We’re delighted to present the premiere of the deluxe 30th Anniversary reissue of acclaimed Breathless album ‘Between Happiness And Heartache’. Originally released in 1991, this 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is pressed on Heartache Pink Vinyl.

Q & A

We got the chance to ask bass player Ari Neufeld some questions ahead of the release.


It’s been thirty years since the album’s release, it’s great that it is being celebrated, why did you decide it was time for a re-release now?

We hadn’t thought about it at all and certainly weren’t aware of the 30 year anniversary, until the American label 1972 reissued ‘The Glass Bead Game’ on vinyl last year.

We were really pleasantly surprised by the response it got, which got us thinking about doing some more lavish reissues of some of our back catalogue ourselves. It’s one of our favourite albums of ours and we thought it would be a nice prelude to our new album, for people that didn’t know our music and a nice thing for our fans, whose vinyl may have worn out after 30 years!

In the intervening years, your influence can be heard on many guitar bands, how does that make you feel to be finally getting the recognition you deserve?

It’s always very flattering to know one’s music has had an influence on someone, maybe even been the inspiration for them learning to play and forming a band. Though sometimes I get sent mp3s of bands that are supposed to sound like us and I just can’t hear it at all!

What do you remember about the writing process for ‘Between Happiness And Heartache’?

It had definitely changed from our earlier albums, where a lot of the songs came out of jam sessions. One of us would usually come in with a riff and we would play around with it for hours, record the rehearsal and then pick out the bits that worked to build on further. But by the time we started writing Between Happiness And Heartache, I had started to play guitar as well as bass, so the ideas I brought to rehearsal were a lot more structured and developed. I was also listening to less free flowing psychedelic music and more stuff like Mazzy Star and Nick Cave.

Where we rehearsed also had a big impact both on our sound and the way we wrote. And we purposely rehearsed at two very different studios at the time to emphasise this. I remember us writing ‘You Can Call It Yours’ in a very harsh sounding studio in Brixton, everything about it was harsh, even the guy that ran it, who threw our drummer’s rehearsal money in his face because of something Martyn had said to him. I think rehearsing there made us feel constantly on edge, which gave that song it’s unique feel. Whereas the other place we rehearsed in was all soft upholstery and comfy chairs. which really helped bring out the delicacy of songs like ‘Over And Over’ and ‘Wave After Wave’

How has your song writing process changed, if at all, from the early days of ‘Between Happiness And Heartache’ and the new forthcoming album?

Like ‘Between Happiness And Heartache’, the songs on our forthcoming album are all fairly traditionally structured, with verses and choruses. Which is something we veered away from after ‘Between Happiness And Heartache’, re exploring the looser jam based songs on ‘The Glass Bead Game’ and ‘Three Times And Waving’.

I think one of the main changes came when writing ‘Green To Blue’. We were going through a very lean period with writing, coming to rehearsal and having very uninspiring jams, leaving us feeling very directionless and deflated. It was getting so bad that I suggested we take a two month break, during which we each write 2 new songs. If we come back and like them we should then work on them and record a new album and if we don’t, then we should call it a day. This was the first time we had each gone away and written a whole song, not just a riff, but the whole thing or at least most of it. I remember Dominic going first and playing ‘I Want You To Realise’ on his keyboard for the first time. I knew immediately that we had all had a new lease of life and that we were going to go on and make another great album.

Was there an event or moment where you thought ‘I want to be in a band’ and how did your early bass playing career get started?

I can’t really remember a time when I DIDN’T think I want to be in a band. I was writing songs and singing along to a tambourine with my best friend when I was about six. Creating our own record sleeves and putting on shows for our families. But it was when I first heard Jah Wobble and Peter Hook, that I realised that this was something I could actually, realistically do. Although I didn’t analyse it at the time, I could hear that the bass lines were leading the song. And what amazing bass lines they were! The first thing I ever played was Low Life by PIL, but soon decided that playing along to records wasn’t enough and that I needed to get some lessons. Luckily I completely randomly found an absolutely brilliant teacher, who turned me on to Carol Kaye and taught me classical pieces with incredibly melodic bass parts.

John Perry from The Only Ones joins you for your cover of The Only Ones ‘Flowers Die’, how did that collaboration happen?

We wanted to get Peter Perrett’s permission to cover Flowers Die, but couldn’t track him down, but in the end found John Perry through a mutual friend.

It’s so long ago I really can’t remember if we asked John Perry to come and mix ‘Flowers Die’ or he offered. I would imagine he offered as I think we would have been too in awe to dare ask him! Anyway he was initially going to come to the studio just to mix the track, but while it was playing he picked up a guitar that was just lying around and started to play along. The guitar wasn’t plugged in so I may have been the only one that heard what he was playing and said I thought it sounded really good and would he like to add it to the track, Which of course he did.

You’ve mentioned recently that during the recording for ‘Between Happiness And Heartache’ your producer had to manually splice the tape to edit it with a razorblade, unlike these days where it’s a simple push of the ‘Undo’ button on the computer, in hindsight do you think it made the recording process back then more focused, as you knew you were under pressure to get it right?

Yes, totally. Most of our new album was recorded at home. Which is great from the point of view that one can be more experimental, try different ideas without everyone staring at you inquisitively wondering what you are doing, and not have to worry about time constraints. But it probably makes one a lot lazier, knowing one can do as many takes until it is right, or even lazier still, edit any mistake afterwards!

When we went to record at Blackwing, I used to practice the songs beforehand with the same intensity as I would for a live show, and get the same rush while playing, knowing we could probably only afford 2 or 3 takes so I had better get it right. But I would say with having more time to spend on the recoding process, the songs on our new album are more concise, as we had lots of time to think about and rework the structure.

You also have a new album due for release later this year, mixed by the legendary Kramer, what can you tell us about the new album?

The new album, tentatively called ‘See Those Colours Fly’ is very floaty and poppy with lots of structured songs ending with one long song in the more traditional Breathless vein that builds and builds, from near silence to an avalanche. But I guess the main difference is that we use programmed rather than real drums.

This certainly wasn’t intentional. We had just come back from Italy where we had been playing some of the new songs and a couple of days before we were due to go into the studio to record the first one, we heard that our drummer Tristram had been in a really bad car accident and was in a coma. I think we thought if we go ahead and record, it will mean he will be OK and can add his drums later. This isn’t as irrational as it sounds, as on our last album ‘Green To Blue’, we recorded everything to a click track and then added the real drums last. Thankfully Tristram is better, and I hope will be able to drum with us in the future. At the same time I was starting to learn how to use Logic and programme drums. At the beginning it was just so we had something comfortable to play along to at rehearsal, but eventually we really got into it and it really suited our way of working.

A couple of the songs on ‘See Those Colours Fly’, were started at traditional recording studios and finished off at home, but eventually we found we were happier with the sounds we were getting at home and this became the mode of working.

All the songs were rehearsed and structured with the 3 of us together in a practice room after which I programmed the drums more precisely, added my parts and then sent the files to Dominic and Gary to add their parts and then ended up adding drones and ambient sounds on top of that at the end, before sending the songs to Kramer to mix. And this of course is where the real magic took place! Kramer has somehow managed to make all the songs sound as if they were recorded in a huge magical cathedral. There’s so much texture and depth, it’s incredible. I think Dominic and Gary were quite surprised at how the songs ended up sounding, though really pleased. Whereas for me, the songs just sound like they have always sounded in my head. Like Kramer is some sort of mystical mind reader and made them sound just as I would if I had his knowledge and capabilities.

What has been keeping you busy in lockdown and this strange year we’ve had?

Our forthcoming album has been taking up most of my time, both the exciting, inspiring part of adding textures and overdubs and the very mundane part of editing hours of takes.

I think I probably would have gone a bit crazy if I didn’t have something to focus on. But I have just continued with my normal routine – minus the going out in the evening part – exercising, working, going for long walks and trying to keep a Monday to Friday structure, so the weekends are still different and something to look forward to even if it just means watching a film or meeting friends in the park.

Do you have any plans to tour, once things open up again?

We’re not big tourers at the best of times! – but yes I would love to play our new songs live, it’s always great to get that feedback and energy back from the audience. We were in the process of setting up a show in Mexico City when the pandemic started, so I really hope that will still go ahead, as I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico.

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