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Oh yes, I should have mentioned that we were going away for our summer holidays.... But today, like legions of kids across the land being dragged away from their Xboxes (or their surfboards...) we're back to school. Interestingly and somewhat predictably, we've spent the last ten days prepping the studio ready for what we thought would be our first lesson - only to have the timetable turned firmly on its head within the first hour of the band being in the building.
The natural response is to curse, tut and whine about moving goalposts, but we've long since learned that this is simply the way the creative process works. The band are attempting, after all, to create something from nothing. So planning the route is as much guesswork as anything else. As things begin to develop, the best way forward becomes clearer.
This, of course, is easy to type several days after the fact, made all the more easy by a good healthy dose of tutting and cursing which helped to smooth the transition.
After much discussion and frantic re-arrangement of the studio, the afternoon begins with the band in a circle and playing together. The results are pretty special.
I remember a long time ago discussing with a mate how driving a car very fast wasn't really that impressive. He said, "It's not like The Flintstones, where you've got your feet through the floor powering it yourself". In a way, making "huge sounding" music can be the same. It can be a triumph of machinery, when all the driver is doing is pressing his foot on a pedal.
Here and now, "big sounding" is some distance away, as the band are pretty much as close to silence as it's possible to get whilst still playing music. As a result, it's less like watching a racing driver and more like witnessing a high wire act. All poise, balance and the ever-present possibility that it could all go south at any moment.
Everyone in the room is still. I click the mouse button on my laptop and receive a disapproving raising of eyebrows from co-producer Rik Simpson. It becomes one of those moments where you're a little afraid to exhale in case it bursts the bubble or breaks the spell.
Our first week back continues in exactly this vein. "The plan" becomes a pinball, bouncing off different points of enthusiasm at alarmingly regular intervals. In all honesty, it would be pointless me trying to explain where we're going right now. By the time we're halfway there, we'll be going somewhere else.
Hell of a ride though....
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