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Four Day Hombre explain why The First Word Is The Hardest

Four Day Hombre

Story by Jack Foley

FOLLOWING hot on the heels of their debut single, which was made single of the week on XFM twice over, Four Day Hombre release their second single, The First Word Is The Hardest on February 13, 2006.

The track is a more edgy and intense offering, which their PR credits as ‘sounding like Doves or The Frames crossed with Editors, or Nick Drake fronting Muse’.

The single is taken from their forthcoming debut album Experiments In Living, and was recorded in France earlier in 2005.

The band describe the song and how it was recorded: “The First Word Is The Hardest is simply an outstretched hand to someone who is carrying a hundred tons of shit on their shoulders – someone who is repeatedly running at a windowpane unable to see the glass, when all they need is a friend to open it and let them through.

“The window did eventually get opened, well, smashed open actually. The last time we released this song it was literally the first thing we’d ever recorded ourselves and was only ever meant to be a demo. We all felt that the song is so strong and this version feels so fresh (even to us) that it really deserved to be put out again.

“Dave Odlum our producer really wanted to make it sound a bit different. Inspired by a loop created by a techno artist called Cylob, we tried to keep the drum pattern real but still get a slightly off-kilter artificial feel to it.

“There are two completely different drum kits on the song, so even though it’s all really natural it’s got a real artificial air when they switch over. We were having problems with how the feedbacky guitar part should sound and were running out of time.

“One night we watched ‘Dead Man’ (Jim Jarmusch western starring Johnny Depp) which has this amazing Neil Young sound track that is just really simple stuff lathered in reverb and distortion.

“Rich kinda bastardised that idea using a 1960’s Fender Jaguar with 20 year old strings and an old Epiphone solidstate amp that has this incredible spring reverb and tremolo in it.

“The next day we spent a lovely afternoon just getting Rich to turn it up louder and louder and just surf that bad boy down. When we mixed the song Dave spent ages taking parts in and out so it still keeps that drive and power but so you still get loads of space and a real contrast between the verses and the choruses. We think it’s one of the best sounding tracks on the album.”

The video was made by the same team that made the hugely successful video for 1,000 Bulbs.

Director Mark Wordsworth describes how it was made: “We decided that the song deserved a concept that was both mundane yet spectacular, that a miracle should happen to an ‘everyman’ (or woman).

“The build up of the track and the momentum it establishes fitted perfectly with a road movie concept. This requires a specialised look so we opted for shooting on 35mm film on anamorphic lenses to give us the shallowest depth of field, and largest frames.

“The next important element was the location itself, it had to be barren so it did not take away from our characters and yet beautiful at the same time, the perfect fit was found on Blakey Ridge in the North Yorkshire Moors (near to where the band regularly play at the Lion Inn).”

Watch the video