January 6,2009. Work in London with Pete Gleadall on “We’re all criminals now ‘~ adding backing vocals, sound effects etc.
January 7. Finish mix of “We’re all criminals now”. Write one-minute “classical “piece for BBC Concert Orchestra “Time and Chance “project. Neil: Chris basically wrote it and I added a couple of parts
|January 8. Finish “classical” piece. Decide to call it “Particle “. Add drums to “Gin and Jag”.|
January 9. Finish mix of “Gin and Jag” with Pete Gleadall.
January 13. Work with Stuart Price on Brits medley.
January 14. Work with Stuart on Brits medleyJanuary 16, 2008. Chris and Neilfly from Berlin to Amsterdam to Newcastle, on their way to Neil ~ house to begin writing songs. Chris: I don’t remember that. Are you sure I did that? What airline was that? Neil: KIM. Chris: I flew KIM via Amsterdam? It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing I would agree to do.
January 17. Start in studio at 11 and write a new song called “Without you”. Neil: It’s actually a song sung from the point of Dainton about his wife Mandy. I can imagine Suggs singing it. <
January 18. Carry on working on “Without you “. Chris leaves for Blackpool. <
January 20. Chris returns to Neil ~ house in the evening. Neil: We watched a programme on television called How Pop Songs Work <
January 21. Snowing. Neil ~first driving lesson cancelled Chris writes “Moronic “. Then they write “King of Rome” then change title to “King ofpop “. After dinner start work on new song “Youth Chris: Wow — on day one. Neil: “Moronic”’s now the opening of the ballet. <
January 22. Change “Youth” to “Gin and Jag” and work on it. Before dinner, vocal put on “King ofpop “. Carry on after dinner Chris starts to programme slower trackfor “Gin and Jag”. <
January 23. Neil sfirst driving lesson, 11am. Chris works on “Gin and Jag “. Neil returns to play guitar on it and sing. After dinner, Chris writes music for Neil~ lyric, “Requiem in denim and leopardskin” and Neil sings guide vocal. <
January 24. Another driving lesson. Chris adds chorus to “Requiem in denim and leopardskin “. Neil adds vocal. <
January 25. Train to London. Go to see Morrissey in concert at the Roundhouse. Neil: Of course he cancelled after three songs.
January 28. Meeting with Dave Dorrell to discuss possible album producers. Names considered: whoever produced Roisin Murphy s album, Damon Albarn and Trentmoller Chris: Damon Albam! Wow. I don’t know how that would have worked.on new song “Dreaming Neil: I can’t remember what that is. Chris:Maybe it became something else.
January 29. Back up north. Write new instrumental, “Pedal <
January 30. Driving lesson. Chris works on new song, “Did you see me coming?” Work together on it for rest for day.<
January 31. Writing new song, “This used to be the future ‘ to lyrics already written by Neil.February 4. Work on “This used to be the future’ adding two new verses. After dinner, start new song “Vulnerable”.February 5. Neil does vocal on “Vulnerable “. Chris starts writing new song, “Get over it “. Neil writes lyrics.February 6. Finish structure of “Get over it”. Neil does guide vocal.February 7. New vocals for “Get over it’ now renamed “Legacy “. Work on a song called “Even Neil: “Even” is now in the ballet. And it’s rather good.February 8. Chris back to London. Neil has driving lesson. Kevin kills a rabbit. February 5. Back at Westerham. Work with Tim and Matt on dub mixes for bonus album.February 9. Hearfirst play of “Love etc. “on Radio 2. Neil: I was in London. It’s quite a big moment, hearing the first play of the first single from your new album. I remember Zoe Ball playing “I don’t know what you want but I can’t give it anymore” on Radio 1, and I got up specifically to listen to it on her breakfast show and she said~”Thought that was a bit depressing.” I felt a bit depressed she said that. And with “Home and dry” I remember being in a hotel room in East Anglia, and Radio 2 they had a sort of roundtable thing and played “Home and dry” and people slagged it off a bit but the DJ liked it, and I thought it sounded really good. The guitar sounded nice. The first single off the last album, “I’m with stupid”, I don’t remember hearing that for the first time. For “Love etc.” I turned the radio on specially because I knew it was going to be on Ken Bruce. I thought it sounded good. Chris: I don’t know if I heard it.February 11. Pete Gleadall comes up. Work on “Je ne sais quoi “. Neil sings lyric changes and harmonies. Chris arrives. After dinner work on “Did you see me coming?” Neil: “Je ne sais quoi” is a song we wrote in 2007.February 12. Finish mix of “Did you see me coming?” Work on “One night “. Neil does vocal changes. Neil: “One night” is a song we wrote for Kylie.”February 13. Worked on “Pandemonium “. Neil re-sings it after driving lesson. Neil: Another song we’d written the previous year.February 14. Neil goes for a drive with Chris to practise roundabouts and traffic lights. Pete Gleadall finishes mix of “Pandemonium “. Work on “Legacy”. Neil sings new lines, and “Legacy” is mixedFebruary 15. Back to London.
February 25. Back north on the train. Start new song “We’re all criminals nowFebruary 26. Worked on “We ‘re all criminals now “. After going to bed, at 12.4Sam feel earthquake tremors.February 27. Reversing round corners in today s driving lesson. Write new song, “Pandering”.February 28. Carry on working on “Pandering “. Chris changes rhythm track. Neil writes more lyrics for “Vulnerable” and sings them.February 29. Driving lesson while Chris writing new track. It becomes “A wall Neil: That eventually becomes ‘Building a wall’.March 16. Chris comes up from London.March 17. Start new song, “I’m not crying I’m laughing”.March 18. Finish “I’m not crying I’m laughing” demo. Work A5 is traditional following the release of a new Pet Shop Boys album, Neil has shared with Literally the pertinent details from his diary covering the period in which Yes was written and recorded. These follow, with occasional clarifications and comments from him and Chris. We went back to David Walliams’ house with Jonathan Ross, and David Baddiel came round.
March 19. Driving lesson. Worked on “Dreaming”. At 6 o ‘clock started writing new song, “BeautWul people “. After dinner,finish rough demo of “Beautiful people”.April 2. Neil watches Sam Taylor-Wood beingfilmed for “I’m in love with a German film star” video. Chris: I don’t think I did. Because I don’t like smoking.April 7. Pete Gleadall comes up. (Chris not there.) Work more on “Beautiful people “. Neil re-sings vocals.April 8. Finish mix of “Beautiful people”. Change lyrics on “We’re all criminals now” and sing them.April 9. Chris now in studio. Finish “We’re all criminals now” mix. Rewrite some lyrics to “I’m not crying I’m laughing”April 10. New vocals on “I’m not crying I’m laughing Work on “My side of the story’; speeding it up. After dinner start demo of “My girl” by Madness, then watch documentary about Frankie Howerd Neil: “My side of the story” was written in 2007 as an idea for Madonna.April 11. Work on “My Girl” then “Building a wall”.April 12. Everyone returns to London.April 22. Neil, Chris and Dave Dorrell go down to Westerham to meet Brian Higgins. Afterwards, get left to Oxted station and take train backApril 24. Meeting at Sadler ~ Wells about ballet.May 1. Rehearsal for Heaven concert.May 2. Soundcheck at Heaven; Suggs and Carl don ‘t turn up. Concert in the evening.May 6. Start working, now in London studio, on “Requiem in denim and leopardskin” then “This used to be the futureMay 7. Work on “This used to be the future ‘ then start on remix of MGMT’s “Kids.May 8. Chris and Pete Gleadall work on “Kids “. Neil ill. Neil: I can’t remember now. Flu or something.May 9. Neil back. Work on “KidsMay 12. Work on “Kids”.May 13. Lunch in the garden at Westerham with whole Xenomania team. Then Neil and Chris work with Brian and Miranda on melody and lyric ideas for songs based on Xenomania backing-fracks: “The loving kind’; “The next big thing’; “Random’; “Where the wild things are Neil: There’s a few Xenomania songs that weren’t finished, or it was decided weren’t good enough. I think “Random” was finished. The chorus goes: “I have nothing to say / but what I’m saying today / is just random”. I imagine nothing will happen to it. The song I think is actually quite good is “The next big thing”: “Something tells me baby you’re the next best thing…”May 14. While Brian Higgins collates previous days ideas, Chris and Neil drive to Sevenoaks, walk in Knole Park. Back at studio, work with Brian and Miranda going through melody ideas from previous day.May 15. Neil writes downstairs with Miranda for “Where the wild things are “. Chris writes new melodies upstairs for “The way it used to beMay 27. Back at Westerham. Work with Brian and Miranda on new songs. Miranda and Neilfinish lyrics for “The loving kind” and “Random “. Neil records vocals. Chris upstairs.May28. Miranda and Neilfinish more lyrics for “Random “. Neil records vocals on “The loving kind”. Chris upstairs.May29. Miranda and Neilfinish lyrics for “Where the wila things are “. Neil records vocals for “Random” and “Where the wild things are “. Chris upstairs.May 30. Miranda and Neil write lyrics for “The way it used to be” and “The next big thing”. Chris upstairs.June 3. Neil sings vocals on “The way it used to be” and “The next big thing”. Chris upstairs.June 4. Miranda and Neil work on lyrics for new track, “Love etc. “. Chris upstairs. Chris: I went upstairs and wrote melodies on Xenomania’s backing tracks, some of which haven’t been used by anyone so they must still be lurking around. I was in the red room, I think. Actually sometimes I was in Nick Coler’s room, which might be the green room.June 5. Chris and Neil visit Chartwell. Listen to comp of “Love etc.”June 17. Back at Westerham. Work on “Love etc.” Miranda and Neil write new lyric for new song, “Revelation ‘~ based on “Where the wild things are” music. Neil sings vocals. Neil: “Revelation” is what eventually becomes “More than a dream”.June 18. Work on structure and lyrics of “Love etc.”June 19. Work more on structure and lyrics of “Love etc.” Neil sings some alternative lyrics. Listened to work that ~ been done on “Did you see me coming?”July 1. Spent the day with Brian deciding which songs would go on the album: “Love etc. ‘ “Did you see me? ‘ “Pandemonium ‘ “Beautiful people “Crying, not laughing’s “Legacy’s “The way it used to be ‘ “Vulnerable ‘~ “King of Rome” (re- renamedfrom “King ofpop’). “This used to be the future Chris: There were a couple of songs we didn’t like, that weren’t that great. But these discussions were always entertaining.July 2. Work with Brian on sfructure of “Love etc. “In afternoon decide “Building a wall” should go on album. Work on structure of “More than a dream “. Neil writes extra chorus lyrics for “Love etc.”July 3. Neil sings chorus lyrics on “Love etc. “. Chris works with Tim on new version of “Building a wall “. Neil writes new lyrics for it. Finalise structure and lyrics of “Love etc.July 15. Back at Westerham. Girls Aloud there. Record Carla, an in-house singer doing duet with Neil on “The way it used to be “. Chris and Neil work with Tim on “Building a wall”.July 16. Back at Westerham. Brian plays through tracks that had been worked on; Neil and Chris make comments etc. Neil and Chris work with Nick on “Building a wall”. Neil puts down new vocal melody.July 28. Phil Qakey arrives at Westerham, sings vocals on “This used to be the future Chris and Neil work with Tim on “The way it used to be”.July 29. Finish working with Tim on “The way it used to be “. Chris starts working with Tim on “This used to be the future “. Neil sings full vocal for “King of RomeJuly 30. Work more with Tim on “This used to be the future”. Record some new lyrics for “The loving kind”. Listen to “The way it used to be”for Brian ~ comments.July 31. Work with Tim on “The way it used to be “. After lunch, Neil, Chris, Brian and Tim travel, via Oxted station and Clapham Junction, to Matrix complex at Parson ‘s Green, where Jeremy (mixer) has his studio. Chris and Neil do interview for Radio 4 programme about b-sides. Play five new tracks to record company representatives and discuss possible release dates. Chris: I was glad that they liked them.September 15. Back at Westerham. Talk to Brian. Neil writes “More than a dream” lyrics with Miranda while Chris works on music with Tim. Put down guide vocals. Start working on “I’m not crying, I’m laughing”. It becomes new song, “All over the world”.September 16. Work with Tim all day on “All over the world”.September 17. Work with Tim on “All over the world”. Neil adds middle vocals. Then work on “King of Rome” and “Legacy”.September 22. Pass driving test.September 25. Abbey Road Orchestral session conducted by Andy Brown. In morning record strings on “Legacy” and “Beautiful people “. In afternoon record brass on “Legacy’; “Beautfiil people” and “All over the world”. Travel in taxi to Soho for meeting with Javier de Fruitos and Emma Gladstone re: ballet.September 30. Back at Westerham. Johnny Marr plays guitar harmonica and tambourine on “BeautWul people’; and guitar on “All over the world” and “Legacy”. Chris: That was great, when Johnny came down. We stayed with him at a hotel in Tunbridge Wells, so we got to socialise and catch up with him.October 1. Johnny plays guitar on “Building a wall”, “Did you see me coming?’; “More than a dream” and “PandemoniumOctober 2. Johnny plays acoustic guitar and harmonica on a Girls Aloud track. Startfinalising mix of “Love etc. “ to be played at Parlophone 2009 presentation. Neil re-sings all vocals on “Legacy”.October 7. Chris works with Tim on “Building a wall”. Neil does vocals with Mat on “Building a wall” and “All over the world”. Backing vocals recorded on “Beaut~ul people” with Jason and Jesse.October 8. Spend most of the day going through songs on the album determining what else needs to be done with Brian and Tim.October 15. Work on “The way it used to be” structure, then “More than a dreamOctober 16. Work on “Building a wall” and “This used to be the futureOctober 21. At the Farrow office, talk to Mark and Gary about ideas for new album packaging. Chris: We wanted the whole album to be colourful, pop, Perspex, shiny — the opposite of Fundamental, which was a very dark piece. Neil: They’d already mocked up a grid of Perspex squares, and we liked it.October 22. Work on “Pandemonium “. Record backing vocals with girls, then boys. Go upstairs to work with Tim on the track.October 23. Work with Tim on “Pandemonium” trackfor most of the day. Neil changes some vocals on “King of RomeOctober 27. Nick records brass on “Pandemonium “. Neil and Chris work with Tim on “King of Rome”. Brian arrives and they finish structure of song. Chris and Tim work on “PandemoniumOctober 29. Miles Leonard from EMil calls to say we will get Outstanding Contribution award at the Brits next year.October 31. Back at Westerham. Worked with Tim on “Pandemonium “for most of the day, then on “King of Rome”.November 7. Neil works with Stuart Price and Brandon Flowers on the Killers ‘Christmas record, and sings afew lines on it. Speaks to Elton John on Brandon ~ phone.November 10. Up north. Start work on writing ballet — scene one. Pete Gleadall programming. Neil: Matthew Dunster, who’s a playwright and director and actor, had taken the story and created what he called “a map for music” so we started at page one, line one, looking at the script and writing stuff to go with it. It was so useful having that, because you knew what you were writing for and you could sort of picture the scene. Chris: The music we used for this first scene I’d done earlier in the year — I actually wrote in my head as I was cleaning my teeth in the bathroom. I called it “Moronic” because I thought it was very moronic, which it is. But it seemed to fit the ballet. It worked because it’s during the daily grind of everyone’s existence in this town, so the moronic quality fitted the daily drudge.November 11. Work on ballet. Finished scene one after lunch and then start on scene two.November 12. Work on scene two. Then Neil records next scene on piano. Pete Gleadall corrects piano on computerNovember 17. Neil works with Pete Gleadall in the studio recording the vocals for the Killers & Elton John Christmas single, “Joseph (Better you than me) Neil and Chris start work on next scene in the ballet.November 18. Work in studio all day on ballet, scene fourNovember 19. Work in studio all day on ballet, scene fourNovember 20. Work on ballet, scenes four andfive. Download some album mixes by Jeremy Neil: It was a most enjoyable couple of weeks, working on the ballet.November 24. Taxi to Es Devlin s house. Dinner with her to discuss Brits performance.November 25. Meeting at Farrow at 12.30. Discuss Gary s’ Christmas card design and new album coverNovember 26. Visit Jeremy Wheatley finishing mixes for album at Matrix studios. Make changes to mixes of all tracks except “Love etc.November 27. Matrix. Finish mixes of “Love etc. “and “King of Rome ‘ then make a running order Chris: We all had our running orders — me, Neil and Brian Higgins — and Angela had a point of view as well. I’d shoved all the mega-pop ones at the beginning. In the end it was a compromise. Neil wanted to start the album with “Legacy”. It’s bizarre that anyone would want to start the album with that… Neil: Actually, I only had “Legacy” as the first song before we even started making the album. By now I thought “Love etc.” should be the first track. I think I wanted “Vulnerable” to be the second track, and then may be “Did you see me coming?”December 1/213/415. Ballet workshop.December 3. Mastering of album.December 8. Album playback atAbbey Road for record company etc.December 10. Work with Stuart Price on the Brits medley Neil speaks to Brian on phone about bonus “Dub” album.