The strings in ‘Missing Piece’, are they sampled or synthesized?
They are a combination of programmed, played (by Hep) and sampled.
In ‘Stalker’, the sample of the girl crying, was that taken from the movie ‘Lord of Illusions’? If it was, did you like the movie?
No – I’ve never seen the film.
Did yo compose ‘Stalker’ under the impression of the film ‘Stalker’ by the famous Russian director Tarkovsky? If so, do you consider this film as purely Russian or is it easy to perceive for anybody?
I have heard of this film but unfortunately have never seen it.
Why did you use the title ‘Unsound Methods’? Was there any reason in particular?
Check out ‘Apocalypse Now’.
At the end of ‘Shunt’, you are whispering some bits, would you care to let us all in about what you are saying, I can only make out numbers, I think. Do they hold some special meaning to you?
It’s actually Hep’s voice pitched down and it’s all about locomotives.
What other sounds did you use from ‘SOFAD’ on ‘UM’, there seem to be a few familiar ones in there?
On the subject of sampling….I’ve received a lot of inquiries about what individual samples have been used. I’m not going to give you a list of each one but yes, I do sometimes re-use sounds that I’ve made in the past – in particular, those that are adaptable or versatile enough to be used in many different contexts.
What was the most difficult track on ‘UM’ for you to finish? Which one was the most time-consuming and painstaking for you to get to sound as you wanted it to?
I had a lot of trouble with ‘Control Freak’. If something proves particularly awkward, it usually means somethings’s not right about the track. Not surprisingly, it’s probably my least favourite on the album.
Where did the lyrics for ‘Red River Cargo’ and ‘Last Breath’ exactly come from?
The words for ‘Red River Cargo’ are taken from an old gospel song called ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord’ and ‘Last Breath’ uses part of a song called ‘Exodus’.
Where did the spoken words from ‘Red River Cargo’ come from?
They are taken from various speeches made by civil rights leaders and the governor of Mississippi at the time (can’t remember his name).
I’m wondering about the ‘guitar-solo’ of ‘Red River Cargo’. Is it a real guitar?
It’s actually a synth (Korg) treated through a ‘zoom’ effects processor.
I read somewhere that the theme for ‘UM’ was something like ‘psychological damage’. Did that just evolve or did you think of it before you started on UM?
It evolved completely unconsciously.
I surely thought ‘Missing Piece’ would be the first single released off ‘UM’ due to its short, catchy nature and fabulous chorus…so what made you decide to release ‘Drifting’ instead?
The two Siobhan tracks seemed like the most radio friendly and as I didn’t hold out much hope for either of them as hit singles, I decided to release the track I preferred.
Is it true that each song on ‘UM’ was inspired by a certain film?
No. Only a couple of tracks.
Has David Lynch heard ‘UM’ yet? What did he think?
I doubt he’s heard it. Astute P.R. is hardly Reprise’s forte and I haven’t sent him a copy.
On the ‘Unsound Methods’ CD, there seems to be several places where the sound is ‘clipping’. The one place where it is most noticeable is at the end of the last track, when the vocals disappear into feedback. Was that an effect you wanted or is it an error?
Any distorted sounds on the album are intentional.
The sound volume is quite high throughout the whole CD. Is there any standard for max. volume level when mastering a CD?
The overall ‘cut’ of the L.P. is also intentionally very loud and is achieved with the help of analogue and digital compression.
I think ‘Red River Cargo’ could have been a good soundtrack for the film ‘Mississippi Burning’. What do you think about that?
Yes, it has a very similar atmosphere and obviously it’s about the same subject.
Do you think that ‘Unsound Methods’ would have sounded any different if you hadn’t have been together with Hep and didn’t have your lovely daughter, Paris?
Well, I would have gained myself a days programming (which Paris once lost by flicking off the main power switch in the studio) but I wouldn’t have had the benefit of Hep’s creative input and support.
What do the words written on the label edges of the ‘UM’ vinyl’s refer to?
There are some things you just won’t get out of me, work it out for yourself 😉
I was a bit saddened to read in one of your answers that ‘Control Freak’ was one of the tracks you had the greatest difficulties with and that perhaps you weren’t entirely satisfied with it. I think it was one of the few tracks on ‘UM’ that had the exciting electronic feel to it, that so dominated ‘Bloodline’. Does this mean that you are totally giving up on making these more up-tempo, electronic-sounding songs?
Firstly, I’m not unhappy with it, it’s just that when something seems so difficult to complete, it suggests to me that there’s something wrong with it, and that awkward process ultimately taints my overall enjoyment of the track. As I’ve said many times before, I don’t have any predetermined ideas about the direction the music will take in the future so I can’t say whether it will be any more or less electronic.
Are there any pieces that haven’t been included on ‘Unsound Methods’? If so, what are their names?
Not exactly. See the Release article (Media – features) for more information.
How about another ‘Red River Cargo’ type thing?
Don’t know yet.
I read that the lyrics of ‘Luscious Apparatus’ are about Maggie’s friend Carla. I’m just curious if this story she told in the song is totally fictious or to what extend it deals with reality?
Apparently it is based on a true story although I would imagine Maggie used a little poetic license to embellish aspects of it.
How is it that your music always takes some time to get into? I only ‘liked’ Unsound Methods at first listen but now after almost 50 listens I think it’s pure musical ecstasy!
It’s called depth……….All the best records take time to get into because they challenge you to listen closely in order to fully appreciate all the details.
Is there a purely instrumental version of ‘Shunt’ ? I particularly like this song but to be honest I find the ‘whispering parts’ somewhat disturbing. What was the idea/motivation for taking these sequences into the song?
No there isn’t – it’s virtually instrumental anyway – you could hardly say the vocal additions were over used. The idea behind them was to include just one line to suggest something sinister happening on a train journey.
The telephone-like voice at the beginning of ‘Stalker’, is this your voice or is it a sample?
Did you use samples of ‘Clean’ or ‘Policy of Truth’ on certain tracks of ‘UM’, in particular, on ‘Missing Piece’ and ‘Shunt’?
Not on those tracks.
On ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Unsound Methods’ I hear good train samples. Why do you use the train in your music? I think it’s very cool and atmospheric.
They provide a motion – I just like the sound of them.
I’m curious about the woman laughing in ‘Control Freak’ – it sounds a lot like the sample of Alf Moyet laughing in the Yazoo tune ‘Situation’. Could you confirm or deny?
I can deny. Alison’s laugh is one to be avoided since it was the subject of a law suit brought by Mute Records against whoever was responsible for the dreadful ‘Macarena’ a few years ago. I must say I was quite surprised that Daniel felt it necessary to take legal action. I’m sure the quality of the Spanish record was a big factor in his decision – I don’t think he would have bothered if the artist who ‘borrowed’ had been more credible.
I was wondering what synth’s you used on ‘Unsound Methods’ ?
Go to Connections – thinline / view apparatus for a full breakdown of all Recoil equipment. I’ve used most of it at one time or another.
Last time I asked, you told me that there exists an original version of ‘Red River Cargo’. Do you know who performed it?
As far as I know, there is no other version of the Recoil song. However, the lyrics are taken from a traditional gospel song called ‘Take My Hand Precious Lord’ (performed by various different people) which sounds very different to ‘Red River Cargo’.
What inspired you to make ‘Stalker’?
Hep suggested that a particular guitar part sounded like a telephone dialling tone – it started from there.
I quite like ‘Shunt’ but I feel that the end of the song is too “wild” for my ears. Wasn’t it supposed to be a different song at first and you mixed two songs together at the end?
‘Fraid not. It was always intended as one track.
You said that there would be interesting things to discover by listening to Recoil backwards, so as you’re a serious guy, I tried this on ‘Unsound Methods’ but didn’t find many things. There was a bluesy guitar at the beginning of ‘Luscious Apparatus’, Siobhan lynch singing at the end of ‘Control Freak’ and something like some Australian samples or digeridoo at the beginning of ‘Last Breath’. Did I miss something? As I didn’t find much, I think you should send me an official Recoil T-shirt for the time wasted !!! 😉
They are there – you didn’t listen closely enough. You’re a sad man anyway for trying, Hubert 😉 The ‘Siobhan bit’ is in fact Hep. If you want to find the cryptic messages you have to actually play the whole album in reverse and listen really, really closely. If you find the correct answers, I may send you one of my sweaty old T-shirts.
Why the restart at the beginning of ‘Last Breath’?
I just liked the hole…It’s not really a re-start. Did it catch you out?
How did you sample the voice from ‘Apocalypse Now’ – VCR or laserdisc hooked up to your computer?
The lines from ‘Apocalypse Now’ were not samples. Doug McCarthy just happens to sound exactly like Martin Sheen. Why not download the last Recoil E.P.K. from the Report – bulletin page and hear all about it from Doug himself?
‘Luscious Apparatus’ is one of my favourites on ‘UM’. Do you often find your inspiration in a drumbeat or breakbeat rather than vocals?
Sometimes. Inspiration comes from many different sources.
With more and more stalking incidents occurring, did Doug or yourself receive any backlash/bad press/negative criticism etc. toward the lyrical content of ‘Stalker’?
Not much. Are there really more and more stalking incidents or do the media focus on them more these days? I wonder.
You said in some Swedish magazine that you use some sounds from the Depeche period. That car/motor cycle sound in ‘Missing Piece (Night Dissolves)’, is it the same one as in ‘Stripped’?
No. The ‘Stripped’ sound came from the ignition of Dave’s Porsche 911. The sound for ‘Missing Piece’ came from a sound effects CD.
In ‘Red River Cargo’, what movie did you sample for the line that begins “we want our freedom now…”? I am from the South and am very interested in watching the movie that it came from. ‘Red River Cargo’ hits home for me since I run into that kind of racism too often. Oh, and for your information, George Wallace was the name of the Governor of Mississippi at that time 🙂
You won’t find those quotes in any film – they are taken from stock documentary archive material. Oh… and I knew his name was George Wallace – I did my research 😉
On ‘Incubus’, was the jazz overdub at the beginning something that you came up with to fit the song or was it something that was just lying around that you just decided to put it in?
It was one of the first sounds I did, left over from an earlier (and very different) incarnation of the track.
Are you aware that ‘Incubus’ is apparently the name of a demonic spirit that allegedly seduces women in the night?
And there I was thinking it was an abbreviation for standing in line with a group of other people, by the side of the road……… doh.
My question pertains to Doug McCarthy’s vocals on ‘Incubus’ and ‘Stalker’. Is that his real voice or did you pitch the vocals down a bit?
It’s 100% real – no funny tricks.
I have been listening to ‘Unsound Methods’ a lot lately and have consistently heard guitars, flute and violin. What is the instrument at the beginning of ‘Stalker’ that is reversed and bends right before the beat kicks in?
I listened closely (at least as closely as I can, being a non musician) to ‘UM’ to find out where you made use of the flute. But the only hint of a flute I could find is on ‘Incubus’. Please forgive me if it is absolute nonsense but I have no idea where else you could have used it. In case I am wrong, would you please give me a clue to where I should search?
It’s quite an unusual use of the instrument and is audible throughout the first ‘spoken’ verse of a particular song (not ‘Incubus’). Think rhythm rather than melody……
How many songs were originally composed for ‘Unsound Methods’? Judging by additional vocals by Maggie Estep on ‘Stalker’ (Punished Mix) or Doug McCarthy on ‘Drifting’ (Poison Dub) I suspect there must have been more songs than the 9 featured.
I gave each track to more than one vocalist to see how they perceived it. As a result, I actually got different interpretations of the same song although I’m not telling you exactly who did what. Similarly, I ‘ghosted’ parts of some versions onto others. It’s the same as any other would-be track – some things made it, some didn’t. I had about 5 other ‘work-in-progress’ tracks which never got finished.
I want to know who is the choir and what does he say during the second verse in ‘Stalker’.
The choirs are made up of lots of different samples combined. If by ‘he’ you mean the choir then the answer is: I don’t know, it’s latin. If you mean Douglas, go to technical – lyrics for the answer.
Were you told about the misspelling of Coppola on the ‘Unsound Methods’ booklet (written Copolla)? Any feelings about that mistake?
Yes. It was pointed out to me after it was too late to change it. Things like that bug me.
Are there any odd time signatures in ‘Unsound Methods’ songs like say 7/8?
What digital synth do you use most often and where did you get that sample of those evil strings that you use in songs like ‘Stalker’?
The only digital synth I’ve been using recently, is the Korg Pro 1X, which co-incidentally is where the string sounds for the Stalker remix come from, in addition to a live cello which was played by Oliver Kraus. There are no sampled strings on this remix. The high string harmonics come from Oli’s cello.
Where does the sample “There’s blood on the line” come from?
It’s not a sample, it’s me and the missus. Have a look on the credits for ‘Unsound Methods’.