The Sun, http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/sftw/article264790.ece
17 August, 2007
Grunge raver to Soulsavers,
By: Simon Cosyns
SOULSAVERS - Kingdom of Rain (single)
GRUNGE survivor Mark Lanegan has lent his magnificent
earthy rumble to many a fine album.
He forged his reputation as singer with Screaming Trees. The first of
his excellent solo albums, 1990’s The Winding Sheet, featured one
Kurdt Cobain before he dropped the “d”.
He’s given ragged glory to desert rockers Queens Of The Stone Age.
He’s been night to Isobel Campbell’s day on their Mercury-nominated
Ballad Of The Broken Seas.
But rarely has the voice for hire been set among such grand musical designs
as those created by Soulsavers.
It’s the brainchild of Brit production and remix team Rich Machin
and Ian Glover who make full use of Lanegan on their second album It’s
Not How Far You Fall, It’s The Way You Land.
A widescreen fusion of electronics, rock, gospel, country and even hip-hop,
the songs are infused with an otherworldly atmosphere and a deep emotional
tug. It’s an overused expression but Soulsavers’ music is
genuinely food for the soul.
Here Rich tells how he hooked up with Lanegan to make one of the year’s
most impressive albums:
HOW did you manage to get Mark Lanegan involved?
I’d been into his records since the early Nineties. Around 2004,
it turned out we had a mutual friend and he mentioned that Mark was into
our first record. So I put a few ideas together and passed them on to
see if he’d be into working with us on them. Mark was over here
promoting his 2004 album Bubblegum, so we got together to talk it through
and see if it was something that would work.
The new single Kingdoms Of Rain sounds perfect for the album yet Mark
wrote that song many years ago. What’s so special about it?
It was a track that I’d always thought about covering with someone
I had an idea for it and it came up in conversation with Mark. He really
liked it and said he wanted to do it. His original is great but I think
there is something really special in his vocal on this version. It’s
like his voice has grown into the track even more over the years. His
voice gets better the older he gets and I think that track suits a voice
with that much character in it.
I gather you self-financed the project. How nerve-wracking was that?
Yeah, it was pretty stressful at times. I’ve done it a few times
in the past, but this ended up taking three years to finish, which was
not something I’d planned on.
But I’m glad we did it the way we did, no matter how hard it was.
I don’t think we’d have got what we did if we had the comfort
of a bigger budget. It also meant we had nobody interfering with what
we were doing. We did everything on our terms. But if I had to do it all
over, I’d work a hell of a lot faster!
Where did the sessions take place? They were split. We’d work on
a lot of the basic ideas at home, then I’d head over to LA to work
with Mark on his parts. After that I’d bring them back here and
kick them back into shape. I probably repeated that cycle three or four
You must be thrilled that Rick Rubin has signed you to Columbia? The man
has pretty good taste!
Of course, to be the first thing that he brought in since taking the helm
is cool. He has a great ear and he’s probably the most respected
producer around at the moment.
I was a big fan of the Beastie Boys when I was at school, all the way
through to his work with the last Johnny Cash recordings (which were a
big influence on the sound of this record). I’ve got a lot of respect
for the fella and hope to learn a lot from him.
What’s the story behind the wonderful Revival, complete with gospel
That track came together as an accident, really. I was driving down to
a session with the choir for something else. En route I was listening
back to some of the rough cuts I had of the track and it hit me that,
lyrically, that track had a strong gospel feel to it.
So I asked them while I was there if they’d mind just singing along
with the track in the hope that I could cut something good from it afterwards.
I ended up just leaving it the way it was when I left there. It captured
the soul of the track.
Why did you decide to cover The Stones song No Expectations?
During the sessions we were listening a lot to the Stones. We said it
felt right to throw a Stones track into the mix due to that. I go through
phases of over-listening to their records. During one of the sessions
I was hammering Beggars Banquet and Exile On Main St (I’m currently
doing the same thing with Goat’s Head Soup and Aftermath). No Expectations
just felt like the right choice.
And the beautiful Through My Sails by Neil Young?
A similar thing, really. I’d headed out to the ocean one night to
relax. I had his album Zuma on in the car and it came on at the end. For
some reason, I’d never really picked up on the track before, but
it really struck me that night. It was probably the perfect environment
to listen to it.