Ride’s what you make it: shoegaze stalwarts embrace ’80s pop
ANDY BELL: The sessions started off about three years ago, in OX4 Studios, which is Mark [Gardener]’s studio just outside Oxford. There were a lot of early-’70s, German-influenced drone rock jams going on initially, which is the Ride default setting, I think you could say! At the start, Mark was engineering, and along the way, we added Richie Kennedy, who was part of Erol [Alkan]’s production team on the previous Ride album, This Is Not A Safe Place.
Initially we were just seeing what happened. But then somewhere in the process, Loz [Colbert] came in with a song called “Last Night I Went Somewhere To Dream”. And for me, the demo he brought in was a bit of a turning point, as far as finding a focus for the record in terms of style. It put me in mind of timeless ’80s pop stuff like Talk Talk and Tears For Fears. I don’t know what Loz would say, but I think it’s a bit of a cross between “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” and “Life’s What You Make It”.
There were tracks where we referenced the string parts on U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire”; Japan’s “Ghosts” was an influence on one of the tracks, and Depeche Mode’s Violator album was a big one. All of those are not the traditional Ride ’80s influences, because at the time I wasn’t quite so into all that – I liked The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, the more alternative side. But the pop stuff has become timeless, it’s music that’s familiar to all of us.
Loz also had a song called “Light In A Quiet Room”, which was a good inspiration to write [lyrics] from. And another great title came from Steve [Queralt], “I Came To See The Wreck”, which Mark wrote over. We find sometimes a title can be a great inspiration, and it can bring out what you were going to say anyway. My lyrics for the album are maybe a little bit more personal than before. I’m starting to open up as I get older, I guess. So I’m laying out my feelings more openly, rather than being vague.