Producer Dan Carey is gearing-up to release the fifth single from his unique Speedy Wunderground label – and he’s given Q an exclusive remix of his latest release. Recording all the tracks in 24 hours at his south London studio, Carey has already worked with the likes of Steve Mason, Archie Bronson Outfit and Bat For Lashes. This time he’s teamed-up with the poet Kate Tempest, who spoke to us to introduce the Monday Morning remix of her Speedy collaboration, Hot Night Cold Spaceship (out 9 December).
Hi Kate, how are you?
“Very well thank you.”
How did Dan get you involved in Speedy?
“We’ve been working together quite a bit over the last year. We made a record that will be out next spring. I love working with him but it’s tough to find time, which is why Speedy’s so great. We literally had an afternoon that came up out of nowhere. I went round to his and we made a song.”
Was it daunting knowing you had to finish the track in 24 hours?
“We work pretty fast together usually anyway. And I love the idea of just writing it, putting it down and trusting that, even if it’s not perfect, it is what it is. It’s not daunting to make, it’s really exciting, I suppose the daunting bit is knowing it’s coming out. It is scary knowing that you don’t have time to live with it for a bit and improve it or do another take or rewrite a clumsy line, but I suppose the charm of it is that it’s so immediate. And the great thing is it forces you to get over yourself. You’re just making a song. And if you meant it in the moment, that’s good enough.”
Did you have the lyrics before you went in the studio or did you have to make them up on the day?
“Usually I like to start from scratch and build the lyric and the beat at the same time, but this day, I got to Dan’s and I had this lyric that I’d been writing that morning, I spoke it to Dan and he liked it and he started hearing a beat for it. So as the beat came together I rewrote bits and wrote some more to it while he made the music.”
What inspired you? There seems to be a mix of recollections and strong emotions, it sounds quite personal…
“I think that it’s really hard to talk about what inspired lyrics without sounding like a dick. It’s as personal as most of my writing, meaning that it’s from me and from whatever is happening at the moment that I’m writing. Hopefully it’s not too personal that it makes people cringe. All of my writing comes from a place of strong emotions. I feel a lot. and I dont think I’d know how to write a lyric that doesn’t come from that place.”
Dan infamously insists on smoke machines and strobe lights during the sessions, have you ever recorded like this before?
“No, never. Dan’s studio is fucking amazing. It’s the most fun session you’ll ever do!”
What was your reaction when you heard both the finished version and Dan’s Monday Morning remix (above)?
“It was great to hear the song again. Part of the Speedy rules are that once it’s down it’s down, and you cant hear it till it comes out. So I listened with this strange knowledge that there was nothing I could do about it if I didn’t like it. But it was ok because I loved it. And when I heard the remix it was amazing, I hadn’t heard anything of that at all. I was buzzing off it. I got the link through to my phone when it went up on Soundcloud and I played it five or six times in a row in the park walking my dog. Loving it. And loving hearing bits I’d forgotten we wrote! The guitar line is so beautiful! Then I realised that it goes through to facebook so everyone would have known that I was just hanging out listening to my own song five times in a row. Which was a bit embarrassing…”
What’s next for you? You’re taking your Brand New Ancients show on a tour of London venues, can you tell us a bit about the project?
“Brand New Ancients is a story that I wrote and that I tell. An epic poem set in these times, about two South London families. It all rhymes and I tell it over a live score. It’s like a film that you listen to. It’s difficult to explain but it’s big. It’s the most ambitious piece of writing I’ve done. And it feels great to tell the story. Other than that, Dan and I have our album which will be coming out next year. And a novel I wrote will follow the year after. Also a collection of poetry for Picador which I’m working on. There’s a lot going on but it feels good.”
Would you do a ‘Speedy’ recording again?
“Yes I would love to. It’s my favourite way to work in a lot of ways, because the poetry and the novel are so big and take so long to get right. There is something so enjoyable about kicking it in the studio and letting what happens be the thing that happens. And I think Dan’s a genius. So it’d be great. But the lazers might send us pretty nuts after a while.”