The Story Behind The Music
On this page James describes different experiences working with various top-drawer artists over the years.
Keane signed a 'Vibey Development' deal with me in 2001 and I helped change them from a 'cock-rock' band with huge aggressive guitars into the Keane you know and love... I'd recently finished helping Dido make her debut album and was looking for a band who could embody the same kind of music, programming and production style. Many of the songs we co-wrote were recorded with me using new techniques that I had recently developed... including my 'aeolian lovelies' sound on 'Sunshine'... my Mono / Poly arppegiation sound on 'Walnut Tree' (written under the Walnut tree in my garden) and the Big / Small programming and production technique of recording some stuff 'low quality' with a dictaphone and some stuff 'high quality' on 'Bedshaped' . Also I used my EMS Putney VCS3 to great effect in 'She Has No Time' .. We had a lot of fun, and at the time we were doing something truly new and original..
The Walnut Tree and James' EMS Putney VCS3's and Korg Mono/Poly
I feel that some artists need to be challenged to get the best out of them, otherwise they are in danger of disappearing down the plug hole of their own doubts and insecurities... I was with Keane to challenge them and we created a Brit Award winning, number one hit record. I did not work on the subsequent albums 'Under an Iron Sea' or 'Spiralling'.....
In 2000 I worked with Mike Hedges a lot and we were really excited to have 'got the call' from U2. I helped Mike by providing programming for 'Kites' and 'Sometimes you can't make it on your own'.. these two songs were spread over two albums: 'All That you can't leave Behind' in 2000 and the album 'How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb' in 2005.
One of the two records I was involved with by U2; Mike Hedges; The Harrier Jump Jet!
One of the things I did for the programming for the song 'Kites' off the album was put some samples of a Harrier Jump jet in it and even though U2 did not use them I noticed that their music video of their single from that album 'Beautiful Day' they performed on a airport runway with jets taking of... kinda sounds / looks a bit like the sound I provided! ...which is great! I did some great programming on 'Sometimes you can't make it on your own' which unfortunately for me, they decided to do as a more live thing for the record... que sera,sera!
Manic Street Preachers
The album from the Manic Street Preachers; The Ensoniq ASR 10 and EPS 16+...great samplers and FX!
I really like Ensoniq ASR-10 samplers.. I have four of them!... I also have two Ensoniq EPS 16+ samplers... they are great because they have great effects in them. In 2003 I was working with Mike Hedges and we worked on a song called 'There By the Grace of God' by Manic Street Preachers. In it you will hear lots of lovely enharmonic distortion and phazey sample effects... ;) those ASR-10's are great!!