“There were a lot of bats that came in at the same time ev­ery night and flew around our heads while we were record­ing, and you could hear them swish­ing around when you lis­tened back to the record­ings”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

enough songs and seen them on record enough to know that the way I feel about a song is go­ing to change, and there’s noth­ing worth pro­tect­ing. No mat­ter how at­tached I feel to a song, it’s just a prod­uct of how I felt at a par­tic­u­lar mo­ment. You have to look at them dis­pas­sion­ately. I try to write all the time, I try to write a song or part of a song ev­ery day to stay in prac­tice, but I throw out most of the stuff.”

Thirty songs were writ­ten and con­sid­ered for Smart Flesh, but only 11 made it. “We just cut away the ones which didn’t feel rel­e­vant or even felt too rel­e­vant. There were some songs which were too di­rect, and tied up some of the ques­tions and ideas in a way that hurt the other songs be­cause they were so mag­netic.

“The word ‘wire’ oc­curs in a few of the other songs, and there was one song which an­swered all the ques­tions of the mean­ing of the im­agery, and in­stead of it be­ing an open thing it be­gan to dam­age the other songs. We carved that one out, which was un­be­liev­able to us and ev­ery­one who worked on the al­bum be­cause we thought it was the cen­tral song. But in the end it was get­ting in the way in­stead of adding some­thing.”

Is it dif­fi­cult for a writer to let go of his cre­ations like that, to ban­ish some of his chil­dren? “When you put it like that it sounds bib­li­cal,” laughs the song­writer. “But even though I write all the songs, we’re a band, and the ones which make the cut and make sense are the ones which are not con­fes­sional.

“Cer­tain songs got cut be­cause they were too per­sonal to me and they didn’t make sense in the con­text of the band or the al­bum. Along the way it be­came a very sparse record which has a lot of sug­ges­tion and un­fin­ished ideas. There’s a fog to it. It’s a shorter record than we thought it was go­ing to be too.”

Per­haps the un­con­ven­tional spaces they chose to record in had a bear­ing on the sound of the al­bum, such as the for­mer Porino pasta sauce fac­tory in Cen­tral Falls, an aban­doned 4,000sq ft build­ing with huge 20ft walls.

“We thought it was haunted at the time. It was all dark and crum­bling and de­cay­ing, with bro­ken glass ev­ery­where and these old rusted bay win­dows bang­ing in the wind. The only work­ing bath­room was five min­utes away from where we were work­ing,

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