Matt Johnson, in conversation, 2008
“Lloyd and I used to have small studios/offices down the corridor from each other at Harold Dessau studios in downtown New York. It was like a sort of miniature, funky Brill building really. They had a main studio, which is where I recorded much of NakedSelf, and a nice rehearsal space, plus also a bunch of rooms that people would rent for their own use over the long term. It was a great place with a wonderful atmosphere. Lots of wooden floors, high ceilings, dusty velvet curtains and slow-moving ceiling fans. Totally unsuited to being a studio in a technical way but with a really warm and inspiring atmosphere.
It was my favourite studio outside my own place in London. We all really, really loved it down there, but sadly its since been demolished. There were quite a few people in there at its height from the mid to late 90s and many of us would often pop into each others rooms to borrow equipment or just have a chat and a cup of tea. Lloyd and myself would often do that of a morning, bitching and moaning about the state of the industry or Britain or raving about some new piece of equipment or whatever. I sang on his album first I think and then he returned the favour by singing on GlobalEyes on NakedSelf, although his album came out quite a bit after mine.”
Matt is spot on in terms of the sequencing of the songs. NakedSelf was released in 2000, while Memphis, the Lloyd Cole song on which he contributed a vocal, didn’t come out until 2002 on the album Etc.
A couple of things. LC’s contribution is very much as a backing vocalist among others and you’d be hard pushed to pick him out. MJ’s vocal on Memphis is also of the backing variety, but he’s on his own and you can just about recognise that it is him. Oh, and Memphis was written by the actress Karen Black, which she sang, in character as country singer Connie White, in the 1975 film Nashville, directed by Robert Altman.