Tony Visconti opens up about new album
Adam Tait

14:58 15th January 2013

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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."

Below: the big comebacks of 2013 - David Bowie, Justin Timberlake and more

  • David Bowie: The legend that is Bowie released a single titled 'Where Are We Now?' on his 66th birthday, 11 January 2013. The track became Bowie's first top ten single in ten years, and was his first single release in seven years. A new album, The Next Day, is due to be released in March 2013.

  • Justin Timberlake: Timberlake has recently been better known for acting, but he announced a return to music and previewed his first new single 'Suits & Ties' on 14 January. A new album entitled The 20/20 Experience is set to be released sometime this year and will be Timberlake's first since his 2006 release Futuresex/Lovesounds.

  • Black Sabbath: The original members of Black Sabbath - Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler - have made their first new album together since their 1978 album Never Say Die!. The record is called 13, and is set to be released in June and feature 15 tracks. The band also have a few live dates planned for this year, and it's thought that more could follow.

  • Destiny's Child: Destiny's Child disbanded in 2006 so the band members could pursue their solo projects - and obviously Beyonce took better to this than the others. Now the girlband is set to perform at the Super Bowl show, and have also shared a new track, 'Nuclear'. This is their first new material in eight years.

  • Paramore: After two members of the band left, Paramore are now set to release their new album, self-titled Paramore. Not only will it be the band's first new release in three years, but it is their first record since the departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro.

  • Daft Punk: The electro duo have excited fans all over the world with hints of festival appearances and a new album set for 2013. The record will be their first since 2005's Human After All, and features collaboration with disco star Nile Rodgers.

  • MKS: Okay, they can call themselves MKS as they don't have the rights to the Sugababes name, but we all know this is really a Sugababes comeback. Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan are releasing a new album this autumn, and the album has a track written by Emeli Sande. The girlband posted their first new material this week with a track called 'Boys'.

  • Suede: Legendary Brit-rockers Suede have announced they're releasing new album Bloodsports this year, and recently gave fans a free download of track 'Barriers'. This is their first new material since 'A New Morning' over ten years ago, and promises to be a return to form for the band.

  • The Knife: Swedish electronic music duo The Knife are releasing their first album in over half a decade. Shaking the Habitual is set for spring 2013, and will feature Shannon Funchess of synth-pop duo Light Asylum. The new record will also be followed by a number of European tour dates.

  • Dido: Dido's new album The Girl Who Got Away is her first album in five years, since the release of Grammy Award nominated Safe Trip Home in 2008. The album includes collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Rizzle Kicks and Brian Eno amongst others, and is set to be released on 4 March 2013.

Issue Two of the Gigwise Print magazine is on sale now! Buy it here.

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