interview

Doves Talk Lost Souls 20 Years On

Last Saturday evening, Andy, Jimi & Jez took part in a Lost Souls listening party on Twitter to celebrate 20 years of the album. Tens of thousands of fans took part, sharing memories, asking the band questions or just reaching out to give the band love for the album.

I’ve put together all band’s tweets and the band have kindly expanded upon some of them for you all to read how Lost Souls came together 20+ years ago. Enjoy..

Andy Williams: The Lost Souls title encapsulated how we all felt at the time for a couple of reasons really. The well documented studio fire we had in 1996, also the fact that we had spent years trying to find our sound and trying different singers out. We finally realised that Jimi has a fine voice and he should be the lead vocalist. Then me & Jez started to have a pop at vocals too, much to the amusement of Rob Gretton & Dave Rofe.

We were all in our late 20’s, all had a few set backs, also had started going out less. Moving out of the whole club culture of the late 80’s & mid 90’s and had got a bit bored of huddling around the computer/desk/sampler. We had started to go back to playing our respective instruments towards the latter days of Sub Sub but felt a full stop and a fresh start was needed. We knew we had a good album in us, so were determined for as long as it took or how many discarded songs it would take, that we were at least going to complete it.

Original Lost Louls photo montage. Thanks to Rick Myers who designed the cover.

Firesuite

Andy: We first recorded this during our Sub Sub days at our studio in Cheetham Hill aka Frank Bough Sound II. The track was first released as a Sub Sub b-side. We always thought it was too good of a track for a B side so we re-recorded it as Doves at Jacobs Studios in Farnham in 1999. Inspired by all the film music we love. We all used to (but probably more Jez) used to tape crap 1970’s B films late at night and compile tapes of the music & dialogue. Those cassette tapes sustained and inspired us for years. we all still know the dialogue on them off by heart.

Jez: We first wrote this right at the end of Sub Sub days as we were crossing over to Doves, just finding our feet again. We had been obsessing with music of 60s & 70s spy films. I had made a playlist tape of the best bits to inspire and capture a certain mood This was a calling to do something that was ANTI-BRITPOP.

Here It Comes

Jez: I had this chord sequence that looped and cycled perfectly & had a rough top line then Andy weaved the lyrics around the music. We recorded the video under the motorway bridge (where we returned for the recording of M62 song on The Last Broadcast ) the bridge is in Northenden.

Jimi: The first time we met Rebelski was during the recording of this song.

Andy: For me this is our tribute to The Specials and Northern soul. I think it was the first song I ever sang all way through, everyone wanted to keep my vocal on verse which I was surprised at (and probably argued against) Jimi sang on chorus and the contrast in the different voices seemed to work. I wanted the lyrics to have an in the city/grimy feel, with he or she being generally being up to no good but I didn’t want it to be too specific about what that person actually was up to. I think its much more interesting for people to imagine what that person might be up to.

Recorded in Winding studios in North Wales. I remember this nice older Welsh lady who ran the studio also did the cooking and always seemed to serve fish pie most nights, after a couple of weeks everyone got pretty sick of having it (also it didn’t agree with a couple of us!) but we were too polite to say no and didn’t want to offend her. So every evening she’d bob her head round the studio door and say “Fish pie again boys ?” was more like a statement than a question! We’d argue with each other and say you tell her no this time, but we would always end up saying “ok yes please love “.

Break Me Gently

Jimi: The first song I sang fully as lead singer! Still hid it in the mix, lovely Hammond Leslie Speaker on my vocals.

Jez: The bass line was inspired by a 60’s American surf movie. We then twisted it into something else. We liked the sound of repeating samples /chords and strange vocal bits to create a sort of a hypnotic state.

Andy: One of the early break through tracks for us. One of the first tracks Jimi sang all way through and I think something clicked with him on this song. We thought we can do this on our own.

Sea Song

Jimi: Jez brought these fucking gorgeous chords to the table.

Jez: I remember the demo at Cheetham hill (New Orders studio) scally’s on the studio roof trying to rob us whilst we were below trying to nail the demo recording of the song!

Andy: Jez did the demo at his home studio in Northenden, I remember loving the chord shapes. I started the lyrics and Jimi finished them. We all wanted a real yearning quality to the lyrics, we talked about the vocal being just another instrument in there and just sit in the music rather than on top of it. Its about two people escaping their lives in the city, driving and getting lost in the sea.

Rise

Jez: I remember jamming this for days at the New Order studio (Cheetham Hill) trying to find the the mood and structure. We wanted it to be psychedelic and open. At the time I was listening to Black Sabbaths Planet Caravan, also The Beastie Boys were a huge influence (they changed from computers and turn tables to instruments & mixed it all up). I saw them play the Manchester Academy (my top 3 gigs ever ). We also wanted the rushy white noises from dance music (you can hear this at the end of the choruses the …so long backing vocals).

Andy: Us at our our most psychedelic. Jez had that main Harpsichord riff then Jimi and me just jammed around it. Jimi’s vocals are put through our Leslie hammond speaker again. Feel good sunny lyrics, which was needed as outside it was cold at Cheetham Hill in winter. Listening back its kind of ironic given the tropical sounds at the end.

Lost Souls

Jez: We wanted the end to sound like a roller coaster of sounds like at the fair. Also going through our Pet Sounds, Beach Boys period.

Andy: I guess the song is exactly what the title suggests, for all the lost souls out there (including us at the time). Recorded in summer 1999 at Jacobs Studios, Farnham. To be honest it was great to escape Cheetham Hill for a bit, Jacobs was a Large country house with windows (Frank Bough sound II had none ) where the control room led directly onto a stunning large garden. I seem to remember we were chuffed as Johnny Marr had told Jimi it was the studio where The Smiths had recorded The Queen is Dead album. I can still hear the harpsichord do 2 seconds of the Steptoe and Son theme tune at the end.

Jimi: Johnny Marr lent us his iconic black & white Rickenbacker for Lost Souls and and Rise.

Melody Calls

Jez: Again, conjures up pictures of the fair. We needed a song that was light on its feet to break up the heaviness so to speak.

Andy: Inspired by the La’s debut album which we all loved. Recorded again at Frank Bough sound II, a simple Love letter to the power of music. No doubt I would of tried to get Jimi or Jez to sing it, but generally the mantra is if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Funny hearing it back, I don’t think I’ve heard it since we compiled the album in 1999 (as we’ve never played it live) I think it works as a break and a relief from the intensity of the album.

Catch The Sun

Jez: Many versions of this song were recorded. We did a live session on Radio 1 for Steve Lamacq. We really liked this version and was the template to try and capture this for the record. After many failed attempts we went in with the wonderful Steve Osborne at Real World Studios for the final version. Here’s the five versions we did:

1: Original demo
2: Jacobs studio version
3: The Windings studio version
4: Radio 1 session version
5: Steve Osborne at Real World version

Andy: I can definitely hear the New Order influence in there. Almost never made the album as we could never nail the recording of it. Steve Osborne heard the Steve Lamacq session and suggested we use that as the template and not overdub (too much !) catch the energy of a live performance which we hadn’t done too much on this album upto that point, as some of the songs were constructed almost piece by piece like a jigsaw.

The Man Who Told Everything

Andy: I think it was recorded at Jacobs again. It was a kind of exercise in writing about somebody else rather than about myself/ourselves. Lyrics are about a disgraced corrupt politician who sells his story to the papers and then buggers off.

The Cedar Room

Jimi: Andy’s harmonica playing slowed down for the intro. A song of experience.

Andy: Recorded and mixed at our studio on a new mixing desk that we bought thanks to a Sub Sub remix we did for the dodgy 1990s US pop group Color Me Bad (they rejected the mix !). It was another key track for us early on. It gave us a lot of confidence to go on and finish the album. I think we sensed it was a bit special I remember we slowed the drums down to give it that chunky feel.

I had a book of short ghost stories as a kid and there was one chapter called ‘The White Lady’ about an old inn where the ghost would come to visit guests in the dead of night. The story really spooked me as a kid and i always remember the room where the haunting took place: the cedar room.

Later on i found out the house was just a BMX bike ride away from where we lived, so off i went to visit. I would just look at the house imagining that room and smoke a fag! Jimi wrote the chorus lyrics and I wrote the verse lyrics separately, but bizarrely they both fitted in terms of a feeling of loss and to be haunted by a memory.

Jez: Musically I wanted this to be an epic landscape with enough space to lose the listener in. We wanted to mix electronic drones to capture the strangeness and hopefully the heart of the song. I was listening to Aphex Twin at the time, so maybe some of that indirectly rubbed off.

Reprise

Jez: Filmic reprise. We slowed the tapes down to 1/4 speed to create this slow moody stoned vibe. Again big fans of 60s/70s film scores. The plus point was it went against anything happening at the time (britpop!). We were always mucking about with tape speeds, warping time to create a sort of another dimension.

Andy: Re-worked filmic version of The Man Who Told Everything. Inspired by the film composer Ennio Morricone.

A House

Jimi: My attempt at David Lynch and Planxty.

Jez: Jimi brought in the demo which had this really great creepy vibe. We recorded it on a dictaphone. Again we wanted to warp the time and space so messed with the pitch and dropped a sample loop of fire into the mix, we thought this added to the atmosphere.

Andy: I remember being taken aback by the purity & simplicity of the song but mostly the emotion of it. I think it was recorded at Jez’s house in Northenden. A great example of Jez and Jimi playing guitars together and bouncing off each other in their very different styles.

Looking back, the fire sample obviously is a reference to the lyrics but i wonder if it was also an unconscious reference to our studio fire from years ago which was the start of the end of Sub Sub.

Thanks to Matt Norman & Rick Myers for the photos & Tim Burgess for the idea that got the ball rolling.

Black Rivers Interview Part One

Black Rivers

I recently had the opportunity to pose some questions to both Andy & Jez about all things Black Rivers. I asked them both 10 questions each. This is part one of the interview, the second part is focused on the songs on the album and will make more sense to you once you have heard the record, so expect the second part on or around Feb 9th when the lp is out.

Interview Part Two

Thanks to Andy & Jez for their time and to John for making this happen!

Visit Black Rivers official website to pre-order the debut album, released February 9th!

 

Five questions for Andy:

– Andy, after Doves last gig in 2010, we have read in the press you were in a psychedelic group. Are you able to reveal more? Did anything get released?

yes was making some music with friends, with Jim noir (a manchester solo artist)Laurie laptop who was in Durutti Column & Also Ian smith who was in Alfie amongst other bands, we recorded a lot of material,but never finished stuff!! so theres nothing released of yet, some of us had other projects&a couple of the guys had ‘proper’ jobs, so it got harder & harder to get together to record/write but hopefully when everyones less busy we’ll finish some of those songs,as theres some good stuff there&had a lot of fun recording with them all.

– Which song or moment ignited the spark to make you both want to go ahead and record an album? Describe how that came about.

I think that would have been early stages of Age of Innocence or the ship,
both songs felt new to us,in age of inn .. i remember we started at my house &i had that rockabilly drum beat over some different chords ,jez put a new acid like bass line over it &it shouldn’t have worked ,as both parts are sonically very different,but it did&we liked the vibe. From there we went on a couple of recording/writing trips to anglesey where it started to come together more.the ship i had the vocal line&synth bass line,but jez welded the instrumental ‘kraftwerk like’ sections on !& took it somewhere unexpected.

 

– You talk about getting away from sounding like Doves of course. With that in mind, did you approach the song writing process for this record differently than you would have for a Doves record? Describe how you usually turn an idea into a song, How far do you go with the idea before you involve Jez?

certainly at the start of the project we didn’t start by saying this record cant sound like doves as think we both feel its not good to limit or put restrictions on songwriting early on,is nice to feel you can go anywhere you like with it,i think later on you can choose to leave certain songs off if you both feel is too close to previous material.
as for writing songs, for me can start with anything…a sample or basic set of piano chords or even just a new synth sound can trigger an idea,for me personally i always try early on to get some kind of vocal melody in early in the process whilst it feels fresh(lyrics generally come later on)but if working with jez i dont develop it too much as good to get his input,as he can take a song somewhere you dont expect.

– Do you have a favourite place to go for song writing inspiration?

well with this record was probably Beaumaris in Angelesey Wales.

– Any chance of seeing Black Rivers in North America sometime in 2015?

would love to tour in u.s ,hopefully looking good for us doing sxsw festival&possibly some west coast dates ,all depends on raising the budget so we can make it happen..but would love to play as much as poss out there.

p.s thanks nicky&all the regular dovesblog community for the support over the years..is much appreciated!!

Questions for Jez:

– Jez, after Doves last gig in 2010, you went off in a totally different direction (understandably!) with Raized by Wolves. What happened to the album? Did any of the tracks penned for Raized By Wolves make it onto Black Rivers?

We finished 10 tracks They still sound great imo …I guessed we flirted with the pop/ electronic world and didn’t work out …But we had so much fun doing RBW ….Currently the songs are being used for other Artists …Probably released in 2015 but not under “rbw”

– You talk about getting away from sounding like Doves of course. With that in mind, did you approach the song writing process for this record differently than you would have for a Doves record? Describe how you usually turn an idea into a song, How far do you go with the idea before you involve Andy?

yes i wanted to do something that would place us in a different mind set to ..lets say when writing for doves ..My main thing was it must sound contemporary even if it has a retro feel it …it must have a twist to give it a fresh edge …well that was the intention …
Sometimes its literally sitting down with the guitar for days ….until something triggers ‘ if i’m working with guitar and dictaphone I’ll usually get around 4/5 ideas a day But will take something special to take it any further….. The top line melody comes at the same time as the chords very symbiotic ….or maybe its a sample ..or just a feeling …….sometimes i’ll have a melody and chord structure thats been around for years /decades …Just hadn’t cracked the code so i’ll always revisit (as a good re-occurring idea will always be knocking on my door ….) Andy gets involved if the song resonates with him …Sometimes we write and build a song together or sometimes i’ll bring a Vrs and chrs idea with top line and then will evolve it together …Or could be Andy bringing in an idea or a snippet – we will then evolve it together…Guess theres no set formula ..

 

– Do you have a favourite place to go for song writing inspiration?
Anywhere really ….To get the initial ideas i hop on a plane and travel with my laptop /mic /and travel guitar …Then We might evolve it in our manchester studios .. then we might think about recording in a cottage/house (generally in the uk) as moving a drum kit and amps is a real pain

– Any plans to release something for Record Store Day 2015?

Not yet !! but would love to do something original for it …time permitting

Thanks nicky  your a legend !! and thanks  to all on the board…. We both really appreciate the fact that you’ve stuck with us  for such a long time 🙂

Interview Part Two

Liz Kershaw Interview

Jimi’s tour of 6 Music continues.. this time on Saturday past Jimi spoke to 6 Music’s Liz Kershaw. Jimi’s bit starts around 2 hours 5 minutes in which starts with a airing of the theme for the Bird Effect.

To listen to the track and full interview at 6 Music click here.

Ghost of Gone Birds – Talking Naturally Interview

A couple weeks back Talking Naturally’s Charlie Moores caught up with Jimi and Ceri Levy at the Bird Fair to chat about the Ghosts of Gone Birds and Bird Effect projects. Its an interesting listen, again they expand upon what the projects are about, how they started and where they are going with them.

Listen now

To listen to the interview, fast forward to 40 minutes in.

For more info on the Ghost of Gone Birds project and its upcoming events, visit their facebook page. There is to be a music night at the next Ghosts of Gone Birds show in Shoreditch at the Rochelle school, which Jimi mentioned he would be taking part in. More as I get it!

Glasgow Oran Mor Setlist

Setlist from tonight’s acoustic set at Glasgow’s Oran Mor. Many thanks as always to NLF who also sent in a couple pics from the show..

The Scottish News Of The World caught up with the band in their barn. A really interesting interview it is too, cheers to Clarion for the heads up..

BAND ARE READY TO TRY NEW THINGS EVEN AFTER TEN YEARS AT THE TOP

IN a corner of Doves HQ lies a pile of abandoned boom boxes, reel-to- reel tape recorders and ancient cassette decks.

They’re the kind of relics you’d find, dusty and ignored, at the back of any junk shop.

But, along with drummer Andy Williams’ kit, which sits in its own spot over by the fireplace, and the rack of guitars belonging to his brother Jez, they’re key weapons in creating the band’s rich, inventive sound.

Everything else here, however, is the most up-to-the-minute music technology available, a legacy of their days making club tracks in a scene where producers routinely obsess over the latest gadgets.

“Our songs are really ongoing investigations,” confesses bassist/frontman Jimi Goodwin. “They start to reveal themselves as you’re working on them.”

And inside their HQ, a converted farm building midway between Manchester and Liverpool, it’s the combination of the outmoded and the state-of-the-art that helps shape multi-layered classics like last year’s world-beating fourth album Kingdom Of Rust.

To read the full article, click here.

 

Doves Lost Souls Interview

Andy Williams Cedar EP Interview

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