NO 'EIGHTEEN'

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October 2019

Recently, via Facebook (still the best way to spread your news quickly), as well as here and there in an interview, I dropped the intention that Kayak will release a new album in 2020. That will certainly not be called '18', although a number of fans already seem to have baptized the expected album. Logical, but a bit too easy for us. 'Seventeen' was so called not only because it was the seventeenth album, but it was also the intention to release it in 2017 (on October 17). This was dashed because we unexpectedly were able to conclude a plant contract with InsideOut Music. October 2017 came too early for them due to other planned releases.

When I reported that intention on Facebook, there were several suggestions for a title, whether or not it was meant to be funny. That is not really necessary. The title is already there, but we do not yet announce it. In the meantime, there will be a band with the same idea that knew nothing about our intended title, and then you have to think again about what to do with it.

How far are we? Not that far yet, but the beginning is there and all band members are now working hard to familiarize themselves with the material. At least sixteen songs are available, some of which will have to be dropped because the CD would take too long. And there is no budget for a double CD, regardless of whether that is a useful idea. I already read the reviews: nice but too long, it could have been on 1 CD.

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Very important: the keys. They are more or less selected. I do not always immediately write in the right key, but initially only in a location where I feel comfortable as a demo vocalist - even if sometimes I cannot hear it. Moreover, as a composer who has the piano as a starting point, I often write a song in a certain key because it is just nice on the piano. Then that often has to be adjusted later to keys that are clumsy for keyboardists, such as F sharp or C sharp major, but yes, that is the case.

We've been playing Ruthless Queen in E for a number of years, because Edward Reekers' reach had dropped slightly over the years. It was in F, originally. It is funny that I would never have written that song if it should have been in E because it does not play nice finger technically, especially the starting loop with that allusion. Although I can now play the song blindfolded, tied, upside down and backwards after 40 years, I always have to pay attention to that intro since it was performed in that key. A slipper is really made that way and that sounds a bit silly for someone who has been playing it for so long.

My demos are ready - most keyboard parts, as far as no acoustic versions are needed or available, are on the hard disks (we used to say: on the tape), and now the other group members have to wait for it to be filled in. Ever since 'Close to the Fire' this has been a matter of track by track, voice for voice, instrument for instrument (rebuild). The last record where the band played something together was Merlin (1981). And even then 'together' only meant: drums, piano and bass. All other parties are overdubs. With the difference that they usually take place in the same studio room with one or more other band members present. Usually in the bar or foyer, I have to add to that.

Usually the band members barely see each other during the recording. That is nothing special since the computer entered the music, most studio productions are created that way. Many parties are also simply done 'at home' because everyone has a reasonably good recording option. I send a 'bare' version to guitarist or bassist, who then contribute according to my wishes and instructions. No, not so cozy but a lot more efficient than seeing the clock ticking away the euros in an expensive studio. Kayak does not sell millions of records and must therefore pay attention to the little ones. Also, not every guitarist is waiting for someone to look at them while recording - just sticking around until everyone's liking is often preferable. It also produces surprises, so there is something to be said for both methods.

Drums are always recorded in a 'real' studio. I myself do not have the facilities nor the technical know-how to do things well. After all, the vocals are often spread over different locations. It is not the first time that a demo version, quickly recorded at home, is eventually used normally.

When do we hope to be ready? Well, tomorrow of course, but the practice will be that the new album will be released somewhere in the middle of the next year. Before or after the summer, it simply depends on the progress, what the promotional options are and if a supporting tour can be organized.

And in which direction, musically, I hear you ask. Will the course of slightly harder progressive rock, which we seem to have taken last time, be followed? I'm not saying anything yet. You will notice it all. We just do what we feel like again, with our hearts and without any calculation. Kayak did that in 1973, and we still do today. Then everyone can find something of it again, compare it with the past and put a label on it!