But still, were you concerned that you were throwing away so much of the song?
“It was terrifying at first ‘cause he sent me into the live room to go for something with just that part. I had nothing, really. Around lunchtime, Andy popped off to see his chiropractor or some nonsense, and I was to work on lyrics. He came back, and by that time I had something. We piled into it. The sound began to develop – I did a MIDI pass of all the piano parts, and he got this toy piano sound and various other things – and I began to let go of my negativity and doubts. I was now intoxicated by the sounds we were finding. The next day, I wrote the lyrics and we got the vocal; then the backing vocals came in. After that, we put on some bass and drums and a bit of percussion. It sounded great.”
Mood is the essence of these songs. Beautiful Agony casts an incredible spell.
“Mood is the secret weapon. It tells you a story, and the lyrics are intertwined with the atmospherics of the sound; the two things become one. The song is already telling you something just by the way that it sounds. Beautiful Agony was another one of those songs that Andy encouraged me to work on. I didn’t have the lyrics, but there was something there, so we set off on a journey to find it.”
Was that the same process for the song Girl Like You? The song keeps changing – it never stays the same.
“Yeah, that’s the dark horse of this record. Live, it’s become this sort of massive thing. It was pretty experimental, particularly how we muted the main vocal. Andy did this reverb thing, but by mistake he dropped the main track into it. When we listened to it, I said, ‘What’s that? I love that!’ Andy said it was a mistake, but I said, ‘No, no, we have to keep it like that.’ We made that the theme of the first verse.
“We were alive to the possibilities and the happy accidents, and I found that really refreshing. Things would happen, and where most producers would say, ‘Oh, that’s wrong. We can’t have that,’ we said, ‘No, that’s cool. Keep it.’ I wanted to get rid of the rules, which is difficult and runs counterintuitive to the responsibility you usually have, which is to do things ‘properly,’ whatever that means. What I found was that by doing things the wrong way, I wound up with the most interesting results.”