Exclusive: Tamara Schlesinger previews her new album
It’s been two years since 6 Day Riot released their third album, earning an entry in our best albums of 2010 roundup. Since then they’ve been busy on the gigging circuit, but not only that, the lead singer and brains behind the band, Tamara Schlesinger has recorded her sophomore solo album, The Procession.
She previously wrote for TMF just prior to entering the studio and now she’s back to present us with three exclusive tracks and some background on each…
This was the first track that I knew I wanted to go on the album. I had been writing lots over the course of a year and had a pool of songs, but was not sure exactly what I wanted to do with them. I had spent the first six months co-writing an album with Deadly Avenger (which was cinematic/dance in style) and so I was in a strange place in terms of writing songs which didn’t work for my band 6 Day Riot and also didn’t suit the project with Damon (DA).
So, after a year of writing I came up with this a capella-based song, and somehow it all began to make sense. I managed to find the sound I wanted for my solo project and I spent a long time demo-ing up a capella parts and melodic ideas, some of which turned into other instruments and some of which remained a capella.
The majority of the album was written during a difficult and emotional time in my life, this one in particular was about waiting for some terrifying news. I had a three month wait for some genetic test results, and the line “it’s true that you feel free, but no-one’s free from the past we have” refers to the genes we all carry. As it turned out, the results were negative, which was an amazing relief.
This song was probably the most fully formed when I eventually headed into the studio. So, it was the easiest to piece together, I had already demoed the track at my friend Jay’s studio, so it took shape really quickly. And it has ended up as the lead single on the album.
No Coming Back
I have always been inspired by news stories, films and books when I write my lyrics, but I think even melodically this song sounds like the most cinematic thing I have written. I had always imagined it as some kind of a capella Bond-esque theme tune, but it developed into something different to that. The a capella vocals are now just a layer as opposed to being the basis of the song.
It began life as just an acoustic track with a lead vocal which I recorded at home onto my Mac, I then started to layer a capella ideas onto the track as I decided I wanted continuity across the album. And so the track began to take shape. I guess I was still in my pretty macabre mood while writing the lyrics, with lines like “Where I’m going, there’s no coming back” and “take my weight we’ll fall together, nothing here can ever last forever”. But actually it is not completely autobiographical, the lyrics have elements of death and loss which were brought on thinking about the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. I had friends travelling there at the time and so it particularly hit home how terrifying it must be to be in a place when natural disasters happen.
Once I got into the studio in Glasgow the song really came to life. I had received funding from Creative Scotland to record the album and had these amazing musicians working on the album with me. I think we managed to capture the original vision I had for the track really well in the studio.
This is like the little sister of ‘Again’ for me. It doesn’t get as epic, but instead it keeps this steady dreamy feel across the track, thanks to the amazing guitar parts produced by Ross Hamilton in the studio. It is based around a capella vocals, but I don’t want to give the impression that the whole album sounds like this, I think I have managed to find just the right balance in terms of vocal tracks and more instrumental tracks across the whole album.
This song was written about leaving my home and moving to a different area, I was not exactly moving miles away, but it’s that process of packing up your life that somehow makes to contemplate things more. I had always imagined my little flat as a character, someone that had access to my whole life. So it felt like saying goodbye to a friend that was more than just “Glass and mortar” but also had “windows to my soul”. I was still in the midst of questioning the meaning of life here, so I began to imagine a person packing up their actual life, and so the line “packed them up within the hour to take back the time that I have lost” refers to packing up memories that you carry with you, while also thinking of all the time you have wasted in your life.
The Procession will be released later this year, however you can pre-order an exclusive signed copy right now by ordering via Tamara’s website.
About The AuthorTamara Schlesinger is the lead singer and songwriter of 6 Day Riot. She has been involved in the industry running Tantrum Records for the last seven years and has received widespread acclaim for her musical work. She has also lectured on the subject of running an independent record label. Tamara co-wrote the music used in the trailer of Danny Boyle’s film 127 hours with Deadly Avenger.