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9 October 2017, 08:28
Noel Gallagher came into Radio X and told Chris Moyles all about his ambitious third solo album, Who Built The Moon. German rock, French pop, US soul - it’s all in there…
Who Built The Moon? is the follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed LP Chasing Yesterday, and will be released on Friday 24 November 2017 on Sour Mash label.
The album has been recorded over two years with producer, DJ and composer David Holmes in Belfast and London and is described as a collection of “instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut and paste experimentation”. The record also features guest appearances from Paul Weller and Johnny Marr.
Producer Holmes says of Who Built The Moon?: “People are going to be surprised. I think people love Noel and they’re desperate for him to make a really big, bold, up-tempo beast of a record. This one is fun.”
“Holy Mountain is about your nearest and dearest, yeah. How it came about was, one of the first sessions we did, the hook line, the tin whistle thing that is like one of the most catchiest things in the world, is a sample from a track by a brilliantly titled band from the 70s called The Ice Cream, and a track called Chewing Gum Kid, don't try and Google it, it's beyond obscure, you'll never find it...
“So, we listened to that track, and he said, "D'you like this?" And I was like, ‘Wow! Why have I never heard that before?’ So, we sampled that bit, and the thing, dee, do, do, do... that just went round and round. I worked out the chords, did a bit of jamming on it and we put a drum machine on it…
“David said, ‘D’you think this will make it on the album?’ And I went, ‘Mate, this is gonna be the first single. If it kills me, I am gonna finish this song’.
Because there's so much joy in that track. My kids love it, it's already a playground anthem in Notting Hill. My kids love it, and all my mates' kids love it. When you hear it, by the second time you hear it, the thing's stuck in your head, and it becomes slightly annoying, I must say, but it's brilliant!”
“Keep on Reaching sounds like Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye. I'm gonna have to get quite a few backing singers on stage to sing it with me. Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to do it - it sounds like Marvin Gaye. David was saying, ‘When did you sound like Marvin Gaye? I was like, I don’t know, I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to do it live. You know you’ve got a good album when that’s not even going to be a single.”
“That is gonna blow people away. There's someone singing and speaking in French on it, and it ain't me. It’s a lovely girl called Charlotte. If push comes to shove, it’s my favourite track on the album, I think. Because it's just so out there.
“Beautiful World is not really a song about how beautiful the world is, it's a sarcastic song about how beautiful the world is. The video that I've made for it already should say a lot about it. There are some great remixes of it by Andrew Weatherall and Mike Pickering and Graeme Park. Andy's done this real deep, acid rock version of it, and Mike and Graeme have done this Haçienda classic version of it - I was listening to it the other day, actually, and it's incredible. It sounds like Can, that's all I'm saying, the German band, Can.”
“She Taught Me How to Fly is the song that sounds like Blondie. I read a newspaper recently that they were saying they that want me to write them a song. Well, I'm sorry to tell you, Blondie, I've already written you a song, but I'm using it first, so once I've finished with it, you can have it.
“Black and White Sunshine sounds like The Stones in places, and like West Coast psychedelic pop. And it's got some of my favourite lyrics in, and I've rehearsed it a couple of times live with the bank, and it sounds bloody awesome, I've gotta say."
“If Love is the Law started out of a conversation about Genesis, and ended up becoming like Phil Spector, and Johnny Marr plays harmonica on it and electric guitar. We spent another incredible day in the studio with Johnny - it's massive that song, massive.”
“I’d met David Holmes maybe a year before, and I was a fan of his and I've got all his records and soundtracks that he does. I called him, I said, ‘D’you fancy coming and getting involved with this record?’ He flew over from Belfast, I played him the tracks, and he said, ‘Hmm, they all sound finished to me.’ I said, ‘But I've only just started, these are just demos!’ And he said, ‘No, no, no, they're great, but they're finished. I can't get involved in it, it's gone too far!’
He said, "But if you wanna make a record, come to my studio in Belfast, and we'll do one.’ I said, Well, okay, I've got two or three weeks off here and there.’ He said, ‘Well, just come in the breaks! Don't bring any songs, just bring a guitar and a bag of effects pedals, and we'll write in the studio.’
“I’ve never done that, ever. I always thought people were maniacs for doing it, because it just takes years - it’s taken years to make this record. So I go to Belfast, and the first night we sit and drink and play records. He's an amazing DJ, he's got this room with thousands and millions of records everywhere, and he was pulling out French psychedelic pop and German disco and this, that and the other – all this crazy stuff.
‘He said, ‘What d'you think of this?’ I'm, like, ‘Yeah, I love it!’ And he said, ‘You should be doing stuff like this.’ And I'm like, ‘Really?’ So that went on all night. I got back the next day and he'd made up drum loops and bits that were kind of similar to this kind of music. Then I went away on tour and turned them into songs. Then we kept doing that, I kept going back to Belfast and doing that.
“If I'd had two years off, or after a tour and I'd written a load of songs, I'd be like, ‘Well, I like these songs, and I've written these.’ So because the two things are running concurrently, I was like, ‘Well, I've got this tour, but I can devote a bit of time to this and see where it goes’.”
“I would have been first to go, "You know, I don't think it sounds like me, I'm not having it. Funnily enough, all the tracks on the album sound like my record collection. And there were times when I was kicking the songs into shape, and David would say, ‘The verses are great, but the chorus, just sounds like Oasis!’
“And I'm like, ‘Yeah, I know, brilliant, isn't it!’ And he said, "Yeah, but we've all heard that for the last 25 years, do something different.’ And there was a long process of, (a) me accepting what he was saying, (b) me thinking to myself, ‘But am I capable of anything different?’”
1. Fort Knox
2. Holy Mountain
3. Keep On Reaching
4. It's A Beautiful World
5. She Taught Me How To Fly
6. Be Careful What You Wish For
7. Black & White Sunshine
8. Interlude (Wednesday Part 1)
9. If Love Is The Law
10. The Man Who Built The Moon
11. End Credits (Wednesday Part 2)
Who Built The Moon? by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds is released on 24 Novemebr 2017 and available to pre-order at www.noelgallagher.com