This is a transcription of a radio discussion with David Glasper. I am not sure of the date, time, or station it came from. Thanks, Josh in Texas, for sharing it with me! Enjoy!
David: When we record, I'm basically the vocalist, I aspire to play the guitar and piano one day, but at the moment I don't. Marcus plays guitar, keyboards, and some of the programming and Spike is the drummer. When we came together we had no master plan in terms of becoming, you know, in terms of career or in terms of style of music because we were so young. I mean, I was 18...no, I was younger than that, I was 17 when the band started. So, the other guys were two years younger than myself, 15, we were all just, we had bands that we loved, but it was so far apart in musical tastes. (Laughing) It was just this confusion of different styles. I mean Marcus was into things like Led Zep, you know, and Floyd, that area, I was into things like the Eagles, Little Feat, some soul stuff, um, Spike was probably into heavier, sort of rock music, so we had all these different kind of styles, which at first was just like a terrible mixture. (Laughing) Bad mixture of all different influences. So I think, um... we played around our local area quite a lot and that helped kind of formulate or create some kind of style. But I think to be honest we were signed prematurely. I think, if that's possible. I mean I think it would have been better almost for us to have stayed in the clubs for another couple of years and I think we would have actually developed our sound in that situation rather than doing it in the studio on an album. Because the album ended up just being like another, you know, hundred gigs or whatever, experimenting and finding what our strengths and weaknesses were. It's only really on this album that influences are starting to come through and I felt a direction as well. Comparing both albums, I think the first album is like, it was really like a sounding board. Us finding our feet, finding out what our strengths were, finding out what our weaknesses were. And I think there are three or four songs on that album that I am still proud of. You know, "Hands to Heaven" being one of them.
(Hands to Heaven plays)
David: But you know, it would be easy for me to sit here and be my own worst critic. I get extremely sort of negative about stuff I've done in the past, but I'm trying to learn to teach myself it's, the album was a learning process and I learned a lot from it, you know, I learned by the mistakes I made on it, I know I wouldn't do again when it came to recording a second album. And in coming to do a second album, I just concentrated so much more on the songs, and, like I said, trying to write what I knew about and what I felt. And I think as a result it has come out a lot stronger, i think it has come out a lot more honest than the first album. The main difference between both albums is that:
A, the craft of songwriting has improved from my point of view from the first to second and
B, the songs are better because I am writing from what has happened to me.
My aspirations are great for live performing, but you know, we haven't done any over here as of yet, because when success came from the last album, we were so bored of the first album, all we wanted to do was have another album worth of material to play. (Laughing) So now that that is actually here and we have two albums to choose from, we are going to be touring, but I'd like to start at club level, you know, really small venues and work up from there. But whether that is actually going to happen or not, I don't know, I mean, because it's also viable from a business point of view in terms of getting in front of more people to go on a support tour. That obviously will be a possibility that will be looked into in the future. We will be touring extensively with this album. We supported Belinda Carlisle in Europe, and I think the most memorable experience is my fear of going on stage the first night at Hammersmith. Hammersmith is, as far as we're concerned, THE venue. When we've played there, it is like a dream come true. It's a small theater that's housed live performance gigs for so many years. I can remember the first night we played there as a support act. I was nervous from 11 o'clock that morning before I got on stage, and we opened up, and halfway through the first song, and I trod on my microphone lead and disconnected it. And there I was, like, trying to reconnect this microphone, going (noises), trying to put it in its socket, dying of embarassment. I managed to overcome that, but I did the same thing about two songs later. They are probably two of the most embarassing moments of my life. Just seeing the people in the audience sort of look up and seeing me wanting the ground to open up and swallow me. That was very embarrassing.
What I enjoy above and beyond that is songwriting, really. I love the whole songwriting and recording process. I find that incredibly enjoyable just watching some sort of sketch, some sort of framework being slowly built up into the final picture. No sooner have I been out of the studio with this album, I want to get started with something new. The sort of the dichotomy in this business is that you have to spend so much time promoting one album, by the time you finish that album, at this moment just opening up for us is the first single in Europe as in America and I am already ready to get onto something else.
(Say a Prayer plays)
David: With Peace of Mind, some of the writing was done with Marcus, but some of it was also done with a friend of mine outside the band, a guy called Francis White, who on the album is called "Eg", but I felt that halfway through writing with Marcus I wanted to get a different character, we had enough songs of one character, and I wanted to get some other songs with a different kind of character. I wasn't getting that writing with Marcus so I went to work with Eg and we got the four tracks "I Hear You're Doing Fine", "Say Hello", "Got to Get By", and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" I wrote "Say Hello" about a girl who I've been attracted to for ages (laughing) but every time I tried to talk to her I stumble upon the same difficulty which is, I tend to talk about really unimportant, irrelevant things, and I make a fool of myself really quickly. So, one night when the same situation happened, yet again for the twentieth time or whatever, I decided that I'd try to put these feelings to use. So I walked from where I was, which was this pub called the Warrick Pub on the Portobello Road quite near to where I live. I walked home and I wrote "Say Hello". It's like a self-parody. It's just laughing at the situation that we can get ourselves into because we get so nervous and so tense about somebody that we find really attractive that you can't be yourself. It's definitely a tounge in cheek song, it has an element of humor to it.
(Say Hello plays)
David: "Does She Love That Man" is a bit more of a weightier subject matter, it is a song about unrequited love. It's written in a narrative sense, it is like a story, but it's not a story, it is what happened. It is basically about a situation when I was walking around and I happened to run across a person I used to be going out with somebody else and realizing at that moment that I wouldn't be able to re-establish a relationship with her, that was it. That final moment of seeing them with somebody else you do realize that you're not going to get things back together again like you always hoped for. That song is probably one of the most personal on the album and I think it is probably one of the best on the album as a result of that as well. It is a very emotional song.
(Does She Love That Man? plays)
David: I don't think that success was necessarily the catalyst for changing what I wanted to do musically. I think the main catalyst was just growing up and listening to different kinds of music. I mean, I just started to get into Motown stuff like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder at that point and discovering people like Sly Stone so I think the natural transition in the music came about just through becoming aware of new music. Another one of the tracks on the album is "Got to Get By" that's one of my favorites probably because it is quite unorthodox in its arrangement and construction. But that song is about.. it ties into the kind of ideas that I had when I was travelling around Thailand, it is quite an introspective song and its a song about the idea of getting to know yourself a bit better. Because of that it is almost a semi-semi kind of spiritual song. I wanted to put like a classic hymn melody inot it and the one that came to mind was the "Amazing Grace" melody. We got the keyboard sound from a Daniel Anwar (?) track, from his solo album, which is a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant album. And we got playing around with the sound and as I said it sort of brought to mind the kind of idea of plaintive or hymn so we got this quite interesting groove going on behind it. And then um, we've got our own melody and almost our own song and then for a middle 8 , slam this section of "Amazing Grace" in and I quite like it because it is quite unorthodox.
(Got to Get By plays)
David: I think it's quite interesting category when people say "soul music", I find it sort of interesting to think of what that means and the conclusion I've come to, I know that it is an actual expression that black musicians used for soul music meant music that was sincere, that was honest, that they were genuinely talking about experiences that happened to them. So, my interpretation of soul music is firstly, probably writing about what you know about rather than writing about what you don't know about. In a sense of being a singer just singing that, being sort of open with yourself and just really, really letting go, singing as openly and as honestly as you can. So, you know, discovering people like Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and all those people who are soul singers in the true sense of the word. They obviously inspire me to try to emulate them if I can get anywhere near them. And it does and has effected the music on this album, I mean some of the last songs that I've written, things like "I Hear You're Doing Fine", "Does She Love That Man?" have got a lot more soulful in the actual style of the song and also in the way that I deliver the vocal, and they're also written from things that have happened to me, they're more soulful from every point of view, and I intend.. You know, I think people like John Lennon as a soul singer. Just because he didn't the best voice technically, that's irrelevant, the fact that when he was singing, he was singing to the best of his ability, but also sincerly and singing about things as sincerely as he could. It's not really something that I give specifics of reference to just Motown music, just black music, you know... Van Morrison I think is a soul singer, John Lennon, as I said is a soul singer, Bob Dylan is a soul singer, Bono from U2 is a soul singer, in my opinion.
(I Hear You're Doing Fine plays)
David: We recorded some of the album at Abbey Road, and one of the tracks we recorded there is a song called "A Perfect Love". This song is weird enough as it is, I mean it was written in 3/4, which is quite classical in its sound, waltz groove. We recorded a 16 piece string section in the same room that the Beatles recorded Abbey Road and Seargent Peppers and all those things, and just to be in the room and in the control room, you know, where George Martin and Paul McCartney and John Lennon had sat and recorded those albums, be looking down onto the floor where they would have had a string section that played some of the tracks on Seargent Peppers or whatever, and half of it might be the romance in my head or whatever, but I'm sure there was some sort of atmosphere there in the room, that it soaked up something. But that was really good, and that particular song is one of my favorites, I think that is one of the strongest lyrics on the album. And it's more than just about love, on a superficial level, it's about about a belief that everyone can find a perfect love, that if you believe in it, you will find it. But it's not just about love on a one-to-one relationship, it is also about the same kind of philosophy that applied to Martin Luther King. He had a dream that every color and creed would sort of one day be joining hand in hand. It's that kind of romanticism, so that's what I like about it. It's like a really positive love song. Love in the wide sense of the word, not just the relationship one-to-one sense of the word.
(A Perfect Love plays)