Abbey Road Studios is pleased to announce the latest release in its Abbey Road Lock-In series with The Clockworks and Bernard Butler collaborating on a new single Mayday Mayday. Recorded in Abbey Road’s Studio Three in a one-day session with Grammy, BRIT & Mercury Prize winning producer Bernard Butler, Mayday Mayday is the first track they worked on together. The musical bond and strong friendship which formed from this one-off session resulted in Bernard producing the band’s highly anticipated debut album, EXIT STRATEGY, due for release on 10th November.
Bernard Butler explains: ‘I was excited by the lock-in experiment. I chose to listen to nothing ahead of the session and work ‘blind’ on the day. There was no long-term plan for an album, I had never seen the band perform and I had little idea how their other songs sounded. That way we would all act instinctively for the purpose of the singular recording. I wanted to see how the musicians responded individually and collectively to our instincts by posing questions to decisions they had already made within the mechanics and emotional flow of the song. How thrilling it could be to turn these responses into sound. The process proved to be effective – the band were more than willing to throw their song into the ring, deconstruct and listen through the ears of someone listening for the first time, for that is exactly what happens when they are trying to attract any new listener to their music. From that point on I felt I had the band’s trust and it made recording the song more focused on what ‘could’ happen rather than what was ‘supposed’ to happen. The band revealed themselves to be wonderfully focused and able musicians with an ambitious lyrical and creative approach. My objective was to show them how they can approach their music anywhere, but of course I know that days like these really turn into magic at Abbey Road.’
Listen to Mayday Mayday here
Speaking on the track, singer James McGregor says ‘We played around with the arrangement for Mayday for a while and hadn’t settled on it when we met Bernard. It felt like the right song to do first with him as we knew it needed some work so it would give us a chance to see what he could do. He got us to play the song on just vocals and acoustic guitar and then introduce every element individually on top of that to see how it changed the feeling. It was all about making sure that the song was lean, clear, and that nothing cluttered the essence of what it was. We recorded this track the day we met Bernard, and that was the first step of recording Exit Strategy’.
Abbey Road’s ‘Lock-In’ series is designed to reveal the musical creative experience, offering a window into an otherwise closed process. Artists are invited into the studios for an unexpected collaboration, or to record a new interpretation of an existing song, using only the mix of vintage instruments and future tech provided by Abbey Road. Jane Weaver, Django Django x Denai Moore, Hak Baker and Fontaines D.C. have all released ‘Lock-In’ singles over the last two years with more to come in 2023.
Speaking about the new release, Abbey Road’s Head of Brand & Communications, Mark Robertson says: ‘Bernard joined us fresh from his Mercury nomination on For All Our Days that Tear the Heart with Jessie Buckley, which was the record that had initially appealed to The Clockworks. Bernard chose to come in ‘blind’, joining the band whose curiosity and musicality allows them to swap roles and instruments, experiment with our vintage gear and explore the limitless possibilities. A true collaboration in pursuit of the best outcome for the song, the recording combines the driving intensity that has become synonymous with The Clockworks, with more nuanced, emotive moments and some brilliant textures courtesy of Bernard’s production and mix. We’re thrilled that our Lock-In session was the starting point for a partnership between the band and Bernard on their debut album, and that Steve Lamacq chose to premiere the track yesterday.’
The Clockworks’ debut album EXIT STRATEGY will be released on 10th November and is available for pre-order here.