16 July 2015
I guess it was about this time two years ago. I was sitting in my friend Caroline's front room with my wife, Sarah, and we were listening to Billie Jo Spears and drinking some weird coconut flavoured gin that Caroline had got free from her work. I was probably being really boring and going on and on about how much I loved country music and how it was the only music I ever listened to anymore. Caroline was telling me how much she loved Blanket On The Ground and how she'd grown up listening to all these incredible country records, but how she didn't really listen to country music at all anymore, and I remember thinking that was odd. And a bit sad too. I started talking about how I'd always wanted to make a country album and I just remember them both seeming to be really excited about the thought of it. I guess it was them being excited about it that made it happen. I think whenever you make a record you have to always imagine someone listening to it and liking it. And whenever we were making this record I tried to imagine them.
Two years ago, The Great Perhaps, the fourth album by The Boy Least Likely To, had just been released, and like all the records we'd made it had taken longer than we'd hoped and it had taken it out if us. I don't think either me or Pete were in the mood to start making another album straight away. So I started writing for something else. Something closer to all the country records I'd loved and been listening to. I took the words to my friend Adam and we started to write the songs that make up most of the album. I wanted to write some songs with my brother because we hadn't written any songs together since we wrote My Tiger My Heart and Sleeping With A Gun Under My Pillow, so I gave some words to him too. Then we got Rob Jones involved. Mainly because for years now I've been roping him in to record with me and telling him that I'm going to make three or four albums a year, and although we'd done lots of recording together, I'm sure he'd given up on me actually finishing anything at all. I knew he could make whatever little things we were coming up with sound like an actual record that people might want to listen to. And we needed that.
We drove down to Kent every couple of weeks to record and I made country compilations for everyone to listen to, but I'm not sure if Rob ever did. We talked about the record sounding like a cross between Johnny Cash and Bananarama, and we talked bout it being "country music for girls to dance to", but really we just meant country music for Caroline and Sarah, who are both girls, to dance to. I think it was Simon Davey, who mastered the first single, that came up with the description "country music for people who don't really like country music", and we kind of liked that, but kind of hoped that people who did like country music liked it too. Otherwise what were we doing. I think we've made a country record that's true to ourselves, to who we are and where we come from. My favourite records are always the ones where someone set out to make something particular but allowed themselves to fail a little. The magic is in the failing. It's what makes records sound unique and human. I'm not interested in making a perfect copy of something that someone else has already made, even if I did know how to.
And now it's two years later, and the album comes out tomorrow. And I'm really excited just to have made it. It's got twelve songs on and a sleeve and a booklet and the names of the songs even come up when I play it in the car. It's an actual real thing that you can open and hold and turn around in your hands. And it all started out as just a silly idea we had on a Saturday afternoon after drinking some weird gin.
25 June 2014
Dolly Parton is in the UK at the moment, and she’s playing Glastonbury at the weekend. So I thought it would be nice to share a song Pete and me wrote about growing up with Dolly Parton, Wonderwoman, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and a whole lot more besides.
10 June 2014
"we never ever made it down to nashville in the end
and no one ever signed our stupid country disco band"
it's not as if i've just "gone country" all of a sudden. the boy least likely to were always a little bit country, a little bit disco, a little bit of a mess of everything we'd ever grown up listening to. and we grew up listening to country, so it was always a big influence on our songs and the way we sounded.
it just seems like these last few years all i've been listening to is country music, so after we'd finished the great perhaps i wanted to make a record that sounded like all those records i'd been listening to. all the billy sherrill records, all the dolly parton and porter wagoner albums. loretta lynn, merle haggard, waylon jennings and willie nelson, those first few tanya tucker albums. we wanted it to sound like a cross between johnny cash and bananarama. country music for people who didn't really like country music.
so at the end of last summer, i went into the studio with my old friends adam chetwood and rob jones. adam had been playing banjo in the boy least likely to since the best party ever came out, and both of us had always shared a love of all things country, and rob had just finished recording the third voluntary butler scheme album and had produced the last sweet baboo album, which sounded amazing, so i really wanted him to make this record with me too.
and this is the first single by legends of country, made up of the first two songs that we recorded, that's what we talk about when we talk about country and i was born in apricot. the a side has got liz from indiepop legends, the school, singing on it too. it's coming out at the beginning of july on seven inch and as a download and i'm really excited about it.
you can preorder the limited seven inch from rough trade here
i hope you like it