What’s the sound used in the first verse and at the end of ‘In Your Room’? This sound was also used in the live version of ‘Mercy In You’, in the final verse I think?
It’s a variphone.
What is the origin of the sound for the 3 notes in the middle of the chorus of ‘In Your Room’ (LP Version)? It sounds like a mix of piano and a synth factory preset. Those 3 notes are just amazing because they drive the lyrics and make it work perfectly : “Twoo – I’m hanging on your words – Twaa – Living on your Breath -Twee – Felling with your skin -Twee – Would I always be here…”
Affectionately known (to me anyway) as ‘Splang’ rather than ‘twoo, twaa and twee’, the sound is derived from a guitar. Each chord was sampled individually and then double-tracked with a second but different guitar sound. There is also a string/choir pad (another backwards sound) playing the same chords in the background.
What is the amazing effect you used on the drums in the middle of ‘Rush’ (album version) and which you used on several songs on ‘UM’ (it sounds like a kind of weird echo)?
I can’t remember exactly. It’s nothing particularly unusual – just some degenerating (filtering) delays with reverb on the delays only.
I consider ‘SOFAD’ to be the best DM album and obviously the best ‘Pop’ album ever. Are you particularly proud of this LP?
Yes. It was a difficult album to make at times but I think some of DM’s best work is contained on it.
Did you ever consider releasing the different versions of ‘Judas’ as remixes?
I’ve read somewhere that there were two very different versions of ‘Judas’ and a huge fight ensued. Your version was eventually used, and Martin’s reggae–ish version remained on the reject pile. Can you shed some light on these recordings please!
Huge fight? No, but true to say that Martin and I didn’t really see eye to eye on that one. We actually recorded that track in 3 or 4 different ways, the reggae-ish version being the second incarnation I think. There was also the original demo style as well as a sort of blues / country version. The final version was completed very late in the day and Martin didn’t say much about it which is his way of indicating he doesn’t like something.
Dave has suggested that he would have preferred ‘Condemnation’ to be DM’s first single released from ‘SOFAD’. Was ‘I Feel You’ your personal choice to lead off the album, and do you feel like its rock-feel set the tone for how fans and the media perceived the direction of the entire album (since some suggest DM turned rock)?
If I remember correctly, everyone else felt ‘I Feel You’ should be first, including Daniel. The main reason for the choice was that the track had attitude and was radically different to what we had done before. We hoped it would surprise people and make them curious about the rest of the album.
Listening to ‘I Feel You’ on headphones or a really good stereo, do you not find that the syncopated (I think it’s panned to the right) bass part is mixed rather loud? Was this your intention. It’s just that I remember you talking about surround sound not really being viable and that the best policy is to mix a record for the lowest common denominator. This seems to be an instance of this. The syncopation is a nice effect on a shitty stereo, but play it on something that can bring it out and it takes over the song.
‘I Feel You’ was basically mixed for the radio. We would listen through small speakers most of the time. There are definitely imperfections in the sound of ‘SOFAD’ from the mixing through to the mastering but so what….. who wants to listen to a technically perfect record with no soul or passion?
How did you get the crowd effect at the end of Judas? Did you get all yer mates in to sing it or was it a case of some serious multitracking?
15 people (tape op’s, studio secretaries, the cook etc…) multitracked 6 times making a total of 90 voices + delays and reverbs. Then we eq’ed the sound to make it seem like it was sung in a deep southern church hall in the 1960’s, rather than Wembley stadium.
I’ve read that you believe the sound of ‘Violator’ to be too thin and precise but it contains a certain compact quality and swift power of music that the monstrous ‘SOFAD’ seems to lack. In regards to ‘SOFAD’, the sound seems saturated with midrange frequencies to the point of blurring much of the songs’ spectrum even more so than any “organic” recording of the classic guitar, bass and drums. Was a profusion of reverberation thrown onto the original session recordings or is the confused timbre simply a product, as you’ve said, of the poor mastering?
It’s sonically flawed in some ways but like a lot of good records, it doesn’t really matter because the music has such a power and is moving in so many ways. It has something about it that for me is far superior to any other Mode album.
Not to doubt the excellency of ‘SOFAD’, I find it amazing what you chaps achieved simply with pianos and guitars. On that note, are the scintillating overtones on the ‘I Feel You’ guitars simply a product of the amp’s feedback or were they tweaked?
Everything is tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked again….
I read the August editorial and I found it very interesting. During the entire ‘SOFAD’ project, you were the one person that kept on working while the others were on holiday. Was this the case with the earlier albums and projects too and didn’t the others ever want to help out?
It was actually during the making of ‘Some Great Reward’ that I finished the record while they went on holiday, not ‘SOFAD’. During SOFAD, Fletch went home for personal reasons and during the ‘Devotional’ tour, I did a lot of work in the studio when people were on holiday or during periods of down-time between different legs.
On the making of ‘SOFAD’ , how did you approach it and did you have a picture of how you wanted it to sound?
With all DM albums, we tried to move away from the previous one and after some discussion between myself, Flood and the others, we agreed that our approach should be more towards performance and to try to push ourselves into areas we hadn’t explored. Some of the songs like ‘I Feel You’, ‘In Your Room’ and ‘Rush’ suggested a looser, more ‘live’ feel.
Whose idea was it to bring in Will Malone for’ One Caress’ and how much did you contribute?
Once we decided we wanted ‘real’ strings, there was only really one or two choices as to who should arrange them. Will Malone (who incidentally looks like ‘Cat Weasel’) arranged the strings for Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, a particular favourite of both myself and Martin. The strings were recorded at Olympic Studios in London, using a 28 piece sting section, to which Martin sang the vocal ‘live’ – thus equalling the fastest ever recording of any one DM track, the other being ‘Somebody’.
Was there any tension during the recording of ‘Violator’ and/or the ‘World Violation’ tour which carried over into the ‘SOFAD’ recording/tour?
Tension is a normal state at certain times for any band and we were no exception to that.
Which one DM song took the longest to complete, and why?
There have been a few over the years – ‘Master And Servant’ took a staggering 7 days to mix (and we still managed to leave the snare off by mistake:-)), ‘Clean’ and ‘Policy Of Truth’ went through several re-workings and ‘I Feel You’ was also very difficult to mix. ‘Walking…’ and ‘Judus’ both took a long time as well.
In an interview Martin said that Tim Simenon was suggested for SOFAD. Why didn’t the band choose him? And why was Flood chosen once again?
As far as I can remember, Flood was always first choice to co-produce ‘SOFAD’.
When you said that you thought ‘Mercy In You’ was one of the weaker songs on SOFAD, do you mean that it was a bad song, or, like you have said regarding ‘Control Freak’, you just weren’t satisfied with the end result?
I don’t think it was particularly bad, it just wasn’t one of my favourites and took some time to complete.
When Anton Corbijn took the pictures you can see on the sleeve of ‘SOFAD’, had he been with you during the whole time of recording or did you (and the band) make a date where he came to photograph you all? Are these pictures shot during a real recording session or did you pose for them? Why isn’t ‘Fletch’ on any of them?
Anton turned up for a few weeks here and there and all the photos were natural. Fletch wasn’t in them because he wasn’t around at the time.
Why was there only one true B-side to ‘SOFAD’ (‘My Joy’)?
We didn’t have time to record anything else.
Whose idea was it to play drums on ‘SOFAD’. ?
I’d been considering it for a while and eventually mentioned it to Dave who thought it was a good idea.
‘Rush’ has to be about drugs right.? What did you feel like when some of DM’s lyrics were about such nasty subjects?
My own interpretation of ‘Rush’ is that it does seem to be about a drug experience but again, as I’ve said many times, Martin didn’t like to explain his songs to anyone and knowing that, the other group members would rarely ask him what they were about. I always personally preferred to interpret his songs in exactly the same way as the audience might, using one’s own imagination and consequently giving them one’s own personal meaning. It’s clear to me that Martin enjoys the ambiguity of his words and the subversive quality of some of his lyrics (with their possible dark meanings), is probably what makes them interesting. As you will know if you listen to Recoil, I’m no stranger to dark subjects myself, so it’s unlikely I would have had any problems with Martin’s more enigmatic songs.
It was reported that for the recordings of ‘Songs Of Faith And Devotion’, Martin presented you with 15 songs, four of which were deemed not good enough. Were these four ever considered for B-sides or was it your policy that even the B-sides should be absolutely brilliant?
I can’t remember the exact number of songs that were presented at the time. There were a few rejects, some of which ended up as B-sides (like ‘My Joy’) and some that never saw the light of day.
I think it must have been around 1993/94, I came across a program on my telly that seemed to be a fly-on-the-wall documentary about DM recording in Spain. Was there such a program made or was it just a crap dream ?!?
The only thing I remember was a TV interview for Channel 4 or BBC 2 (U.K.) when Paul Morley came out with a film crew. I’ve never seen it.
I heard that while making ‘Judas’, you and Martin were not in agreement. How did he want this song to be, how did you and what was the end result? You also said that the part at the end was completely made by yourself. Is there a reason for this part missing in the live version? (every time I listen to ‘Judas’ I am especially looking forward to this part)
I think Martin was quite attached to his demo version but I felt it needed more atmosphere. He in turn didn’t like the sequencer end-section. It was omitted for the live version because it wasn’t really suitable in that particular context.
Two weeks ago I bought the new Massive Attack album ‘Mezzanine’. Did they use some of your ‘SOFAD’ noises, i.e. the intro. snare of ‘Get Right With Me’.
Yes, I spotted that one immediately – better get in touch with my solicitor 😉 Actually, my attitude is ‘good luck to them’ – I have no problem with it. I suspect that it was provided by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent who was involved with mixing ‘SOFAD’ and undoubtedly has a library of sounds from it. He also mixed the Massive Attack album.
Do you like the Adrenaline remix of ‘Higher Love’?
I’m not mad on it.
Out of all the DM albums, the one significant difference I have noticed is the extreme rough change of Dave’s vocals on ‘SOFAD’. Was it because he had vocal problems? Compared to all the other albums including ‘Ultra’, Dave’s voice seems much more rough and off-tune on all the tracks of ‘SOFAD’. Could it be from substance abuse or was his voice not functioning right?
The songs that Martin presented for ‘SOFAD’, suggested a looser and more dynamic approach than previous albums like ‘Violator’. I worked personally with Dave for many years to get the optimum performance out of him and I actually believe that some of his best vocals are on the ‘SOFAD’ album. Dave’s voice on tracks such as ‘In Your Room’, ‘Condemnation’, ‘I Feel You’ and ‘Walking In My Shoes’ absolutely mirrors the intensity of the music. Obviously there is a degradation in his vocals during some of the live performances from ‘Devotional’ but this is purely down to the stresses and strains of extensive touring and perfectly understandable. That said, I would rather hear a cracked and ‘rough’ sounding voice that is full of emotion, to one that is technically perfect but bland and lifeless.
What’s the relationship between the drums on ‘Rush’ and Nitzer Ebb’s ‘I Give To You’? Are they the same sound or just similar and which came first? Also, are the ‘Rush’ drums actually recorded live or are they loops?
Well, they’re not the same. Both tracks involved several different drum loops mixed together at different points of the song.
I was looking at my big poster of the ‘SOFAD’ album cover and can’t help but notice that it looks like you’ve got lipstick on. Did you wear lipstick for that pic.?
No – trick of the light.
Did anyone in the group want to make ‘Songs Of Faith And Devotion’ a lot harder and darker. Aside from ‘In Your Room’, I feel most tracks suffer from some sort of compromise. Were there any major compromises?
There are always compromises when working in a group – everybody tries to pull a record in their preferred direction. Sometimes those tensions help but normally they slow down the process while the person who has a problem argues their case, after which either a compromise is reached or they lose the debate and go off and sulk for a bit. Personally I find continually having to put your ideas to a committee wears you down after a while and ultimately stiffles the creative flow.
I would say that ‘Achtung Baby’ and ‘SOFAD’ stand for me as two of the most important albums of the 90’s. How do you retain your integrity going from pop to rock (DM) or from rock to pop (U2)?
Well, SOFAD is far from a rock album but that’s another issue. I would say that the reason you probably like these two albums is simply because they took you by surprise. I’m not that crazy on a lot of U2’s music but at least they try to change from album to album. I don’t see a loss of integrity in challenging yourself to do things differently.
Was ‘Rush’ ever considered for a single?
I have a bet with some mates that the intro to ‘I Feel You’ is screeching tyres. Is that true?
You’d better be prepared to part with some cash – the noise actually comes from a synth.
What can you tell me about the drum track on ‘Higher Love’ that is so similar to the one in ‘So Cruel’ by U2 (Achtung Baby).
Didn’t Flood work on both LP’s?…..
I’m fascinated with the darker-pretty-magical-elegant-emotive-cleanest-perfect sound of the DM song ‘Walking in My Shoes’. What was the process you used to construct this song?
It was constructed using an unusual method for us, i.e. jamming together. Martin played the guitar, I played bass and we ran a rhythm machine – this was just to get the basic feel for the track – and after much trial and error, the chorus bass line and guitar pattern fell into place. From that point onwards, Flood and I began to construct the various drum loops, the string arrangements, the main riff (which combined a piano and harpsichord through a distorted guitar amp) and all the other bits and pieces. By contrast, the bass line for the verses was much more problematic and in fact didn’t get written until the very last moment.
Will you explore rock deeper in the future (you did it great on ‘SOFAD’)?
Ahh yes, ‘Songs Of Faith And Devotion’…..that great rock classic. You know, I really wanted to take the rock thing further but the others like weren’t cool about it. I designed these great leopard-skin spandex trousers for us right, and I sort of like envisaged Dave swinging from the ceiling Bon Jovi style, and I was gonna grow my hair long man, and like dye it blond and get the old home perm out. It could have been so totally cool ’cause, I’m just like fuckin’ Sabbath, me! Raaack on…..
I also thought we could lob dead animals at the audience during some of those great rock numbers like ‘Consecration’ and ‘Get Right With Me(at Loaf). Didn’t you notice the subliminal ‘heavy’ titles like ‘Rush’ and ‘Judas (Priest)’….. my idea. Talkin’ of ‘Judas’, that end bit wiv’ the fuckin’ synthesiser, that’s like so totally ACDC isn’t it!!!….Of course, the album title was also a problem. I wanted to call it ‘Suck My Stalagmite’ but I got outvoted ’cause like apparently we were s’pposed to be some poofta New Romantics band…….an’ all these years I thought I was a member of Iron Maiden…… Lived eht fo sdnah eht ta eid lliw uoy.
I seem to remember that Moby did two remixes of ‘Walking In My Shoes’ that were rejected. Is this true and as far as you can remember, what were the reasons given and who mainly rejected them?
I believe this is true although I really can’t remember what they sounded like (I don’t have a copy of them). I also seem to recall one or two other mixes of that track which were rejected. These extra mixes were commissioned by the Americans who were desperate to get a more dancey version of the single to work with. I certainly don’t recall any band member suggesting that Moby even do a remix for ‘Walking’. The mixes would have been rejected because they simply weren’t good enough.