This is a straight forward pop tune, whose simplicity should really make it more suited on In Fact rather than Nowadays. As far as I can remember, I wrote the music for this at home on the Roland D-20, but we finished it during a week-long session at Pianobaren, the youth centre at Måns’ and Olle’s school.
During this period I would often bring “complete” songs to Måns, and then it was up to him to find a melody and write the lyrics. This backwards approach worked quite well for us for a while (and also for The Smiths I might add, with no other comparison), but in some cases such as this you can somehow tell that the music was written in advance. It follows a pretty rigid verse/chorus structure, and the middle-8 seems almost pasted in place.
Still, I like the groove and the bass sound in the intro. Måns’ breathing was sampled into Olle’s Amiga 500 computer, and live-triggered when we recorded the D-20 to tape. You can hear the Reverse program from the Alesis Microverb on the breathing once the drums kick in. I wish I had one of those now, or if Alesis could remake them as Rack Extensions for Reason.
Apart from the intro, I also like the chords and melody in the chorus but I would have liked if we had added some drum fills and more synths to make the chorus more powerful. Once again our minimalist approach was less due to aesthetics than to our lacking production skills.
And last but not least, I think the opening line…
Haven’t slept for a hundred years
I hope my eyes won’t close for good
…is really great, especially coming from some 16-year-olds!
Hold on, because this song exist in three versions!
It’s 1987. Thirteen-year-old Måns sits at home on Västmannagatan 33 in Stockholm and writes an uptempo song. He records it with what he has available: a piano and his dad’s TR-505, Tascam Porta 05 and MicroVerb. The result is a catchy but somewhat confused production.
A year passes. Måns has now teamed up with Olle and Anders to form Art Fact, using the songs recorded as a proof of concept. The first song to be tackled is Let’s Make Story. Anders owns a Yamaha PSR-70, and Olle a Casio CZ-101. Together with the TR-505 these synths are used to make the song sound more like a synth band. The result is even more hectic than the original, with a pumping octave bass and a nice monophonic synth hook. The arrangement is slightly less whimsical and clocks in at 1:40 instead of 2:19.
Fast forward to 1990. Art Fact are working on their second full-length demo cassette entitled Nowadays. Having trouble getting enough songs together, Let’s Make Story is once again remade, this time using the Roland D-20. As it is probably the most uptempo song in their repertoire, it is decided to put it as the opening song. A very long intro (including Anders’ brother counting backwards in Russian, as well as samplings from a aircraft carrier documentary and a Richard III movie) opens up to a slightly calmer and more structured version of the song, clocking in at 3:05.
What more can be said? Hearing the first version of this song was really impressive I remember. I also remember playing back the second version to a friend at school, and being disappointed when he didn’t like it as much as I had expected. I mean, it had drums and a cool synth line! What’s not to like?
I have no clue what the lyrics are about, but using a word like “history” seemed very grown-up and cool at the time. The out-of-character kick drum and tom fills have survived even into the final version, being somehow an essential part of the song. The drum sounds on the final version are very typical of the D-20, and not a favorite now.
Overall, this song was a milestone in Art Fact’s history. It got the band together, it was the first song we recorded as a group, and it opened up Nowadays, maybe our best effort.