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2020
'New Clear Days' 40th Anniversary
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Features

Dave interview July 2019

We caught up with Dave before the band head off to the States for the Lost 80s Live tour to talk about songwriting, recording and the long awaited third Vapors’ album…

Following a 38 year gap since Magnets, how did it feel to finally record the Vapors’ third album?

I think all of us would agree it was very exciting to get the Vapors back together in the studio after so long. It was certainly not something I could even have dreamt of a year ago and it all came together so fast.

How has studio technology changed since recording back in 1981?

Steve Smith’s probably better at explaining the tech side, but I was amazed at what can be achieved these days with digital recording. Previously if you sped up the track the pitch changed. Not these days! You can do so much more to correct mistakes now!

What did you look for in potential producers and why did you pick Steve Levine?

We considered a number of producers, but Steve Levine was the first to offer his services and he seemed genuinely excited about the material we sent him. I had worked with him in his studio many years ago, and he was also a member of the Executive Committee at the Musicians’ Union where I worked for years, so our paths have crossed from time to time.

Dan played throughout the recording. Was Ed involved in the sessions?

Yes Ed flew over from Budapest to spend a number of days in the studio with us recording backing tracks and coming up with ideas for the new songs.

Since reforming back in 2016, you have aired 7 new tracks with many others which are as yet unplayed live. You seem to be a very prolific writer. What’s your secret?

Basically, I enjoy song-writing. I’ve always said that if I could find someone else to sing them I would just write them. I still haven’t found anyone so you’re stuck with me on vocals for now.

Having amassed such a large number of songs to choose from, how did you manage to whittle those down to a short list of a possible 20 to record?

We sent Steve Levine rough demos of 20 songs and played all 20 to him our first day in the studio. We all (including Steve) then marked each song out of 10, and added up the scores to select the top 12. I think everyone had at least one song they voted for that didn’t make it through to the final 12.

Which of the new tracks that you have played live since 2016 have made it on to the album?

King L, Sundown River, and Letter to Hiro (No11)

Is there any truth in the rumour that the legendary Secret Noise was recorded?

Afraid not. I rather like it remaining “legendary” to be honest!

Jumping ahead, any plans on how and when the album will be released?

Need to sort out mixes, mastering and manufacturing first. Hopefully later this year.

Following the successful fan-funded New York shows, are you thinking about crowd funding the release?

No plans for that at present but we may crowdfund a further US tour next year

Any other instruments used in the sessions apart from guitar, bass and drums? Was the cymbalom dusted off for the sessions?

No, we stuck with the traditional instrumentation although there will be some wah-wah and slide guitar for the first time on a Vapors album.

Thanks to Dave for his insight into the secret world of the studio. We can’t wait to hear the fruits of their labours…

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