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Fireman, la genèse...

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Fireman, la genèse...

Message par Wingspan le Lun 14 Déc - 3:53



In the same year that he worked with Crowded House, Youth received a phone call from Paul McCartney, inviting him down to his private Hog Hill Studio at his home in Sussex. The former Beatle was, at the time, looking for remixers to rework tracks from his 1993 album Off The Ground. It would lead to the pair’s ambient dance collaboration album, Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, their first release under the name the Fireman.
“He’d read an interview I did and rang me up,” Youth remembers. “He said, ‘How would you feel about going through my multitracks and sampling whatever you like and doing a mix out of it?’ So I thought, fantastic. But I said, ‘It’d be good for you to play some other things on this.’ I couldn’t resist getting him to play the Beatles’ harpsichord or Mellotron. I got him to jam so much on it, we ended up using very few samples of the album in the end. And I ended up spending a few nights down there ‘til four in the morning, doing really esoteric ambient mixes of some of the jams.
“One night him and Linda came back from a party and ended up staying up all night just listening to me doing these mixes. I planned to edit bits of these mixes together into one mix, because that’s how we did the Orb stuff. We’d do a lot of mixes, radically different ideas, and then edit them together. Initially on tape, but eventually I got Sound Tools, the precursor to Pro Tools, the stereo one. We’d be putting mixes onto DAT and then go straight into Sound Tools and I’d spend two days editing them down into one epic mix. But then Paul came back and said ‘We love these mixes so much I wanna put them all out as an album.’ I was like, ‘Who am I to disagree with this man?’”
In 1998, the pair took the idea further with the second more, dreamlike and hypnotic Fireman album, Rushes, for which Youth further encouraged McCartney to jam as he built up loops of his performances. “I was still just getting to know Paul, and I thought if I pushed him to write songs, we’d be in a situation of pressure and stress for him — which is one of the reasons he liked doing the Fireman, there wasn’t any pressure or record-company expectation. He could just really let go and have fun.”
“Fireman is very liberating,” McCartney told this writer during sessions for the pair’s third and recently released album, Electric Arguments. “Youth is a great head. I used to say to him, ‘This is exactly the opposite of how I normally am in the studio.’ Normally I’m trying to figure out to sing the song and how to actually play the guitar part. But all we were doing was just throwing stuff at the tape, throwing stuff, throwing stuff. And he would just go, ‘Yeah, I like that,’ bang, and he’d pick a bit out and he’d loop it up. Just making his cake, gathering ingredients as we went along.”
Sessions for Electric Arguments again took place at Hog Hill. “It’s amazing,” Youth says. “He’s got a copy of Ringo’s drum kit and loads of Beatles kit that he dug out of skips when Abbey Road were throwing them away in the early ’70s. He’s got a beautiful Neve and an incredible collection of microphones. He’s got his Pro Tools rig, but I would take my Logic rig. It’s a very lovely-sounding room and he’s very comfortable there.”
Electric Arguments takes the project one step further, being a more traditional vocal-based, if no less atmospheric offering, reminiscent in some ways of McCartney’s playful post-Beatles albums McCartney (1970) and Ram (1971). “On this one I was determined that we would go further with it without it being a task for him,” Youth explains. “So I’d go in a few hours earlier and prepare some completely different loops. They were very specific directions — one might be delta blues, one might be English folk, one might be Irish, one might be more electronic. Then he’d come in and we’d find out which one he felt he resonated with most that day and then I’d say, ‘Grab an acoustic and pick out the chords and change them if you want, and let’s start jamming to this loop.’ So we’d do a couple of overdubs and then get the bass and really I’d just keep him rolling.
“I’d bring down all these poetry books or play him some really old traditional folk music and say, ‘Listen to this story and see if you can write some words.’ Or I’d go, ‘Take these poems and just pick out five words on that page and write a line out of those. (Laughs) And you’ve got 10 minutes!’ And he did it! I’d arrange the music while he was getting the lyric and he’d throw down a few vocals and then he’d say, ‘OK I’ve got to go home and cook Bea some tea.’
“Then I’d really radically arrange the vocal tracks, rearrange some of the words and double some up from different sections to create little backing vocals. So the next day, first thing, I’d go, ‘OK we just need a couple of backing vocals on this and we’re done’. And he’d hear it and go, ‘Wow, fantastic.’ Then we’d mix it, often the same day. We literally spent 13 days and we recorded 16 tracks. He’s so incredibly fearless, maybe because he had the trust in me by then. But he was still making disclaimers, especially with vocals.”
For his part, during the sessions McCartney candidly admitted to finding this breathlessly spontaneous approach to recording thrilling, if a bit frightening at times. “It literally has been me walking in the studio and just saying to the engineers, ‘Look, this could be really humiliating, ’cause I haven’t got the slightest clue of what I’m about to do. So not too much laughing behind the desk! If you’re gonna laugh, duck out of sight, ’cause I’m really gonna lay it on the line here.’ But that’s a natural thing for me to do. It’s just a stretch, and if I get the opportunity to do something like that, I’ll do it.”

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Date d'inscription : 29/03/2005

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