Aside from the 2014 compilation Encyclopedia of Arto, Lindsay hadn't put out a solo album since 2004.
I go in with an idea of a general direction, and then I try to write 2/3 of the songs beforehand. I can't write by myself because I can't play harmony. So I bang out these songs with these people. I try out at least a melody and a harmony and half the words before I go into the studio so I'm not wasting time in the studio. I can't afford to waste time in the studio, Fleetwood Mac-style. I can't even imagine that [way of working], but it must have been interesting.
We usually work out the arrangement in the studio with everybody sitting at their instruments. I like to have it written and then have it come together in the studio. It usually sounds best when it first sits together. If you play it again and again and again, people start to lose interest. The recording process becomes cold.
You have to get into the right head to record vocals. Recording vocals is the strangest part of recording. When you sing in front of people, it's a back and forth thing -- you get so much from the people, your body responds differently, it's a different kind of adrenaline. Some people have amazing control and can just perform in a studio situation. But most people don't. It's delicate and difficult. I'm not a trained singer. I'm always learning about singing and trying to improve my singing. I started with very little background, so that's always a long process for me.
This record, I had a concept beforehand, which was to take candomblé drums, these Brazilian ritual drums that play these beautiful, complicated patterns. Each one summons a different deity, and the deity will possess some of the people involved in the ceremony. You play one rhythm and sing one song that goes with it, and those people will get possessed by that. I wanted to mix that with gospel organ. I had this idea of mixing, kind of like what I was talking about before [with soul and samba].
But I couldn't afford to have either the Brazilian guys come to the states or the organ guy and my band come down here. So I did some recordings here, took 'em to the states, and we recorded to those tracks. We wrote to those tracks. Sometimes we would take away the original, sometimes sample it and make it fit an American rhythm. But we always had that as a reference point. It's very strong music.
Arto Lindsay Tour Dates