Spotlight On Regeneration: Rob Farrer

Nov, 2020

Godrich, Genius & Congas!

'Regeneration' was a really exciting time for us. With Neil having just signed for Parlophone opportunities seemed to be springing up all of the time. The major thing for me was the chance to work with Nigel Godrich. It didn’t start quite as I’d hoped. In rehearsals we’d decided to add some Latin percussion and make it more of a feature of the sound coming from my particular corner. After Nigel came to see us do a gig in Edinburgh where we’d been trying out some of the new stuff he told me he hated the congas and wanted to ditch them immediately! Don’t sit on the fence Nige!!

When we got to RAK my abiding memory of the whole project was how creative the process was. Neil was very giving to the band in terms of letting us have more of an input, not just to our particular instrument but to the whole arrangement. The recording was far more organic than previous sessions (it helps when you have the backing of a huge record label) and we were able to take our time. I was always amazed at how Nigel could hear the sound of the record long before we got to the finished product. It was like watching Ronnie O’Sullivan building a huge break and him always knowing where the cue ball would need to be in three shots time.

The way he constructed the songs from Neil’s guitar/vocal guide tracks was incredible and some of the tricks he used to create a distinctive sound for the record (reversing glock and vibe notes - very cool!), was a lesson I’ll never forget. I’ll also never forget hearing the recorders being done for 'Perfect Love Song'. At the time I thought that Nigel had lost his marbles but when I heard them in context I thought it was a stroke of genius. 'Regeneration' always feels like a big milestone in the DC back catalogue. The only thing it’s missing is a pair of congas…

Rob Farrer, November 2020.
Photo: Harry Borden.