More about: David Bowie
David Bowie's friend and producer Tony Visconti has opened up about the icon's new album and the process of recording it in secrecy.
Speaking to Rolling Stone Visconti offered a run down of the records tracks and explained how the record developed from Bowie's casual suggestion that they record a few demos to the full album that was announced with no forwarning last week.
"Music didn't interest him until two years ago," Visconti said. "That's when he made the call. He said, "How would you like to make some demos?" And I was a little shocked, quite honestly; it was just so casual. It was just the next topic in the discussion."
It took just a matter of days, according to Visconti, from that conversation to being in a recording studio in New York's East Village working out the songs.
Bowie had reportedly begun writing at home sometime before getting together with Visconti, and after five days in the studio they had rough tracks recorded.
Another lengthy break followed.
"We only ever worked for two-week periods," says Visconti.
"We would take as long as two months off after each period, and he would go and write some more stuff. I would listen to it and get some ideas, sketch some overdub things, and we'd be in constant communication during those periods."
According to Visconti the album contains an eclectic mix of musical moods, with some tracks being big rock songs and others are more 'funky, mid-tempo songs'.
Some songs are said to feature blistering solos from guitar legend Earl Slick, and 'Dirty Boys' features a sleazy saxaphone solo from Steve Elson, a friend of Bowie's.
Visconti also discussed the albums themes and the lyrical content of Bowie's new material.
"He's writing in third person. some of them [the songs] belong to his life, but some of them are things like social commentary.
"He was reading a lot of medieval English history books, and he came up with one medieval English history song. That's the title track, "The Next Day." It's about somebody who was a tyrant very insignificant; I didn't even know who he was talking about. but if you read the lyrics, it's quite a horrific story."
Bowie with his wife, and mother of his daughter, Iman
While the pressure of keeping such a big project under wraps would get to most people, Visconti says it wasn't a problem.
"It was very easy to keep it a secret because we're very loyal to him. I've known him 45 years, and everybody knew for more than 10 years in the band. We just love the guy.
"He said, "Keep it a secret, and don't tell anybody. Not even your best friend." I said, "can I tell my girlfriend?" He says, "Yes, you can tell your girlfriend, but she can't tell anybody.""
On the topic of touring, Visconti said Bowie is adament that he won't tour or do any heavy promotion for the album, though he might play a one-off show.
"It's possible, if he feels like it."
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More about: David Bowie