Event #45: "Follow-ups" 30 Sep 2020 • Host: Rob Lindsay

Cornershop – Handcream for a Generation (2002)

For September’s Off The Record we were lucky enough to be joined by the artists themselves – Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres of Cornershop joined us to for a text chat on Zoom while we listened to the album, and stuck around afterwards to answer a few more questions too. The band were absolutely amazing and shared some cool stories and photos/memories of the days when they were recording this album. With their permission, we’re sharing the transcript below of the text chat, roughly grouped into headings for each song as it played. Read on for some insights from Cornershop about how they made this album.

1. “Heavy Soup” - 3:21

  • 19:31:39 – Pankaj
    In comes a bit of Hammondy keyboard
  • 19:31:43 – Dubya
    Feet already bouncing. Hard to sit in the chair? Ben, where do these infectious hooks come from? Collaborative effort?
  • 19:31:45 – Matt Rose
    Can we get a link to Ben’s twitter please?
  • 19:32:25 – Jez W
    Very infectious!
  • 19:32:36 – Rob Lindsay
  • 19:33:11 – Matt Rose
  • 19:33:51 – Ben Ayres
    Sure, I think this should be my twitter link
  • 19:33:51 – Matt Andrews
    I love the bass on this one
  • 19:33:56 – Dubya
    Let’s not forget about their indelible samples they weave into their music.
  • 19:33:58 – Ben Ayres
  • 19:34:00 – Matt Andrews
    Quite McCartney-esque

2. “Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform” - 4:35

  • 19:34:31 – Pankaj
    Staging….. Bahut Khushi hai
  • 19:34:32 – Dubya
    Whose idea was it to bring in the children for vocals?
  • 19:34:37 – Pankaj
    (It makes me very happy)
  • 19:35:14 – Ben Ayres
    Otis clay on vocals there, he recorded his parts at a sound check for one of his gigs..
  • 19:35:26 – Sovesh
    Q for Ben… what did the hippie have in his bag? 🤔🤔
  • 19:36:03 – Ben Ayres
    Haha, another bag….
  • 19:36:28 – Ben Ayres
    Staging… We played a lot of these tracks live before recording them rehearsals at Terminal Rehearsal Studios near London Bridge nov - dec 2001
  • 19:36:29 – Dubya
    Post - 9/11 album. Got me through emotional times! They came to SF, Cali. I still have sharp images of the band playing at the legendary Fillmore.
  • 19:37:01 – Dubya
    Great middle 8!
  • 19:37:11 – Ben Ayres
    I remember that Filmore gig being a good one… always great crowds in SF
  • 19:37:27 – Matt Andrews
    Love the guitar tone on this too, it’s gorgeous
  • 19:37:53 – Dubya
    I agree with you, Matt, coupled with the backing vocals. Delicious.
  • 19:38:03 – Ben Ayres
    Staging was one of John Peel’s favourite Cornershop songs. We had recorded children’s singing in the past, WOG and Jullandar Shere had Indian cousins of Tjinder singing.
  • 19:38:24 – Pankaj
    It’s so clean….
  • 19:39:12 – Ben Ayres
    Tjinder always puts a lot of thought into the guitar tones/sounds , in fact all the production work, this album was probably the most intense studio work we’ve ever done, we went down a rabbit hole and only just got out again
  • 19:39:31 – Dubya
    Your rabbit hole is our aural gain Ben.
  • 19:41:47 – Tjinder Singh
    It was one of John Peels favourite songs, so we always think of him by it - Staging

3. “Music Plus 1” - 4:46

  • 19:38:57 – Pankaj
    Music Plus 1…… unbelievable….
  • 19:39:36 – Pankaj
    I’ve dropped it in party playlists…. Faithless meets Les Rhythmiques Digitales (who supported the band in the 90s)
  • 19:39:46 – Matt Andrews
    Okay so confession time: I’ve never listened to this album before, and this track (#3) has just hit me out of the blue
  • 19:39:51 – Matt Andrews
    (In a good way)
  • 19:39:57 – Pankaj
    It’s stunning…
  • 19:40:02 – Ben Ayres
    That’s great to hear, Doreen Edwards from Manchester on vocals
  • 19:40:14 – Sovesh
    simply very very tasty…
  • 19:41:03 – Tjinder Singh
    Ah, my tag is Ananda, and that’s my sons name, Tjinder here. Ananda probably because of the lyric in this song as take in homage to Ananda Shankar
  • 19:41:05 – Andrea
    Definitely could easily drop this into a club set
  • 19:41:24 – Pankaj
    Ben, Tjinder, noticeably nothing so housey/dancey in England is a Garden…. consciously so?
  • 19:41:25 – Matt Rose
    I’ve never listened to this album before either. I really like albums that jump around between genres, so really loving this lurch into big beat!
  • 19:41:26 – Rob Lindsay
    It’s such a packed album, that won’t be the only surprise Matt!
  • 19:41:42 – Pankaj
    It is a box of Celebrations without Bounties.. that good
  • 19:42:34 – Dubya
    Gobs and gobs of surprises headed our way in full throttle speed. Intellectual fusion indie pop at its finest.
  • 19:42:44 – Rob Lindsay
    That Bounties line has cracked me up Pank!
  • 19:42:48 – Tjinder Singh
    Music Plus one has Doreen Edwards on vocal duties. She’s from Manchester and we had the good fortune to have her on a few song.
  • 19:42:53 – Ben Ayres
    Technology was still a large part of the sound, which we practised more in the on-going Clinton side project.
  • 19:43:05 – Lewis
    I love the sounds spinning around the stereo field :)
  • 19:43:26 – Andrea
    My budgies like track 3 by the way :)
  • 19:43:39 – Lewis
    Going to have to check out Clinton I think
  • 19:43:39 – Tjinder Singh
    As a follow up we really were spent after we did this album, we needed it to out do When I Was Born, and we thought we had, and still do
  • 19:43:50 – Sovesh
    Tjinder Paaji.. Sat Sri Akal 🙏🙏

4. “Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III” - 4:24

  • 19:44:14 – Pankaj
    Rocky 1…. this is the father and mother to a few on the new album…. the lyrics are magnificent.
  • 19:44:18 – Jez W
    Haha Ive watched all the rocky movies very recently
  • 19:44:23 – Tjinder Singh
    Sat Sri Akhal Sovesh, again - and to everyone out there.
  • 19:44:26 – Dubya
    Ben, are you extremely critical of the work you’ve done especially when you go back and listen to them in their entirety?
  • 19:44:26 – Matt Andrews
    This track (Lessons Learned) used to get played on Ricky Gervais’s XFM radio shows years ago
  • 19:44:46 – Ben Ayres
    A nod to Steppenwolf here…
  • 19:45:00 – Tjinder Singh
    Oh, my player must play fast I’m still on Music Plus 1
  • 19:45:29 – Matt Andrews
    Don’t worry, I think I hit play too soon my end
  • 19:46:19 – Ben Ayres
    To answer that Dubya, not especially - I’m more amazed by the results as I’m not a virtuoso of any sort, so just to be a part of creating music is like magic sometimes
  • 19:46:28 – Tjinder Singh
    Well there’s no going back - Lessons Learnt
  • 19:46:52 – Dubya
    Thank you Ben for answering my question.
  • 19:47:28 – Dubya
    Can’t play this one in the classroom for the students :)!
  • 19:47:42 – Pankaj
    Guys, are there any 7 inch collectibles from this album?
  • 19:47:56 – Rob Lindsay
    Someone’s announced this week that Sylvester Stallone’s doing a Director’s Cut of Rocky IV, and all I could think of was “Lesson 3: Ignore 4”…!
  • 19:48:10 – Tjinder Singh
    This track is about the music industry as our relations with our label started to turn a little bad - we were constantly touring in Europe and US, and ended up on our own label after this album - then Judy Sucks a Lemon became the follow up
  • 19:48:34 – Dubya
    My neighbors are probably getting angry with the volume! What a hook!
  • 19:48:37 – Ben Ayres
    Yes to the collectibles question, especially the limited 7 of Motion The 11, which I share a photo of shortly..
  • 19:48:56 – Tjinder Singh
    Yes, never thought there was anything to be taken from 4, especially as I haven’t seen it, in fact I not seen any of them
  • 19:49:01 – Pankaj
    Oh yes
  • 19:49:42 – Tjinder Singh
    Guigsy on Bass on Lessons Lear… one take, then another go to ensure we had it in the pocket
  • 19:50:07 – Matt Andrews
    These are great Ben!
  • 19:50:12 – Tjinder Singh
    Recorded in Preston Lancs., again Doreen doing BV’s this time
  • 19:50:29 – Ben Ayres
    Lessons Learned from rocky I to rocky III features Guigsy from Oasis on bass. He drove up from London one evening and drove back at 4am after recording his bass on the track
  • 19:50:57 – Ben Ayres
    Rob Swift of New York Hip Hop and turntablist outfit The X-Ecutioners on this track, who we were big fans of, we worked with San Francisco Hip Hop legend Dan The Automator on ‘WIWBFT7T’, who’d just made the classic ‘Dr Octagon’ LP with Kool Keith, a big fave of ours.
  • 19:51:03 – Tjinder Singh
    Artwork, Ben may have said is by our long time friend Nick Edwards, he continues to work with us..
  • 19:51:35 – Ben Ayres
    Yes Nick is a very important component of the Cornershop equation, he’s brilliant.
  • 19:51:45 – Dubya
    Tjinder—thanks for informing us about the artwork. Visually stimulating and always interesting.

5. “Wogs Will Walk” - 4:54

  • 19:51:56 – Tjinder Singh
    Wogs Will Walk starts off in Broad street Wolverhampton and Pipers Row then eventually gets via Soho Road to India and back - 10 of them 60 of these
  • 19:52:08 – Lewis
    Dr Octagon! I do love the Instrumentalyst album.
  • 19:52:19 – Matt Andrews
    I love the mood of this one (WWW)
  • 19:52:30 – Tjinder Singh
    Rob swift smacking the laser beams of 2 twin 12’s
  • 19:52:33 – Sovesh
    Was Guigsy asked for the bass duty specifically for this song? wondering why he didn’t join you guys for a long term.?
  • 19:52:49 – Pankaj
    Recommend everyone watches the Wog Army video on You Tube. Joyous visuals to go with the tune
  • 19:53:21 – Pankaj
    Motion the 11…. Ja… again, the tone and mood switches.. just bloody wow
  • 19:53:34 – Dubya
    Pankaj—I completely agree. Good call.
  • 19:53:46 – Tjinder Singh
    Having Guigs on a long term loan wold have been great, as we didn’t really have a bass player - we got on with him very well - even borrowed his bass tech - Roger - no I mean his name was Roger
  • 19:54:24 – Matt Andrews
    Was he still in Oasis at that point?

6. “Motion the 11” - 5:46

  • 19:54:25 – Ben Ayres
    We were spending a fair bit of time with Guigsy round this time, he introduced us to Jack and Kojak of London Roots Reggae group The Nazarites who feature on this track
  • 19:54:41 – Sovesh
    no he left on 98 maybe
  • 19:55:18 – Ben Ayres
    here’s a photo of the Motion The 11 7”, only 500 or less made I think… possibly 300?
  • 19:55:19 – Dubya
    The little narratives on this chat is fantastic. I appreciate the collective insight and deep knowledge.
  • 19:55:56 – Rob Lindsay
    Am I right that Dan the Automator later sampled one of your tracks on the Handsome Boy Modelling School project? I think there’s an “Automator on the Fader” line?
  • 19:56:01 – Ben Ayres
    We recorded the vocals by Jack Wilson and Kojak, two members of London Roots reggae group The Nazarites on 2/2/01 at Eastcote Studios in Ladbroke Grove, London, it was an epic session, day turned to night and then day again.
  • 19:57:18 – Tjinder Singh
    Again the reggaeites are Jack and Kojak, friends of Guigs. The session was just smooth - very laid back too. Then mixed in with Doreen singing the Motion the 11 refrain again. Actually this was the first song we did for the album. Me and Ben went to a house by the Thames river for a week , and the keyboards and start to the track came from there - it mentions the Oasis crew - and the Eastbank crew from Stoke Newington which is where their reggae group the Nazarites came from - dread up on …
  • 19:57:37 – Ben Ayres
    That’s a true story too.. recorded this track on the same desk that Bob Marley used at Eastcote Studios..
  • 19:57:47 – Dubya
  • 19:58:53 – Tjinder Singh
    Automator line was taken from that track. This time we got Rob Swift from the X-Ecutioners in to represent the USA. More from him later

7. “People Power” - 3:54

  • 19:59:14 – Matt Andrews
    Is that the radio 4 pips at the start of People Power?
  • 19:59:20 – Pankaj
    I’m onto People Power in Disco Hour. Infectious with the pips
  • 19:59:35 – Tjinder Singh
    Yes it was an ex Island Records desk, which was once moved to transit by none other than Tapp Zukie
  • 19:59:48 – Tjinder Singh
    Tappa Zukie, sorry I got too excited
  • 20:00:22 – Tjinder Singh
    Going back to Clinton “People Power In the Disco Hour” was originally a Clinton song
  • 20:00:49 – Ben Ayres
    Yes this song, different version, was originally on the Clinton album, still is.
  • 20:01:13 – Tjinder Singh
    Funny Ben
  • 20:01:20 – Tjinder Singh
    but hey true
  • 20:01:44 – Tjinder Singh
    phone ringing
  • 20:01:53 – Pankaj
    Both of the telephone ringtones in my mum and dad’s old house feature….
  • 20:01:55 – Matt Andrews
    Haha yeah it keeps tricking me
  • 20:02:10 – Ben Ayres
    features a 1980s trim phone, an evocative sound…

8. “Sounds Super Recordings” - 1:30

  • 20:02:44 – Pankaj
    Aha Dhol time…. tell us about this
  • 20:02:44 – Tjinder Singh
    It all sounds like yesterday…
  • 20:02:53 – Rob Lindsay
    Can I please ask how come you started releasing music as Clinton? Was it just about an alternative line up, or did it afford you some artistic freedoms that you didn’t feel you had under the Cornershop name??
  • 20:03:49 – Tjinder Singh
    Rob, it was a way to use more technology - i bought a cheap sampler off a tour manager how happened to have on in the back of his van Akai S950
  • 20:04:10 – Tjinder Singh
    It was the tech laboratory
  • 20:04:18 – Rob Lindsay
  • 20:05:18 – Tjinder Singh
    The vocals talk of Super who had just passed away - he had come to England to shed light on Indian traditional music
  • 20:05:43 – Tjinder Singh
    Now to Genoa - time for a quick smoke

9. “The London Radar” - 4:07

  • 20:05:54 – Pankaj
    Ah, that sample… this is perfect. London Radar reminds me of the often forgotten Urban Turban
  • 20:06:23 – Matt Andrews
    This reminds me of early Daft Punk (London Radar)
  • 20:06:45 – Ben Ayres
    this track The London Radar Represent the flying experiences that we had at that time – in the 6 or so years prior to the recording of this song we were touring non-stop and constantly flying somewhere on tour, so this track was inevitable.
  • 20:07:17 – Tjinder Singh
    Urban turban - never thought of the link myself but I see it now - again that was the follow up to our album with Bubbley Kaur
  • 20:07:44 – Matt Andrews
    Ben: what was the best airport you travelled to/from?!
  • 20:08:07 – Rob Lindsay
  • 20:08:25 – Matt Andrews
  • 20:08:26 – Rob Lindsay
    Sorry Matt x
  • 20:08:41 – Matt Andrews
    I just like Berlin’s little toy airports…
  • 20:08:44 – Tjinder Singh
    We love Daft Punk - always have - that is too good of you Matt

10. “Spectral Mornings” - 14:24

  • 20:08:57 – Ben Ayres
    Noel recorded his guitar parts on 21/06/01 at Eastcote Studios, Sheema our Sitarist recorded her parts the day before.
  • 20:09:09 – Ben Ayres
    For Spectral Mornings
  • 20:09:25 – Tjinder Singh
    As you may know there is a 24hr version of this track.
  • 20:09:35 – Sovesh
    Noel G.. 😄😄✌✌
  • 20:09:41 – Dubya
    Goodbye fellow Cornershop friends. Keep up the loyalty, it’s fantastic. Hats off…
  • 20:09:54 – Rob Lindsay
    Thanks Dubya, lovely to see you!
  • 20:09:55 – Matt Andrews
    👋 thanks Dubya!
  • 20:10:08 – Tjinder Singh
    Noel played bass for us on quite a few live gigs, so asking him to record on this track was a natural move
  • 20:10:11 – Pankaj
    Tere dukh - mere dukh. Spectral Mornings…. it’s so perfect. Nitin Sawhney and Badmarsh and Shri must have loved this
  • 20:10:22 – Ben Ayres
    Thanks for joining us Dubya!
  • 20:11:01 – Tjinder Singh
    Have a great day Dubya - i presume you ride into the day
  • 20:11:03 – Matt Andrews
    Did you always intend this one to be long or did it evolve?
  • 20:11:20 – Sovesh
    It could have been super cool with Tjinder Paaji and Liam on lead vocals… 😁😁
  • 20:11:38 – Ben Ayres
    Going back to the fave airport question, I once spent 12 hours in JFK followed by 12 hours in Denver Airport trying to join a tour after missing a flight, I can confirm both have excellent facilities
  • 20:11:52 – Tjinder Singh
    Many of these songs were played in rehearsal sessions so it must have lent itself toeing 24hys long.
  • 20:12:14 – Matt Andrews
    Hah thanks Ben
  • 20:13:13 – Tjinder Singh
    Never thought of asking Liam to do vocals - him and Noel both liked Jullandar Shere via MTV in a hotel in Switzerland
  • 20:13:23 – Ben Ayres
    here’s a photo of us with Noel straight after he recorded his guitar parts
  • 20:14:01 – Matt Andrews
    That’s awesome
  • 20:14:30 – Sovesh
    teri ashish chaunde part of Jullander Shere still gives me goosebumps..
  • 20:14:46 – Pankaj
    Yes indeed
  • 20:15:04 – Rob Lindsay
    I read this afternoon that you streamed a 24 hour version of this track on your website. Is that right, or do I need to start questioning what I read on the internet?
  • 20:15:05 – Tjinder Singh
    I don’t think Nitin or B&S were - we sort of kept away from most other asian groups, coming as we did from a more independent background - wheel tappers and shunters as our old manager would say
  • 20:16:21 – Pankaj
    Yes… Bubbley Kaur album is unlike any other “Asian” album. And yet it is the most Indian
  • 20:16:25 – Tjinder Singh
    There was a 24hr mix that pressed play at 6am in New Zealand. Some people listened, went to work, then came back home and it was still playing.
  • 20:16:41 – Rob Lindsay
    That’s amazing
  • 20:16:42 – Sovesh
  • 20:16:45 – Ben Ayres
    we still have the tapes somewhere…
  • 20:17:18 – Tjinder Singh
    My first music was Sikh devotional and punjabi folk music, and I always wanted to do an album like that.
  • 20:17:43 – Tjinder Singh
    anyone else feel peckish?
  • 20:17:55 – Pankaj
    Yeah, we’re having roti afterwards
  • 20:18:03 – Pankaj
    With chana
  • 20:18:06 – Ben Ayres
    I’ve got some peanuts on the go…
  • 20:18:14 – Tjinder Singh
    SHeema Mukerjee on sitar - such a star!
  • 20:18:18 – Matt Andrews
    I have some authentic Black Country pork scratchings somewhere…
  • 20:18:26 – Sovesh
    For me it’s Roti and dal makhni
  • 20:18:58 – Tjinder Singh
    Mortandi for me
  • 20:20:22 – Tjinder Singh
    There is some chanting on this song, that was done with the Record label friends and staff - its very low in the mix, which is one of my regrets
  • 20:21:18 – Sovesh
    Tjinder Paaji.. my friends in India used to be crazy about Cornershop back in 90s via radio.. but we never got an official release or something like that..
  • 20:22:01 – Pankaj
    This mix of sitar and gitar…..
  • 20:22:39 – Rob Lindsay
    The balance of elements on this track absolutely blows my mind. There’s so much here, and it sounds so free, while each sound weaves in and out.

11. “Slip the Drummer One” - 3:42

  • 20:22:49 – Pankaj
    Matt, are we doing the bonus track (13 on CD)
  • 20:23:05 – Matt Andrews
    Yeah I think so, if everyone has it
  • 20:23:19 – Andrea
    I have ‘untitled’ at the end of my version
  • 20:23:24 – Rob Lindsay
    That’s it!
  • 20:23:26 – Jez W
    Untitled on spotify
  • 20:23:30 – Tjinder Singh
    Indian in the 90s threatened to get a good distribution network but it never happened - too many cowboys, so we didn’t have proper releases.
  • 20:23:42 – Rob Lindsay
  • 20:24:08 – Sovesh
    untitled.. it is
  • 20:24:45 – Tjinder Singh
    Prior to Rob Swift coming to England, we physically pressed a vinyl dub plate with sound excerpts on it - he used a lot of those on his turntable work.. on the dip switch
  • 20:24:57 – Lewis
    Still on Spectral Mornings. Might stick it on again… bloody brilliant.
  • 20:25:18 – Ben Ayres
    Yeah, One of the rare occasions parts of a track were pressed to vinyl before the track was finished in order for Rob Swift to be able to scratch bits of the tracks on the deck into what would become the final track! Quite a long process, and can be done a lot easier these days.
  • 20:26:07 – Tjinder Singh
    “It ain much but it is strong” is what Sean Lennon said to us when we met him backstage in NY
  • 20:26:24 – Ben Ayres
    Majority of the album was recorded in 2001 at West Orange Studios in Preston, Lancashire and Eastcote Studios in London

12. “Heavy Soup (Outro)” - 2:13

  • 20:26:38 – Sovesh
    I know I shouldn’t be asking for this.. But do we have time for one more random cornershop track after this track ends?
  • 20:27:01 – Tjinder Singh
    I think we waited a few months before the finishing of the album and its release.
  • 20:27:07 – Matt Andrews
    Depends if it’s 14 mins long!
  • 20:27:41 – Ben Ayres
    Nick Edwards who designed the album sleeve art, at our suggestion, designed a ‘sleeve’ image for each song on the album, which features in the inner gatefold of the vinyl album and the booklet of the CD, which are the images I’ve been sharing
  • 20:28:12 – Jez W
    Love the concept
  • 20:28:20 – Rob Lindsay
    Hey Sovesh, we’re including the untitled bonus track if that’s what you mean, but if not, there’ll be a collaborative playlist opportunity after we’ve come back for a quick chat if that helps?
  • 20:28:35 – Rob Lindsay
    And those ‘sleeve’ images are gorgeous
  • 20:28:50 – Rob Lindsay
    I love the one for the Bonus track!

13. “Straight Aces” (bonus track) - 3:16

  • 20:29:08 – Tjinder Singh
    Ah, Otis has left the building and the soup goes on. There is an untitled track which was a white label 7” with the vinyl I think. Its talking was recorded at a late night party I had…
  • 20:29:21 – Pankaj
    Yeah - Highly Amplified from the latest album….
  • 20:30:10 – Matt Andrews
    This bonus track is great, glad it’s on here
  • 20:30:18 – Sovesh
    done.. added
  • 20:30:23 – Matt Andrews
    The groove is really tight, has nice end-of-the-evening vibes
  • 20:30:26 – Rob Lindsay
    There’s such a gorgeous end-of-the-night vibe to this untitled track.
  • 20:30:36 – Rob Lindsay
    Ah! Same thought :)
  • 20:30:47 – Tjinder Singh
    Quite a few French people left at the end of the night, some that have now sadly left due to Brexit - the honeycomb we are breaking.
  • 20:32:12 – Tjinder Singh
    The untitled track could have ended up on our last album by how it sounds. It was hard work but not a difficult follow up album.
  • 20:32:36 – Matt Andrews
    Okay, the album just finished at my end so hopefully everyone else is around the same point