Tonight, Thursday 10th February 2011, Stricken City are having their last Animal Festival. Be there!
Did you hear the bad news? Although cooler than cool London-based Indie band Stricken City released their debut EP Songs About People I Know in October 2009, they’ve already announced they’re splitting up. They will be playing their last gig at The Drop, Stoke Newington on the 10th of this month.
The good news however, is that it won’t be before they release their first proper album, Losing Colour, on the 7th. The even better news is that SUPERSWEET managed to get Song x Song Stories with singer Rebekah Raa. So, dry your eyes and get reading as we delve inside the hearts and minds of Stricken City one last time...
1) SOME SAY
Rebekah: A song about a quarrel with myself on whether I should be settled and grown-up or carefree and without worry for what society expects of me. The chorus looks at the bigger picture, the world, the universe, the meaning of life. I think the free-spirited side of me won the argument.
2) ANIMAL FESTIVAL
Rebekah: This was the first song we recorded for the album. It was a real test of our abilities as we wrote, recorded and produced it all ourselves. I love the end when all the tropical jungle drums come in. If you listen to the midi tracks that Mike (Hyland, bass) made on their own, they sound ridiculous! But with everything else it really works. It makes me feel happy. I’m asking time to stop for me, or at least slow down a bit.
3) BELLA WRITER
Rebekah: This song started as a bit of an experiment, you can hear a very stripped down demo on the Animal Festival EP. I recorded the vocals through my laptop mic in one take and by accident it turned out to be the best one I could do. I liked the kind of odd spooky sound it gave. I like to look at the front cover of the album when I listen to this song.
Rebekah: I wrote this song partly from the point of view of Angela from the hit 90’s TV series My So Called Life and partly about being young at school and feeling invisible. Iain (Pettifer, guitar) started the song with some nice effected guitars, clattering beats and whispery bits; sounds that made me think of walking down forgotten corridors from the past.
5) PTHD (REMIX)
Rebekah: Will McGillivary (Skellington) made this remix for us from 'Pull the House Down' on our first album. It’s a beautiful interpretation, with a lovely chord structure and some wonderful little noises in it. I love the slightly skewed guitar solo and I always get emotional at the end when the keyboard line comes in. We’ve recently been playing this in our live set, it was actually quite an exciting process to work out all the parts and be able to play it.
Rebekah: This one came together really easily. Iain and Kit had the basic instrumental done in one go I think. Then we wanted some Serge Gainsbourg style bass on it and spooky keyboards. We all agreed it could do with some spoken word rather than sung vocals as the instrumental is nice on its own. So we gave Mike some alcohol and asked him to talk about whatever he had on his mind. It turned out to be something to do with work.
7) LOST ART (II)
Rebekah: A rework of a single we released a while ago. My instructions to the mixing guy were “I want the feeling to be like floating in space in a vacuum everything is moving really slowly and vastly then its builds and then BAM we’re in a party in the spaceship and everyone is dancing the zero gravity dance.” I think he got it spot on. It’s a bit like the intro to Blade Runner how it comes in, we really enjoyed making those noises. I think I put six different vocal tracks on there to make it really wide and echoey.
8) DONT SPIT AT HER FACE
Rebekah: A song about not judging people on what they “do”. I think I feel uncomfortable listening to this song because of the lyrics. Also recording it was a long process, I have memories of being in the freezing studio with coats and scarves, half in the dark.
9) I KNOW A PLACE
Rebekah: I love this song. It’s about this guy from the casino who used to spend £1000’s very regularly. I don’t see him any more so either he got in a lot of trouble or sorted himself out! Once the song was done, Mike scored some brass parts and sent them to his dad up in Aberdeen who did a bit of Sax improv on it as well. The brass really completes the song.
10) LOSING COLOUR
Rebekah: This is my favourite. It's about disappointment and being let down, but finding a way to smile through it. I love the organ part in the introduction and how it winds around throughout the song. This was done by Mike completely randomly in one take in an original demo of the song by him and Iain! We have a video for this one by Dan Sully which was an absolute pleasure to make. I couldn’t stop crying the first time I watched it.
Curious about the songs? You can get the album for just a quid (or more if you are nice) from this link here!
Words: Isaac Howlett
Illustration: Donya Todd