The Pleasure Dome goes behind the scenes

As die-hard music fans, sometimes it’s not enough to just play our favourite songs on repeat over and over. Sometimes, we want to go behind the scenes and know everything there is to know about those songs and the artists behind them. (Not in a creepy way, of course.) On the verge of their new EP, Liminal Space, Bristol-based, post-punk trio The Pleasure Dome was kind enough to walk us through each song and dive into the nitty gritty. As is custom here, they’ve also provided some exclusive pictures from the recording process. Read on below, and keep an ear out for the EP out tomorrow, 10th May.

When we toured our debut album, we had this new song I’d written about the pub I work at, The Old Duke in Bristol, which has a live band on every night. When we played the song live I would ready the crowd for this slower-sounding song by riffing around the songs chords to act as an introduction. It stuck but felt like it wasn’t part of the main song, so I had the idea to have it as an intro to the record as a singular part. I captured some field recordings of a band ending their set at the pub to give a Sgt. Peppers feel, and that all melted together to become ‘The Duke Part 1’.

This song was inspired by Flimsier by King Krule, as well as wanting to write a grunge-sounding brit pop record. It follows on from dynamic shifts on our first album, calling on the calm and then the thunder. I wanted to inject more melody into the band and this is my attempt at that. A friend of mine Freya Hills who I work with at the pub had done an art piece using field recordings from the pub which was, along with Sgt Peppers as I said, the main inspiration for using the sounds of the pub, the last orders bell and whatnot. Also, the vocals for just this song were recorded in a rehearsal space above the pub itself, it felt like it gave the song another layer of authenticity.

Honestly, this was me wanting to write a really fast song that was heavier than anything we’ve done before. Sometimes songs come along when you don’t expect them, others are ones you look for – this was written to be heavier and fast. A year or so ago I got really into Bernard Herman’s soundtrack to Psycho – especially the piece called ‘The Murder’. It was after learning it to be a big inspiration for The Beatles’ song, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, in terms of its intensity. ‘The Murder’, utilises the devil’s interval, which was outlawed in the medieval period. It sounds so dissonant and I’m all about making people feel uncomfortable. So the pre-chorus and the chorus are sixth chords. It really suits the subject matter of the song too, an uneasiness and anger.

After we recorded our debut album, honestly, I couldn’t listen to rock music. But I love the guitar, so I wanted to find the oldest recorded music I could – it led me to Delta Blues. I’ve never gone so deep on early blues music, but it’s honestly the most pure music you can listen to. The playing is so real and truel it might be simple but it feels real. This song fell out of me one day when I was thinking about buying some sweets for someone I was dating. It’s recorded live on a really old Gretsch 6120 that my friend lent me. I’m so proud of this one, it feels so natural.

This is a song that was written to be played live. Whenever we’re on tour, especially in Europe, there is an atmosphere that is left when you tell them the next song will be our last. The crowd get hungry, they get excited and they are ready. This is almost a whole set in one song: build-ups, breakdowns, vocal harmonies, guitar solos – it has it all. It was with an aim to give the crowd every last drop of what we have. Sometimes songs aren’t about the music or the artist, they’re for the audience alone. This is a love letter to the last song in a set.

A fun fact on this song is I recorded its demo, and then ditched the guitar progression and wrote a new chord progression over the existing bass line. The bass comes in on a D note and the guitar originally did too but after playing around I started playing an Fmaj7 over the D. It felt like a neat trick to kid the audience into what chord they’re expecting to hear, kind of like how ‘Mexican Wave’ by Kerbdog starts. I love that song.

This song is very different from anything we’ve recorded before. It was the first song I’d written after we recorded our first album, but it is so different. It felt wrong but I just couldn’t walk away from it. We’re huge fans of folk in the band and this felt like a fitting way to end the EP. We added an anchoring, suspended 4th chord on an old Yamaha organ, which runs all the way through the song. There’s also a second guitar in there which uses Nashville Tuning, where you just take the high strings from a 12-string guitar. It gave the song an airy feel which adds to its emotion.

The new EP from The Pleasure Dome, Liminal Space, is out tomorrow via Hound Gawd! Records.

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