Our Lips Are Sealed

Suzy and Simon sat at a table in an old school English pub, drinking beer and accompanied by a random dog of unknown origin.  Photo by Paul Husband.
Photograph by Paul Husband | Graphic design by Barry Kinder.

On Friday, March 3rd, we released a new Starlite & Campbell single, Our Lips Are Sealed.

The track is available to listen to and buy exclusively on Bandcamp - the trusted site which supports independent musicians by paying them properly for their work.

If you want to know more about streaming, Simon recently wrote an in-depth article about the issues affecting independent artists.

To stream or not to stream?
The artistic landscape for musicians has changed since the heady days of the 80s when record company money flowed like water and I signed to a major label. I am not saying it was easy to secure a record contract back then, the competition was fierce and unless you found the ear of a record company executive, or managed to get into one of the four weekly …
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Our Lips Are Sealed

This classic song was co-written by Jane Wiedlen of the Go-Go's and Terry Hall of The Specials around the time the two bands met in Los Angeles, taking its inspiration from the real-life relationship between the two musicians.

Wiedlin said Hall had sent her the lyrics to Our Lips Are Sealed in the mail.

“It was kind of about our relationship, because he had a girlfriend at home and all this other stuff. So it was all very dramatic. I really liked the lyrics, so I finished the lyrics and wrote the music to it, and the rest is history. And then his [post-Specials] band, The Fun Boy Three, ended up recording it, too – they did a really great version of it, also. It was a lot gloomier than the Go-Go’s version.”

We love this song and our version started out as a jam in the studio when Italian pianist Gabriele Del Vecchio was in Portugal tracking piano for our second album, The Language Of Curiosity.

We added double harmonies and ethereal guitars to the basic recording plus a mighty groove, laid down by drummer Steve Gibson. It was one of those really special moments in the studio.

The song was initially intended for release in January this year, but due to the sad passing of Terry Hall in December 2022, we decided out of respect to delay the release until now.

The photograph

The cover photograph was taken by inventive and visionist photographer Paul Husband.

We were on location in a pub in Middleton, north Manchester. A place full of proper northern hospitality, good humour and a great pint of British Bitter.

The picture on the wall in the background with the dogs sitting around a table playing cards is a real step back in time, as it was found in many homes in the 70s.

Out of the blue Paul decided he wanted a dog in the shot so he asked the landlord’s girlfriend if we could ‘borrow’ her cute little perm-laden hound and next thing you know she was plonked down on the seat next to us, staring up and as good as gold. Totally surreal!

For those of a technical disposition

As well as our creative writing in VIBES and producing/presenting the Supertone show podcast, we are full-time musicians and analogue geeks, writing and recording at our vintage analogue recording studio north of Lisbon in Portugal, at the heart of which is a 48-channel CADAC mixing console.

We receive a lot of questions about how we record and so here are some of the technical highlights.

Although closer to the Fun Boy Three’s version than the Go-Go's, we wanted to make it our own. We love singing double harmonies and recorded the vocals in two takes using our ‘his and her’ Flea valve microphones - it was quick and felt so natural.

Gibson’s forthright drum pattern is accented with overdubbed floor toms, shaker, tambourine and tubular bells.

The picked guitar, which is introduced in the second verse, was again one take, with Simon using his Fender Nocaster custom shop relic guitar through the Speed Shop Tweed deluxe amplifier and then heavily compressed with our vintage ADR 769X.

Throughout the song, you will hear what appears to be a Mellotron in the mix. Well, it is, but it's not. The sound you are hearing is the Starlotron, where we sampled different notes of Suzy’s voice and made our own unique instrument in the Native Instruments Kontakt framework.

The high-shifting continuous notes are made using a Moog E1 guitar in which the pickups magnetically excite the strings without physically playing with the right hand. It’s a rare instrument, packed with Moog filters and other crazy stuff.

And finally

Play loud!! See you next week when it’s Simon’s turn.

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