Marcus Lambkin aka Shit Robot returns with his third full length album for DFA Records, entitled What Follows. The 11-track album was conceived and recorded at Marcus’ home studio in a small town outside Stuttgart; worked on in various New York studios and then mixed over the course of 11 intense & coffee-fuelled days in DFA label mate Juan Maclean’s New Hampshire studio.
The album follows Lambkin’s previous long-players, From The Cradle To The Rave (2010) and We Got A Love (2014), which drew plaudits from the likes of The Guardian and Pitchfork, and featured Reggie Watts and James Murphy among the array of contributors.
The Dublin-born producer has enlisted the help of a stellar cast of guests for What Follows, with previous collaborators Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and DFA stablemates Museum of Love & Nancy Whang returning, alongside new faces Jay Green and leftfield fellow Dubliner New Jackson.
What Follows marks a departure in Lambkin’s process - a simple, but fundamental one: getting away from the computer. He said: “This record is a lot more analog than 'We Got A Love', almost all of it comes from connecting machines together and playing around.” What was your biggest influence? “Drum machines.” What began in Stuttgart was followed up on in New York, before being finished in an 11-day blitz in New Hampshire with Juan Maclean.
Lambkin: “This is the first time that I actually sat down and said, ‘I'm going to make an album now and I'm going to finish it by a specific date and time.’ I wanted to make a record that was more cohesive, that sounded like it all came from the one session. I wanted it to reflect my DJing style a bit more, less pop, less disco, more machines. There's no live bass and barring a few hi-hats, there's no live drums.
“I began in Stuttgart - simply by creating about 12 drum loops. I then synched these up to some gear and created some bass lines so I had some solid grooves to start with. Then I went to NY and spent a couple of days at Holy Ghost's studio playing around with Nick and his modular synth coming up with different sequences and sounds. I then took all this over to Transmitter Park Studios in Greenpoint and spent a few days with the wizard that is Morgan Wiley of Midnight Magic and Tippy Toes. He's one of my favourite keyboard players on the planet. Sometimes I had a specific thing I wanted him to do, but mostly I just played him some things I like and got him to jam out on what I had come up with or play some nice chords or chord progressions.
“I took all this back home and started to fool around with it and knock it into shape before sending it out for vocals. With the song I did with Museum Of Love, 'What Follows', Dennis and Pat were actually in Europe and they came by and stayed with me for a few days, so we made that one in Stuttgart over a few nights once I got the kids to bed. It was particularly fun and easy. I think the wine helped.
“Then I brought it all to Juan's World in New Hampshire where we drank a LOT of coffee and did some additional production and mixed everything. Finishing the record with Juan was a game changer for me. We worked so hard. We finished eleven songs in eleven days, no joke.”
The results are convincing - What Follows is definitely an album dedicated to dance music, but one that retains hallmarks of his previous LPs: good songs. Alexis Taylor turns in two memorable performances on lead single ‘End Of The Trail’ and album opener ‘In Love’; Museum of Love - Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany - lend the album title track an air of something mined from the two months in between the death of Joy Division and the birth of New Order; and Nancy Whang gave such a strong vocal for ‘Lose Control’ that Lambkin and Maclean threw out the existing track and recorded the backing along with the vocal in one take, which the two producers working the machines live. Lambkin: “I had so much fun with Lose Control - and it inspired me to make so much more music. I've written 12 new tracks since finishing the record.”
Newbies Jay Green and New Jackson hit their marks too - Green - best known for fronting American punk bands Orchid and Panthers - narrates Is There No End as though it were sibling to From The Cradle To The Rave’s single Simple Things. New Jackson makes two appearances, on both Phase Out and OB-8 (Winter Version), adding oddball vocals and spaced-out Krautrock guitar arrangements.
How did the guests come about? Lambkin: “I didn't have a big plan, I just knew that I wanted to work with friends. I knew I wanted to do something with Museum Of Love again. I also knew I would do something with Nancy, I couldn't make a Shit Robot record without Nancy. Then while I was working on End Of The Trail, I could hear Alexis's voice in my head, it just seemed a perfect fit. New Jackson is my younger brother’s old room mate and I've wanted to do something with Jay ever since I made the Green Machine 12”s a few years back.”
What Follows was preceded by two 12” singles - Where Its At (Feat. Reggie Watts), backed with a killer remix from Johnny Aux - and original version of album closer OB-8.
- In Love (Feat. Alexis Taylor)
- What Follows (Feat. Museum of Love)
- Ten Miles High
- Lose Control (Feat. Nancy Whang)
- End Of The Trail (Feat. Alexis Taylor)
- Phase Out
- Wir Warten
- Is There No End (Feat. Jay Green)
- OB-8 (Winter Mix) [Feat. New Jackson]