The File Phase Two Issue One - Click Here For Bigger Scan


  The File Phase Two Issue Two - Click Here For Bigger Scan









  In the past, the Banshees have never had any difficulty in thinking of a suitable name for their albums, it's something that they usually decide on when the album they are recording is only half complete.  With their latest offering it was different, in the main due to the fact that they found it harder to grasp how the collection of songs worked together.  Eventually it was Steve who conceived the title whilst watching a t.v. detective programme centered around a place called the Castle Of Dreams, a house of ill repute within the confines of which, a person could spend the evening with a double of the film star of their choice.

Recording for the then untitled album began on May 5th, when the group recorded 'Cascade'.  On the 6th, overdubs were added to the backing track and John played the clavinet (not the clarinet as I wrongly stated in the last issue).  On the 7th they began work on 'Greenfingers', with contributions from John on guitar and Steve on organ.  The following day guitars and percussion were added to the 'Cascade' track, and Siouxsie provided vocals for 'Greenfingers'.  On the 9th work began on 'Painted Bird' with an organ contribution courtesy of Steve.

The group then took a break from the recording studio, but on the 13th they found themselves in the BBC radio studios, recording a session for the Kid Jensen show - which produced versions of 'Painted Bird', 'Greenfingers', 'Coalmind' and 'Cascade'.  

No sooner had they finished, when they flew off to Sweden to begin a Scandinavian tour.  They returned the following month, and on the 17th June they went back into the studios and started work on 'Circle', by experimenting with a backwards tape of the string section from 'Fireworks' accompanied by Budgie on drums.  Steve and Budgie also contributed a somewhat unorthodox basstrack which was recorded with Steve forming and moving chords on the fretboard of a bass guitar, whilst Budgie hit the strings with a bit of wire.  The following day John added piano and synthesizer, and Siouxsie vocals.  On the third day (19th), the group continued running through new ideas based on tapes that had been recorded during soundchecks, from whence 'Cannibal roses' first saw the light of day courtesy of a jam session between Steve and Budgie.  The following day they were forced to switch studios from Playground to Abbey Road, due to the fact that Playground's desk had ceased to function.  Once inside Abbey Road, they found themselves working in the confines of studio two, the very room in which The Beatles recorded a lot of their material.  First of all the guitar tracks were recorded for 'Cascade', then Siouxsie and Budgie began working on 'Obsession', a strange track indeed!  Siouxsie and Budgie found themselves confronted by a vast studio that was literally cluttered with various forms of percussion.  Not being the type to overlook the opportunity to delve, they took full advantage of the equipment.  Siouxsie began tinkering with the tubular bells, while Budgie took up his position on the drum riser (but without any drums), and began banging out a beat with his feet and hand percussion.  In the control room the tape started rolling, and the whole exercise was captured, with the addition of handclaps and heavy breathing by Siouxsie, and her use of a mic swung around her head to produce an eerie whooshing sound (the extra track on the 12" version of 'Slowdive' called 'Obsession II' (though Steve wanted to call it 'Obsession 2'), is a completely instrumental version on which the peculiar sounds can be heard to full effect.  Although there were no drum or bass tracks recorded for 'Obsession', John did contribute a guitar track, at which time things started getting weird... as he was playing, what was being recorded mysteriously slowed down, then returned to its normal speed without explanation, strange eh? perhaps Mr. Lennon knows something about it?

On the 21st the group returned to Playground studios, recorded the vocals for 'Obsession', then edited bits of the lengthy backing track to fit the vocal pattern.

There followed a five day break, then they returned to Abbey Road where Steve and Budgie accompanied by John on piano began work on 'Melt!'.  This particular track originated from rehearsals, when Steve would play, every now and then, play one particular bassline in order to get some kind of reaction from the others; eventually his persistence was rewarded when Budgie latched onto what Steve was playing and provided a suitable drumbeat.  Steve then wrote the lyrics, and worked further on it with John during breaks in recording the Kid Jensen session.

On the 2nd July, back to Playground, where they sat down and started writing and arranging the psycho string section for 'Obsession' on keyboards, the main contributor in this instance being John.  Later that day Siouxsie recorded the vocals for 'Painted Bird' and 'Melt!'.  Even later that evening 'Slowdive' was invented.  It all began with the arrival at the studio of The Cures Robert Smith with a six - string bass for Steve.  Not having used one before, Steve began messing about with it, whilst Mike Hedges and Budgie listened to Steve's ramblings from the control - booth.  Inspired by the sounds Steve was producing, Budgie left the booth and accompanied him on drums.  Siouxsie listened to the duo's performance, wrote a set of lyrics, recorded them and the whole track was completed in about two hours, all that remained to be recorded was John's guitar part (because he had been absent at the time 'Slowdive' was written and recorded).

The following day (still in Playground) Steve recorded a couple of bass tracks for 'Melt!', the first of which was recorded at normal speed, whereas the second tracks was recorded at half - speed so that when the recording is played back at normal speed it sounds higher pitched, creating a strange guitar sound.  That afternoon (and evening) the group were joined by three girls (Caroline Lavell on cello, Anne Stephenson on violin and Virginia Hewes on viola), who provided strings on 'Slowdive' and 'Obsession'.  On the 4th, Siouxsie recorded the vocals for 'Painted Bird', and on the 5th additional percussion was recorded for 'Slowdive' which Budgie rounded off with a spell on harmonica.  Later, that evening, Steve, Siouxsie and Budgie began recording the original backing track for 'She's A Carnival', which originated during a soundcheck jam between Steve, Budgie and John in Karlshamn in Sweden, to which Steve wrote the lyrics.  The following day Siouxsie continued work on 'She's A Carnival', by recording a total of eight different vocal tracks.  The evening came, and with it 'Cocoon' one of oddest (when compared to their other material) Banshees' offerings to date.  The whole thing originated from a mess about on the piano a couple of days earlier, which Steve and Budgie had recorded.  Siouxsie already had a set of lyrics written which she tried pairing with a tune of Steve's, but unsuccessfully.  At this point, man at the controls Mike Hedges suggested that the group attempted something sleazy, Steve agreed and suggested something jazzy with a walking bass line.  So by suing the same notes that had been played on the piano, Steve transferred them to a walking bass line, and although he played the same notes the resulting sound was totally different.  So Budgie (brushes firmly in hand) and Steve worked it out from there, tongues pressed firmly in cheeks at the thought of a jazzy Banshee track!  The session went well, into the night, and with the atmosphere thick with smoke and their veins full of alcohol, 'Cocoon' was recorded in two takes.

on the 7th, guitars and percussion were added to 'She's A Carnival', and on the 8th everything ground to a halt when Budgie exploded a bottle of champagne into the recording desk!  The 9th didn't prove to be a very productive day either.  Due to Budgie's mishap with the champagne, they spent the whole of the day waiting patiently for the desk to dry out, and for someone to come and repair it - which didn't happen until 5am on the 10th, at which point everyone gave up and went home to bed!

Later that day Siouxsie returned to the studios alone, and recorded the vocals for 'Cocoon' and 'Melt!'  On the 11th, the group started the days/nights session by going for a meal, during which time they consumed a fair amount of alcohol.  It was in this condition that, they, they entered the studio, and Siouxsie recorded the vocals for the original version of 'Cannibal Roses' (which was somewhat different to the one eventually released as the flipside of 'Slowdive').

There followed a day off, then on the 13th, 14th and 15th John entered Playground and recoded guitars and piano for 'Cocoon', guitar for 'She's A Carnival' and speeded - up guitar for 'Melt!' (which when played back, sounds more like a mandolin than a guitar).  On the 16th the group began doing a rough monitor mix of everything that had been recorded and they began sorting out a suitable running order for the album.

They then went off to Italy, and returned on the 26th, when they mixed 'Melt!' and 'Cocoon'.  The following day they mixed 'She's A Carnival' and 'Greenfingers', and on the 28th they mixed 'Circle'.

On the 29th, they took a break from recording studio and entered the rehearsal studio in preparation for the Elephant Fayre on the 31st July.  At 10pm that same evening, they returned to Playground and mixed the long version of 'Slowdive'

That Saturday (31st), they performed one of their best ever concerts in front of 4,000 people at the Elephant Fayre in Cornwall - truly a night to remember!!

Following their triumph at the 'Fayre, they were unable to get straight back into the studio, so they spent the time participating in interviews and sorting out artwork for the single and album.

Eventually on August 17th they were able to return to Playground, when they mixed 'Painted Bird'.  On the 18th they remixed 'Melt!', and on the 19th they mixed 'Obsession' and 'Obsession II' and started mixing 'Cascade'.  The following day they finished mixing 'Cascade' and edited 'Slowdive' from its long version to its 7" format, which is a complete reversal of the usual proceedure, whereby a single (7") version is recorded and an extended version is mixed from that.  In total, the extended version had two minutes edited from it before the three minute thirty second single version was suitable for release.  This all went on until 2am the following morning, when they finally rearranged the running order of the tracks, and rewarded themselves by getting mindlessly drunk!

Although the album was finished, there was still one recording that remained to be done.  On August 31st the group entered Marcus studios, and recorded a new version of 'Cannibal Roses' - in one take!  This was produced by the whole group jamming around the original version (recorded on 11th July at Playground), whilst submitting new ideas as they did so.

So there you have it, a complete run down of how both the new single and album were recorded.  You'll have to wait until the 29th October to hear the complete results of the 'A Kiss In The Dreamhouse' sessions, but that's not far off.  I should warn you though, don't expect anything predictable from the group on this one, in fact you're in for a whole heap of surprises as the Banshees are about to unleash some of their most diverse recordings to date, full marks to them for doing so!!

Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston














  First a brief history... it was Steve who created the nucleus of the song during the groups last English tour, when he wrote the lyrics.  From there its progression mirrored that of 'Spellbound', in that it was a combination of verses by John and a chorus by Steve, all written during sound-checks.  As the song had come together so quickly, the group decided to record it as soon as commitments allowed them to.  During the period between the tour ending and the completion of the two re-scheduled dates (at Coventry and Peterborough) the group spent a couple of days in a rehearsal studio adding the finishing touches to the song - which was then debuted at the re-scheduled Coventry gig.  The mystery regarding its non-emergence on October 31st 1981, as stated in the last tour programme, can now be revealed.  With only three weeks before the groups scheduled visit to the U.S.A. they entered 'Surrey Sound Studios' and with Nigel Gray once more at the controls between 19th and 24th September the single was recorded.  Due to the imminent departure for the U.S.A looming forever nearer, the entire project was unavoidably rushed.  After the final mix had been completed (and there was no time for alterations), the group found the end result to be unsatisfactory.  They decided there was no way that they would ever release material that failed to meet with their usual high standards, so 'Fireworks' was temporarily shelved.  Before entering the studio with Nigel the group had forgone the decision that if their collaboration wasn't satisfactory, it would be the last time they'd work together.  So the 'Fireworks' project proved one point to the group, a change of producer was essential for future recordings.

When the time came for the re-recording of the single, the group needed to find a new producer.  Word reached them there was one producer that (when interviewed by the media) had expressed interest in working with them - Martin Rushent.  They met Rushent, and his enthusiasm (the deciding factor) convinced the group he was their man for 'Fireworks'.  Preparations complete, it was finalised that on their return from the Orient, from April 19th the group would spend three days in 'Genetic studios' with Rushent at the controls.  This was not to be... after all his enthusiasm during their meetings, for a variety of reasons Rushent was unable to fulfil his commitments, leaving the Banshees to endure a period of indecision.  Not knowing if he would or would not be able to produce the single, they grew impatient and their tempers frayed somewhat, which resulted in them dropping Rushent and producing themselves, with Mike Hedges in the role of engineer.  Mike Hedges is no alien to the Banshees camp, as well as working with (amongst others) The Cure and The Associates he was at the controls for The Creatures (AKA-SIOUXSIE AND BUDGIE) 'Wild Things' e.p.  Son on April 15th, they entered 'Playground studios' for a three day recording session.  The proceedings went as follows:-  day one - they recorded guitar and backing track:  day two - bass guitar was recorded, and a score for the strings section written:  day three - the string section, percussion, vocals and firecrackers were all recorded.  One final (and crucial) process remained, the mix - this was done on April 19th, and on April 22nd, they did an alternative 12" mix.  Prior to their collaboration with Rushent, the group had spent three days (12th to 15th March) in 'Workhouse studios'.  The result of those three days were demo tapes of new tracks 'Painted Bird' (group composition - Sioux lyric), 'Cascade' (group composition - Severin lyric) and a totally new group composition (with lyric by Sioux) actually written in the studio called 'Coal Mind' - which will be the new 'b' side of 'Fireworks'.  I say new 'b' side, because originally it was to have been a track recorded during the aborted Nigel Gray session, called 'We Fall'.  'We Fall' has a Sioux/Severin lyric, and was composed and performed as a trio with no contribution from John McGeoch.  You'll still be able to hear 'We Fall' though, because it will be included as an additional track on the 12" release of 'Fireworks'.  It will be available in three different packages.  The first 50,000 7" copies will be in an elaborate gatefold sleeve designed by Rocking Russian (because of its elaborate packaging its price will be slightly more expensive), the remainder of the 7" pressings will be available in a picture sleeve depicting the outside of the gatefold sleeve.  There will also be a picture sleeve 12" available, with the extra track 'We Fall'.

Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston