Steve Jessop: There was pressure because time was precious and money was an even shorter commodity. Trevor’s bass shines out loud and clear – really excellent and is the backbone to all the songs. It’s always there but not domineering – a melody in itself.
Paul Trynka: I liked that there was a comment on a blog somewhere that said the songwriter must have been the bassist, because it was always so high in the mix. But the bass was always a crucial element – I’d have come up with the other melodies, so to have this counterpoint took it to another level. Those parts are deep and thoughtful. Which is what Trevor is like. When he’s not taking the piss out of me, that is.
Trevor Simpson: Even back with Dave Jones, I’d started trying to work out bass chords. Although I had no idea what the chords actually were. Then generally I’d try and play a melody – on The House it follows what Paul’s playing. They were also great songs to play live – the one that was tricky was The Illuminated Ones, because if I started the opening riff too quickly, it was impossible to play the chords in the chorus.
Paul: The Illuminated Ones was our epic – it’s about paranoia and vast conspiracy theories, so we made it as complicated as we could, with an intro and an outro. But we really paid for it, I must’ve spent years of my life teaching our keyboard players that intro. I still feel guilty for making them suffer.
Steve: Hooky came over with his Megatron keyboard for the session… That was quite good.
Paul: New Order were recording Low Life in the daytime, so Hooky drove over with Iris in his Audi Quattro at midnight, crossed the Pennines in about 45 minutes, with their Emulator and Prophet 5 so we could overdub all the keyboards in one night. Then he drove back to work on his own album.
Hooky: I enjoyed listening to it a lot. But it was very, very melancholy and quite… poignant. More Velvet Underground than Fate/ Hate was. I couldn’t imagine you playing them live – they were quite soft. They were quite shocking, some of the lyrics.
Baby, it’s cold outside: the studio floor at Fairview, Willerby, with Paul and Trevor’s guitars in front of the drum booth.
Paul: It was all quick, maybe 10 evenings for all the recording and mixing. One song, This Is The Place, maybe suffered because we had too little time, it’s rushed. Others came together in the studio, like You Need More – which is a piss-take of Iggy, we’d just read his book I Need More, where he’s horrible to all the others Stooges , we finished the lyrics in the pub next door a few moments before I sang them. Then The Resolution was Trevor’s, but improvised live – it might have been longer but we couldn’t afford another reel of 2-Inch tape, so Colin had to wave at us to hit the final riffs before it span off the spool.
Trevor: The Resolution came from, I was trying to write my thoughts down, while trying not to write poetry. And I had a simple guitar riff I really liked, then Paul came round and played dulcimer, which like the bass parts made sense of the song. It’s an Appalachian instrument and it just fitted.
Paul: The vocals were maybe done in three or four batches. Moller helped, too. For instance, he’d wait for me to finish a really emotional vocal take at four in the morning, I’d walk out into an dark, empty studio then he’d leap out and honk the sax right in my face, freaking me out.
Paul Moller: You’d done your vocals in the dark, which was very atmospheric. I’m not so mad now. I don’t think you can be and stay alive.
Paul T: Then at five am, we’d push my girlfriend Sarah’s Morris Marina off in the snow to start it – I had to get it back at six so she could get to work on a local pig farm.
Steve: It was freezing, that studio. They all were.
Paul M: I still have that image in my mind. Outside it was very cold and thick ice, remember regularly pushing the van off down that Fairview slipway,
Vaughan Oliver: I remember researching photographs that seemed appropriate for the cover. The girl over the shoulder was one of my favourites of Nigel Grierson’s and you guys just took to it. There’s a beautiful melancholy in your work that comes across startlingly in that image.
Nyam Nyam’s live line-up, summer 1984: from left, Trevor, Paul Moller (sax and violin), Paul Trynka, Steve Jessop and Claire Willett (piano and synth)
Well I just got the CD reissue of Hope of Heaven and I was just thinking about that song You Need More — I never would have guessed it was about Iggy Pop but now that I know it does fit, from what I know about how Iggy is like…
Friend of mine in Rochester New York I knew as Mark would call himself “the Thing” — really legendary character who last time I heard was homeless (sadly…) But he was most known for being in the Fertility Rite Bros. and later this group called SLT with another friend who died of a heroin overdose long ago (but that’s a different and sadder story…) Anyways SLT made the mistake of mailing Iggy Pop their demo, and Thing wound up getting an early-morning angry phone call from the Ig himself screaming “What do you call yourselves, SLT? BLT? Are you a band or are you a f-ing sandwich?” Of course several years later when Thing and Iggy met each other Iggy apologized to him, which I suppose is uncommonly nice of Iggy…
I also had this cassette someone sent me of a bootleg of Iggy on tour supporting the album Zombie Birdhouse, and most of it was Iggy hurling very very obscene abuse at the audience, which got really gross…
Anyways that last track on the CD, Knowledge I think it is, sounds competely different from what your songs are usually like. Maybe a bit Stones-y?
Actually it must’ve been ‘Doubt’ I heard. Well I found “Knowledge” on Youtube and it sounds… Stonesy! LOL…