The Anatomy ramshakled boat has finally found a small port to lay anchor.
People could not, if they tried, imagine some of the ridiculous crazeshit we had to overcome to get here. Last year alone would have made a wonderfully long glossary of disasters, worthy of a surreal fly-on-the-wall rockumentary, but that, I fear, will have to wait for some future obscure book-writing date.
For now, we're just overwhelmingly happy that, somehow, we managed to overcome the difficulties, big and small, and released some music we're quietly proud of and believe in wholeheartedly.
I will now leave this blog, a mummified record of our small, intense, but totally worthwhile adventure. My work here is done.
For news and updates on everything that happens from this day forward, pls go to the MAIN ANATOMY BLOG. .
ps - a few FACTOIDS about the record:
* anatomy was mixed in the cave, using superbasic freebie program: audacity. (except 'Standing Still+'Aquamarine' mixed at small ldn studio) .
* clarinet on 'Sweet Chili Girl': bumped into a guy at kitchen mini-studio, asked 'wot do u play?' he said 'clarinet' - 'cool, wot r u doing in the next 10 minutes?' I just forgot to ask his name! have no idea who he is. .
* having heard the initial 'mastering tapes', I went to the Mastering Studio with a list written ALL IN CAPITALBOLD:NO EXTRA EFFECTS/ NO COMPRESSION/ NO EQ CHANGE/ NO CLEANING UP VOCALS OR GLITCHES/NO MESSING W/SOUND/ DONTTOUCHANYTHING.engineer followed instructions to the letter.
* The last sample of old music at the end of 'Clouds' is from a 78 vinyl, over 75 years old, recorded in 1886, and it's called 'In the Gloaming' and it became one of the most popular romantic ballads published as sheet music.
. * 'Sinner's Descent' was originally penciled-in as a 'possible b-side'.
. * 'Anatomy', the 1st track I wrote, prior to move to Kew, and in the midst of legal troubles, was excluded from the record - as we ran out of studio-time, and it felt just right to leave it out, as it belongs to a slightly different pre-cave era.
(the original porta-demo was included in the Itunes package).
The time has come for all our drugstore lovers to put their hands where their broken hearts are get hold of the ANATOMY album.
It's available to pre-order on pretty much all formats, excluding singing it live in your bedroom wearing only fave kimono (although, I'm sure that could easily be arranged too).
Instead of having a 'big naff comeback single release', we've decided to do a limited edition CD single with a couple of album tracks, as a taster.
You can pre-order both the single and the album online or get it direct from the Rocket Girl website. It's also gonna be available on most independent record stores, after the official release date.
As you know, Anatomy is a simple, homemade record, no big production or frills, and I hope it captures some of the moods and stories of life in the cave, the dark places my heart got to, in an unpretentious, occasionally drunken, but totally dead-real way.
I don't expect whole world to love everything about it, but kinda hope someone, somewhere's gonna find a track or two to treasure.
love to the world, all the boys and girls, love to the fishies in the deep blue sea.
Today managed to finish and upload all artwork files.
They say time flies when you're having fun - I say it rushes by when you've got a bloody deadline round your neck.
I love doing artwork, and although I'm a trained graphic designer, so have basic grasp - know my way 'round a sans serif, in the past things were a little easier, as I'd just sketch/paint/scribble something, and send it off to Simon at RyanArt, who would then do the hard graft of placing text, barcodes - putting the format together;
This time I'm doing everything myself, so if anything looks shite, dodgy spelling or barcode belongs to another band another planet - ain't got no one else to blame. Can't imagine being happier than locked in the cave, disconnected from the world, doing this stuff for pure pleasure. It's a joy and a privilege.
As with everything else we've ever released, I wanted the artwork to reflect where we're at - so gone are the fuzzy-pop pinks, in with the slate greys and dead blues.
It's amazing how much unconscious foretelling an album or single cover can reveal.
I can trace drugstore's emotional rollercoaster just by reading the silent subtext in the artworks - there was always some extra meaning, some other layer.
A while ago I received a long enraged email from a fan who was outraged at the prospect of Drugstore releasing music digitally - as he worried about us losing our religion:
baby - you have nada to fear: the album is super-lo-fi and the artwork, although I do a lot of stuff on the computer, has all sorts of homemade elements - for some of the tools I use have changed, the work I do is still delivered the very same way: bloodshot in your face.
dramatic post-mastering script: Massive delays on the district line, and me getting v.anxious about turning up late. Broke urban taboo, and spoke to stranger sitting next to me: ' er.. do these people realise I have an album to master?! arrrgh'.
Got to Turnpike Lane 1/2 hour late, confused about address and stressed blind, crossed the street to try to hail a black cab and fell over right in the middle of busy multi-traffic junction - cars stopped - driver shouted at me - another pedestrian came over to help and took me to a minicab office.
Whoever you are: thank you.
Session went super fine - guy at the studio was great.
It's gonna be a pretty album.
Vinita turned up, had chips, we hugged and I felt quite emotional.
sense of achievement.
Moral of the story: we always get there in the end.
Day 2 of mixing: started off good, with generosity of next door biz neighbour, who runs nice family crabmeat business, ended up even better with 3 lovely mixes of some of the mellower/quieter album tracks - Clouds, La Brume and Can't Stop me Now.
Had superlative crabmeat brunch; My dad used to say that crab was the food of angels - I think, in this instance, I may have to agree.
As for being a really, really bad person, although sometimes line of good and bad drawn with invisible ink, today, managed to overcome temptation, and happily shared crab-loot with everyone else.
you never doubted I would, did you?! scoundrels!
ps- very pop-postscript: the crabmeat biz is housed in what used to be another little recording studio, where, hard to believe but true, the SpiceGirls recorded their 1st album. historic.
Mixing is a weird little beast, can bring the fussiest out of the laid-back, and turn deaf mice into audio-experts.
I'm gonna try really hard not to get over picky, and get trapped into the compression/delay chamber. Just want the songs to be heard, nice, unaffected and clear. So far everything sounding top class, not a single brown smartie in the bag.
Now, can I have just a tad more reverb, please? and that 2nd snare beat on the chorus is too loud, also the b-vox needs panning, and the bass needs tweaking, and that guitar whatever...Pete's rotary organ...and the slides... (ad infinitum)
Today, for the first time, had a chance to listen to everything we've done so far.
Respiratory and slowly.
I usually take a cheapo pair of headphones with me, the ones you'd get on Ebay for about, say, £30, not the worst, but just below average, and plug them straight into the desk. It's a great way to have an overall impression of what the record is roughly going to sound like.
Felt overwhelmed and happy with what I've heard, and for the first time, a gentle wave of calmness rose from within, something I haven't felt in years.
Terrible, isn't it?, but I fear that other dreaded word 'maturity' might have finally sipped into our music, but not in a serious or too grown-up way - not like that, but more like when you're about to arrive at someplace strange and new and feeling quietly comfortable with yourself.
star spangled pretty.
- El Pedro, in a sea of tinkles. ------------------------------------------------------------------
Fell in love with the wrong cowboy, not for the first or last time, I fear...
In the meantime, at the Drugstore Island, clock doing that Einstein thing I never quite understood, y' know, the bleeding two twins, one is travelling at the speed of light, the other stuck on earth, or whatever? as studio time slipping away faster than predicted by my mathematical planner. weird.
Still, despite recording studio own bizarre laws of non-logical physics, think we gonna make it and arrive safely at harbour in 10 days time.
Underneath the rubble, the crass jokes, the ill-thought out pseudo-amusing twits, the grammatical mistakes, the rude bossy demands, the craze drive, the blinddetermination, the rock'n'roll sub-diva, the drunken bitch, this harsh shell that I carry, lies something quite small, barely there, in perfectly opposing symmetry, and sometimes it surfaces and strikes a pretty chord.
recording Sinner's Descent, in a pool of red. later, we added some incredibly beautiful sounds, as described by Mr.Y, as such: a single bird, soaring high above a placid lake, which led me to think that there might be something extra going down w/ his morning yakult. this was the last song I wrote just before going into the studio.
I don't think there is a rulebook that can really tell you what you should or shouldn't do in life.
If Debbie Harry wants to get up there singing Denis Denis in her 60's and people are happy to pay for that, why shouldn't she?
You do it, Debster, carry on enjoying your life.
But, personally, I never wanted to do that, just regurgitate the past, as I always thought Drugstore's music implicitly reflected what's been happening in our fucked-up minds, like a snapshot of emotions trapped in a moment in time.
I only stepped out of the cave, because a bunch of new songs and stories got string-up in a new braid.
If people are expecting a grand return of the Spacegirl, in a fuzz of fender-twin-feedback, as she 1st appeared on our debut album, they're bound to be a little disappointed.
I will always love that Spacegirl, but she now lives in a wooden crate filled with other great memories, alongside the MadMariachi of the 2nd album and the neo-Romantic Cello of the 3rd.
All perfectly fitting with their time, each a record of our story as a band, as people, as artists.
But, also, I never wanted to comeback like anything else but Drugstore, with a new weird sound, a black-beat box of fakery, that would have not made any sense at all, any sense at all. Althought the way in which I write songs has remained the same, sporadically and unannounced, I wanted the sound to change a bit, to reflect where I've been and where we're at.
So, with Anatomy, although a 'quiet' album, we're still gonna have a few chili-pepper bites, but keeping enough empty spaces for silences to be felt and words to be heard.
Getting new people in the ranch, although at first a transatlantic necessity, turned out to be a pretty cool move, as it added enough new shades to make this a distinctive new chapter, without messing up the essential meccano structure of the Drugstore Universe too much. perfecto.
There is this lovely portuguese word - singelo - that doesn't quite have a perfect translation, like saudade.
It poorly translates as something simple and innocent, but it has a hint of unpretentiousness and a certain unaffected beauty.
That's the word: we're making an album singelo.
ps - today back in the craze real world, but taking pleasure in washing undies/face-scrubin/and catching-up w/ ever-growing email mountain/things to do list etc. nice to be back in the cave, but cant wait to be back in the studio.
Day 8 - A drugstore love affair Today, a welcome shot of extra affection, and a bonus evening off. wahey!
Two fans who bidded together on our Pledge Project, came to visit us at the studio in Hampton. Lex, all the way from belle France, and Gary, from Brumingham.
Quite fitting that one of the traks we were working on - 'Standing Still', had the broken chorus; 'everything will be forgotten and all the love be dead and gone' - we know that, but '...in the meantime' - yep, in the meantime I just feel profoundly grateful that for a moment, we have people who think the music we're making is worth the journey in the cold wintry rain.
It's a beautiful thing, our love affair with this drugstore. -
ps1- spotted opportunity for some free backing-vox, got them to work straight away and extracted some pretty decent 'doodoodoos' out of their virgin throats -
fun had by all, filmed by Steve and subsequently deleted by mistake by clumsy fingers monteiro.
evening ended at the local posh pub, doing what all bands do for most of the time: slaggin off other bands, discussing at lenght which is their favourite drugstore album, and secretly thinking:
yep, we're making something special here, something really special...
It is a challenge, and it takes a brave man to be led blind by Mad-captain-Monteiro, for no amount of rehearsals, long blog entries or conversations can quitetranslate or explain the full Anatomy landscape I have in my head.
Each one of them holding particular pieces of a musical puzzle that's being sewn up together, and often asked to deliver right on the edge of the unknown seas.
I have days on my own, days with some of the guys, and occasionally all of us together.
We're moving fast, ahead of my planner, which is good, for I'm certain there will be a few light storms, or as the engineer pointed out:
'shit will happen'.
So far, sailing sharply forward, on good winds, with Anatomy bronkenheartedness gently slidin' into place. You just gotta have a little faith. - ps- spot el thick wooly poncho indoors - no 5 star facilities, but atmosphere perfecto/beautiful mournful slides by Mr.Yuuki
Studios are weird and wonderful places, where you quickly disconnect from the rest of the known world; It has its own set of special little rules, a shared secret agreement built over decades between craze bands and engineers, and sealed over a dirty wine-spilled, coffee drenched, once pale grey carpet.
Strange, amusing conversations and rock'n'roll tales are shared, and other bands' gossip dished-out freely.
I try to keep at the helm, in the control room for pretty much most of the time - call me power-freak, obsessive, don't care - every note matters to me.
But yesterday, decided to give'em a break, and went for a wander around the island, coffee, poncho, ciggie in hand.
I returned, half-an-hour later, expecting much progress on the trak, and what do I find?
Engineer's laptop Firefox page on (couldn't help but notice...):
'Science Weekly -'Is there life in outer space?', and both men engaged in great debate about life beyond Earth, God, deep-space shit, big bang theory, alien life-forms etc...
'So, guys... guitar trak finished, is it?' - 'Erm..., no, erm..., we were kinda waiting for you to come back...' Yeah, right. bloody space-geeks.
And no, they were not recording 'Blackholes&BrokenHearts' - which would have kinda made sense, right?
But, that's the beauty of 'studio space confinement' - it does weird things to your mind, it bends, and an assortment of crazeshit comes out.
And yep, we did spend the following 1/2 hour trying to convince the guitarist that there's nothing beyond this mortal coil. Guitar: 'Fuck, man, that's just too dark...' Miss M: 'Yeah, man, wake-up and smell the darkness, baby, it's coming to getch'ya.' engineer: 'Right, better put the next guitar-trak down, then, before the darkness comes and takes him away.' x