The third album from Lance Ferguson‘s solo project Lanu is officially out today and while we prepare to sit back this weekend with our copy of The Double Sunrise and become immersed in the sounds the Melbourne-via-New Zealand music maestro has fused together and played with for this record, we’ve been able to gain more of an insight into the making of the record through this track-by-track break down! Ferguson gives us a little more background on the 12-track album, including collaborations with Megan Washington and Nouvelle Vague‘s Melanie Pain. Check it out below!
“Secret Order of the Double Sunrise”
Named after an actual fraternity or club that existed in Australia in WW2 with Catalina Flying Boat pilots who flew 18 hour missions and thus saw two sunrises in one day (my daughter Nova‘s middle name is Catalina). I wanted this to be some kind of opening fanfare or theme tune for the record. It all turned out quite Javelin – which is all right with me.
“Arrow” ft. Megan Washington
This song originally started out a very Washington (first album) sounding song. I had framed it in I Believe You Liar kinds of parts and it DID work just fine. Later, we de-constructed it into somekind of “Midnight Cowboy” Peruvian Bossa (a new genre I’ve come up with), and I think it sounds much more sincere as a result.
“The Others” ft. Megan Washington
I was listening to Cults a lot at this time and this song betrays those influences. Megan and I worked together on the lyrics to this one in great detail, trying to walk the fine line between conjuring the right kind volcanic, cannibal imagery but without crossing the line. Featuring John Castle on a very fine drum part (he secretly loves it when I make him play Breakbeats).
Trying to fuse DJ Shadow, Kevin Parker and Martin Denny together in this interlude track. I had made this in the box and when I bought it to John’s for mixing, he just said, ‘Leave it as it is’. Sometimes things just work out.
“Fly Away” ft. Melanie Pain
Featuring Melanie Pain from Paris (and from Nouvelle Vague) on vocals. I had made this instrumental tune in it’s entirety and she wrote a melody to that. It’s a little like a “Beautiful Trash” pt.2. I think I almost got close to emulating my Grandfather’s guitar sound on this one (though I used a J. Mascis Fender Jazzmaster guitar to do it).
“Dragon Sun” ft. Megan Washington
Possibly my favourite song on the album? I can hear a lot of Cocteau Twins, Beach House and Neil Finn in this. The lyrics are all based around Madame Butterfly. The double chorus at the end (3:42) where Meg sings the line ‘or of unshakable faith’, always hits me. She is a true gem.
“Nightmarchers” ft. Megan Washington
This was one of the early songs on the record that Meg really responded to. I think because it is just so different to the things she usually does. We spent a week together in my studio in Melbourne and things just rolled out, free of exasperation or (too much) struggle. She is one of those friends I have where I might not see them all the time – but when we get together, it’s really intense and intimate. Life is short, and often it is good to cut out all the small talk and get down to the stuff we feel that matters anyway.
This song is named after an aircraft I fell in love with as a child, The Short Solent IV. It is also a commonly used Maori name. When I was a kid, I would only see my Dad on the weekends after the age of five or six (when Mum and Dad split). He would often take me to a technology museum in Auckland. I developed a keen interest and later obsession with aircraft of all types. Much later in my life, I realised that I gravitated towards this stuff as it simply represented and reminded me of a connection with my (now deceased) Father. I have since taken my own son to this museum (wherethe ‘Aranui’ still resides) and openly wept as I saw it (and him).
“When Love Breaks Down” ft. Megan Washington
Megan had sent me this tune a few months before we wrote the album and I was listening on repeat to the original Prefab Sprout version. A cover version seemed imminent but after investigating, John and I found that it had been covered many times already. Back to the drawing board, and we ended up re-harmonising and re-working the original chords to give it something different. We then treated Megan’s vocals to sound like an old Jazz record and added record pops/hiss and 808’s. I think it’s really got a ‘thing’ now.
“Menage a Trois” ft. Melanie Pain
This is a song I wrote in the Burt Bacharach mold: that is, compose chords and a melody and let a vocalist write only the words. You can hear my piano behind the vocals – partly inspired by the piano duet scene in Betty Blue. This and my love of 60’s French Pop created an insistence that thissong should not be sung in English – and Melanie really nailed it.
“The Kava Diary”
I really wanted to create my own Exotica instrumental track drawn from my own imaginings and experience. The end result musically, is somewhere between my Grandfather’s music, my Exotica record collection and Brian Eno‘s “Deep Blue Day” (from the film Paris, Texas):
These two people. They were in love with each other. The girl was very young, about seventeen or eighteen, I guess. And the guy was… quite a bit older. He was kind of raggedy and wild. And she was very beautiful, you know? And together, they turned everything into a kind of adventure, and she liked that. Just an ordinary trip down to the grocery store was full of adventure. They were always laughing at stupid things. He liked to make her laugh. And they didn’t much care for anything else because all they wanted to do was to be with each other. They were always together.
Sounds like they were very happy.
Yes, they were. They were real happy. And he, he loved her more than he ever felt possible. He couldn’t stand being away from her during the day when he went to work, so he’d quit. Just to be at home with her. Then he’d get another job when the money ran out, andthen he’d quit again. But pretty soon, she started to worry.
“Down” ft. Megan Washington
Here is a sea shanty I wrote that also marks my first ukelele performance on record. It touches on some dark (or at least heavily introspective) things lyrically, but I wanted to put that all up against something musically that sounded like it contained hope – because we do. John calls this ‘Doing the Happy/Sad’…
The Double Sunrise by Lanu is out now on Pacific Theatre through Inertia!