Daily, Simon, James and Ben would get in their cars and drive the hour or so to their rural hideout. Because what they were doing counted as work, it was one of the few opportunities available for proper contact with people outside their own households. Having brought in gear and converted their space into somewhere fit for recording, they would jam, write and hang out. Though they admit to having to rein in some of their furthest-out ideas – reducing the droning fuzz intro of Slurpy Slurpy Sleep Sleep down from 10 minutes to a more manageable four, for instance – the informality of just playing in their clubhouse with no expectation brought back an old feeling right at the centre of the band. “It was just pure liberation,” says Simon.
“It felt like we were working like we did in the early 2000s, because it was just three of us and the producer. There’s something really great about making a record where you’re writing songs, and then recording them the next fucking month. Normally for us now, making a record, we meet people in offices that take seven months, it costs a fortune, and sometimes you make these hurdles for yourself. So it was just about falling in love with the simplicity of music again, because it can be so easy to complicate matters.”
At first, there wasn’t much of a plan for what vessel would eventually house what they were doing – it was more about just doing it. The realisation they actually had an album on their hands came with the song Existed, a surprising electronic number built around keys and beats. Packed with idiosyncrasy, perhaps, but the creative splurge also seemed to pull everything else together.
“I'm always very proud of our band, that we put these kind of mad juxtapositions in there,” smiles Simon. “That was actually the key song that made us decide that this was a record. I'd been messing around with that on piano for a couple of weeks, and it was very fresh. I played it to the boys one day, like, 'What do you think?' And they went, ‘Yeah, it’s good… Should we do an album, then?’”