London’s Stats are a new dance pop band with a funky brand of electropop that has roots in glorious technicolor ’80s synthpop, ’70s art rock/Krautrock, and a bit of light disco froth on top. The blend is thoroughly modern and every track is carefully constructed and composed. Other People’s Lives is the group’s debut album releasing today via Memphis Industries.
Stats recorded the songs with a full band on jam mode at London’s RAK Studios to capture the true immediacy of live performance. Lead singer/guitarist Ed Seed says, “the special energy of six people losing themselves in what they’re doing, and somehow synchronizing into something none of them could have planned.” They then meticulously tracked the album, and it shows as the album is a glorious listen all the way through with enough contrasts in texture and sound to keep the listener wanting more.
According to Seed, Other People’s Lives “is about recognizing that my life story is full of holes. The world encourages me to experience my life as a narrative: a story in which I am the lead character, going on a journey, moving towards the discovery and realization of an authentic self. Other people’s lives are presented to me as coherent, relatable stories, full of passion and travel and wonder.”
Enjoy this splendid new record track-by-track as Seed provides the running commentary on the creation of the songs.
This album is about realising that my life story is full of holes.
The world encourages me to experience my life as a narrative; a story in which I am the lead character, going on a journey, moving towards the discovery and realisation of an authentic self. Other people’s lives are presented to me as coherent, relatable stories, full of passion, travel, and wonder. But my story makes no sense; it is full of contradictions and formless subplots, and I barely feel like the same actor from one day to the next, let alone find any meaning in it. I find meaning when I lose myself, in the moments it dissolves into unity with those other people: lying in bed with the person I love, dancing, caring for a baby, standing in a stadium crowd, drinking, reading, and playing music in this band. Dance music is unity music, music you can rely on and lose yourself in, for all those situations.
The songs were mostly assembled in a cut-and-paste style from long jams at a two-day session at RAK in London. We picked a tempo, and sometimes a simple starting idea, and played off the top of our heads for 10-30 minutes. Later I listened to the full recordings, cut out the best moments, and structured them loosely into songs. This way you can capture the moment of inspiration, the special energy of six people losing themselves in what they’re doing, and somehow synchronising into something none of them could have planned. I write words separately from music, just on my phone. I took the rough song assemblies one by one and thought about how the music felt, what kind of words and singing it seemed to suggest, and threw down all kinds of ideas to see what would land. Sometimes the songs came together really quickly – the basics of “Lose It” took under an an hour – and sometimes they emerged slowly. “I Am an Animal” took about a year to finish.
I Am an Animal
The domestic sublime. Catching yourself for a minute – naked, in the middle of the night – and being hit by the sheer (terrifying) unlikeliness of it all. Love is returning you to your physical body, and transforming your senses, so everyday life is full of wonders, as it is to a child. Do you remember looking at the face of a clock, before you’d been taught to measure time, and trying to work out what it all meant? Dizzy flashes, cosmic but domestic, when you’re in and out of your mind, when you’re just animals – that’s what this one is getting at.
Duncan played the same fuzz note in the same place for 20 minutes, and John never strayed from kick/hat/sidestick; nine minutes in, Nicole transformed the whole thing with those chords. RAK let us borrow their Yamaha CS80, the priceless Blade Runner mega-synth. No one could get a single usable sound out of it, it was just clicks and hiss, but then Isobel tried and was somehow a natural, she makes it sing and swoon all over this song.
There Is a Story I Tell About My Life
Who does this guy think he is. This story doesn’t add up – I don’t believe he’d say that. I just don’t buy it, and where the hell did she come from? Can’t tell a joke to save his life, either.
This was made from the last knockings of a totally different and eventually unused song: Duncan and Iso got increasingly dark and abstract doing all that Twin Peaks stuff, while John and Stu got ever leaner and more direct, like ESG – everyone was right.
Rhythm of the Heart
We recorded this song at RAK on Valentine’s Day, just a few days before I had to go on a month-long tour of America playing in Dua Lipa’s band. When the plane landed in Chicago, I got a WhatsApp picture message from my fiancée Michelle saying we were going to have a baby. When I finally got home, we went to meet him at the first scan when they play you the sound of the baby’s heartbeat. I asked if I could record it, and I gave the recording to Tom Andrews, who was mixing the song and asked him to blend it in somewhere, so Levi is on it too. The lyrics were written well before Levi was even a plan (the main phrase was in at least three earlier songs that didn’t make it), but unconsciously I’d been thinking about babies and new life and love the whole time.
There are cells that make up the heart muscle called myocytes, and when isolated you can see them beat independently, in the same rhythm as the whole heart.
Life as a story, as a habit, as accumulation, as obligations – it piles up like laundry or landfill, sometimes it’s all just there to be lost. Do you fear loss or crave it? Disappearance is seductive. Do you pony up for another gig in the cloud, or do you just want it gone? But how would you be sure it really was: where did it go? Can you even remember what’s in that self-storage unit?
I love this song because it feels both heavy and flyaway at the same time. I put the music together one Sunday morning while the baby was napping. Then I took him to the supermarket and on the way home the chorus tune and all the words just came into my head, so I sang it into my phone there on the street. Our pal Dominic McGuinness on guitar.
A Change of Scenery
It’s a comforting idea that a new place will sort out all my problems, that satisfaction is just an ocean away. But as Tony Soprano said, there’s no geographical solution to an emotional problem. Related to the comfy alienation of work travel, or being on the road: it’s sweet to yearn for Life Back Home, and sweeter still to know it’s staying there.
Recorded at Real World Studios, with Stu on something called the Fun Machine, and Stats’ big brother Ant Whiting probably playing one of the guitars – can’t be sure about personnel on much of this stuff, except that it’s always John on the drums.
Other People’s Lives
You can now know all the wonderful and terrible events of other people’s lives in extraordinary detail, despite only ever interacting with them in an entirely pro forma way using the norms of the platforms – leaving you both with a passive and eerie familiarity. This song tries to realize some of those new feelings that come from being online: the yearning, the creepiness, the compulsiveness, the enveloping loneliness. The words were set to a totally different tune, which we recorded at the same session, but this music just sounded more like these feelings: it has constant momentum insisting you move forward, but it’s also a bit cold, and there are weird noises all around – some pretty, some pretty nasty – and eventually they take over. Eugene McGuinness on backwards/forwards guitar.
Taking back control is overrated. I don’t know what’s good for me. I want to give it up; I want to let go. A complete song, and an old song, recorded in a single take from top to bottom with only one overdub – me, Isobel and Nicole then singing it immediately afterwards, around a single mic.
From a High Sky
This music is a bit of a vortex, everyone plays a single pattern each and when they’re all going at the same time, it’s quite hypnotic. The words are about one of those vertigo moments you get while you’re doing the washing-up or something, when you feel somehow outside yourself, or you realise your world now genuinely revolves around someone you love, or your brain receives a flash of infinity or death and freaks out. This is not about drugs. This song adapts a beautiful phrase from A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo, by kind permission of the author.
The Family Business
Families tell stories about themselves just like individual people do, and sometimes when those stories can’t hold anymore. You get arguments and fights that are vicious in a way that only families can be. It’s horrifying but can also be weirdly liberating – at least it forces you to be real with each other. How well do you know these people you call family anyway? They’ve always been around, but you don’t think about them like you would anyone else – sometimes you’re crueler, sometimes you’re kinder, but they’re not like any other relationships you have. Put yourself on any side of it, just try to understand.
A Man Who Makes the Weather
Trying to recognize the worse angels of my nature, where I get them from and how I might be sending them out into the world.
Never Loved Anyone
When you realise you’ve been using a word your whole life without knowing even a little bit what it really means. Or maybe that there isn’t much to say about it at all. This is an uncut live take: Ant filled Iso’s piano with ping pong balls, I broke RAK’s violin bass, Duncan came up with a really beautiful and abstract “guitar solo” out of nowhere, John found the perfect weight for everything.