Making "This Hotel..."
Above: This Hotel Has Ghosts was conceived as a project for Graham's musical stage name of the time, Tyler Troy. The above artwork from a version of the album that appeared in small number in the Summer of 2012. Of that album only 3 songs made it onto the beautiful mechanica version (beautiful mechanical, see how they play, this hotel has ghosts). The remaining tracks lie in the vault ready to be reworked in the months and years ahead.
Making an album is an organic process. To arrive at the 10 or so tracks one chooses, there's another 20-40 songs that are written and demoed but for reasons that vary, but in our case, to create a cohesive aural experience, those songs get left in the archive. Some of those songs, in the case of "This Hotel Has Ghosts" will actually appear on our second album.
Of the Ten songs on the album (+ the debut single), each song was demoed several times. Below is the link to "This Hotel Has Ghosts - the demo album".
Here we have compiled a version of the album made up of the earliest versions. Listening back to these, some 18 months after the album's release, it's easy to feel that some of the versions here are better than the final versions that made the album. It's often the way...
The released version of This Hotel Has Ghosts became a slicker, smoother listen than some of these demos implied it would. The influence of albums such as "Dance" and "Telekon" by Gary Numan along with "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" and "Quiet Life" by Japan became the lead direction in the final days of making the album.
We've discussed revisiting "This Hotel Has Ghosts" in the future - checking back in, so to speak, to perhaps produce a version that sounds more as we do now, having established our live sound and set-up which has influenced the more energetic and visceral nature of the second album to come.
Graham has spoken of how This Hotel Has Ghosts puts him in mind of The Smiths debut album as the finished item was mellower than early demos that surfaced on "Hatful of Hollow" pointed to.
So, here is an insight into the early sound of the album's tracks. It makes for a more spiky, less cohesive but perhaps more esoteric version.
Here are the notes for each of the tracks that appear on this audio stream
1. CHECK IN - written and recorded September / October 2011
Early on, Graham envisaged the album as a concept album and Check In was intended to be the album's eerie opener. Made up of elements of the title tracks, along with sampled scary voices and noises, the idea was to unsettle the listener.
2. BEAUTIFUL MECHANICAL - written December 2011
This is the grey/desolate version Graham speaks of in his notes for This Hotel Has Ghosts. It's a darker, less beautiful and more sombre version. It's unsettling and perhaps many will prefer it's atmosphere. It's sound reflects the greyest of dank December days upon which it was composed.
3. JENNI & THE SUICIDE GIRLS - written September 2012, this version recorded May 2014.
One of the demos that is superior to the version that appeared on the album This version is darker, dirtier and more like the version we play live.
The voices in the chorus are certainly more pronounced - a choir of the damned. This demo has Grace on backing vocals. The piano break here has two lines rather than one. Graham has spoken of releasing this version as a future single.
4. SEE HOW THEY PLAY (Original title "Birdland") - written and recorded September 2011
Graham believes this is perhaps the ultimate version being more dreamy and other worldly than later versions achieved. It's rather lovely.
5. TO KNOW THOSE GREATS - written and recorded June 2014
This is the original version, much ballsier and more like the live version. Again, perhaps better than the final version some might say. Hmm..a pattern is forming here...This version has Graham playing a rasping guitar to counterpoint Mike's more sublime lines.
6. SHOW YOUR HEART - written late Summer 2012
Musically quite similar to the final version, the differences here are the vocals along with a lovely dark choir of voices as the song builds. Yet to be played live (Freezing took it's place at the album launch show), this version suggests how a live version will sound.
7. THE NIGHT - written Autumn 2012
Again, maybe something was lost along the way. This sounds like music made by Vampires. Odder, darker, scarier. Graham wrote this straight after writing and recording Show Your Heart. Some lovely piano on this track
"It's my favourite version" writes Graham "it's sexy, twisted and suggests so much..."
8.POCKETBOOKS AND BUTTERFLIES
The song was originally written during the Christmas holidays of 2011 a few weeks after Beautiful Mechanical. The version feature here is from 2015 and features Rebecca on vocals. This was as intended on the actual album. Rebecca was not entirely satisfied with her vocals and so desire re-recording, the end version featured Rebecca and Graham. Future versions of the album could well revert to an all female vocal. Different also is a New Order style bass line.
9. THIS HOTEL HAS GHOSTS - written and recorded September 2011
The earliest song to make it through to the final album. This version is so very different - it's more like a Neil Young song. Imagined as a Catcher In The Rye chapter, the vocals are gentler, more childlike and heartbroken. There are many version of the song - some are very dark indeed and more edgy than the album version. This is where it all started.
10. DAMAGED GOODS - written December 2013, this version recorded Spring 2014.
The demo begins with John Lennon, sampled from a demo of "Day In A Life" from the Sergeant Pepper sessions on the Beatles Anthology album. A lovely sad organ pulsates behind the vocal. Quite different vocals, luscious strings in the chorus and amore pulsating bass beat.
11. THE GOODBYE MOMENT - written (along with Choke) on the Day of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest!
Sad, bleak and beautiful, this version has a haunting quality that later versions didn't quite capture again.
12. FREEZING written March 2012
This is the original version, it's not so different to the single and was certainly improved upon. As a song this continues to grow ever darker, more visceral. Interesting to hear where it all started.