Steve Anderson Interview: Kylie's Abbey Road Sessions
Steve Anderson, Kylie's longtime musical director, has given a new interview to Don't Stop The Pop. Below are excerpts from the interview...
It has always been a dream of mine to produce a Kylie album with acoustic instruments and also to produce an album at Abbey Road so when the two came together I could not have been happier. I worked with the lovely Colin Elliot on the production who has been responsible for the Richard Hawley albums which all have a beautiful darkness and warmth to them which we wanted to incorporate in this project. Also I knew the back catalogue like the back of my hand but he didn’t so much which was good as he came from a different angle on some of the songs. We recorded a whole bunch of songs , some with orchestra and band, some just band and some just piano or guitar. It was Kylie’s amazing Aphrodite band with a beautiful BV section and we spent the happiest 3 weeks in Abbey Road Studio 2 where the Beatles famously recorded throughout their career. I can’t tell you what an honour it was to go to work there every day only to be eclipsed by how truly great Kylie’s performance is on this record. Its true, honest vocal takes recorded on a beautiful valve mic and left very upfront in the mix as if she’s there right with you in the room. I could not be more proud of what we achieved there and I’m so incredibly thankful of the opportunity to do it, its an experience none of us will ever forget. There will be an YouTube video from the sessions uploaded on the 25th of every month to celebrate Kylie’s 25th Anniversary this year.
Abbey Road Studios is of course steeped in history. Did you happen to squeeze any time popping into the room where Yoko & John lived for months while recording his album?
We were recording in that very room - Studio 2 at Abbey Road is where the Beatles recorded the majority of their material and apparently John and Yoko set up home in the corner. We put the table with the kettle and biscuits over there.
So how do you initiate the first song for a monumental Kylie tour like Les Follies. I mean where does one start to piece together an overture for a show that sees Kylie perform on Pegasus, a chariot, on an angel and so forth?
Exactly that - I get a visual brief from William describing what he sees happening on stage and work from there. For Les Folies the show starts and ends with water from the Birth Of Aphrodite from water into Greek mythology going through Heavenly Hosts, Chariots and ending as a Million Dollar Mermaid in amongst fountains. Thats really all it takes for me, then I’m off!
So how many versions overtures did you compose before you realized you had the start befitting Aphrodite?
There were two quite different ideas for the intro and various versions of both but Will is very reactionary so once he hears something it immediately inspires him to know what he wants more or less of. This is great for me as we bat things back and forth to each other and send something to Kylie when we think we have the right one. It usually comes back and forth again for a bit until its signed off by everyone.
Does William give the direction to rework it? Or is it generally a constant debate and discussion in the run up to Kylie’s tours between you, Kylie and William.
With Kylie tours its usually a dialogue between Will, Kylie and myself about the style of the songs then I present versions which then get tweaked until they are right. Sometimes it can be instant, other times they need a few revisions but its usually only a few minor things. We’ve tuned ourselves to each other over the years so its often second nature. “White Diamond” was arranged for the film and just happened to fit perfectly into the Hollywood section of the North America Tour - its still one of my favourite things we’ve ever done and her vocal is beautiful.
Kylie has rarely, if ever, had a fifth single but if there was one song from Aphrodite what track would you have liked to see given single privilege?
I adore “Can't Beat The Feeling” - it just makes me smile and for me is classic Kylie. Sometimes people are shocked that I tend to pick pop songs of hers as my favourites but I am still a massive fan and I love what I call the ‘Kylie moment’ and that song has a bunch of them all going on at the same time! I adore what Stuart did with that album.
Read the full Interview at Dont Stop The Pop!