Day Eight: Thursday 2 June 2005
The first thing I suggest we work on is a song I have worked up for the Mark Radcliffe show on Radio Two. I have been given a set of lyrics called ‘Menai Bridge’ by the winner of a national poetry competition and have been challenged by Mark Radcliffe to put the poem to music. I was given the lyrics during the interactive acoustic and actually wrote and then performed a section of the song at the Komedia in Brighton. The poem is a long one but I have managed to keep all the lyrics intact and the song is very ‘Spirit Of ’76’ Alarm. The band works like this. I play everyone the outline of the song on my acoustic guitar, Steve Grantley plays along with ‘air’ drums and listens out for the songs in-built rhythm. Craig Adams takes note of the chord sequence which he does right from the beginning and writes them down in his A4 writing pad. James always has a guitar at hand as he prefers not to make notes but just approach the song in his own way watching out for any essential riffs that I have already conceived before adding his own at appropriate intervals. The song is quite long and has two tempos, slow for the intro and outro with a fast tempo electric section. We decide to concentrate on the main ‘electric’ section of the song. The music has been built around the lyric which means that some of the changes happen at unusual intervals. A lot of the work is spent working out the specifics of the passing notes and whether to push or stay on the beat with the songs dynamics. After a while it starts to come together and we record a rough guide of the songs electric section. It is great to hear things back immediately as it helps to create some distance for the musicians. We can all hear things that aren’t quite right and after a few more run throughs we finally have an arrangement we are happy with. Most of the day has been taken up with this process and we decide to leave it there. Steve will come in early tomorrow and record the master drum track.