Swing Out Sister open up about Almost Persuaded, their first studio album for a decade...
It's been 10 years since we had a new studio album from pop duo Swing Out Sister, but that all changes today. As new album Almost Persuaded comes to shelves, we spoke to singer Corinne Drewery about how it all came together...
When did you start putting together the songs for Almost Persuaded?
"Good question! We started making this album about three years ago, but it started out as a big band album. We changed our minds about that album and it is still to be finished. Instead, we started writing new songs. After a few months, we had a song that may have been the seeds of an idea for much longer than that. Bizarrely though, one of the songs on the album, 'I Wish I Knew', came from a melody idea I had when I was seven years old! I realised that when I was putting the vocal down."
It’s been almost 10 years since your last album, have you been collecting songs for this album for the duration?
"We have been collecting ideas and working on other projects, the big band album which consists of cinematic arrangements of some of our favourites, we also did a couple gigs with the big band and a festival, JavaJazz, where we supported Stevie Wonder. We also did a tour of Japan and the US, and recorded an album, Private View, of the live arrangements of songs we did for a tour that was cancelled due to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano in 2010."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"Probably 'All in a Heartbeat', we couldn’t decide which version to use - that’s why we included it twice on the album…but there are many more versions. We still have quite a few instrumental variations of the songs that we would like to release as an accompanying album."
And which came together most quickly?
"Our songs don’t usually come together quickly but I suppose out of all of them 'Which Wrong is Right' and 'Something Deep in Your Heart'. We wrote them with Gina Foster and she doesn’t take any messing! She also did some great vocal arrangements and has accompanied us on many tours."
"Our songs are like paintings. Andy comes up with a musical landscape, I come up with melodies and lyrics, but we are both stubborn and indecisive so it takes some time for us to agree on when they work together. Andy uses the William Faulkner quote ‘Kill your darlings’ quite often, sometimes you don’t want to let a phrase or a chord go, but you know it is preventing the others from working."
What kind of album is this in lyrical terms? Is there a theme to the album?
"I suppose it's reflective but at the same time full of premonitions and possibilities. There is definitely a sense of the fleeting passage time and also of closeness and tenderness while the world continues to change all around us, not always for the better. I think you can probably tell there is a sense of contradiction and indecision too, which is how our songs evolve."
When did you settle on Almost Persuaded for the title? Were any other titles in contention?
"Yes, there have been many. The City and the Clouds was where we started. A Moveable Feast was a working title for a while, but neither of them felt quite like they suited the mood of the album. It’s a bit like naming a child, you have to wait until it is born to know which name is right."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We are planning a few gigs in the UK - some in later this year, some in the spring. We will also be touring Japan in October. Our live band always brings out another dimension to the songs, and we have so much fun rearranging them that we often spend more time playing different versions in our studio than we do on tour."