News & Insights 21 June 2007

The things we do in the name of rock and roll…

Thursday 21 June, 11.50pm (Hugh’s recording studio, West London):
We have spent the last week and a half in the studio recording an EP with our new producer, Hugh Padgham. In the past, Hugh has worked with Sting & The Police, Genesis, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and so on, and the various albums he has worked on over his career have sold over 250 million records and won him 4 Grammys. Which, I think we can all agree, ain’t half bad.

Hugh is currently producing 3 tracks for us – Emily, Sleepless and Don’t Want You. Today is the last day of the session, partly because Hugh has other commitments over the next few weeks and partly because we’re playing Glastonbury Festival tomorrow. In fact, we are due to go onstage in just over twelve hours. In Somerset. And at some point between then and now we need to get at least a modicum of sleep.

Anyhow, the session’s gone really well and we’re all pleased with how the tracks are sounding. Tony has invested in a new Black Beauty snare drum, which he assures us is the world’s most expensive model at roughly £700 a pop (apparently he has “worked his contacts” to get one at a discounted rate). I have been enjoying the privilege of recording on a rich-sounding, freshly-tuned upright piano and a vintage Wurlitzer, which Hugh’s engineer Cesar picked up at a flea market for about 30 quid. Believe me, that is a bargain. It’s a little bit like turning up to a village jumble sale and finding an autographed copy of the Magna Carta sitting underneath the Victoria Sponge cakes priced 75p.

At this very moment, Hugh is running off an initial rough mix of Sleepless. It’s now 2 in the morning and we are being lit by sensitively-placed halogen spotlights, a blue wash from the moon outside and Hugh’s trusty lava lamp, which always comes on at around 9 o’clock (and which, judging by his dedication to switching it on at this hour, I think has magic powers of some description). We are almost at the close of a 14-hour day. I am buzzing from too many black coffees, but my body is exhausted. George is napping quietly in the corner, in anticipation of the 4-hour drive ahead of him. We have no choice but to travel to Glastonbury during the night because our stage time is midday, and if you arrive anytime after 7 in the morning there’s no telling how long it’ll take you to get on site.

Hugh swings round in his chair to face us. “I think that’s it,” he says. We agree. Cesar burns off 3 copies for us and we all step out onto the street, yawning and rubbing our eyes. Hugh and Cesar are going home to bed. We, on the other hand, are driving to a glorified farm in the middle of nowhere in a car which, to be frank, has seen better days. The things we do in the name of rock and roll. Honestly.
Chris Lightyear

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