Mike and his engineer John Gilmore are great. Mike was the first producer we met that had ever really wanted to embrace the production we had done previously, and at this stage I had never had that sort of validation as a producer. It was nice when we ended up using lots of my stems for the final synth arrangements and programming. I’d done most of the material on our previous EPs (Facedown and Sex) myself, but they always just felt like we were putting out demos. Mike’s input would always be far more scientific than ours. He’d easily spot the frequencies that were contributing too much or too little to an arrangement and really allow us to sonically fulfill our potential.
Most of the production is done on the road; buses, hotel rooms, dressing rooms, etc. (I’m actually recording the next EP for one of my other bands Japanese House on the road right now!) We’re just fortunate to be a band that can pretty much write purely with a laptop on the road, as opposed to needing to be in a room together on our instruments. But we've always been in great studios when we get together with Mike as he has always had amazing mics and analog gear and the knowledge to go with them!
The songs are 90% of the time a bi-product of a programmed arrangement that I will start on my laptop, usually a rhythm and chord progression, bass line, or synth arrangement. I’ll then take my ideas to Matthew Healy, and he will decide whether he feels like there is enough of a strong foundation for him to write melody over. From there we will usually begin to structure the main hook / chorus / motif, and nearly always by this stage we will have a visceral understanding of the context of the song.
We’ve always been massive fans of gospel choirs, as well as super artificial vocoder effects and the kind of 80s sounding stereo Eventide/doubler/harmonizer effects. We initially made a lot of ambient music and this was an easy way to soften vocals and immediately make them feel more polished and easy on the ears.
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