Disgruntled (we’re bringing that back BTW)

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontCorrupted Tranquility. That’s the next track. It’s another song of two halves. First half is funky-tron. Second half is still funky actually, but also a bit more rocky perhaps? Personally I found this one the hardest to sing. We tried so many different singing styles (15 I think) and Rob chose the best for the final mix. I think it has come out well. The original idea came about from a little funk riff I played to Pete and Rob and it grew from there. The chorus sounds mellow and sublime. Again, bass matches the song 100%. The vocals for the 2nd half were improvised from reading unused words from ‘the pile’. I love the effects on the vocal at the end slowly building distortion. The ‘bit crunch’ on the drums brings everything to a head. Lovely build up. Everything works AND we use disgruntled, twice.

Enjoy!

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The voyage continues…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontNext on the list of tracks to talk about, The Oyster. A bit of an odd ball this one. A bit rocky. A little funky. Some unusual vocal frills. Lovely bass riffing that pushes the track along with a guitar track that can do no wrong. I can’t imagine any part of this different to how it is. Everything fits nice and snug, just like it should and at a shade over five minutes it’s a good length. Not quite sure where the idea came from originally, I think it started from a jam? Maybe the other parts of HMD can help out with that. The over all concept, from a lyric perspective, is of a life lived, but not loved.(Feeling indebted to the queen/her/she above). A life of normality and function, but not of adventure or fulfilment. (I found the oyster, but not the pearl) An existence of conforming to what you feel is expected, but not showing who you really are. (I am faking a little longer. I fake myself to pass through unaware).

Why do a lot of my lyrics turn out to be downers? (Challenge for next album, 100% bunnies and sugar?)

I think the drums work quite well in this track. Although it has a bit of funk about it, the electronic drums don’t detract from the feel and everything comes across as being fluid. I’d have to agree with something both Rob and Pete have picked up on in the past week, that this album as a whole feels like musical progression of the last. It’s the third album from HMD and in listening to this and the first back to back I can see the development. Flesh Reunion glued both together perfectly. Also, as a side note, I managed to get all the electric guitars I own on a least one track on the album. RESULT! (Now that should be a challange! Each of us has to get each instrument on at least one track in the future. Might be easier from some than others. Just remembered the drum kit. Damn!)

So very very close…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontIt’s nearly time to share the fruits of our labour. The songs we have written. The music we have played. The mistakes and bum notes we’ve recorded. (Find them if you can, like a musical where’s Wally.)

Looking back its quite a mixed bag of songs. Different styles and different approaches. Different influences and different time signatures.  (Sorry. I blame Pete and his prog influence.) Lets look back at the tracks in no particular order, but starting with the first one we commuted to digitalness, Village of Dolls.

How many bass parts is there here? I’m pretty sure we all played at least one. We started writing this based on a news article Rob brought in about a village in Japan where the population had decreased so much that a resident had started to make dolls to replace the people. Simple enough ideas and abstract at the same time (I doubt it would’ve gotten Mr Cowell’s approval). I think this came together pretty quick. We didn’t come up with a structure of parts and instruments and we just chucked stuff at the mic to see what held. The result I think is a little unusual. Starts busy and full and reduces in complexity towards the end. Not a shouty loud song but one that teases you along till the end finally comes. It certainly gave us something to build upon through the coming weeks and inspired us to carry on the ‘hot pot’ approach of writing on the fly for a few tracks. A lovely start to recording Space Cowboys Under the Sea of Japan.

Flashback – HowManyDevils1

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We are very, very close to (i.e. months of tweaking mixes away from) releasing Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan.  Our third full length album.  I thought I take a look back at the first (which is streamable on SoundCloud), HowManyDevils1 or as it was known at the time HowManyDevils.  The obvious thing that has changed in the nearly 20 years that have passed is that we’ve got more imaginative with the album titles.  We’ve also lost a drummer, the career path has paralleled Spinal Tap in that respect.  Technology has changed: in 1998 we recorded HowManyDevils1 in an old factory in Sheffield squeezing 6 tracks out of two four-track cassette machines, in 2014 we recorded Flesh Reunion with near unlimited digital tracks on a laptop.

Have we changed musically?  I’m the not the right person to answer that, listen to Flesh Reunion on SoundCloud and tell us if we’ve changed!  I’ll have to ask the others about their influences then and now.  I know at the time the significant bands to me were Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers, Mansun, Placebo, and a little bit of Nine Inch Nails snuck in.  Simon was probably listening to Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, and Babes In Toyland.  From a 90’s point of view I know Pete was in to Pearl Jam, but Pete always had broader tastes that just what was happening at the time.