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Recording, Feb '09 - Sarah

Recording, Feb '09

Recording, Feb '09 - Ric
Spence Recording, Feb '09 - Spence

Recording, Feb '09

Recording, Feb '09 - Ivan

The March Greens is the new band from Leeds-based songwriter Spencer Bayles, formerly of acoustic indie-pop trio Last Night's TV.

The first March Greens activity dates back to 2006. "I made some home recordings under that band name as a sideline from LNTV", says Spence. "When LNTV came to an end [in 2007], I spent a while doing other things [including an ongoing stint playing bass in Ric Neale's band], but then it seemed like a good idea to bring The March Greens back to life, this time doing it properly in a studio."

For the recording of the You Shall Go To The Ball EP, Spence drafted in fellow pop kindred spirits Ric Neale (piano), Ivan Mack (drums), and Sarah Jones (violin). It was recorded at Diamond Studios in Wakefield with producer Will Richards.

Musically, there was an effort to get away from the melancholy of his former band. "LNTV's songs weren't intentionally 'depressing', but I can see how a lot of them might've come across like that."

As a result, the new material is generally more upbeat, possible even 'pop'.

"Well, it's what I call pop anyway," laughs Spence. "There are choruses you can actually sing along to!"

In preparation for the recording sessions, he gave his collaborators a playlist of reference tracks by the likes of Tim Finn, Candy Butchers, Fountains of Wayne and Art of Fighting. "It was easier to say 'I want the piano to sound like this' than to try and define it in words," he says. "Having said that, on 'You Don't Need It Or Deserve It', I did suggest that Ric just unleash his inner Billy Joel."

The lyrics of both 'Cinders' and '...Deserve It' touch on real events. "There's certainly elements of people I know or have known in there, but at the heart of those songs are the universal topics of meeting people, making an impression, getting on with housemates etc. The aim was to capture snapshots of situations."

And 'Manhattan'?

"No deep thinking behind that one alas," he says. "As is often the case when starting a new song, I was just strumming a guitar and singing nonsense lyrics about whatever was in my eyeline. In that particular case it was a poster of Woody Allen's movie 'Manhattan', which was on the wall in the spare room along with some photos I'd taken in New York. The song is equal parts reminiscing and planning the next trip."

- March 2009