How We Operate
With the tenth anniversary of their first gig fast approaching, Gomez return!!! oh yes! with a new single & album fresh from the studio 'How We Operate' is the bands fifth release. Gomez didn't set out to reinvent the wheel. The British quintet just wanted to change the blueprint for a different sort of rounded object: Their own records.
"As a creative partnership, and as friends, we had to regroup and make a career-defining record," says Tom Gray. Longtime cohort Ben Ottewell concurs. "The last album" – 'Split the Difference' – "was pretty rocking, and reflected the live show a lot. With this one, we wanted to focus on songs, melodies and words, rather than volume."
Gomez were dropped by virgin in late 2004 only to be picked up by their new home ATO. The label switch has proven fortuitous for the band, says Gray. "It's been a breath of fresh air, after the deeply ridiculous world of today's corporate record industry, where the tax year dictates creative output."
To help focus their energies on their first studio release for ATO, the band decided to try a wholly new tack, and enlist their first outside producer. Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters) was named as a candidate, Gray leapt at the suggestion. "I've been a crazy, huge Pixies fan my entire life, since I was thirteen,". From their first meeting, Gray felt confident the band had made the right choice. "Gil could talk about all our records, and tell us exactly what he thought he would change about what we do. Which, essentially, was force us to actually think about what the songs would be before we went into the studio, and really concentrate on pre-production of all of the songs."
Norton helped the band select and put finishing touches on songs long before entering London's fabled RAK Studios to cut the album, he was hardly dictatorial. "At first, it was odd, dealing with somebody who was making suggestions, but not coming up with answers," admits Ball, who half-imagined some multiple-Grammy winning hot shot who would explicitly tell the band how to re-write a chorus if he didn't like it.
That wasn't Norton's modus operandi at all. "Gil would say, 'This song needs something…' and that would be it," Ball continues. Um, okay… something. Trying to figure out the best shape to plug each hole inspired new solutions, and renewed excitement for old skills. "I thought, 'I can't just sit down at the piano or a guitar, and go, Okay, now I need to figure out how to complete this song." But necessity proved otherwise. "I learned how to sit down and figure the missing bits out."
"There's always been a certain ragged glory to Gomez, " concludes Gray. And How We Operate retains and revitalizes that glory – and presents it in a more immediately gripping form. "This is certainly the most cohesive record we've made," observes Ball. "And yet it remains stylistically genre-less." Which is to say, it's still brilliantly, unabashedly… Gomez.
Take a listen to the lush first single 'How We Operate'.
Gomez are: Ben Ottewell (vocals, guitar), Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Ian Ball (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Paul Blackburn (bass, guitar), and Olly Peacock (drums)
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