Are the Pixies recording a new album in Wales?

Posted on September 25, 2012

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Frank Black fronting the Pixies at the Brixton Academy, London in 2009. Credit – Mike Griffiths

Whatever Frank Black is  recording right now, it’s a project to which he’s given serious thought. In an interview with The Quietus in April, he said the following:

I’m writing a lot of songs right now. The next recording session is going to very important. I haven’t made demos like this in years! I’m trying to wow people right now. I’m trying right now to make a good record. I’m overdue.

A little more light was shed by friend Jeremy Dubs in a recent Q&A, who revealed he was helping Black record some demos.

“I got to play drums, bass, keyboards, sing backing vocals, and do lots of other super fun stuff. Needless to say, it was a real life dream come true.”

It’s  something of a change from Black’s recording process in recent years, with albums such as 2008’s ‘Svn Fngrs’ and his recent project with Reid Paley written and recorded in a short period of time.

A tantalising clue is a Facebook posting by Black’s wife and collaborator, Violet Clark, announcing the dissolution of their ‘Grand Duchy’ project to the ‘Citizens of Grand Duchy’ page.

Mr. Francis and myself have been keeping busy. Black is in a studio in Wales currently recording an album that by all accounts is going to be a magnificent return to form (whatever that means).

Wales, eh? This is where the speculation kicks in. My mind’s immediately drawn to Rockfield Studios near Monmouth. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s one of the most celebrated recording studios in the world. Incidentally, Gil Norton – who produced Doolittle, Bossanova and Trompe Le Monde – has recorded heaps of bands there.

But what about the man at the centre of all this? There’ve been some interesting updates from Black in recent days.

One’s a picture of his ‘Alumicaster’, a humbucker-equipped Telecaster perched on top of a mixing desk. Could that mixing desk be one of these at Rockfield?

Another picture, this time showing Black in a recording booth, was posted here.

Who can he be working with? A tweet from Joey Santiago on the 25th September gives away a little more, with the location marked as ‘Monmouth, Monmouthshire’.

No sign of Kim and Dave Lovering so far. Let’s not forget Black and Santiago worked together several times during the Pixies’ hiatus, with 1993’s ‘Frank Black’  and the Catholics’  ‘Dog in the Sand’ particular highlights .

Pixies album or not, it looks like we’ve really got something to look forward to.

UPDATE – Good post from ‘sdon’ in the comments below on Violet Clark’s earlier message to to the Grand Duchy group.

Ben Evans and Jeff Collins suggest the studio could be the nearby Monnow Valley.

… and is Kim on board too? Very interesting post in this thread on the frankblack.net forum.

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Posted in: Music