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graffiti soul

CB: "Graffiti Soul was finished in Autumn 2008, and then we went to America and mixed it after our tour in November."

JK: "It's like turning up for work again, really making the music the most important thing in your life again, as it was when we did the earliest albums. If you're interested in Simple Minds, you need an album that's the real deal - something classic and contemporary. The last thing we needed was something that sounded like we'd been around for 30 years: it needed to be full of vitality; hungry, bursting out. Something with no holes in it."

CB: "We wanted to keep it to eight tracks that we felt wouldn't lose the plot and keep people interested. Even if it was a brilliant album; the advent of CD meant that there would be a lot of dead spots."

Record Collector Interview
Record Collector #364
July 2009

  • The band finished The Black And White 050505 tour after the Edinburgh show (28th August 2006) so they could firstly rest and then concentrate on this album (there was the opportunity to continue the tour further).

  • The sessions for Black And White 050505 yielded an album and a half of material. Jim questioned decisions to leave off Light Travels and Fortune Teller, feeling they were equally as good as material selected for the album, but he did not want to compromise the album’s structure or overall feel.

  • Other songs mentioned during the recording sessions, yet to see the light of day, were Automatic Love, God Save Us From Our Governments and Scorpio.

  • Furthermore, other songs remain unreleased from the various writing sessions after Cry including Precious, So Precious and Easy. The only songs recorded and released from this writing period were Stranger and Freedom Angel (the latter appeared as a Billy Sloan session).

  • The Devil Came Down To Moscow was mentioned during the Black And White 050505 tour as a parallel project but has probably been given low priority over the album.

  • The "lost" album Our Secrets Are The Same was also fertile territory for songs; with Jeweller To The Stars being reworked for Black And White 050505, it’s not inconceivable the band will cherry pick other tracks for the new album (hopefully Space). Unreleased Secrets tracks have also become B-side fodder (such as The Garden and Bird On A Wire) so I wouldn’t be surprised if more surface on future singles. Perhaps even the long lost title track?

  • Therefore this new album will pick up the baton from Black And White 050505 and run with it.

  • It could have been completed by late 2007, but an unexpected opportunity to tour in Australia moved the album's release date into 2008. This suited the band as the album would then coincide with their 30th anniversary.

  • All was quiet until mid 2008 when Jim mentioned the completion of a song called Six Degrees Of Separation, and mentioned writing others called Lotus Effect, Blood Type 'O', Stars Will Lead The Way and Shaman. This was during a series of writing sessions in Glasgow during June 2008 which produced a number of demos.

  • The demos were very rough and open. "Remember in Glasgow there was no real bass and drums for example. Charlie programmed the rhythms among other things including laying down some slap dash guitars, just as I did with my vocals. It was all very rough and ready, just as demos should be." - Jim.

  • "In this case, we worked in small spaces, and had nowhere to run really, since there were lots of gear, and tons of equipment. We were able to write a bit like the way we used to write in the past, where we would sit down, and just jam. We would create ideas, and work on those ideas for roughly ten hours. That's the way we worked upon "Graffiti Soul's" tracks; we worked upon ideas, and just let them evolve over long periods of time." - Charlie

  • Gordon Goudie and Andy Gillespie were mentioned as collaborators along with Jez Coad who was back in the producer's chair with engineer Arjen Mensinga.

  • Jim even suggested they had enough material for two albums, one being released at the start of 2009 and the second following within the space of a year. "We really are flowing with ideas at the moment and as I already mentioned a few weeks ago I do feel that we are possibly writing two albums simultaneously at present. With every passing day I genuinely feel that is becoming a real possibility. That would indeed be a fine occurrence - here in our thirtieth year - just to know that far from feeling jaded through time etc, that the very opposite seems to be occurring and that creatively speaking it may be that 'we have more gas in the tank' currently than we did as obsessive teenagers desperate to make a name for ourselves!"

  • After a summer break, work began in earnest on the album on the 5th August 2008 at Rockfield Studios (where the band recorded Real To Real Cacophony, Empires And Dance and hatched the ideas for what would become New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)).

  • Jim and Charlie were joined by Mel and Eddie for the recordings.

  • "This time round, Jim and Charlie wanted to record as a band, a ‘no-nonsense’ approach which would hopefully capture the raw energy and magic we generate live." - Eddie.

  • "And with every tune we approach I find myself thinking 'Great! This is my favourite! And then we move on to another and I think 'Hold on... this is my favourite!' And that is how it goes with each individual tune we attempt to lay down. Ed and Mel steady as granite rocks and when needed always inventive." - Jim on the recording sessions.

  • The first track worked on was Stars Will Lead The Way. The opening song will be Moscow Underground and the album will conclude with This Is It.

  • "The demos were purposely left in as basic a state as possible. This was a plan to get the best out of us, to give us the space to be creative without feeling restricted or tied down to definitive parts or arrangements, and an opportunity to let one person’s vision or take on a song inspire the other’s" - Eddie.

  • By the 19th August after three week's work Mel and Eddie had finished the drum and bass tracks for either twenty songs (Jim) or thirteen original compositions (Eddie). Charlie then concentrated on adding the guitars and keyboards during the day with vocals being worked on during the evenings with Jez Coad overseeing the proceedings.

  • "It is therefore wonderful to say that these current sessions somehow mirror the spirit and feel of the New Gold Dream sessions. - Jim.

  • The last lyrics were recorded on the 28th August - the same day as Some Sweet Day 2008.

  • At the end of the Rockfield Sessions, Jim stayed behind to polish some vocals. He also listened again to the demos. "But nevertheless I was struck by how good listening to these demo's made me feel. The tracks did not sound great as such and the arrangements are very messy, but the overall feel felt great, in a ramshackle, emotional way, that we know could never be repeated." - Jim.

  • "Simply put, the demos are no more than a work in progress, a mere moment in time. But there is however something unique and special about them in the unfinished state that we will not even try to emulate here, because in effect we have moved on to a level where all the songs are much more complete and to where they are produced and arranged for presentation to an audience hopefully. They really do sound very impressive now, without doubt. But they also feel different as indeed they should, because in some ways they are a different thing, and at the end of the day making demos is one thing while making 'a record' is something else altogether." - Jim.

  • "Nevertheless I do feel and understand that for a number of enthusiast's, these demos that show this work in progress could be of interest and - judging by what I listened to today - they perhaps merit the opportunity of being heard! Being so this is something we will consider over the next period and if all are in agreement then there is the chance that prior to official release, the demo recordings of some of the new songs could be [released]" - Jim.

  • The album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain. (With the exception of Blood Type O which was mixed by Jez Coad.

  • Whilst writing about the newly reformed Magazine going out on tour, Jim mentioned recording a cover of A Song From Under The Floorboards.

  • The album's title was confirmed as Graffiti Soul on the 13th February 2009. It's working title was Blood Type O.

  • On the 15th March, Billy Sloan played the first single Rockets and a track from the Graffit Soul: Deluxe CD (which features a collection of covers entitled Searching For The Lost Boys). He then played an exclusive track from Searching For The Lost Boys every week:

  • By the 17th May, Billy Sloan had played the entire album.

  • "In this day and age, you have to give all, you have to give all. In the studio, after 9 o'clock, I've got a theory that nothing gets done. People come up with the best intentions, the best plans, the best triple album ideas(!), but it never really happens. So I thought, after dinner time, how about we have a bit of game? Because I knew we needed B-sides, extra tunes for iTunes and fillers. So at dinner time, why don't we go around the table, someone gets to mention a song, you've got half an hour to get it together and then you've got one or two takes maximum. That originated the idea [for Searching For The Lost Boys]. And in doing that, we were kind of getting back to our punk roots, as that's the way we did things then: you had a couple of takes and you had to nail it. And in terms of the choice of songs, I think it definintely says a lot about music we were listening to at the time." - Jim.

  • A Song From Under The Floorboards and Let The Day Begin were originally going to be recorded by the original Simple Minds line-up for a compilation album. During a meal held a day before before the recordings started, Jim suggested recording This Is It as the bonus track instead. However, due to disagreements, the recording sessions never started.

  • Despite being called Searching For The Lost Boys, everyone started referring to the bonus covers album as In Search Of The Lost Boys.

  • Additional pressure was added to the album by forthcoming 30 Years Live Tour which celebrating thirty years live of Simple Minds. The deal the band made with themselves was to write and record an album which didn't sound like a band who'd been around for thirty years.

  • Three or more tracks could've been added to the album, but were left off to make the album more focused.

  • The four 'dropped' songs were Secret Love, Angel, Diamonds and Wild Eyes.

  • This Is It was recorded under the working title of New Change.

  • "We had a collection of songs, which roughly spanned twenty-five tracks. We eventually worked on sixteen to eighteen, and as the process slowly went on, we found ourselves filtering, whittling down that number to twelve. Following that, "Graffiti Soul" became a ten track album." - Charlie

  • The album sampler was made available as a download on the 6th May through Universal Records. And the main eight tracks of the album were streamed as part of a Listening Party through the official site the following day.

  • The promos featured a different mix of Rockets.

  • Initial plans were for five formats: CD, deluxe CD, super deluxe CD, memory stick and LP. The memory stick was dropped whilst Universal adopted a wait-and-see approach for the super deluxe version. Therefore the album was initially released on three formats.

  • The double LP was only given the go-ahead at the last minute and only 800 were pressed.

  • Pitches to graphic design companies included the working title Blood Type O. Early internal designs from Fabrique used this title for their cover art. In the end, the artwork was put together by Edinburgh-based Curious.

  • The packaging of the initial three formats was the best (in terms of graphic design, artwork and physical packaging) since 1995's Good News From The Next World. Each format included sleeve notes by Jim (for each album), lyrics and artistic interpretations of each of the eight main songs.

  • The initial plans for the standard CD included scratching "Graffiti Soul" across the front of the plastic jewelcase; this was added to the artwork at the last minute to trim costs. The booklet was also slightly redesigned, slimming it down to twenty pages; the original twenty-four page booklet was used for the deluxe CD.

  • Jim, Charlie and Eddie attended a special signing session at the HMV shop in Glasgow on the 25th May. Those who purchased the standard edition of the album were given an exclusive slip sleeve for the band to sign.

  • The Russian version of the album (the standard CD with ten tracks) doesn't include the full booklet so is packaged with an obi-strip giving extra information about the album.

  • Graffiti Soul was also available as a download on the day of release. Amazon offered the standard ten track package (the same as the standard CD) with an exclusive live version of Stay Visible. It's most likely to be the version recorded at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (and previously available as part of the Live Bundle #1).

  • Universal in Hungary produced a limited-edition promotional box-set of the album. Costs forced only a very limited run of thirty sets to be produced. Five sets were given away as competition prizes through the Hungarian Simple Minds website, twenty were distributed to radio stations and magazines and the remaining five were given to Universal employees. The box set contained eight CDs housed in custom card sleeves, each featuring one track from the album.

  • The commoner promos for the album simply featured the core eight tracks. Much rarer were some ten-track versions which included the bonus tracks of Shadows And Light and Rockin' In The Free World. These promos were distributed with black graphic sleeves with track listings printed on the back, housed in plastic wallets. The catalogue numbers include the suffix "ALB" which is assumed to indicate "albums". These promos are also numbered.

  • The album was also issued in the limited edition "Pure" format in Germany. This is the cheap option which simply features the album in card sleeve with no booklet and retails for around 9.99 Euros.

graffiti soul: cd: quick reference
CD       Graffiti Soul Universal 2703208
1. Moscow Underground(5:01)
2. Rockets(4:36)
3. Stars Will Lead The Way(3:26)
4. Light Travels(4:12)
5. Kiss And Fly(5:01)
6. Graffiti Soul(4:48)
7. Blood Type O(3:49)
8. This Is It(4:55)
9. Shadows And Light (bonus)(2:56)
10. Rockin' In The Free World (bonus) by Neil Young(4:17)

graffiti soul: deluxe cd: quick reference
CD       Graffiti Soul Universal 2703207
1. Moscow Underground(5:01)
2. Rockets(4:36)
3. Stars Will Lead The Way(3:26)
4. Light Travels(4:12)
5. Kiss And Fly(5:01)
6. Graffiti Soul(4:48)
7. Blood Type O(3:49)
8. This Is It(4:55)
9. Shadows And Light (bonus)(2:56)

CD       Searching For The Lost Boys
1. Rockin' In The Free World by Neil Young(4:17)
2. A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine(4:39)
3. Christine by Siouxsie And The Banshees(3:13)
4. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) by The Stranglers(3:53)
5. Let The Day Begin by The Call(3:02)
6. Peace, Love And Understanding by Nick Lowe(3:34)
7. Teardrop by Massive Attack(5:33)
8. Whiskey In The Jar by Thin Lizzie(4:00)
9. Sloop John B by The Beach Boys(4:35)

graffiti soul: vinyl: quick reference
LP       Graffiti Soul Universal 2707281
A1. Moscow Underground(5:01)
A2. Rockets(4:36)
A3. Stars Will Lead The Way(3:26)
A4. Light Travels(4:12)
B1. Kiss And Fly(5:01)
B2. Graffiti Soul(4:48)
B3. Blood Type O(3:49)
B4. This Is It(4:55)
B5. Shadows And Light (bonus)(2:56)

LP       Searching For The Lost Boys
C1. Rockin' In The Free World by Neil Young(4:17)
C2. A Song From Under The Floorboards by Magazine(4:39)
C3. Christine by Siouxsie And The Banshees(3:13)
C4. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) by The Stranglers(3:53)
C5. Let The Day Begin by The Call(3:02)
D1. Peace, Love And Understanding by Nick Lowe(3:34)
D2. Teardrop by Massive Attack(5:33)
D3. Whiskey In The Jar by Thin Lizzie(4:00)
D4. Sloop John B by The Beach Boys(4:35)

graffiti soul: download: quick reference
MP3       Graffiti Soul Universal
1. Moscow Underground(5:01)
2. Rockets(4:36)
3. Stars Will Lead The Way(3:26)
4. Light Travels(4:12)
5. Kiss And Fly(5:01)
6. Graffiti Soul(4:48)
7. Blood Type O(3:49)
8. This Is It(4:55)
9. Shadows And Light (bonus)(2:56)
10. Rockin' In The Free World (bonus) by Neil Young(4:17)
11. Stay Visible (Amazon bonus)[Live](5:27)

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Stars Will Lead The Way

Light Travels