“I love that you say bird noises – we say that all the time! ‘Dude, have we got any bird noises?” laughed Jimmy “We call them spicy noises! We are fans of songs and equally fans of really cool sounding instrumental productions. Marrying the two together made sense.” Tom offered his thoughts “It’s kind of hard to relate to bird noises on a personal level. When there’s a story in a song, there’s more to grab onto, more to relate to. Bird noises are cool and they are okay when you are at the forefront pushing forward. After a while, it gets hold – how do you make the coolest bird noise?”
The storytelling, inspired in particular by Tom Petty on ‘Tearing Me Apart’, touches on the classic trope – pining for a girl on a night out – is not entirely autobiographical but ‘experience and extrapolation’. “We prefer to take the initial spark of the situation and try to tell a universal story. A lot of times, when you are writing, you start in one place and you don’t know where it’s coming from, then it takes on a life of its own. You go with it. The lyrics ‘If you’re a joker then I’m a fool’ came out. Then we wrote to clarify those images. We sung the verse in a cool, almost spoken Tom Petty vibe. At the end of the song, we couldn’t decide whether or not we wanted to leave the story open ended. You know, maybe you’re not supposed to get to the end and find out what happens,” mused Howie.
Splitting their time between their own studio ‘The Candle Factory’ and London’s Metropolis Studio, the band sought a more creatively productive way of working in the studio. “We stepped our game up in terms of not unplugging cables constantly. Everything was wired into the patch bay, and if we ever wanted to go from the Prophet to a guitar pedal, the patch bay was right there. It made writing and getting really cool ideas and sounds really quick and easy” said Vallance.
The band leaned heavily on Ableton gear in the making of Days Gone By. “It was our go-to,” said Tom. “We used a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 5 and a Nord Lead, MFB drum machine, and a Native Instruments Maschine. We had a MicroKorg and used a Yamaha DX-7, but had to salvage some pre-recorded audio after we sold it!” The band also used a plethora of guitar gear including a Taylor acoustic, Fender Twin Reverb and an Ibanez SG bass. Major effects used across the record included the White Light Overdrive by Earthquake and the Upright Piano sound from Native Instrument’s Kontact 5. The simple goal of the band was “to write really great songs” and “trying to find [their] unique voice”, which can be tough in the super-competitive world of underground dance music; a genre that has easily risen above all major music trends to reign supreme in today’s music market.
The band was beaming about their recent experiences at Coachella, which according to Tom, “It’s the best view in the world. It’s the greatest office ever!” The band surprised audiences by rocking up with an extra member, a drummer in their live set. A ten second moment of panic on stage gave them a great spark of inspiration for the future. “A perfect example of the difference – on the second Coachella weekend, second last song, there’s this big build up. The way we rehearsed it, one of us came in one bar early – which meant we had to play an extra chorus and doing the last chorus as just guitar and vocal – it created this super amazing end to the set, which wouldn’t have happened just between the two of us,” said Tom. “It challenges you as a musician and it was really fun. Now even when it’s the two of us playing together, the distinction [between live and electronic] is starting to blur. It’s all just tools and instruments – it feels natural to us.”
Days Gone By is out now through Domino. Bob Moses is currently touring around the country with Rufus. For tour dates, click here.