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You and Andy got on philosophically – it wasn't just based around mechanics.
“Well, yeah. The journey here was to work ahead of your conscious mind, the part of your mind that expresses ownership and wants to bolt things down. I was guided by instinct instead of intellect, and that allowed something fresh to develop. These songs are me finding the sounds for the very first time. There was real joy in capturing this magic.”
“It meant changing the basic ways that I do things. Normally, I write melodies and chords, and then I try to find the lyrics. By writing backwards, taking words and trying to find melodies for them, it was exciting, reaching into a void and finding this new lyrical world. It succeeded brilliantly with songs like Gulls, The Incredible, Birds Of The High Arctic – all of them came about from this backwards approach. And then Andy really worked to take me out of my comfort zone. His brief to me was, ‘You’re not going to make the same record you’ve made before.’”
How was a song like Mutineers, the title track, constructed? Did you work from a demo?
“No, that is the demo. I had a song called Sugar Rush – this was all a very turbulent process – and I had a huge stockpile of other songs. Andy would say, ‘I don’t know what I can do with that – or that or that.’ We went through all the songs that I thought would have been the main ones. There were 30 or 40 songs that he didn’t wanna touch. But then I said that I had some ideas, and one of them was Sugar Rush, which was just four or five lines. He said there was something he liked about it, so we decided to work on it.
“We spent half a day putting it down. I put a piano part down, and we found a tempo and the right key. Then I laid down a series of piano parts and some guitar parts. We sat down to listen to it, and one little chord sequence went by and he said, ‘Oh, that’s my favorite part.’ I said, ‘Duh – mine too!’ [Laughs] He said he should lose the verse, lose the chorus that comes after it, but we’d work on that sequence. He just wanted that one bit. I wasn’t so sure – there were some raised eyebrows on my part – but then we took that part, looped it, and off we went.”