LOSING your frontman to a job in ‘The Smoke’ doesn’t always bode well for the future of a band.
But for Sheffield’s Dead Like Harry, the relocation of Samuel Taylor seems to have been a case of absence makes the art grow fonder.
Two years on from previous album Know The Joy Of Good Living, the alternative rock pop act, pictured right, have tendered The Art Of Anticipation. Where the former came about from largely writing on the road, between gigs during a period when the band was averaging 60 UK shows a year, the new one also involved hitting the tarmac and rails.
And Matt Taylor believes having his brother working in a London studio alongside Grammy-nominated producer Andy Chatterley (Kanye West, Pussycat Dolls) and next door to rooms rented by Calvin Harris, Mr Hudson and Bernard Butler (Suede, Duffy) was of benefit as the record had two ‘homes’.
“Yes, it certainly helped. A few of us travelled back and forth to record parts,” says Matt. “There was a Steinway grand piano which found its way on to a few of the tracks.
“It was fun having a professional studio space all night without having to worry about the cost. It meant we could work more slowly, take our time, and the album was engineered by four different people – two of them in the band.
“It was useful being in a separate location to Sam when it came to writing as we used to do a lot together. Now we write bits then work out how they fit together using Skype.
“One song on the new album called Roll Of The Dice was written the day before the studio session in Sheffield began. I got the entire band round my laptop so Sam could play us the song from London. That night I finished the lyric, we added a riff in the morning, and spent the next two days recording it. It’s my favourite song on the album. A duet, in a kind of sinister, Nick Cave sort of way...”
So it seems this different way of working has had an effect on DLH’s signature sound, a wholesome, full sound that sometimes reminds of Deacon Blue.
“There’s a much more interesting sound than before. The past two albums were the sound of a band playing their songs. This time we’ve experimented with the studio space to create an atmosphere that hopefully runs through the entire album.
“We built up the whole thing in layers and it’s designed to work as one piece, not thematically, but musically.
“We were going to put a list of the instruments that feature in the songs in the sleeve, but it was too long.”
First single Perfect Disguise, another song honed over Skype, kicks off the album and sounds like musicians comfortable with each other – although that track began life 13 years ago.
“The song was written in two bits. I started it when I was 17 – and Sam finished it a few months ago.
“We’d forgotten about it and then Sam rediscovered it, changed the key, gave it a riff, added a decade’s worth of songwriting experience to it. In the studio, we gave it a kind of dance beat, layered up keyboards with an off-beat bass line and there you go. I think it’s one of the best songs we’ve written – and the lyric is unchanged since I wrote it as a 17-year-old.”
Sam will reunite with Matt on Monday when DLH play a release day show for the new record at The Greystones.