New, Ah, Svelte Seduction. There was a band who worked hard at their sound, through umpteen line-ups, endless rehearsals, several expensive demos and a handful of gigs. I was in several versions of the band and although I played a minor role in songwriting I was part of the effort to realise our big studio sound in live performance. Pretty impressive it was too (though I say it myself), me and my good friend Billy Thomson behind a couple of big polysynths each. We pulled off the live thing a few times, until our early digital drum machine (an E-mu Systems Drumulator) proved to be so flaky on stage that we abandoned a soundcheck and I went off in a huff vowing never to play live with it again. This being the only time I've cited musical differences with a bit of gear as the reason for a split. So I walked, only to return later for more (after bass player Paul and I had a spell in Kari Safari).
This track is mid-period Svelte, around '83-'84 I guess. “Shine” is an example of the lush, cinematic sound we were hammering out on those big ol' 80s synths. We demoed at a couple of studios, so I'm not sure but this might have been recorded at Palladium Studios near Edinburgh which at the time was often used by bands on the 4AD roster. At that time the line-up included vocalist Simone Lahbib, who went on to an acting career, and ex-Simple Minds drummer Mike Ogletree. I've found seven tracks from around that period on an old TDK D90. I've also got four other tracks from later demos with other vocalists, but by that time the music was heavily sequenced and arranged by main songwriter Robert McLachlan and producer Larry Primrose and my contribution was minimal. It dawned on me that we were having conversations about what we thought A&R people wanted to hear rather than what we wanted to play. And so the end of Svelte marked the end of my ambition to make music a full time career. No regrets though, as I've continued to make a racket as an enthusiastic amateur ever since.