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Photography: Nata Moraru / facebook.com/NataMoraruPhoto

“Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get.”

We had Hooton Tennis Club tell us some of the quirks, characters, stories and sentiments behind each track on Big Box Of Chocolates – here’s what they came out with.

1. Growing Concerns

James: “I adlibbed the vocal bit, the tannoy thing – Ryan phoned me and said, ‘We’ve got this…’”

Ryan: “…gap of two bars – and I didn’t tell him; I just pressed record and he came out with this story about travelling around the Romanian mountains. We redid it in the studio with Edwyn’s tannoy that sounds like an old BBC-backed speaker.”

2. Bootcut Jimmy The G

R: “We were invited to a birthday party for Jimmy from The Kazimier but we didn’t know who Jimmy was and didn’t find out. There was this one guy in the middle of the room going for it, throwing the moves, really such a groover, and he was wearing these bootcut jeans and, like, a shirt from Next; just a really ordinary looking kind of dude who was completely immersed in himself.”

J: “There was no one else dancing, so we assumed he must be Jimmy. He wasn’t!”

3. Bad Dream (Breakdown On St George’s Mount)

J: “Bad Dream was written about three years ago – I guess maybe it’s about when you have someone close to you and you think would they be better off without you because you’re just not good enough.”

R: “It’s that relationship thing and that’s why I really like it because it’s not shy of that proper classic pop song – you know, girl meets boy.”

HOOTON TENNIS CLUB TRACK BY TRACK Image 2

4. Sit Like Ravi

Cal: “We were in South Germany on a day off on tour and we got really high. It was the night of that big red moon, the supermoon, so we got cosmic.”

Harry: “Ry started playing guitar dead high up like it’s a sitar, sitting on the floor cross-legged.”

R: “Pretending to be psychedelic. We were out of our comfort zone vocally but in the studio, Edwyn was like, ‘Let’s keep the harmonies!’”

5. Katy-Anne Bellis

R: “Ah, Katy-Anne! She lived in the Garlic Mansion – she’s such a good person, just really creative and enthusiastic. She’s one of those people who just wants to help, doesn’t mind, she never wants anything back, and so when I got to know her for a little bit and then she left, I was like, ‘Ahh, I wanted to know more about her’ – her name worked really well as a melody and the rest is just literal!”

6. O, Man Won’t You Melt Me

R: “Edwyn does the backing on this one.”

H: “He comes in and sounds like God with this big, deep voice: ‘Oh, it’s not me!’”

J: “We were really scared about asking him as well.”

H: “Yeah, we asked Grace first.”

R: “And he was just like, ‘Can you write it down for me?’, and then he was holding it all day practising it so he got it really right.”

HOOTON TENNIS CLUB TRACK BY TRACK Image 2

7. Statue Of The Greatest Woman I Know

H: “It’s got one of my favourite bits on the album, which is Ryan’s vocal when he goes into a bit of a Scouse accent.”

R: “Gerrrreaat-est! That part, ‘I painted the kitchen, I painted the top of the stairs’, is something I heard my dad say to my mum in a silly argument: ‘I’ve bloody painted the kitchen and painted the stairs, what else do you want me to do? Cut the grass?’ It was a good little nugget of married life.”

8. Meet Me At The Molly Bench

C: “It’s about a bench in Mollington just outside Chester.”

J: “It’s equidistant from mine and Ry’s houses and it’s where we used to meet on our bikes.”

R: “The bike bell, why did we choose to put that in?”

H: “It was in the right key, we didn’t have to pitch shift it at all, and it’s a song about bikes. In the studio, you couldn’t hold it without muting it, so you had to attach it to a drumstick.”

9. Lauren, I’m In Love!

C: “It could be taken in a certain way, as like a lustful thing, but it’s not, it’s about our appreciation of her and what she [Lauren Laverne] does for 6Music.”

H: “And about 6Music in general. That sounds even more suck up-y but we went in to do a session and I just remember thinking, ‘What are we doing? We’re in 6Music doing a live session and we’re just four – four dickheads, is what we always say’.”

HOOTON TENNIS CLUB TRACK BY TRACK Image 2

10. Frostbitten In Fen Ditton

H: “Originally it was just going to fade out with the chords and Edwyn said, ‘Try something different’ and we came up with that ending in the studio.”

R: “We were going for that country and western, jangly kind of sound.”

C: “We were listening to like a lot of Americana music like The Flying Burrito Brothers, Lee Hazlewood…”

J: “… And trying to get that atmosphere on the track with Edywn’s lap steel.”

11. Lazers Linda

R: “We wrote the most throwaway lyrics we’ve ever tried to write.”

J: “We fictionalised a character in our heads, didn’t we? Linda is a reference to It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but we made her this guru who can help you.”

C: “And we argued for ages about the track title – it should be an ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’ but we just thought in the end ‘z’ looks better, it’s cooler.”

12. Big Box Of Chocolates

J: “I think the greatest bit in this one is where Ry sums up what it’s like to create something in front of the ocean, cos we were overlooking Moray Firth.”

R: “To say, like, ‘I’m trying to make this art but I mean, look at that, I’m never gonna make anything better than that’.”

C: “It definitely influenced the album, just being there and having this view.”

R: “You were just pinching yourself all the time – here we are, 10 years down the line, we’ve been mates since high school, we try to make music and suddenly we’re in Edwyn Collins’ studio and it’s just like, ‘Fuck, what?!’ So then you feel like you’ve got to make something good of it or you might waste the opportunity.”

H: “Or, at least, if not make something good, appreciate what you’re doing while you’re doing it.”

C: “But then realising that there are bigger things than what you’re doing.”

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