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Mystery Jets - Twenty One
Old 18th March 2016
  #1
Mystery Jets - Twenty One

Hey Erol, great to have you here. "Twenty One" is one of those records I love putting on in the summer to just while away the time...

Wondering if you had any good stories about making it! The first thing that caught my ear are those 80s-sounding synth notes following the melody on the chorus on 'Two Doors Down' - pretty inspired and adds a teeny bit of a "John Hughes Movie" vibe to it - which is then totally cemented by the sax solo. Very Psychedelic Furs in moments but still has a very modern feel to it.

Thanks!!
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Old 18th March 2016
  #2
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Hello Whitecat...

Yeah, I have a lot of great memories from that session. The making of that record was a lot of fun, a real experience for both me and the band. Being a second album is always a bit of a crossroads for any band, and we had to be really careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater as such, so we boiled down the best elements of the band and their songwriting to see what there was. I always felt the Jets were a folk band, in the sense they speak to their audience in a non abstract manner, so I encouraged them to take that approach in their writing.

We had the album all finished when we all felt it maybe a good idea to try and record another track, and distill everything we had learnt from making the album into one song. We set Blaine the task to write a song over the weekend and he came in with the demo of 'Girl Next Door'. We then set up a rehearsal session so the full arrangement could be agreed on before recording (a VERY important factor in us being able to record quickly and all be on the same page) as some tracks were written whilst recording and we found that to be a bit of an expensive luxury.

Once we demoed a full band version, we booked the Square in Hoxton (which I hear is no more, massive shame..) and recorded it in a day and a half.

Originally, we didn't have the big sax break in the middle, the band wanted a saxophone of some type, and we managed to find a played 4 hours into the session who came down that same evening. Of course, we wanted something quite cool and abstract, but halfway through we did a massive 180 turn and decided we should go full on Whitney Houston, as the song was a celebration of some type, we got 2 takes down and I chopped it up to make something as over the top as possible. I also remember adding the part just before the last chorus which rips of a drum part from Bowie's Lets Dance so there was more of a climax..

We did this really cool thing with the snare in the chorus, setting up a snare overdub in the long outside corridor and placing 4 microphones in a long line with a gate on each, so when Kaps hit it at its loudest all 4 mics would record and the signal would be fuller, its subliminal but we know its there

The feeling in the studio was great, we had no idea what anybody else would think of the track and I find that having no idea what people may think is the best.

If you peel through the layers of the track, there are some beautiful sounds curtesy of Will, they really help soften the pop sensibility of the track in a sublime way.

The opening drums aren't actually drums, but an mp3 of Blaine hitting his guitar from the first demo. I loved the sound and felt it sounded like the girl playing the drums next door, which is the narrative of the song ('when I hear those drums late at night').

I'll add more when I remember...

E
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