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Working with Robbie Williams

Life thru a Lens We recorded the 'Life Thru a Lens' album at Westside Studios in London.  At that time it was owned by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, but is now owned by a producer called Mike Hedges.  It was recorded in Studio A, with a Neve desk. Guy Chambers was doing his first production, alongside Steve Power.  I'd known Guy for a long time... he was playing keyboards with Jimmy Nail and we'd become good friends. 

We started off doing demos for the record at a house owned by a guy called Steve McEwen.  It was on the top of a church in Islington, in the spire!  I always remember it being slightly strange & bizarre... making the devil's music in a church! Rob would arrive and we'd all do everything together... one hit if my memory serves me correctly.  Then we would go off and have a curry somewhere and he would get recognized, and it would occasionally get a bit ugly, and then we would come back again!

The very first track we did together was 'Old Before I Die.'  There was myself, Guy, Rob, and a bass player called Phil Isley, who I had worked with (and Guy) on a record by Zoe called 'Sunshine on a Rainy Day.'  It was good to be in a little unit that had already played together.  We started cutting the track, then all of a sudden there was this silence and everyone got sent out of the studio! We were thinking 'what the heck's going on here?', and it transpired that they wanted everyone out of the studio while they checked the key of the song! Don't ask me why!  Then we all went back in, and we were pumped up, and giving it everything, and at the end of one of the takes, someone said "TAKE THAT" in a 'wasn't that brilliant' way! Of course, they didn't realize what they were actually saying, so everyone fell about laughing because of the irony of this statement!  

An A&R guy called Chris Briggs came down.  He was probably of the best A&R guys in the business, and of course he wanted some input in to it, and we changed the song a little and recorded some bits again.  It didn't take us very long to record it, probably about 3 hours, then it built up from there.  Then there was another track on the album called 'Lazy Days', which was the second single, which I think was the original demo that we did in the church spire! It was a lot of fun making that record.  

Robbie Williams

The first two singles were hits, but not on the scale that everybody was hoping it might be.  Thankfully Angels came along and rescued the whole thing!  Everyone was great to work with.  I have met Rob a lot since then, through working with One Giant Leap.  He sang a song called 'My Culture' with Maxi Jazz from Faithless and Baba Maal.  We did a little live show to launch their first album, and it was a great night.  It was magical, because it was something that was completely different.  Nobody was expecting Rob there, so all of a sudden there was colossal media interest around it.  The performances were great and it all worked out very well


 'Old Before I Die' single  One Giant Leap   'Lazy Days' single  

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