The album was a strange writing process, some of the songs were co-written a
while ago and some were my songs that were very new.
I worked in the studio with some amazing session players, and the tracks came
together extremely quickly, we literally did all of the drums in 4 days, most of
the bass at the same time, and then did another 4 days on my guitars and vocals
with 4 more days to add strings, keyboards, mix and master.
I had a concept in mind for the album, to make a CD that's listenable to over
and over again, without getting 'guitar-d out'.
It sounds silly considering that I'm known mainly for the guitar, but I've got
too many guitarist albums in my collection that I've listened to once when I
bought them, and then they never see the light of day again.
Because I'm a bit 'guitar-d out' by them I end up going back to my trusty John
Mayer collection to hear a good balance of great guitar playing, and fantastic
songwriting (maybe I've got a short attention span).
So my concept was to make every song different, different in style and genre and
just generally make it interesting.
Fabulous, my 'dancing around the room, getting ready to go out on a
Friday night' song was a really weird writing experience. I'd been struggling
with writing for a while and then all of a sudden last October, in the space of
3 days, I wrote the music for Fabulous, and the whole songs Caught Out and Like
Then I felt stuck again on the lyrics and melody for Fabulous, so I gave up on
it, listened again to it a few weeks later, and all of a sudden I'd written the
rest of the song, so that was that one finished too!
So, Fabulous is very commercial sounding, it wouldn't be out of place on a Lady
Gaga album, which was intentional as I think music should be current and even
though that style isn't what I'm known for, I still enjoy playing it and
listening to it.
I'm No Good For You was written for the Paul Jones Show on BBC Radio 2. I
was asked to do a Maida Vale session for the show and I hadn't any bluesy
originals, so that's what I wrote! I wanted it to sound swampy and quite scary,
or should I say atmospheric lol!
Like No Other, as mentioned before, came really quickly. I was sat at
Pontin's after doing a festival, and I was listening to Aynsley Lister. He
played a song that was full of feeling, and the lyrics for Like No Other just
popped into my head, so I wrote them there and then on my phone, got home and
wrote the music, put them together, and it was a song within about half an hour.
It's funny, I look back at the lyrics on my phone and they've hardly changed. I
wanted this one to sound like a proper song, a real songwriters song, where the
production focused on the song rather than the guitars or anything else. I
listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and John Mayer to understand how they use
production to 'bring out' the song and I think it worked.
Freefalling was written a while ago with a fab musician called Stuart
O'Hanlon and an amazing keys player/producer, Chris Bucknall. We worked on that
song a long time ago and I revisited it about a year and a half ago to put it
into the live set, added some riffs and some proggy bits, and made it heavier. I
really like the album version, the strings and manic drums just sound fab.
Rhiannon, a Fleetwood Mac Cover. This song came about as a bit of a
'Chantel trying something out on a gig - will it work or fall on its b*m'.
I was playing a gig in Grimsby, I'd already done 2 encores and everyone still
wanted more, so I thought I'd do something a bit different to keep it
interesting. I'd loved the song Rhiannon since I was a baby, I kind of worked
out the chords on stage and went for it.
It was the best song of the night and I thought 'I have to record it', so it
made the album.
I didn't want to do a straight cover, there's no point in that, you might as
well just listen to the original, so I decided to strip it right back to
acoustic guitar, vocals and a cello. I brought in an amazing cellist, Jocasta
Whippy, she's done a lot of pop stuff for TV and she's great.
Caught Out, originally called the DILLIGAF song. Someone wrote some awful
things about me on a forum (basically, they created a new forum identity with
the purpose of, well, suffice to say, I suspect an ulterior motive).
Initially I was seething, so I wrote the lyrics, then I calmed down a bit after
seeing the DILLIGAF video on Youtube (if you're ever having a bad day - it will
make you feel so much better - PG song though), and it was one of the songs that
I wrote in those 3 days, I must have been inspired.
When I went into the studio, the producer, Livi, and I discussed it and wanted a
real eastern feel to it with sitar and strings. We also felt that the lyrics
could be a bit snappier and edgey, so I tweeked those.
It's one of my favourite songs to play live, it's a bit edgey and cheeky, great
Daydream is a cover of a brilliant Robin Trower song. I've had this one
in my live set for a long time, and I love it because I can improvise and
experiment with it.
It seemed an obvious song to put on the album because everyone had asked me to
and the session musicians were Robin's Bass player/producer (Livi Brown) and
drummer (Chris Taggart), so I knew it would be something special. It lasts 13
minutes and it's really the only guitar 'wig out' on the album.
Cat Song was another impromptu track, I was sound checking my acoustic
guitar at a gig a while back and I just started playing this fast, riff based
improvised thing, and someone asked me what it was called, so I named it Fluffy,
Sprinkles, Lucky, Bonnie (the names of our kittens at the time), and it was a
bit of a mouthful, so I re-named it Cat Song. It's just a short acoustic
instrumental, a very fun song to play.
Screams Everlasting, another track written a while ago with Chris
Bucknall, originally it was a piano & vocal song with the guitar break at the
end, however when we recorded it for the album, I wanted to be able to re-create
it live, so I used an acoustic guitar for the main song, with a keys pad
underneath it to give it a Peter Gabriel feel. It's a very emotional song, it
makes a lot of people cry!
Happy Song, well it does what it says on the tin really. Another song
from a while ago, originally it was quite an acoustic, commercial song, so I
decided to rock it up a bit and put some distorted guitars on it to give it a
bit more 'umfffph'.
Not Here With Me was written a while back, the day it was written had
been really long and it had been a real struggle to get a song.
So at the end of the day I was just twiddling about on the acoustic and Not Here
With Me came out, I just brainstormed some lyrics, and the song was written
within about 15 minutes.
Again, I wanted to keep it simple, so I just had acoustic guitar, vocals and
cello. I wanted a pure, innocent and emotional song.
Help Me has been in my set for a long time, I keep re-doing it with added
riffs and things to keep it exciting. It has always gone down well in my set, so
I decided to put it on the album, it was produced to be quite bluesy and swampy,
but also prog influenced.