Thursday, October 28

How We Made: Sleeping Satellite by Tasmin Archer | Pop and rock

Tasmin Archer, singer and songwriter

I had quite a few jobs to pay the bills while writing music, including working at the Leeds magistrates court kiosk, collecting fines and doing a bit of administration, and I was helping out at Flexible Response Studios when an engineer introduced my future bandmates , John Beck and John Hughes.

I did not consider any of our songs a success at the time of writing this article. The first time I remember someone choosing Sleeping satellite It was so special when we met Julian Mendelsohn, a producer who had directed It’s a Sin by Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minnelli’s album Results. I was very excited about the song.

After having the melody, chords, and general arrangement with some vowel sounds, John Hughes finished the lyrics. The phrase, “I blame you for the moonlit sky / And the dream that died” is not a criticism of man’s arrogance in leaving Earth, but more about the lack of further space exploration that could have led to a better understanding of ecological problems. .

The song’s two weeks at number one and its consistent popularity allowed us to tour Europe and beyond. We did a bit of promotion before topping the charts, so it was a busy year in terms of international travel.

I wouldn’t for a minute compare a number one record to entering space, but it was a high bar we set for that first single. We didn’t want to do a second copycat album, and EMI was generally supportive of it.

Then there was a change of personnel to a higher level, and we were encouraged to record more commercial material. We got down to business and I got a very brief phone call one day from the new head of the record company saying they weren’t going to pick up our third LP. Even though I once said I am taking the Brit award we won in our kitchen for tenderizing steak, I am so thankful that so many people enjoyed Sleeping Satellite.

The “Garden on a lighted table” The video for the US market was made because our US label saw us as an alternative act. It must have worked, since we were nominated for an MTV award in the alternative category and we were able to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles. Neil Young, Pearl Jam and Madonna were performing live. Kurt Cobain and the members of REM and Aerosmith were sitting directly behind us.

In the end, we lost to Stone Temple Pilots and spent most of the after party talking to Jonathan Ross. British gravitating together.

John Hughes, guitarist and composer

Our demo was rejected by every label we could get to, but then Ian McAndrew, who was just starting out in administration, heard it. He went wild, got a publishing deal with Virgin Music, and we signed with EMI.

The overall structure and melody of Sleeping Satellite were written in the summer of 1989. I read an article about the 20th anniversary of the moon landing. That momentous event and the lack of lunar exploration in the intervening years struck a chord with me.

“We never worried that success put pressure on our romantic relationship”… Archer and Hughes in The Brits, 1993. Photograph: JM Enternational / Rex / Shutterstock

I wasn’t disappointed when the record hit the charts in the 1930s – hitting the Top 40 usually meant a Top of the Pops appearance. Back then this often involved live vocals on the backing track, so we had no choice but to mime playing the instruments.

However, the dry ice was a bit of a stretch. It became a staple of our appearances on the show and didn’t do much to promote the free boots that were offered to us on the day of the show’s taping.

We were on the road supporting Curtis Stigers on his UK tour when we found out that Sleeping Satellite had hit # 1. performing acoustically at the 1993 Brit Awards, helped propel the Great Expectations album to platinum in the UK.

Tasmin and I never worried that these successes put pressure on our romantic relationship. Some people at the record company would have preferred me to step aside because they thought they could manipulate Tasmin more easily. They never realized that it probably would have had the opposite effect.

There is little room for creative empathy at the top of those institutions if it threatens profits, and once you realize that, you can understand the modus operandi of the label. The differences we had with EMI about our second album, Bloom [1996], it’s all water under the bridge now. Directors and employees of record companies can also be under a lot of pressure.

When I started recording with Tasmin, we called each other the Archers as an ironic way to get the attention of record label executives. We almost expected them to think we were stars of soap operas gone musical. Until this year, we hadn’t released anything like “Tasmin Archer” in over a decade – we continued to write and record, but privately. And while not releasing our songs was a luxury that allowed us worldwide success in the 90s (and a non-flamboyant lifestyle), we’ve had a change of mood recently. This time, however, the intention is to do it ourselves. Just a bunch of songs that we like and have fun producing.

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