By 2016 Laurie Erskine had reached an impasse.
Initially starting Club Kuru as a solo project, the songwriter endured label difficulties, placing a halt on his progress.
Eventually removing himself from this, Laurie began to assemble a full band, one capable of realising his rejuvenated ambition.
Forging a five piece line up, the group's searing psych-rock sound has spearheaded their unlikely resurrection, pushing further than they've ever gone before in the process.
It's a joyous return, and this sheer enjoyment ripples through debut album 'Giving In'.
Released a matter of moments ago, Clash invited Laurie Erskine to break the record down...
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When we got to the end of the album I was still looking for something to call it. I didn't want to make any pretentious statements or anything like that, but somehow album titles just do have to have that ring to them.
'Giving In' just kind of resonated with me. I guess that was because I was giving in to a lot of annoying things in my life. I'd been feeling pretty low and just had to let some things go. Perhaps you could think of it like someone fighting against being a part of the world and then breaking and having to reconnect somehow... whoops! I said it wouldn’t be pretentious, didn't I?
I'm Still A Man
Laurence and I were sitting in our front room talking about girls. We were messing around with an acoustic guitar and a casiotone keyboard and this tune just emerged. It was originally called 'Palafico' which is the round in Liars Dice you play when you have only one dice left. The name changed but the sentiment stayed the same.
Not For Me
'Not For Me' has always had a special place in my heart. This tune was the first the band finished together. It was also the first tune we got out into the big bad world since we’d formed. The main lead line that starts the tune is made up of lots of synths and guitars layered together. There is a Prophet 5 I use on everything and a SH101 too which sounds great. I love playing this one live. Looking back now it feels like an age since I was sitting at the piano and writing this tune.
The Memory Junkie
After rehearsals, Laurence and I started playing guitar and drums together for fun. We had this kind of Hendrixy riff we liked and I recorded us playing it on my phone. Each time I listened back I thought it sounded good. I had lyrics about someone whose greatest love had moved on and was now with someone else. The guy feels that although she has given up on him, she is still the only person who understands him. He's left alone with only memories. He sees things through rose-tinted glasses; he is addicted to the memory version of her.
This tune took about two years to finish and went through many, many different incarnations. I almost left it behind because I felt I just couldn’t hear the chorus one more time. Then, one day, I was alone in the studio, just messing around, pitching my voice up and down and I did this kind of sermon over the last chorus in a deep voice telling myself to let go, and be at one with my own body and mind; all that kind of silly stuff. It was a joke at first but now it’s one of my favourite parts of the album.
For the video we found a guy who physically fitted the voice I’d created. He mimed the words to the voice I’d created. I really like that bit.
Is this My Life?
This is the first departure from the smooth funk influenced tracks, to a more rocky thing. I like the heavy chugging in this one. It just kind of grinds on asking 'Is this my life?' over and over again... I bought a cheap Hammond organ that sounds not at all bad. I mean, it’s no B3/C3 or anything, but I like it. I put some midi organ sounds on top of it to thicken it out and double parts up. I had like five or six organs going sometimes all through the Eventide h3000 which sounded kind of crazy and wide.
Someone Else’s Mantra
This is a little more instrumental than the others, and I regret not including more of this type of track. We came up with the lead line and were trying to find interesting chords around it so the key centre would move as the song progressed. It's got a funny gentle, but creepy feel to it. It evokes a picture for me, of walking around this sickly sweet playground with rides and Nintendo colours. I can hear these freaky children's voices.
This sense of a weird, crowded place happened when I recorded the whole mix into the Eventide H3000 and then through a Roland RE501 chorus echo before coming back in. So at times you have the whole track playing at the wrong pitch with weird vocals crying at you from a distant world.
You Want It Bad
Marco Pasquariello, who mixed the album, also helped us track these parts and consequently the end product became more balanced and perhaps cleaner. I think we all enjoyed not having to do so much thinking in the recording stage on this one. The tune kind of loops and loops with this dark little lyric about not wanting someone as much as they want you.
It might come across a bit cocky, but it’s OK; the person I was writing it about certainly gave up and moved on pretty quickly!
The Other Half Beneath Me
Graham and I were recording his drum parts on this slow tune I had written and he put this slap delay on the kit that sounded cool. Once again, my favourite part of the tune started as a joke. We recorded this silly synth solo at the end and a tongue in cheek guitar part and said, Well that will never work! But out of laziness or some strange attachment it stayed and works.
This tune went all over the place. It started as a sassy little guitar hook played by Fergus while I programmed some terribly bad beat. Then later coming back to it, we recorded loads of different versions. I can’t remember what wasn't right about it, but in the end it became a slow and sad type of Spanish guitar thing. I
t’s a gentle little ballad that sends off the end of the album. Marco did a great mix on this. He managed to get all the different layers of guitars to spread and come in and out really nicely. Also he played around a lot with where the vocal sits in the mix, so the vocal moves around, coming forward and back at certain moments giving different levels of intimacy.
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'Giving In' is out now.
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