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SwellWas it always the plan to self produce the new record?
by Matt Dornan / pictures by Paul Heartfield
David Freel: I don't think there was a plan, you know? I'd really like to find a producer but I can't think of anybody... or maybe I can but I don't think they'd work with us.
The last album took a long time to see the light of day. This one has arrived comparatively quickly.
We did have a year off between when we turned the last record in and when it came out, so I think I wrote four or five songs in that year. We had a big chunk of it written when we started recording, so it was a matter of writing five or six more songs. Still, it took a long time, I think. I worked 10 hours every fuckin' day for 3 months. It was really condensed.
Your albums are getting successively more layered.
We never talked about it. We just did it. I thought the last album had too many keyboards, so I know this one does.
There's no Sean this time. How did making the record differ without him?
It actually made things go faster, 'cause he's extremely slow, you know. He writes great parts but it takes him a long, long, long time. And he has to have the whole studio to himself to do it, so that really slows it down. I heard Rob play in '91 or '92 with PJ Harvey and I really liked the way he played. I thought, if ever Sean wasn't in the band, I'd really like him too play and, it turned out, he was a fan. So it happened.
Did computers play a part in the making of this record?
I've always used them from the beginning. I always use them to edit the album together. But [I use them] to actually do the keyboard parts, 'cause I can't play keyboards very well, so I play them into a sequencer and have it fix 'em. On this record I did play piano into Protools and then I fixed it a little bit. It's really important except that it takes a lot of time, as you probably know from doing this magazine. We spend a lot of time on the artwork - we used to do our own little fanzine [Swollen] but we didn't have time for that any more - and videos and stuff like that. It's great to have that control but there really isn't enough time in life to do it all.
Looking now at your debut alongside For All The Beautiful People, do you see a natural progression?
You know, I've never done that before but, yeah, it's pretty scary. Eight years gone, never to come back. I don't know what the fuck's been going on - the last five years especially - it just keeps leading us on and on and on and on. I don't know whether I should jump off or not, or continue. I don't know. I could barely write a song then and now I can write songs more automatically. I have so many fragments of songs from that period, but now I just write them complete. I haven't listened to [the debut] in a long time.
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue