenberg, Martin Luther is home
Neil: It was quite nice. The weather wasn’t
that great, but we had a little wander round.
Chris: It was a bit boring. For clubbers.
looked at the church where Martin Luther pinned up his 95
theses on the door.
Holgen their sound
engineer, discovers that the gear is not working because
the mute button has been pressed. In the afternoon, they
work on a new piece for the Turing score “T he memory and
the control Then they make an Italo- disco version of “I
started a joke Scrap it, but then write over the music a
new song, “In his imagination
Chris: The gear was
not working because someone pressed the mute button.
Neil: I’Ve admitted it!
Work on “In
his imagination ” all day long.
another Turing piece, “Other ranks Neil puts vocals on
“The memory and the control In the evening watch England
Neil: England won, which is
In Berlin. Start a
new track which becomes “Bolshy Neil puts vocal on it then
does a phone interview with the MT VStyle website while
Chris works on track.
October 2. .
Put down mix
of “Bolshy ” then start new Turing track, “Natural wonders
every child should know
“Natural wonders every child should know
Continue work on “Natural wonders every child should
Continue work on “Natural
wonders every child should know
Neil: Then we went
to Cologne to do a TV show.
working at Stuart Price s studio in West London. Work on
the “Memory of the future ”
US elections. Go to the Pet Shop Boys ’new
studio in East London and get up “Inside a dream Neil
re-sings the vocals. Work on “One night”.
Barack Obama re—elected. Listen to ?nished, mastered
the “Memory of the future ” single mix then work on “Axis
Decide that “Axis ” should
be called “Electric
Work with Stuart all day on “Bolshy
Stuart not feeling well. No work.
Work on “Bolshy ” all day long,
changing the verse melody and the lyrics.
bumped into Chris on the tube on the way there.
Chris: It's an awful journey from my place to Stuart’s.
Work on “A dream
“Inside a dream”. I was calling it “A dream” at this
Chris and Stuart work while
Neil goes up north.
Stuart continue working.
Chris: How would Neil know
what we did?
Stuart is studio.
Stuart plays what he has done on “A dream “Bourgeois ” and
“Shouting in the evening”. Get up “The last to die ” and
Neil sings extra vocals.
Neil: That’s when the
guitar riff which had become a synth riff became a Vocal
At Stuart ’s studio, work on
“Love is a bourgeois construct” all day.
Neil sings lyric changes on “Love is a bourgeois
construct”. Work on “A dream
Discuss touring plans with Angela Becker Get up “Thursday
night special Neil sings vocals and the song is renamed
Chris: What would that have done to the
In Berlin. Work on
the “The trial” section of the
Further work on “The trial
Continue working on “The trial
Continue working on “The trial
Chris puts down a mix of the whole of “The trial
Neil: On a Sunday!
January 15, 2013.
Stuart is studio. Discuss the tour with Angela. Work on
“Thursday”; Neil sings a new chorus part and they change
the song structure.
studio. Work more on “Thursday ” then work on songs for
the Electric tour
Long meeting about
the Electric tour. Neil; There was a lot of snow this
Stuart is studio. Play
through the live show so far, and work on the tour version
of “I get excited ”
Work on second
section of the show.
Stuart works on
the tour music by himself
Neil: We didn't go in.
Listen through to the second part of
the live show then work on “Love is a bourgeois
construct”. Neil: It’s Very spread out, making the album.
Stuarts studio. Listen through to the
entire show, making notes for changes.
Stuarts studio. Stuart plays Neil and Chris the latest
versions of parts three and four of the new show. Neil
sings lyric corrections on “Love is a bourgeois construct.
Neil: That day we'd had lunch with Angela to
discuss the Kobalt deal — I notice that at this point I
spell ‘Kobalt’ with a ‘C’.
Farrow is studio to see an idea for the album artwork.
Meeting at Farrow about album artwork.
Work on new track “0nline
Work more on “0nline and put down a mix of it.
Start working on “Fluorescence ” from Chris 3 music; Neil
writes lyrics and sings them.
“Fluorescence ” which becomes "Fluorescent”. Neil
simpli?es the lyrics and re- Sings them. Then they ?nish a
mix of the song.
“Entschuldigung! ” Neil adds “Ich nicht sprechen Deutsch!
” chant to Chris is track. Finish it in the afternoon.
Work on music for the ?nal section of the
Turing piece, then stop and spend ages working on the
cataloguing system for their x2 label.
Work on the ?nal part of the Turing project, “An apology”,
based on the music of “He dreamed of machines
Neil: Actually “An apology” might not be in the final
Carried on working on “An
April 19. .
Carried on working on “An
At the Pet Shop Boys studio,
Neil sings revised version of “...Bourgeois... ” recorded
by Pete Gleadall who sends them to Stuart in Los Angeles.
Neil: Stuart’s now working in LA.
See the ?nished Electric artwork.
Check mastering of eight tracks which have come through
overnight from LA. Discuss the “Axis ” video.
Travel to Los Angeles.
a radio edit of “Vocal
Neil: So I haVen’t noted in
my diary when Stuart sent us “Vocal” originally. He worked
on it in Los
Chris: He sent it just
before the album was going to be delivered. Literally a
Neil: Originally the album Was going to
come out in June but we delayed it a month.
This was a far more haphazard way of putting together an
album than usual.