I was in the north of England making a rather folky record with 2 twin sisters named the Sylvias. Whilst i was there the manager of them girls started to represent the Happy Mondays (seemingly crazy thing to do…)
They figured since i was already there I should have a crack at working with Shaun and the Mondays. started to work on the tracks and that was working well. everyone had me concerned with Shaun, telling me this and that, how i should be with him and what to expect. like he was some strange mythical monster. When i finally hung with him in the studio we got on like a house on fire. he trusted me from the get go and it was the beginning of a great artistic partnership and to this day i consider Shaun one of my best friends.
I worked with the Sylvias by day and Shaun in the nights. a wild time, i felt like some strange mercenary soldier away from home to complete 2 very opposite missions. we worked away, i came back to LA and put a bunch of my musicians on both records (joachim Cooder, Julliete Commagere, Amir Yaghmai, Giuseppe Patane’, Eamon Ryland, jared Smith, Robert Francis). cut a song called “Deviants” as a duet between Shaun William Ryder and LA’s own Mickey Avalon(whom i was also workin with at the time). Devinats is a mega tune, so creepy…..
At the age of 12 i was given a cassette preview copy of a project called skylab. it blew my mind deeply and took me deep on my path into the music ive been thru. It was the work of scottish producer-mixer-general sound maker HOWIE B.
that year i met Howie and saw him work in the studio while he was doing a remix of a Simply Red song that my father had produced. I was a hip hop kid and he seemed to perfectly bridge the gap between all the musicality i grew up with and the construction and shapes of hip hop and things… ya know?
About 5 years after that i was working on the soundtrack to the Wim Wenders film “End of Violence” - my buddy Joachim is the son of Ry cooder and Ry had me and Joachim making “beats’ and trax for the score and then he would put his magic all over it:)
that was already the coolest thing ever, but to top it off Wim Wenders suggested they bring in his friend Howie to do some treatments of these pieces for the film. i flipped…
growing up around the bizz i met everybody along the way but Howie was my only real hero i had. we hung a bit and watched him work. it was magical what he did with sound. no crazy toys just what would naturally be in any studio anywhere and he flipped it making sounds and shapes that i couldnt believe. My musical brain was never the same after these 2 dealings. Howie did those mixes and then went on tour with U2, it was at the height of his happenings…
I sent Howie a couple of my records thru the years and he was very kind and supportive. I found that the Mondays record was the perfect chance to maybe collaborate with Howie. He was keen and came up to manchester to hang for a night. played him all our tunes and we even made a new one that night with just Howie, Shaun and myself. the song (0161ers) is the bonus cut on the final release. when i was in LA i had Ry Cooder play some wild twangful guitar on it, thus bringing those years of things very much full circle…
When i came back to LA i worked out a deal with Joachim that i was rather pleased about. His band Hello Stranger needed some of my production work and I in turn needed all of them to play tons of things on both the mondays record and the sylvias. Both records i was doing bassically for no pay»>crazy right. they were giving me money to cover my life and letting me do some hi class expensive things like Having Howie mix it and quite a bit of expensive studio and all. so„,me and Joachim hashed a wee plan whilst in a tatoo parlo getting inked by Mark Mahoney. we would set up shop for the next 2 weeks and alternate days. a day for hello stranger and then a day for mondays/sylvias. they would play and do stuffs for me in exchange for my production time on their record. i would get a chunk of money to pay musicians but it would just come stright to me as if it were payment for something? was a great plan. we rocked so hard around the clock and made all three records really come alive…then back to UK for me……..
worked with Shaun a bit more, then went on a quick lil tour round some europe with Shauna and the band. was super fun. My first time to Amsterdam and with the Happy Mondays. thats how ya do it!!
Then I met up with Howie in London for him to mix the record. I had work so hard for a few months on all those records (Happy Mondays,Sylvias, Mickey Avalon, and Hello Stranger) it was so cool to just sit back on the couch and watch Howie do his magic. Learned so much and had such a groovy hang, was the best.
The record came out (not in U.S.) and was very well received… was such a cool crazy time. tested all of my chops as a record producer and human. I always learn something new when I make a record but that one, whew… a lifetime of time of things in there