The hideous transformation of the new album

Drear all,

On Friday 19th November The Scaramanga Six left the studio for what would be the final time for this record. The last song for the new album had just been mixed and there was an air of jubilation, exhaustion, relief and victory. This has been an extremely long road which has taken it’s toll on the band. It was over four years ago that we went to the field-in-the-middle-of-nowhere where we had become accustomed to recording with our mentor Sir Tim Smith to start what would be our third long player with him. In true tradition we were still finishing off ‘The Dance Of Death’ as we started this album, eager to get the ball rolling with new material. Over the next two years the band would sporadically appear in Wiltshire where Tim’s magical studio sat waiting and chip away at fourteen or so tracks to make what was pencilled as ‘A Pound Of Flesh’. The distance and time between each session meant that things went very slowly. As the recordings became clearer and more complete a single ‘Walking Through Houses/I Can See A Murder’ appeared as a precursor to the final album. Then tragedy struck.

As you may know, Sir Tim ¬†fell very ill. Just at this point things were coming together. We had started mixing the tracks and were about to put in a final charge to the finish line. Everything stopped and ‘A Pound Of Flesh’ fell silent. We can look back at this now and know that in the grand scheme of things the personal endeavour of these recordings were nothing compared to the journey and struggle that faced Tim and indeed still does. We simply couldn’t go back to these recordings without him and recoiled to contemplate what to do next.

Some people look at such adverse circumstances and give it all up as a bad lot. The Scaramanga Six decided the best way to act was to fight fire with fire. In no time we found ourselves with an album of new material recording in Humberside with former cohort James Kenosha at his studio for what would become ‘Songs Of Prey’. This new album had leap-frogged the material left behind in Witshire and appeared as the band’s fifth long player early in 2009 with a raw urgency. We wanted to pay tribute to the man who had inspired us and felt that to carry on with as much bombast as possible was the best way.

Time passed and thoughts fell once again to new material. As we started bashing out new songs we knew that something wasn’t quite right – there was a feeling of unresolve. We had ‘a lost album’ and it suddenly hit us all. Could we simply ignore the wealth of music and love we had created with Sir Tim? No. It was at this point early on this year that we decided to start our missing album again in it’s entirety from scratch. A few of the songs were live regulars but the bulk of the material had to be revisited and relearned. Instead of a backwards step we found that we were breathing new life into songs we had previously slid under a carpet and what’s more there was a eagerness to see this album to a natural conclusion. In May 2010 the band entered 2Fly Studios in Sheffield with Alan Smythe at the helm for what would be a remake of ‘A Pound Of Flesh’ from nothing. Alan could draw upon a wealth of experience to capture us as we are and turn it into something new again. It felt strange at first. These were songs we had heard over and over a few years before and we were playing them all again. But instead of a turgid process of replication we found ourselves reigniting the flame we had then adding more and more to it. Over the next six months the band chipped away a day or two at a time to complete the recording. The core of Julia, Steve, Paul and Gareth laid down the tracks and were joined on occasion by Chris Catalyst on keys as well as Lesley and Lins on Violin and Cello. The ‘Fucking Brasstards’ horn section work of Paul, Steve, Rob Paul Chapman and Pat Herb Fulgoni were the only thing salvaged from the previous recording sessions. Finally musical inventor Thomas Truax made a guest appearance adding the hornicator, Stringaling and ‘Dracula’s Eyeball’ to the album.

Someone recently commented that to have to start a work again must have been some kind of bad omen. A curse. But when have we ever had an easy time of things? Every performance or practice seems to be a battle against adversity just to get four people in a room together. Yet we still do it. We believe we are equally blessed and cursed. Doomed to face hurdles in circumstance and frustration in the mediocrity we find ourselves against. But ultimately blessed because with every chord and every beat we transport ourselves into a higher place.

This new album awaits mastering and there will be the usual last-minute running order changes as the artwork and packaging of the record materialises. It will be The Scaramanga Six’s sixth studio album and has a new somewhat appropriate name. ‘Cursed’.

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