Minki spoke to Greg about the writing and recording of the album over a cup of tea at Ellies Cafe, Kilburn
We recorded it with Steve Honest producing at Hackney Road Studios over a period of about three months on and off. Although all the songs were written they weren’t really structured in the way they ended up. There was a lot of arrangement and instrument stripping. I had always intended it to end up on vinyl as two sides so the song ordered basically wrote itself.
GET OUT OF MY TREE
Belle’s drum fill just had to open the album. It shouts Hey You! At that point, you either turn it off or play the lot. ”Are you ready?” Also alerts you to put your tin helmet on or leave the room. The Get Out Of My Tree lyric? – you can take it how you like. It means what you want it to mean. It’s nothing clever.
This nearly didn’t make it on to the album. However, it ended up as our debut single.Funny how things like that work out. We took the idea to Barcelona with us. The music was there and BeX said the energy of the song felt like going out dancing. It wasn’t really working for me because it had no movement. Steve hit on it straight away after hearing the drums and suggested I work on it. I really pushed the thing by putting three key changes in it and by the way we arranged it, it actually sounds like she’s gone through five gear changes. She really uses her lung power on that on.
This backing track was already kicking round as a blueprint. Everyone I gave it to couldn’t sing it. So basically this was the first thing that BeX actually sang and demoed with me and after that, it was a no brainer. She managed to give, what was essentially, a three chord cock rock song, the edge and performance that Grace Jones, Bryan Ferry or Tina Turner would be proud of. I still don’t think she realises how good a recorded performance it is.
By this time, things were starting to click on a lyrical level rather than just a rehash of what I’d written which is always a great point to get to when you’re collaborating. Life on London Transport can be colourful, especially at night, so we banged this three-chord anthem out and it seems to click live with all the people who have also lost their mobile phones on their last tube home. Stonebridge Park gets a mention. We like our London references.
NEW YORK DOLL
I came up with a very basic repetitive chord sequence. As a rhythm section we play that sort of wall of sound stuff really well. I had the melody. BeX just came in and gave it a theme and her life experiences.
I guess as a starter, I’m most proud of this collaboration. Again I had the chords and the arrangement dynamics of the song but Bex realistically created a real-life reportage around it, which makes it very easy listening and sing along crowd anthem. Topically we all know a Mandy Meltdown.
TAKE ME BACK TO JO JO’S
Musically this is the one I get a big buzz out of playing. It’s pedestrian and telegraphed but there was no point in moving away from that lyrically. I’ve been around Soho all my life. It’s where I met BeX. It was always fun but could be a bit dangerous and now it’s been completely sanitised. It means different things to the both of us, I guess but it still means something. It’s an anthem, by way of giving something back to Soho as we knew it. On a musical level I didn’t want too much lead guitar. Just bursts and hooks, so I got Steve to do the solo on slide using a heavy-duty bottleneck on a Tele in A minor. It was fantastic! I loved it. However, it was more Steely Dan / Allman Brothers so I chopped it into a sample (sorry Steve) so it was more Chemical Brothers/Prodigy and it gives it that menacing symmetry to the song.
This one just really sits in the groove Grace Jones/ Davey Jones – The Thin White Duke. Lyrically it’s about stuff that we don’t like, so the repetitive “l’m not in love with ….. etc “ is just our attempt at irony. Live, it’s quite brutal.
LOVE AND DISTORTION
When they get a decent new James Bond we’ll chuck this their way. It wasn’t intentional but has got all the ingredients. The theme came up because BeXs phone went crazy, just repeatedly taking random pictures. There was over 100. As she attempted to delete the pictures we noticed there was one of a heart-shaped cushion and distortion pedal.
HEX YOUR EX
This is just full throttle.We thought it sounded like an opener so we thought it would be ideal to end the album on a high. I tried to get the middle 8 breakdown sounding like a samba dance but BeX thinks it sounds like a calypso! So I failed miserably there. It’s our Voodoo number. Don’t cross us.
It was mastered by John Webber at Air Lyndhurst Studios, London and is available on all formats including on 12” vinyl gatefold sleeve.