"We wanted it to be grander and to expand the frame..." - hmv.com talks to Turin Brakes
As Turin Brakes release their new album Lost Property (it's available to preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page), we sat down with frontman Olly Knights to find out all about how it came together...
When did you start work on Lost Property?
"I went on holiday to a nice little caravan in Essex in summer 2014 and wrote a load of new things, then I recorded them at home, scrapped a bunch, wrote a bunch more and sent them to the other guys. We then spent a few months trying them out live and eventually picked 12 from about 18...."
How many songs did you have to choose from for the album?
"We chose 12 but ended up dropping one. These days we try to do as much pre-production as we can so by the time we hit the studio we have the album mapped out very well. It's quicker and cheaper and it makes for a more solid statement we have found. Sometimes too many songs is a complete curse for us and we end up trying to be about five different bands on one album. We now get that out of the way before the recording light turns red!"
How did you want this album to move on from We Were Here?
"We wanted it to be grander and to expand the frame to a wider screen ratio, to suit the subject matter of 'loss' - which is a big subject but one that is entrenched in the very core of what it is to be human."
You recorded the album down in Rockfield Studios, one of the UK’s most legendary studios, what’s it like working there?
"We just absolutely love the place! It's old, simple and non slick, like us. It's like going back to 1978, way less computer distraction, way more analogue excellence and it made us a better band for it. We really did have to work at the songs."
What song on the album took the most work to get right?
"We re-wrote the chorus for '96' about ten times. Eventually we found a great structure that slowly reveals more and more as the tune progresses - not something that we've heard very often so we liked it in the end. Brighter Than The Dark was a nightmare to record because the time signatures and long silent pauses made it tough to overdub to."
Has how you write songs changed over the years? Or does it work in the same way it always has?
"It's the same system. I don't question my ideas too much until I've got them down, then I take what I have to Gale, then Rob and Edd. Then we decide what to do from there. I like ambiguity and also using words as percussion as much as imagery."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Does it have a unifying theme?
"The clue's kind of in the title. The subtle thread through the songs is one of the greatest battles of the human condition; the acceptance of loss, and all the anger, beauty, fear, amusement and hope it inspires, from a domestic level right up to space and back."
Do different topics inspire you now? Or are you still interested in the same themes you were when you were younger?
"I'm like Woody Allen when it comes to topics; I've been refining my muse for a very long time and trying to connect with other people through it. Songs about the loneliness of the human condition, making something hopeful and beautiful out of the things I find disturbing..."
Where did you find the image for the cover?
"We worked with Sam Chivers who did our last record We Were Here. We've loved his work since he designed a special screen print poster for us years ago - I think it's helped inspire us in recent years."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We hit the UK in February & March on a huge tour! Followed by Europe and then back for some big festivals and lovely smaller ones too."
Turin Brakes' new album Lost Property is out now.