11 June 2012

Miaoux Miaoux - Light of the North: Track By Track

Do you know what's a bit bloody good, the new Miaoux Miaoux album, that's what. Not that I expected it to be anything less than great, but even though I set my expectation pretty damn high, Julian Corrie, aka Miaoux Miaoux, has only gone and conjured up the finest pop record that you're likely to hear all year. Having been a massive fan of his music since I was first introduced to his music by Glasgow Podcart a good few years ago, and i have to admit that I have pretty much been hooked ever since. There was even talk of us releasing something with him on Olive Grove for a while, but thankfully Chemikal Underground were also taking note and are now giving him the kind of platform that he deserves in order that as many folk possible can hear this master class in pop. Right, that's enough of my ramblings for one evening, I'm now going to pass you across to Julian to let him talk you through his new album (which you should buy as it's fucking amazing)...

Sweep Clean 

The beginning of the record is basically a rip-off of the beginning of Tortoise's 'Standards', one of my favourite albums. Lots of droney distortion niceness. The verse melody for this had been hanging around for ages, then the chorus came about a year later when I was having lunch. This song changed quite a lot over a couple of demos, it was originally a key down and a bit slower, now it's a complete bitch to sing. Lyrically it's about trying to have a new beginning, to forget the past, but still being indecisive.  


I wanted to try and do some wobbly bass somewhere, so here it is. It was the clap rhythm that came first, then that keyboard line that starts it, which I did in Ableton when I was bored and originally dismissed as rubbish. Wrote the verse on the piano I think, then the rest of it came quite easily. I like how it goes from stripped down verses to quite full choruses. Paul Savage changed the arrangement a bit and kept the vocals super dry to play that up. I think the middle eight is a bit Panda Bear.  

Hey Sound! 

So the main riff in this is a cross between Nina Simone 'Sinnerman' and Ricardo Villalobos 'Enfants (Chants)', then everything just hung off that. I actually dreamed the vocal hook, one of the few times that I've dreamed a song and can remember it. The bassline was written completely separately a few months before, then it turned out the two fit together really nicely. Lucky! There's a recording on my phone of me singing it, walking down the street. That happens quite a lot.  

Better For Now

This one was one of the few to be written as a complete song to start with - on piano I think - then I made the arrangement to go with it. Again, it was originally a lot slower, the original demos completely suck. I was really struggling with it then came up with that disco-style bassline, and that drives the whole thing. I was very lucky to get hold of some analogue synths around the same time, so that's an Korg MS20 doing the bassline, which makes a big difference. Again, Paul changed the arrangement slightly, as the chorus only originally appeared at the end. Paul's got a thing for repeating choruses.  

Cloud Computer

The second track I wrote after getting a Waldorf Blofeld (now a key part of the live set). I made that synth sound that opens it, then the rest of it happened. Another one that was slower, much more chilled out originally, so I sped it up and put that bassline on it. I'm sensing a pattern here! Also the only instrumental on the record, weirdly.  

Is It A Dream

This was originally not going to be on the record, but after making it Stewart Henderson from Chemikal kind of insisted I put it on there. The strings are from another project I was working on - I made a loop in Pro Tools to EQ something and that's what came out, so I had to grab it and make a tune out of it. Anna came in and did the vocals in about an hour. I added my vocals and guitar at the last minute, to turn it into a proper song rather than pure 90s garage. It's a good start to side B of the vinyl.  

Virtua Fighter

I was inspired to mess around in the studio after hearing the Dananananaykroyd track 'Microsoft Word' (which is them messing around in the studio), so this was originally called 'Microsoft Excel'. Somehow it evolved into a hip-hop track. I'd heard Profisee's stuff on the radio before so got in touch with him through mutual friends, and he delivered that killer 16 bars. That chorus is also quite Panda Bear I think.  

Stop The Clocks

This has been quite a strange album for me, in that it was planned quite carefully from the start, although it might not sound like that from what I've already said! So by this point I knew I needed something 'dark and long' and was thinking of some bass-heavy, delay monster, but couldn't quite get it to work. I had the thought of a song about the passing of time, quite fatalistic, then came up with a few lines of lyrics and the bassline one evening. Made the loop and messed around on guitar and the melody came quite easily. I enjoyed splicing folk with techno here, it doesn't happen often. Fun one to play live this.  

Singing in the Dark

This was a demo for a while that I really liked - I basically wrote the song as I played it, but it wasn't originally going to go on the record. I played it to a few folk and they really liked it, so on it went. The demo was almost like country music, so Paul toned the guitars down and fucked up the middle 16 a bit - we recorded vocals in the control room and got monitor spill, passing cars and phase errors everywhere. This is the one he probably had the most input on.  Ribbon Falls:  Written on the piano as a complete song (like 'Better For Now') then dolled up with lots of silly production. Again, used to be a key down and slower. The samples at the beginning are from the original demo, cut up. I wanted it to sound like the CD was skipping and then when the vocals came in it would be a surprise - it didn't quite work but you get the idea. Paul made the drop super big and suggested adding that acid synth at the end to stop it from being too indie-pop. It still really is, though!

Light of the North is out now on Chemikal Underground Records on CD, vinyl and digital. It's available in all good reocrd stores (that'll be your indie ones) and you can also buy it directly from Chemikal Underground using the following link.

Hey Sound!

Miaoux Miaoux
Chemikal Underground

Live Dates

14th June - Electric Circus, Edinburgh                
15th June - Insider Olympiad Festival , Aviemore               
24th June - Oran Mor, Glasgow 
(alongside We Were Promised Jetpacks, Aidan Moffat, RM Hubbert and loads more)       
1st July - Kelburn Garden Party, Kelburn Castle               
25th August - Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival, Kilsyth    

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