Q + A with Alex White at CMU – Click the link for a very long interview, here’s a few quotes:
Being brothers we were never really ‘apart’ as a group, and actually having most people think we’d split up, or weren’t doing any more records, was quite liberating in that we were able to work on upwards of a hundred songs for this new record and work our way through to the very best stuff at a pace we were comfortable with.
The songs were formed over a rather long period, some coming in a while back, but most probably came in an inspired burst of Tom’s writing in the last year or so. We had an initial meeting with Helium, the label that we are now with, in which Chris, the label boss and producer of the album, made the point to us that though there was some excellent stuff we had written, he wanted to get back together with us and make a ‘great’ record, a classic. With that thought in mind, Tom was inspired to go back to the drawing board and really push himself. During this period he wrote ‘Summertime In My Heart’ and several other of the bigger pop tunes on the record, responding directly to Chris’s desire for the ultimate pop record.
The actual work on the album started over a year ago, and gradually we worked through everything with a tooth comb until we had what we as a team deemed the right result. It really was like making a film or something, rather than just getting in a room and playing. It took the best part of a year to get right, and in my view it’s a perfect piece of work. Given the time spent on it, and the time away in between sessions to refocus, it’s been a privilege to get to work in this way, and to really make sure we had something we were proud of and that people would enjoy.
The natural disposition of the writing in the band has tended towards more pop based ideas and sonics, based on what we’ve been immersed in over the last few years. Always big pop fans, we decided to let this be our pop masterpiece!
Hopefully the sound is more refined and more ‘mature’; I don’t know, personally I hate all those words, it just makes the stuff sound dull. Actually I’m very proud of this record and I think it’s a genuinely great thing, which is more than I can say of any of our other records. That itself is an achievement in my view, when one can truly be happy with what one envisages and what one actually creates.
Across the album, I’d say there are feelings of love, of expression of one’s feelings, of discovery and reflection, of loss and all that brings, and mainly of total, unashamed honesty. There’s a lot of pretending in music in my view, and it’s a pleasure to sing lyrics that are totally from the heart and unapologetically straight and honest. We lost our mother to cancer a few years back and while it was a devastating time, I think she would be very proud to hear the words in these songs that relate to that experience. The raw expression of love and death that comes through in these songs is some of the truest emotion I’ve ever known people around me to be able to convey. It’s very humbling.
Frankly, as long as there’s an audience for it, and even if there isn’t, we’ll probably keep doing albums sporadically until we die or get sick of it, neither of which I can foresee with any clarity. I feel like we genuinely add something to the music scene that others cannot and it’s worth seeing where that takes us for a while longer yet.