Int : After the session I had chance to chat with Tim and Jim and Larry and first of all congratulate them on the success of the new album Seven
Tim : Yeah, it’ll be number one next week I think
Int : Yeah
Tim : Depending on who we sleep with next week
Int : Tell me about the producer you roped into this particular project
Jim : We’d gone through a list of trying to find a producer. Checking out people whose work we respected and who’d worked with bands we liked, done albums we liked.
Tim : Then we chose the one whose albums we didn’t like
Jim : For some strange reason, we chose to go with someone who’d done nothing we liked. All the people we wanted to work with were either busy or when we met them, it didn’t quite happen. And then somebody at the record company suggested Youth and we looked at the things he’d done and thought “No way, forget it, he’s like a bloody dance producer, not right for James” And this A+R man was like “Nah, nah, I tell ya, lads. Meet him, meet him”
Tim : Weak Cockney impression that is, by the way
Jim : Yeah, sorry about that.
Tim : Youth by the way isn’t a generic term for an age group. It’s an individual.
Int : Yes
Tim : We must explain this otherwise people at home will think “They wanted youth to produce their album, that’s a kind of weird concept. How they gonna manage that? Invite everybody in?”
Int : One at a time
Jim : So we met this chap basically, an ageing hippy called Youth and he came in with his open neck cheese-cloth shirt and sandals and his long straddly hair and beads. And a few other things as well that I won’t mention.
Tim : You can only be this rude to someone you love
Jim : And we hit it off for some strange reason. Probably because we’re a bunch of old hippies and all. And the things he was criticising on the stuff we’d done was right, same as ours and the things he was pointing out that were good were the same as ours and you can’t ignore that, regardless of the fact he’d done a few dodgy records
Tim : And had no taste in clothes. It was the size of his crystals that did it for me.
Jim : Enormous crystals. So we decided to go for it basically and moved into this studio in London called Olympic in a really good wooden room and Youth had already been there. I don’t know how long he’d been there, weeks probably, he’s got an encampment on the go there. And he’d filled the whole room and the production room with three-foot altar candles and there was no electric light used on the session. Rugs and drapes on the walls. Enormous flower displays, incense, oil wheels, lamps, you remember those dodgy oil lamps from the seventies, where the blob used to go up and down, he got one of them in and all. And a strobe for the fast songs. We all burst out laughing. He’s off his head, he’s off his head.
Tim : And he convinced us we’d fallen into a time grip and were back in the 1960s and it worked. You can hear it on the LP.
Int : It must be a cliche now. But the last year, the last eighteen months, have been pretty amazing for the band really. I mean it seems like it’s all gone right.
Tim : After having gone wrong for eight years. Yeah, in terms of success, it’s been busy. That’s probably the best way to put it. It’s been really good. We’ve enjoyed it and the bank manager enjoys it too. We kind of had seven lean years where we were very happy with our music and nobody else seemed to be. Except live, we always had a good live audience for about four to five years and that’s how we built up our reputation in England. And then yeah, the last couple of years we’ve suddenly had a major breakthrough. Suddenly, it’s like overkill. And from not playing our songs on the radio at all for the first seven or eight years, now you can’t walk down the street without hearing the damn things.
Int : Doesn’t that make you a bit cynical when it’s like “Oh you like us now then” this sort…
Tim : No, no, everything has its time and we never had the business side together like we have now. We had the musical side together, we feel, for quite a long time, but we didn’t find a record company that shared our vision. And so it just needed all those components to fall into place. So I don’t really feel cynical. It’s just like we like to remind people of our pedigree.
Jim : The extreme of the changearound, the turnaround, we’ve found quite funny. From being nothing to suddenly every time you put on the radio or every time you’ve got on the TV.
Tim : Not that James again
Jim : Oh no