For the first of a regular series of chats with the band here on the official site, we gave Jake a shout to find out more about Invisible Light and Night Work.
Hello Jake, how are you?
Very good, thanks.
Are you excited to be back?
Yeah, it’s been awesome. I’m thrilled. Last week was really exciting. Were you quite nervous about debuting a new song? Actually, I felt super confident. I didn’t really feel nervous at all. Just excited to put the song out there and see what people thought of it. And to show the album artwork and new press shot and get people’s response to those. But I felt so confident in all those things that I definitely didn’t feel nervous. Just really thrilled.
And the response has been great.
It’s been amazing. I sort of can’t believe it. The love that we’ve gotten from everyone has been incredible. It felt like the song set the right tone. But it’s had way more attention than I even thought it would. I thought it would stay a bit more underground, but it really seemed to spread around. And it’s not even a proper pop song – it’s a bit more challenging than that. It’s six minutes long, with a two and a half minute instrumental break, which is kind of crazy. So the fact that they’ve been playing the whole thing on the radio and that people have been really into it, just goes to show you shouldn’t underestimate people. They’ve been playing it twice a day on Radio 1. And it’s a six minute non-single. That blows me away.
Is Invisible Light representative of Night Work as a whole?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s probably the most drug-fueled song on there. But I think it’s really a center point for the whole album.
Are there songs on there which sound more like traditional Scissor Sisters?
Oh yeah. The record starts out quite a bit more familiar, but still definitely with a new twist.
As a closing track, Invisible Light certainly ensures the album goes out with a bang.
Yeah! That build to the big climax towards the end of the track took us about two months to get right. It went through many incarnations. But I think people are going to be really happy that the entire record record is up-tempo.
Did any slow ones fall by the wayside while you were making it?
Oh, loads. There are some great slow songs which we left off this record. We just made the decision to make a dance record from top to bottom. And I think this record is definitely the most blissfully sinister thing we’ve done. Although there’s still a romance on it that’s very sweet, as well.
How did you get hold of Sir Ian McKellen for Invisible Light?
We’ve been acquaintances for a long time. He’s a fan and comes to the shows. We were in the studio making that track and we were like, “This calls for a really amazing, deep, intense voice” and I just thought of him. He was fully game to do it. He actually did a full, two minute monologue, which we cut down to what’s on the track. We could do an extended version where he literally keeps talking. He was amazing. We recorded it in his dressing room at Waiting For Godot.
What does he make of the track?
I talked to him on the phone two days ago to see what he thought of it, and he loved it. He’s really, really happy about it.
So, the artwork for Night Work is quite attention grabbing…
Yes! I had to really stand strong to get that to be the cover. I was looking for inspirations for the artwork for this record, and then I saw that image. I’ve been very, very into Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography for a long time, but I’d never seen that image. And the moment I saw it, I instantly knew that was the album cover. But it was a real project to convince Babydaddy and the band that that was the sleeve.
Do you know much about the photograph?
Well, the rear end is a ballet dancer called Peter Reed, who died of AIDS in the mid-80s. Then, of course, Robert went on to die in 1989. And so the moment in their life when the picture was taken is very much what this record is about. The world that this record was inspired by – or my imagined version of it.