We were meeting every morning at Damon [Albarn’s] studio up in Ladbroke Grove. He’d drop his daughter off at school and then we’d all turn up really early by music industry standards. We’d start at 9am and would just set up and play.
Graham [Coxon] was struggling with alcoholism at the time and had gone into rehab. He hadn’t officially left the band and there were a lot of discussions about whether or not we should continue without him.
It got to the point where we decided we just needed to carry on and he could join in whenever he wanted.
Damon had the chorus, the opening line and the guitar chords for the song that became Out Of Time. Dave [Rowntree] wanted a new challenge - he wanted to do something different - so we built him a drum kit out of an old military bass drum.
We plugged Alex [James’] bass into an amp with a lot of sustain and it reacted more like a synth than a bass. The idea was to force them all to play in ways that were slightly out of their comfort zone.
They just jammed around the song for ages and Damon was trying out vocal ideas - most of them without words - but the phrasing and the pace of the lyrics were taking shape.
We added some glockenspiel and a bit more guitar over the top and then went to Morocco to finish off the recording out there.
We had 45 songs at one point that were all unfinished, so we went to Morocco for the next stage of the recording to nail down what songs we were going to finish for the record. Out Of Time was an obvious contender.
We brought a Moroccan orchestra into this studio we’d built in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, outside Marrakesh.
We said, ‘Do you want us to write parts for you?’ And they said, ‘No, it’s fine, we’ll just turn up and play, but in the same key and the same speed as your song.’ It sounded like it was going to be a disaster.
Sure enough, we played the song and they started playing along. It was great - there were 15 or 16 of them and they all played as an ensemble.
They were playing some amazing things and following the chords and they just meshed together as a group perfectly. They didn’t even have headphones on; they just played to what they felt. It was quite magical.
The final thing to do was get the lyrics finished and, because we’d made the song up from the guide vocal, most of the lyrics weren’t there, so Damon spent about three days just writing lyrics and trying to get the vocal melody to be as good as the guide version.
The lyric and vocal sounds effortless on the record but that was the bit that was really hard work; Damon worked his arse off.
We mixed the song out in Morocco straight away and then took all the equipment and built a similar studio in Devon.
That mix survived, it sounded great, the atmosphere on it is just right and that was the final mix we used. Out Of Time was my favourite song on the record, but I didn’t think it was going to be a single because I thought they’d want something much more rocky, more of a standard Blur pop song.
It is such an unusual and beautiful track. Occasionally you work on songs that you know are going to be around for a long time - and that was one of them.
Each week, Music Week profiles the brightest new talents in the business. This week, Parlophone's Krishma Kudhail, tells her story...
How did you break into the industry?
During university, I gained experience at the Urban Music Awards, then I began writing for MTV Wrap Up and GRM Daily. I also took on an A&R internship at Urban Development, where they extended my stay. After I graduated, I went on to do a MA Music Business Management course. After the first year, my tutor recommended me to Universal Music for a placement at Decca, where I worked in press. I then went back to GRM Daily, where a year later I was promoted to the role of project manager. I worked on various projects, whilst gaining marketing experience in part time roles elsewhere. Westside Radio contacted me and asked me to co-present on a specialist show called UKFullStop. Then, over a year later, Warner contacted me about my current role. I was was very blessed to be offered the job.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
As I’ve only been at Parlophone for a few months, I’m yet to hit my milestone. So far, it’s being the executive producer of GGR (Games, Gadgets & Rhymes), which is a YouTube console game show, released exclusively on GRM Daily. It’s been amazing building content with our lovely team, from featuring artists and professional gamers, to being sponsored by Tekken 7 and working on a Call Of Duty special, all in the same year.We’ve worked with Krept & Konan, Avelino, Yungen, Not3s, Abra Cadabra, Kojo Funds, 67, AJ Tracey and Dave.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Having creative freedom. We have an exciting roster, which keeps us on our toes. I work with a great team, who are always interested in hearing about new artists, new music and ideas, so we all learn and grow together.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Balancing everything and still having time to yourself to rest and unwind. It’s important to have some time to refresh your mind, to have a healthy balance with your work and social life.
What advice would you give to those looking to break into the biz?
If you feel frustrated because things aren’t working out, never give up. Timing is everything and everyone’s timing is different, so be patient and stay active within the industry. The more experience you gain the better, whether it is internships or work placements. Education is great too, so if you feel a music course could help extend your knowledge, then go for it - dropping out of education was not for me, you can do both!
KRISHMA'S RECOMMENDED TRACK: