21 March 2011

Richard Ashcroft Talks Scording Sci-Fi Thriller and Recording New Album Stateside

The newly released sci-fi thriller 'The Adjustment Bureau' starring Matt Damon gave American audiences a preview of former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft's fourth solo album, 'United Nations of Sound,' due out tomorrow.

The album's soul-fueled cut 'Are You Ready' plays during the credits for the movie, but there's the added bonus of a brand new piece of music that Ashcroft and the film's incidental music composer Thomas Newman wrote together.

"It was another thing that turned up out of the blue really," Ashcroft tells Spinner from his London studio. "It came out of the director, George Nolfi, hearing 'Are You Ready' and wanting to use it as the outro of the film. Then he suggested we do something together for the start of the film."

Instead of collaborating via email or Skype, as is commonplace, the two actually worked together in person. "Yeah, God bless him," says Ashcroft.

"The guy flew over from L.A. to London and we went into a studio here. He had a Wurlitzer keyboard and I had a Vocoder, and we just did a tune. Then I got some of the guys from the United Nations of Sound band to put some guitar and drums on it in Australia, when we was on tour. It was finished in L.A.. Yeah, it was all good."

Ashcroft recorded his album in America over ten days, working firstly in New York with producer No I.D. -- who has worked with music heavyweights like Jay-Z, Common, Kanye West and Rihanna in the past. "The work ethic, the amount of energy was immense. What was forged out of that was something really exciting. It got close, at times, to what I went out there for."

"When we did more of the recording in L.A., I was lucky enough to work with a guy called Benjamin Wright, who arranged the strings. Again, a fabulous guy, a great man, someone who'd been in the business for a long time," he says of Wright, who has most famously worked with Michael Jackson. "The process of making it was important to me. Unfortunately, there's probably only me who's going to take anything out of it, the good and the bad."

Recording stateside fired Ashcroft up and left him longing for more, too. "So many things were popping up while I was there. You're starting from way behind someone who is in L.A. or New York," he says of working in London. "You can try and capitalize on the amazing opportunities that there are, if you know the right people."