What were your main guitars for this record? Did you use your signature Martin?
“Yeah, I played that one a bit. The main guitar for this was a toy called the Yamaha Guitalele. It retails for about 60 quid or something – 90 bucks. It’s a nylon-string ukulele with six strings, basically. I used that more than anything else, and I also used this German upright piano from the turn of the last century. Those two things were the core sounds of the album. I also used a Martin high-strung dreadnought – it had the Nashville stringing. Oh, and I used my Steinway, too.
“The Guitalele is really interesting. We’ve got this amazing young guitarist in the band, and I’m making him play it. He hates the fucking thing [laughs], ‘cause the intonation is all over the place. He bought this big, posh nylon-string thing, thinking it would be better than the Guitalele. I don’t think so – there’s no character. I love the horrible, twangy sound of the Guitalele. I said, ‘Get the Guitalele back on.’ It’s sort of emasculating to a guitarist to stand on stage with this miniature guitar. It's like, ‘Are we playing Stonehenge tonight?’ [Laughs] You know what I mean?”
I don’t know if you know it, but I hear Babylon as bumper music on various TV shows in the US. Where was the strangest place you’ve heard it?
“Well, I didn’t hear it myself, but a friend of mine told me about how he he heard my music during a pub fight, which is pretty funny to me. It was in this very rough pub in the East Side of London. There was a football match on the TV, and a fight broke out between the two rival firms. It was full-on – glass breaking, people shouting, the whole bit. My album White Ladder was playing on the jukebox. My friend said that Silver Lining or This Year’s Love – some really sweet song – was playing during what looked like this Guy Ritchie film was going on. I like the whole juxtaposition of that. I wish that I could’ve seen it.”
David Gray's Mutineers will be released on June 17. You can pre-order the album at Amazon.