01. The Devil Closed the Door On Me
02. Adored
03. Slap Me and You Die
04. Accessorise
05. Tumbling Away
06. A Little Act of Defiance
07. Upside Down World
08. Still Running
09. Life Is a Mushroom 


2015 SkyRocketRecords

Check out songs at the above links.



"All About The Album" - If you'd like to feature your band/album, email: urban


Doris Brendel-  the daughter of famed classical pianist Alfred Brendel and former The Violet Hour vocalist is collaborating with producer and multi-instrumentalist Lee Dunham, (Primary Slave) on their forthcoming studio album "Upside Down World". The eclectic mix of art-rock, pop, blues, hard rock, prog, you name it. Find out more about the album and the two. Here's:  DORIS BRENDEL and LEE DUNHAM

What exactly is the 'Upside Down World'? Surely not Australia? :)

Doris: Not Australia. Conceptually Lee & I have often discussed dynamics, opposites, black vs white, which reflect our general attitude on music and visuals. The concept of ‘Upside Down World’ was an extension of that, and I thought ‘I must write a song with that title!’. Some months later Lee sent me a collection of rough guitar riff ideas. As soon as I heard the ukulele riff I started singing Upside Down World to it, and the song took about 5 minutes to write. It was loosely meant to represent opposites, but it seems to have turned into something much more uplifting and reminiscent of someone in love. Funny how things turn out.

Tell us something about the cover art. Very surreal, very classy.

Doris: I often browse the internet for artists and ideas, and most of the things I particularly liked were by the same artist, Igor Morski. In fact he has a series of ‘steam punk dirigibles’ which fitted with our general styling. So I asked him if we could use one of the pictures. He immediately offered to create a bespoke version for our album, and it is brilliant! Absolutely love this artist. I think he’s the new Storm Thorgerson.

What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind prior to recording Upside Down World?

Lee: I was really looking to better the NOT UTOPIA album. The drums on NOT UTOPIA were programmed so I knew that live, natural drums was what I wanted. These days you can have the best drum sound in the world, but listen carefully and it is not always what a “real” drum kit “actually” sounds like. I guess all the years of playing live has trained my ear to try and listen for reality ,and to get that “real” sound the best you possibly can with the budget you have!. The live drums that James Marinos and I recorded really helped the sound of this album. I think it’s given “UPSIDE DOWN WORLD” a really great organic sound! I was pleased with its outcome.

What kind of input did you as the producer have during the process?

Lee: Loads lol, Working with all the different players on this album was really great! You help each one get the best out of themselves whilst analysing what needs to be done when they have finished recording..... to add the magic dust on the top! Also working with Doz is sooooo easy. She’s a one take gal!! I think we have worked together so long that we are telepathic! She writes great ideas normally giving me piano and a vocal parts and I try to make them come to life! Using other peoples musical imagination stops me from running out of ideas!! This album doesn’t have much in the way of samples so was much more based around band instrument sounds. It’s just a recorded band at the end of the day.

Any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques on this record?

Lee: We actually spent a real long time on this album, and the next, in pre-production. I wanted to make sure the guide tracks that Steve Clarke, our drummer would play to, were as tight as humanly possible. I wanted all the intricacies of each song set in stone before we recorded for real...... so enter the secret weapon......electric drum kit! Plug in and play the kit over and over in your house (in silence...bliss) with your drummer until you have got every fill, groove and feel to your liking, then quantize any timing issues and then get all the other members in to play their parts as tight as possible to the electric kit. Quantize any timing issues with any of those parts, take away the kit and you have the perfect backing track for your drummer to play over. Saves time in expensive studios!! We also made a makeshift vocal booth using fully extended mic stands and duvets! Gives a great dead sound! However, doing vocal takes in the summer under 32 tog quilts, cooked Doz a few times. A studio sauna!!!

Doris: Yes – and I nearly fell out of the window trying to cool down! But that’s another story…

Take us through the working process of writing songs with Lee Dunham. What's your strategy?

Doris: Our strategy is not to have a strategy. If it sounds good and feels good it’s worth doing. Inevitably some tracks rise to the top in the process. With ‘Not Utopia’ I set down a bunch of songs and left Lee to it pretty much. This time round we wanted to explore more creative avenues, so it has been a combination of me coming up with complete songs; with me writing to instrumental ideas supplied by Lee, alone or in conjunction with other musicians; and even Lee writing the songs, a few of which will be featured on our next release! Sometimes I have strong arrangement or instrumental ideas which I set down at the start, and sometimes Lee has complete free reign as to which direction to take. Even though we have different musical influences, we work very well together and have a great deal of trust in each others’ abilities.

Kindly inform us about the following tracks. What is the meaning/story behind the songs? - "The Devil Closed the Door On Me"

Doris: I can take little credit for this one. I get sent a lot of lyrics by people and have a few favourites which I use from time to time. The lyrics for ‘Devil’ came from Denis Snape (I have a big pile of his). The instrumentation came from Lee’s initial guitar riff ideas. I remember thinking ‘it’s very AC/DC’. Well many people have urged me to do something in that style, so I thought perhaps I should. The lyrics to ‘Devil’ fitted perfectly. What pleases me immensely is that I have turned the cliché on its head: - most rock/metal songs sing about how BAD the singer is and how in league with the ‘Devil’ the band is. In this case I’m just too nice for the devil to be interested in me…. Lee particularly likes the fact that there are odd time changes in the chorus (probably only noticed by musos) which takes the track away from the norm. Incidentally we are planning a video for this track!

- "Slap Me and You Die"

Doris: Once again – Denis Snape wrote the lyrics (he’s good, isn’t he?). I liked the aggression and the f*** you element of it. I wrote the basic riff and melody in my head – the idea was to write something that would be fun and punchy to play live. Lee then embellished it with the ‘metal centre’ – an orgy of instrumental mayhem. As ever he’s done an exceptional job.

LEE- I hated the middle bit to begin with. I thought I’d plonked a really heavy bit in the middle of a rock song for no reason, but once the lyrics were in I realised this in my mind was the FIGHT scene!! Lol!!.... at least in my mind!


- "Life Is a Mushroom"

Doris: This track started life as an instrumental jam between Lee & bass player Sparkie Dalton. They had a session in the studio and came up with a collection of ideas. There was something irresistibly fun about this track, and as soon as I heard it I sang ‘Life is a Mushroom’ over the top. It was inevitable. It has that tongue in cheek retro-psychedelic quality whilst featuring amazing musicianship. Essentially it’s an instrumental track with silliness over the top. I suggested that we should treat it as a ‘remix’ and that everyone featured on the album should have a line. That didn’t quite happen, but Steve Clark made up for that! We did realise that it didn’t fit in with anything else – but if it’s good it’s good. Let’s hope people are open-minded enough to see that.

Have you always been the fan of the eclectic, complex passages and arrangements? (or do you have the 'disco' past)

Doris: I most certainly do not have a ‘disco’ past! I actually started with Classical music. Both my parents were classical musicians, and I dutifully learned to play the violin. Pop music of the time was only vaguely interesting, and it wasn’t until I heard the Beatles that I started my journey to ‘the dark side’. Once I moved to England my eyes were opened to a rich panoply of music – Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Joplin, Free, etc. I’m generally drawn to artists who buck the trend and/or have a strong sound of their own. I admire originality. Muse and Radiohead are good examples. Lee & I don’t record albums to make a million. We do it as part of our ‘legacy’. To create something we can be proud of. To enjoy the creative process.

Are you paying attention to what kind of record fans/friends expect from you?

Doris: That’s a tricky question. The quick answer would be ‘no’. We’re doing what we want to do. On the other hand, regular listeners know what to expect by now and may be disappointed if we didn’t deliver something diverse. So – who knows?

Would you say that rock criticism is sexist?

Doris: Actually I’ve come across little sexism in my life. I’m quite a strong character and have been described as ‘intimidating’, so perhaps the sexists find easier pickings. Very occasionally I get comments like ‘women can’t do rock’ on social media, but I just hit ‘delete’ and ‘block’ and I don’t hear from them anymore. As far as critics are concerned I cannot remember ever having been on the receiving end of sexist comments, and reviewers have generally been very enthusiastic about my records. No complaints.

What are your immediate plans??

Doris: Obviously getting the album reviewed followed by an advertising campaign on release. We’ll be doing some videos over the next few months, starting with a vid for ‘Devil’ in April/ May. A few low key gigs are planned (TBC). My fan base has grown considerably over the last year, so a few gigs are important. The album is also coming out on a limited edition vinyl which is a bit of an experiment. If it works well we’ll do it again! We’re also half-way through the next album! So there will be another release in 2016 and we’ll be working on that.

If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do

LEE – I’m a massive collector of vinyl and I am very excited to see the album put out on a record. Any other vinyl fans out there should definitely order a copy just for the artwork alone!! The music is great too and just think, we will be keeping that smooth analogue sound going for many years to come! Buy a copy to keep vinyl alive and well!!
Doris Brendel & Lee Dunham

Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,
Photos from the band's websites 

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