Whistle Down The (Wood) Wind
My Divine Comedy adventure started in the mid 90’s. I remember a canal trip listening to ‘Casanova’ on repeat as I lay on top of the barge, singing every word happily to myself. There isn’t a band I know every note and solo of better than The Divine Comedy.
Fast forward a few years and a gig at Brixton, preceded by a light ‘mugging’ on the way! It was a brilliant show which included Dexter Fletcher on stage. The next memorable moment was when my sister was dating Simon Little and I got even closer at a spectacular Roundhouse gig. This was where I first met Neil.
Jump to pre-production on ‘Foreverland’, and word goes round that Neil wants a more filmic sound, and I get that tingle of anticipation, might I actually get to work on a DC record? I remember the call from Neil when he explained what he was after, and was I interested? Of course! My dream finally came true.
Neil sent me his demos and I spent a summer holiday learning them all, ahead of two weeks or so tracking at Masterchord Studio in London. Fantastic musicians came and went. I inadvertently whistled out loud, and was swiftly dispatched to the microphone to record the whistle solo on ‘Funny Peculiar’! I even sang a few backing vocals too.
On ‘Foreverland’, there was a recorder solo, but Neil mentioned that he might like a penny whistle, so I got my Dad to come down and do that, as he plays those, as well as saxophones. ‘To The Rescue’ was a particular favourite, with a very enjoyable two days at AIR recording strings, winds, brass and all sorts! And that memorable solo, played by Billy Cooper, another cricketing hero!
Mixing came and went, and variations abound of a few tracks to get them exactly right. 'How Can You Leave Me On My Own', and ‘Napoleon Complex' were refined and refined to get them feeling perfect to Neil.
This record definitely sounds a little different to the rest of the catalogue, and I’m really proud of how it turned out. For me Neil’s music is about the songs, and the amazing orchestrations and production he brings. I tried to keep it as natural to those ideas as possible, and let the melodies and lyrics sing. I still whistle along when it pops on my playlist.
Jake Jackson, December 2020.