Sunday 22 July 2018

'Bongolese' - U2 producer gives some insight into Bono's writing process

The Edge and Bono played to more than a million fans worldwide in 2015 on a U2 tour that grossed more than $150m
The Edge and Bono played to more than a million fans worldwide in 2015 on a U2 tour that grossed more than $150m
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A producer who worked with U2 on their new album Songs of Experience has given an insight into Bono's writing process.

Andy Barlow of Lamb fame spent two years travelling ten countries with the band.  He ultimately produced five tracks on the album, many of which were written and recorded while the band rehearsed or were on tour.

In a comprehensive interview with Billboard he revealed that the album completely changed when Trump was elected as it was no longer 'relevant' so the band started afresh and worked on it for a further year.

When they started working together it was mostly Barlow with Bono.

On Song: U2 tackle tough subjects on ‘Songs Of Experience’
On Song: U2 tackle tough subjects on ‘Songs Of Experience’

"The rest of the band was like, 'Bono, you're off your head. We're already really busy. We've got loads of press to do. We're trying to rehearse and you've got this guy who you're writing and recording with. What the fuck? This is crazy.'" Barlow told Billboard.

Of Bono's writing process he said the star doesn't write lyrics but something they called 'Bongolese'.

"We call it Bongolese. He'll basically make up words about the view or the cup of coffee he's drinking -- just pure channeling -- and from that we would find what feels good and piece it together," revealed Barlow.

"The next day he would listen to the vocal shape that we came up with, write a narrative and, when he was excited by something, take it to The Edge. From there, it would be like table tennis between the two of them -- like Lennon and McCartney bouncing ideas off each other."

Barlow also revealed that the band work with the best in the business in all aspects of their work and added that "nothing will ever prepare you for working with U2" but they are also "very down to earth, very patient, respectful, kind, courteous and really open to taking direction".

Songs of Experience is out now.

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U2's Songs of Experience - Songs of death and taxes 

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