Blog: Mike Peters ‘Under Attack’ Recording Diary Entry #4

Day Four: Thursday 25 May 2005

Another situation which has prompted the recording of this album is the fact that we have signed to EMI!
While we were touring the ‘Poppy Fields’ album, representatives from EMI came to us to see and asked if we would be interested in making a new record for them and asked us if we had any new songs they could hear etc. We didn’t have any new demo recordings at that point but rather than miss the opportunity, I sent them an edited version of some of the songs that had not quite made the main ‘Poppy Fields’ album. EMI came back very excited and offered us a new deal. The songs I had sent to EMI included ‘Be Still’, ‘Few And Far Between’, ‘I Never Left I Only Went ‘, ‘Raindown’, ‘Alone Together’, ‘You’re Only Young And Innocent Once’ and an edited ‘Edward Henry Street’ medley which I had told EMI was a film soundtrack sequence work in progress.

The challenge in front of the band and I is how to incorporate the ‘bond’ songs into the framework of some of the new ones we wanted to record. The idea is to view the ‘bond’ recordings as ‘demos’ and see if we can restructure them to suit the new album we want to make for EMI. Steve and I decide to have a blast through ‘Be Still’. It is the first time we have ever played the song together at the same time. It sounds good. When we recorded the ‘Poppy Fields Bond’ we never actually played together to record a song or to even arrange it. The songs were laid down as an acoustic guide by me and then each member would add their part separately. Most of the time, when Steve was playing the drums, he would have no idea what the electric guitars were going to be doing. I had envisioned an arrangement and had to be there to guide everyone towards the end result. This time we wanted to all be there together to play the songs so that we could push and pull them to get the best out of the arrangements. We also felt that most of our energy was attracted to the obvious songs on the ‘bond’ that we could easily play live. We all felt that now some of those songs are part of our history we could go back to the ‘bond’ songs that got left behind with renewed / fresh energy and if they needed to be re-written / re-arranged to work in this new context then that is what we would do. Also, in the recent past I have written most of the songs in their entirety, this time I have deliberately left the songs unfinished so that the band can become involved in the writing.

While playing ‘Be Still’ it becomes obvious to Steve and I that the chorus needs to be set up more. I throw up a few extra chords that seem to take the song somewhere new and exciting. This is what we are after, a healthy interactive creative process where we can experiment with the songs to make them as good as they can be. It is only by playing songs with other musicians or in front of an audience that they come ‘alive’, it is only in the context of playing songs as a band that you can hear their strengths and their weaknesses. It sounds obvious but it is not always achievable given the unpredictable nature of the creative endeavor.

We both leave excited by the fact that we have begun to find our way into the recording / creative process which was envisioned / talked about for hours on end during the endless touring schedule of 2004.