Cate Le Bon: “I hate everything I do right after I’ve done it!”

The Welsh singer-songwriter and producer on her best work to date

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A percussion-led supergroup that rose out of the Crab Day sessions
I guess Banana started as an improvisational group, which sounds really pretentious – and it probably is. But it was really fun, because it was a group of friends, and all of a sudden I found myself playing with these amazing musicians. Josh Klinghoffer I’d known for years, and he was in Neon Neon, but it was after that when he was asked to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers. So regardless of the fact he’s in that gigantic band, he’s one of the most incredible musicians. I love playing guitar with him, he doesn’t make you feel inhibited or small in comparison to him, he’s just an absolute lover of playing music with all different types of musicians. For the first incarnation of Banana we had Rodrigo Amarante as well, who’s insanely fun to play with. Then it became myself, Josiah, who started the whole thing, Josh, Stella, Huw and Steve, playing compositions that Josiah and Josh and I had been working on, and then we all semi-improvised them and recorded it on an eight-track, as far as I remember. Were they hard to play? I can’t really remember any of the songs! Do they have choruses?! They’ve got these little tricksy moments, and we rehearsed for two or three days solid and then did this recording, so we were all pretty well oiled for the strange polyrhythms and whatnot.


A second outing for Drinks, with a more mellow, European sensibility


I’d left LA by this point, and 
I saw Tim at a festival in Italy, and I think both of us were just craving playing together and spending some time together. So we decided that the next Drinks record should be made in rural Europe somewhere. Our booking agent said that he had a friend who had a mill in the South Of France, and we could have it for €500 for the month or something ridiculous like that. So Tim flew in, I picked him up from Heathrow and we did this 10-hour drive down to this tiny village. It couldn’t have been more perfect, really – basically furnished, no WiFi, no TV. Just isolated from everything. The days were so long, and it was just back to basics – we’d swim in the river two or three times a day, and just sit and write, or sit and watch the birds, or sit and paint. It was a nourishing month, conducive to making a record with and for each other. I think it sounds like the mill. I like Hermits On Holiday but it was at times a bit too masculine to me, and for Tim as well. So we wanted to make the demos the record, and not lose the intimacy by re-recording them in a souped-up studio. We wanted that fragility that was missing from the first record to be enhanced on the second. It was a more collage-y affair.


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