A soft, dreamy song that has very few memories attached to it, You Don’t Want Me To was nevertheless sufficiently liked by a previous incarnation of myself to be recorded again, almost four years later. This second version plays after the first in the video.
The main thing with this song, which those with eagle ears might have already noticed, is that it was sung by a girl. And that girl was my sister. I may have been going through one of my regular Periods Of Doubt, with regards to my singing voice, and decided to try something different. Or, more probably, the melody I came up with was too high, and I was incapable of changing the key. I never really paid as much attention to those Periods Of Doubt as I should have done…
So I got my sister to sing it. My sister had a naturally better voice than me, although she was less musical in general. When Britney Spears tunes were belted out from behind the door of her bedroom, they were delivered mainly in tune. Unfortunately, the recording process of this song was a shining example of:
1. The importance, as a producer, of making the performers feel comfortable in the studio.
2. The power of an older brother to undermine, upset, and shatter the confidence of a younger sibling.
This wasn’t the only reason her vocal takes aren’t great. She wasn’t familiar with the song, and she isn’t amazing anyway at actually recording to live instruments. But I definitely made it worse. Within minutes we were arguing – her telling me she couldn’t do it, me telling her to just try for god’s sake. By the time we pressed record she was angry and nervous.
I’m not one to sweeten criticisms with compliments, I’ve never been very good at mincing my words to build confidence or create a Positive Atmosphere. So I don’t think my reaction to the first few takes would have been uplifting.
But we got through it, and the end result is ok. My main problem with it now is not the singing (have you heard any of the songs I’ve sung myself?) but the awful mix. There are some nice parts in there, but they all sound a bit drunk and muddled.
Ultimately, the process was a positive one – like all young siblings my sister was, despite the stress, happy to involved in one of her older brother’s projects. She still has a CD with the track burned on to it somewhere in her room.
So then I remade it, at some point in university. Music developed for me in two ways while I was studying – on the one hand, James Blake’s album had just come out, and he, along with Radiohead, were setting me slowly but surely on a path towards electronic music. On the other, I had far fewer instruments there, and so would spend much more time playing and recording with just my acoustic guitar. You can hear both strands here. It’s an acoustic track, but the atmospheric fluttering synths on top (they were meant to be the birds from the second verse, see?) and the bass, are both from the Logic Sculpture synth, one I would use quite a lot as time went on. I thought I’d made something quite beautiful, at the time. It’s a bit wet though, in hindsight.
An ex-girlfriend of mine had quite liked the original version with my sister, so when I made the newer one I sent it to her, possibly in a state of wistful angst.
She replied saying it was nice but that she preferred the original.