I interviewed each of my band mates to find out a little bit more about the recording of the album and their contribution to the ‘Optimist’ campaign. This time it’s Jez’s turn…
What is your name and position in the band?
Jez – Guitarist / Arranger / Mixer
What instruments / tracks do you play on the album?
Guitar electric and acoustic, zither, harpsichord.
How long have you known the other members of the band?
Most of them about 22 years.
Fill us in on the other bands that you’ve been in?
Lein To Disaster, Shakehole, The Bitchin Lactators, Grand Atlantic, Jimbob, The Fiona Clayton Band, Ceamarie.
Describe the recording process for this album. What it as rock and roll as people envisage?
No. It was two lovely days in the Avon countryside, eating plums and cake and drinking endless cups of tea. Charlie Grimsdale did a superb job of setting us up in a live room and positioning mics so we could play the tracks all together live but still capture enough sound to get a polished mix out.
He also did a great job of configuring Al’s drumkit so that he could play a “kick” sound with his hand instead of his feet and then overdub hi-hat/ride cymbal parts – it worked really well.
My involvement with the album. Aside from writing two of the songs I would have to say that i probably put the “list” in A’list’air!
Helping to organise bits and pieces really. Some of the tunes needed knocking about a bit , so I helped on that side. Re-shaping one or two with Al to meet his exacting requirements. Recording rehearsals and distributing demos to make sure we were all on the same page.
Setting up the online workspace that helped us to make this project work, even though some of the contributors were overseas. Playing a bit of guitar, zither and harpsichord on the tunes, arranging and recording some of the string parts. I mixed a few tunes and also helped mix a few others.
It has been a fantastic endeavour and also one with a result i personally am really proud of, but i think we can all agree it has not been a particularly smooth road.
Pick two or three tracks on the album and describe what they mean to you.
I got the idea for “In The Wake” when i drove past a horse tied up on a roundabout. He looked very sorry for himself. So it got me thinking about writing a song from the perspective of that horse. But then i didn’t get very far with that, so it turned into a list song. Basically listing disappointing/disappointed things and situations.
It should be stressed that i did NOT write it with anyone in mind apart from myself !
I realised that the bulk of the song is pretty depressing , with all sorts of downer imagery like blackened vaults and lost raindrops, so i wanted to make a play out that was more positive to balance it, hence “roll the stone away”.
So it’s a game of two halves really Ron. Want to shoot yourself at the start, see the light at the end. It should also be stressed that all the vaguely religious imagery is only imagery and belies no “faith” on my part!
What is your day job?
I own an infrared thermography business.
Who / what are your musical influences?
Rufus Wainwright, Metronomy, Pixies, Guided By Voices, The Shins