It’s now six albums and counting for singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot with her latest, Stay Lucky, arriving today. We sat down with her to find out all about how it came together…
How did you want Stay Lucky to move on from what you did on The Sound And The Fury?
“When I started writing the album, I thought it was going to be a more synth-based, electronic album, and a lot of the writing demos were programmed with no real instruments at all. But whenever I took the songs back to a piano or guitar, they immediately sounded better. And so as opposed to going left from The Sound And The Fury, I sort of went right, or straight into the heart of Yacht Rock!”
You recorded the albums in just two weekends, why did you decide on that approach?
“It was a combination of my limited attention span and limited budget. But I’d spent the best part of a year writing it, and demoing it, and I knew what the songs needed. I spent 2014 making an EP a month, so I have learnt to work very, very fast when necessary and now I can’t see a reason to waste too much time. I’m happy to spend an age making sure the songs are as good as they can be, that’s always worth spending time on.”
You’ve self-produced the album, who else played on it with you?
“I’m really lucky that I get to play with some amazing musicians, some of whom are part of Michael Kiwanuka’s band. So they’re playing on it, and I also roped in my friends Bright Light Bright Light and Markus Feehily to sing some backing vocals on it, and Bernard Butler who produced my fourth album added some great guitar too.”
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
“‘Bring Him Fire’. I tried so many different ways of doing this. I’m still not 100% happy with the final version, but I loved the song and wanted it on the album.”
And which came together most quickly?
“‘The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter’ because we recorded it almost completely live. We just overdubbed the strings and brass.”
What kind of album is this in lyrical terms? Is there a theme to the songs?
“I never like to get too specific about the meaning behind my lyrics because I think it kind of spoils it for the listener. I love hearing from other people what their story is in their head when they hear the song. My sister, for example, told me her personal image when she hears a song from the album called ‘All Gold’ and it’s such a lovely story I don’t want to spoil her imagination with what I really wrote it about. Having said that, as a writer, I always start from a place of personal experience, otherwise, I don’t think I can be honest, and if I can’t be honest, I don’t think I can connect with the person listening.”
When did you settle on the title of Stay Lucky?
“Because that song means an awful lot to me, and at the same time I wanted to make the album a kind of gift to the listener. Almost like a good luck charm. I made it during 2016 which was one hell of a weird year, so I figure those of us who made it out alive need all the luck we can get, especially when you look at the state of the world right now…”
Were there any other titles in contention?
“Its working title was ‘Juno’ which is the first song on the album, but I thought it might confuse people and make them think it was a vintage synth album.”
What are your plans to take the album out live? How is your live set coming together?
“I’ve already played the whole album live with the studio band a few times this year. Because it was essentially recorded live, it’s really easy to put the set together on stage and I think people will come to shows and feel it is close to the recorded album. I don’t think I’ve managed to do that with an album before, so I’m really pleased and excited about forthcoming live shows.”
Nerina Pallot’s new album Stay Lucky is out now and available here in hmv’s online store.