artist: Francis MacDonald and Harry Pye
featured track: "Feel Like A Record That's Scratched"
Francis Macdonald has plays drums with Teenage Fanclub and makes music for filmmakers/TV. Other artists he has worked with include BMX Bandits, Alex Chilton, Belle & Sebastian, The Pastels, Camera Obscura and The Vaselines. His album “Music For String, Quartet, Piano & Celeste” (2015) was described as “Sublime, minimalist classical music” by Classic FM in the UK.
Harry Pye is a London-based artist, once desribed by The Guardian newspaper as "the master of lo fi British art". He won first prize in a competition to paint a portrait of Tony Bliar, judged by Gilbert & George. He edits The Rebel art webzine and has had exhibitions of his work in London, Denmark, Australia and Brazil. Collaborations with filmmaker Gordon Beswick have been screened at Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London.
Harry and Francis began collaborating when Harry asked Francis to write about his favourite Elvis song for a fanzine. Then Harry invited Francis to add percussion to a song he was recording with Neil Innes – a version of Micke Nesmith’s Rio, in the run up to The 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Harry then began sending Francis song lyrics and Francis would write music. “Bonjour” was produced by Francis and Harry and recorded at Francis’s home studio in Glasgow, Scotland.
Notes On The Songs:
Sometimes I Feel Like A Record That's Been Scratched
Harry says: "Well, I think most people I know feel like they are damaged goods at least some of the time. On my Dad's copy of Sgt Pepper there's a scratch on "With a Little Help From My Friends." It's the bit where Ringo sings: I just need someone to love.”
Francis says: “I found Harry’s words very easy to write music for. I wanted a circular feeling with a relentless rhythm and a repetitive guitar riff – so the music feels a little stuck along with the words.”
Sympathy For Jean Luc Godard
Harry says: "My ex flat mate John went through a phase of buying Godard DVDs for people as presents. When I played him this song he said he thought the music and singing that Francis contributed were both beautiful but he wasn't amused by my lyrics. C'est la vie.”
Francis says ”I had thought this was Harry talking about his own love for Jean Luc Godard. I feel cheated!"
I Made Him Smile
Harry says: "I know people say never meet your heroes but it's good if you come across someone who has impressed or inspired you and you get on. I know it's only a little thing (and I'm sure Mr Freud's feet were made of clay) but I am glad I made Lucian smile.”
Francis says “Nice story well told. I learned a lot of about art and artists from Harry."
Isle of Capri
Harry says: "At the funeral service for my Grandma my Dad made a slightly rambling speech that was kind of nuts. But then at the end of his tribute he paused and then said "she was a nice person" there was just something about the way he said it which moved me. When I was a teenager I had dreams about owning things and winning things. As I've got older not hurting others and not causing others harm seems more of an achievement or goal. There's lots of people I'd like to take people on holiday and make then happy.”
Francis says: “The music came easily, again because the words were so good; all the little details and images. I ran an evening class in songwriting at Glasgow university for a while and I gave my students the lyrics and told them to write their own music, without letting them hear what I’d come up with. It was a great experience. For my part I borrowed a chord change from a song called Mix Tape by the great Michael Shelley."
Paul in Vauxhall
Harry says: "I love my friends. The best thing about being me is the friends I've got.”
Francis says: “I think there is an i-phone trombone app on this recording.”
Come and Stay With Me
Harry says: "After spells in South London and Broadstairs Vincent van Gogh hung his hat in France. He wanted Paul Gauguin to come and live with him in the South of France and share his studio. He made a painting of some sunflowers and put it in Paul's bedroom as a surprise present. Things didn't work and they didn't stay under the same roof that long but you can still see that painting of sunflowers and you can still read the letters he wrote. “
Francis says: “How fun to pretend to be Vincent Van Gogh singing song. The ambient noise at the end was recorded in Carpentras in the south of France where I was recording with Teenage Fanclub.”
Mondrian in Liverpool
Harry says: "Years ago my friend Bruce Mclean told me about what it was like being in the room when his Dad died. He made a comment that parents never really die because you just become your dad and say and do all the things they did and start dressing like them - so they never stop being around. I guess it wasn't until my own Dad died that I got what he meant. I sometimes give my Dad's opinions an airing and on other days I make people laugh by telling them his jokes. I wanted to tell my Dad about the Mondrian exhibition I saw and about my day in Liverpool - I couldn't so I decided to tell you instead.”
Francis says: "I looped the strings from a demo recording I had made with The Cairn String Quartet in Glasgow. When Harry speaks from the heart it is easy to listen. Gosh help he doesn’t read this.”
Harry says: "John Lennon once observed that life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans. I guess this song is about a nowhere man. He hangs around the kitchen hoping that if he hangs around long enough, someone will eventually make him a sandwich - isn't he a bit like you and me?”
Francis says “This was fun to write and record. Some great internal rhymes in Harry’s lyrics: “…another show…down the road we go…on the way…stop to say hello, they say…”. Harry might be waiting for me to make him a sandwich - but maybe I’m waiting for Him to make Me a sandwich. There.
Mike Love Fan Club
Harry says : "I always loved The Beach Boys. I wrote the words that I imagined Mike Love would love to hear. The Beach Boys sang about the joy of catching a wave but none of them really surfed. Maybe this song is a celebration of just having fun and not taking ourselves too seriously?”
Francis says “To me this about how you can always marry cherry-picked facts to fit your desired narrative."
Cork in the Ocean
Harry says: "Sacrebleu! When I was a teenager in Art School some of my highest highs came about when tutors would tell me to go to the library and look up an artist that they thought would be interesting to me. I remember a tutor called Clive telling me to look at Jean Debuffet. He said Debuffet was one of his favourite artists of all time. I was about 17 or 18 and I just remember looking at the pictures and reading the quotes and being fascinated and excited."
Francis says “It’s pretty special and odd to co-write a song which educates and informs the person (i.e. me) who is co-writing the song. More fun than just typing words into a search engine. Again the strings are lifted from a demo of a composition that I later reworked and named September Weekend."
en hand numbered 001-500 with a marker by our lovely intern Molly Hatchet.