――Now that your album is done and your audience gets to listen to it, how do you feel?
Rosie : It feels good. Even though we recorded it a year ago, it feels very fresh and new. We haven’t been able to play the songs at all, so it feels very exciting. We had this year to just work on everything else. Like the artwork and videos. It was very exciting. I feel like all the hard work would pay off once it’s released.
――You said it was recorded a year ago, did covid-19 affect your process?
Rosie : No
――What was the process like making this album?
Lottie :I think it kind of changed. We knew about writing the second album way in advance. Our managers warned us to not leave it to the last minute, because we were touring loads. We had to get it done quickly before we toured. So we always had that panic in mind.When the bases left and Holly joined we started properly writing for it. It was kind of like a change, and a new chapter of the band.
Holly joined while we were still touring for the first album. More towards the end of the promotion of it. So it was quite good that she got to play with us before writing with us. We got pretty comfortable with each other. I think that was quite necessary, to trust the people you are writing with because you are revealing a lot about yourself. It was nice.
――So you guys wrote the music together in the same room? Or was it done individually and combined afterwards?
Holly : I think we did it together.
Rosie : I think both.
Holly : We started by jamming. Like Lottie said, we got to know each other as people but we got to know each other musically as well. I mean I guess I joined to fill in the space of Naima and none of us really knew if it would work writing together. Jamming in the same room together, and people were bringing in bits of ideas they had. None of them were fully finished, we spent a lot of time reworking them. We swapped around instruments quite a lot. We did a lot of playing together and experimenting till we reached a point where everyone was happy.
――What was the most memorable moment in the making?
Lottie : When Dan’s dog got squashed by the door. I was recording like a vocal take and Dan’s wife opened the door to tell Dan something. She realised we were recording something so she tried to shut it. The little dog was trapped and it made like a squeak. We can’t say anything cause we were recording but you could hear the door squeak, and we kept it in the song. We added loads of delay to it. It was pretty funny.
――You have been working with Dan since the first album, you trust him a lot. What is so great about working with him?
Rosie : I think Dan brings out the best in everyone he works with. He doesn’t really follow a routine. It’s kind of a real collaboration. For us a lot of talking about what we want to do and what we think is the best way. Us telling him our ideas, and he’s just so knowledgeable about producing so he would know how to make that come true.
Lottie : He is really inclusive about everyone’s ideas. No idea is a stupid idea in his eyes. He is always up for trying whatever. It is an important quality within a producer. They don’t have this superior stance on things. It’s always about discovering together with them.
――Do you think that is the reason why Black Midi, Black country, New road and Fontains DC wants to work with them?
Holly : I guess so. Obviously he has energy, he is very talented and he knows how to make music physically sound good. His engineering is incredible. But what sets him from other people is his genuine enthusiasm. When he does something he does it to 100%. He probably has lots of people to work with but the fact that he wanted to work with us and same for us makes it such a special thing. You feel like you are creating something exciting together and that’s what I enjoy the most.
Ellie : I think his positivity is contagious. When you are recording you can’t help but be in a good mood. Everyone is in a good mood. Someone like that is someone you want to be around. I imagine that’s the reason why lots of people work with him as well.
――On this album there are a lot of electronic sounds and lots of arrangement. Generally this time the album has some psychedelic mood. Feels a bit druggy as well. But what was the concept or ideas you had about the sound?
Ellie : Personally I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted it to be like. When we were in a room together, a lot of the time if there was something good, we would know if it’s good because of how people reacted in the room. I didn’t set out in my head what this album would be like. I knew that we wanted to include more electronics but we didn’t know how. So when Holly joined the band, we were excited by her.
H:There was no preconceived thing. Everyone has been listening to different kinds of music and fusing that together was how we did it.
――Did including electronic sounds come naturally?
Rosie : I think it was quite natural. Even with the first album we wanted to include an electronic layer. Even around that time we were all listening to quite a lot of electronic music as well. We were always interested in doing that but we didn’t have the facilities. I feel like when we did the EP, other sounds, we experimented a bit more and it was like the natural progression of the two albums. In every album there was always someone on the synth. The synth parts were written with the beginning so they were very integral to every song. You could almost hear that. We didn’t just wack them on with Dan. Those parts are as important as the guitar and the drums.
――Was it natural for you to listen to electronic music?
Lottie:Yes, i have been listening to electronic music. I was writing in that lane for my solo project. So it has been a big part of my musicality and understanding of music. It’s also where I would base writing my songs from. It would be from a guitar and then I would have lyrics. So much after the first album?
Ellie : I think a lot of us love pop music. It has come through in this album in terms of melodies and chord sequences. The feeling of not being afraid to involve ourselves in the sonic sphere in something that is satisfying. Our first album melodically was quite jarring. We were inspired about those sonics sounds but we always had love for pop music. All children love pop music because it’s addictive.
――Besides electronic sounds did you try anything new? There seems to be strings or brass sounds? What synthesizers do you use?
Can you explain how you recorded the album. You also mentioned that you used the rhythm machine first then you played with the drums over it?
Holly : One major part of the songs is the percussion loops. They are quite present in the record and it’s not really something we thought about leading up to it. I think it creates texture in the album where Dan basically put boxes of percussions in the centre of the room and we had to pick anything up and play it with the song. There were five or six people in the room and he played loops out of that into the song. It was quite an interesting new texture. He included stuff from a modular synth as well, which personally I wouldn’t even know how to work one. But it makes these robotic sounds, it gives an interesting part of the sounds. We used the minilog synth but Dan had a really expensive one called the Moog One, we manipulated that as well.
Lottie : On the first album we did these interludes where we were improvising to Rosie’s piano pieces. We played a lot of the meletron. We really fell in love with that instrument. It was an analog meletron that Dan had. It uses real life samples from real instruments, we did quite a lot of that on this album. It was textural things but it gives the brass and strand elements. We also used trumpets and violas to add on as well.
Rosie : Once we figured out the track listing of the songs and we went to Dan’s studio, Dan made these drum loops on the MPC. They fit a long to the songs. We would play it and sometimes it sounded too robotic, so we would program it to be slower and then practice with it. He taught me how to use it. When we recorded it live, I was just listening to that. Some of those drum loops are in the recording still, but we made other recordings as well. We didn’t want it to do it all from the metronome because it wouldn’t bring out the best in us.
――What song in this album includes the most of your ideas, or you think achieved what you wanted to do?
Lottie : It’s probably the one that we are most proud of. The biggest achievement is when you are really happy with something. That’s probably “Where do we go”. I really like “Jazz- In the Supermarket”,because it emcompasses what I dreamt of making but never really could. It was also an achievement because we did it completely together at the same time in the same room which is quite unique.
Rosie : To me all of the songs achieved all of the things I wanted to do with it. All of them are quite different and had different approaches to how they were made. To me every single song was a win, and did what I wanted it to do.
H: Yea, they are all so strong. We didn’t really cut anything. We were aware that it was quite long and we had a lot but that wasn’t really anything that wasn’t great compared to another.
――What is the theme of the lyrics in this album? With two years since the release of your first album, there must have been a lot of environmental change. Do you think this has been reflected in the lyrics?
Lottie : There are quite a lot of different themes. It was quite a reflective album. There are a lot of internal things like mental health and awareness of self and environment and surroundings. There is a lot to do with nature, society and how it functions.We are interested in those things.
Ellie: I feel like we explored different themes from the first album. Something that has continued on from the first album is ‘fatalism’ of the human race. It’s all gonna end and there is a feeling of ‘I am disgusted,I am ashamed’ which were lyrics in our first album. The same sentiment is still flying through all of this album.
Lottie : Definitely the sentiment has carried through. With a lot of lyrics I wrote in the first album, it was about releasing the anger and emotions built up inside of me. The way I wrote was instant, quick and direct almost like a reactive state of mind. In the second album the lyrics came a long time after making the music. So I would sit down with the music, listen and think in a more poetic way. I had to think about what kind of rhythms, and what I would talk about. It was a more reflective process that took a lot longer. I am happy with the end result but I think both are valid ways of writing. It was quite interesting to change it up a bit.
――In the song “The Crack”, the lyrics “The crack was singing protest songs／The people wouldn’t listen, they didn’t care” to “Cracks forming, the earth’s back” sounded as though you were discussing climate change, or separation of worlds. Where did you get the ideas for the lyrics?
Ellie : I was thinking about the ways in which we add to climate change and how a lot of natural disasters on the planet like tsunamis, and hurricanes are somewhat natural but somewhat humanly materialised. From the things we do and the things that the west desires that mess up the natural equilibrium. We are natural as well, we are not separate from nature or the Earth. So to me it’s quite visual that these cracks are forming. It’s obvious there are holes on the ozone layer that we know, there are cracks we know, there are blossoms in the wrong times of the year. People just ignore and to some degree I ignore because I don’t know what else to do. So it’s about questioning how we can change this but also not knowing how to. I wrote the verses and Lottie wrote the chorus.
――It doesn’t have to be reflected on the lyrics, but what did you guys talk about while making this second album? This can be unrelated to the album. What kind of atmosphere was it making the album?
Rosie : We talk about disgusting things all the time. I don’t know, we talk about gross things, natural things that happen to your body. We are very open about. We would really fall into it and someone else would be shocked. About bodily fluids and functions. Also we talk about intellectual things as will. It was a year ago but we have been quite politically active. So we talk about that.
Lottie : I remember we were at our friend’s and Hollie Whitaker, who we work quite closely with. She brought this book called “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race”. I remember talking about white privilege and assessing from our experience having the privilege. Reading about it and discussing about white failure.
Holly : A lot of the times we talk about how we feel. We are quite close and try to be there for each other. I’d like to think that we are quite open with each other and don’t hide things. We check if each other is ok. Maybe that it has an impact on being emotionally available for each other.
――With the title of “On All Fours”, it felt like you supported each other. Do you think that your relationship has changed over the two years?
Lottie : I think we have individually gone through a lot and that’s also part and side from the album. We have grown a lot. We kind of had to become really close, we had to rely on each other a lot. That has definitely brought us a lot closer.
――Can you pick the best album, track, book or movie from 2020. It can also be something you read or listen to a lot through the year.
Rosie : My best album was “How I’m Feeling Now” by Charli XCX. I feel like it kept me going. It was a lockdown album, she made it during lock down and you could really hear that. I can’t count how many times I listened to it. My roommate and I love it so much we get obsessed with it. To me it’s one of the best releases of the year.
Ellie : To me Ego Ella May released her album, “Honey For Wounds”. It’s so beautiful. It sounds like the title, it’s so nourishing and soothing. She also won a MOB Jazz award couple of days ago which is amazing.
Holy : My favourite album was “Heaven to a Tortured Mind” by Yves Tumor who is a really experimental pop artist who is on WARP. I really like them and I couldn’t stop listening to that the whole year.
Lottie : I’m gonna do a film. I think it came out in 2019 but it was released in the UK in 2020. It’s called the “Bacurau”. It’s this film that is set in a remote village in Brazil. It’s amazing. It’s about community and how people are stronger together than their own. It’s in a remote place and they are forgotten about, and trying to be pushed off the mat. Becaurau doesn’t exist on the maps anymore. It’s a fictional story but it’s also one that isn’t fictional because it’s happening to a lot of people. With climate change people are wiped off the map and being forgotten about. They have to migrate to places that they wouldn’t call home. It’s also about an invasion where
tourists from the capital of Brazil visit and destroy their village.
Rosie : I have a TV show as well. “I May Destroy You” by Michaela Coel and she is just amazing. It’s really hard to watch but it’s important. It discusses sexual assault.
Lottie : Yea.
――The music video for both “Crack” and “Sad Cowboy” used epic visuals of nature. Did you choose that location because we have to stay at home?
Lottie : We chose the location because it was a really good deal. It was like this really nice family that loves our album. They had this private land and let us use it. It was quite interesting because they had different types of land. They had farms, hay, interesting symmetrical trees. It had a diverse look.We could do what we wanted as well. The whole idea of the video was based around having a horse. That meant that we had to have a set that was sectioned off from the public for safety reasons.
Everyone: Thank you!
Rosie : We will come soon!
Lottie :See you
photography Holly Whitaker
text Junnosuke Amai https://twitter.com/junnosukeamai
edit Ryoko Kuwahara https://www.instagram.com/rk_interact/