Messiah J & The Expert's From The Word Go
The Expert gives Ragged Words an exclusive track by track guide to From The Word Go, out today (17/10/08). 1 Year Of The Genie EX: This beat was made with only one intention for me and that was to start off an album. I knew I wanted the album to start off with a huge bang, to get straight out of the traps, so I decided that a big banging brass led track that sounded like a boxer’s theme music entering the ring would be suitable. 2 Megaphone Man EX: Musically it’s a brass led, dirty bass synth funk track. My aim was to get people moving while MJ gets them thinking. Originally it was a lot fuller musically and had way more going on with chords and guitars but once we figured out the structure I stripped it right back down to the synth bass and brass which left the vital space for MJ. 3 Keep the Noise Down EX: Musically this is one of my favourite moments. Everything just happens at the right time for me and it’s got good mood changes. I think it’s playful with the bass intro, banging when the drums kick in, some melancholy with the chords and then funky as hell when the piano kicks in for the chorus. I kind of see this as the perfect version of the type of song we have written before. 4 Turn The Magic On (feat. Leda Egri) EX: This is one of the times when I wrote a melody (the chorus line) and I knew it was perfect. It felt like it couldn’t really fail from there. The only problem was I knew that the melody had to be played on horns which meant hiring a brass section. Once we made this decision, I decided I had to make sure we got brass on a good few tunes, which we did. 5 Tomorrow Is Too Late EX: This song has had a few facelifts. It was originally an all out 4 to the floor dance tune but after time the melancholic feel of the guitar mixed with J’s lyrics made a thoughtful yet triumphant feel more appropriate. The ourto section was originally written and recorded on strings but wasn’t quite right but then when we recorded it on brass it worked to a tee. 6 Jean Is Planning An Escape EX: Well this song all started with the riff. Once I came up with the riff I knew it had real potential but I didn’t know how to execute it. Then one day I put one of my synths through a distortion pedal and boom – I had it. It gave it a real edge and sense of urgency. Then I came up with the tapped piano chords to give it more of a dancey feel. I then asked the Twiddler to come up and lay down a bassline which he did and by accident for one take he made a mistake. When listening back both of us couldn’t get over this one take which we finally rerecorded which then became the outro. There was never meant to be a big epic outro but once that bassline happened my mind ran away with itself and it was time to make a few calls and get some strings up in this bitch! 7 Guess You Had To Be There EX: This was the first track we recorded vocals for on the album. I remember getting very excited that day because we recorded/worked in a much looser way than ever before. I had always wanted J to layer his vocals as if he was a singer with different harmonies. I think by starting off recording vocals this way for the first song it opened up our eyes to exactly how far we could possibly take the vocals and set a precedent for the album. 8 Geography (feat. Ro & Kieran from Delorentos) EX: 90% of the time when we write songs the music normally begins the process. So with this, all the beats I make are given draft names before they actually turn into the final song you hear. This piece of music was known as “The Mourinho Beat” named after the ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, whose nickname was “The Special One”. I always felt this beat had something special about it and remember as soon as I had the bare bones of it I was onto something different & new. This was the first full song we finished J’s vocals for on the album and I think it was kind of the breakthrough song which helped create the rest of the album. 9 Panic Station EX: This was yet another mission statement, a real centrepiece of the album for me. I had the bassline idea for a while, but once I figured out the rhythm changes it really started to piece together. I think J’s lyrics on this song kinda sum up the whole album in a way. 10 Amnesia Comes Easily (feat. Joanne Daly) EX: Yet another song that has had a few facelifts. This was originally a much faster, straighter hip hop type track with tapped piano chords all the way through it. The reason it turned out the way it did is because we have always wanted a reggae influenced tune and after trying loads of other of my melody ideas to that style, this song and its chords definitely led themselves to suit that feel the best. Joanne then came in near the end and killed it in about 3-4 takes. She is an unbelievable talent in the studio. 11 Looking For A Long Term Thing EX: This is my favourite song we have ever done. Probably my favourite lyrics for J & definitely my favourite piece of music I have ever written. I finally managed to get nearly everything I love about music into one single tune. The beauty of the piano mixed with the jazzy banging drums into the psychedelic, trippy, dancey banging hip hop section. It was just meant to be a juxtaposition of styles that somehow at the end of the song would all come together in some cohesive form. On a side note when J & I sat down near the start to discuss what we wanted this album he said he had no idea but he wanted some sitar on it. So to fulfil his wish the outro has a sitar. 12 The Predicament EX: This song had actually been around for years as an instrumental piece. I had always done some songs on the side with the idea of one day possibly releasing an instrumental album but I always knew as soon as J would write the right words it would become a monster tune. Yet again J came up with goods. This one leaves the score at about MJEX - 32, Expert - 4.