Interview with AFTERHERE, the band behind VANITY FAIR’s title track (All Along the Watchtower). We discuss why they covered the song, how it made it onto the ITV series and about their new album (Addict).
The band is a duo – featuring Heaven 17 frontman Glenn Gregory and keyboardist Berenice Scott.
Afterhere had already worked on fellow ITV series Liar when they got involved with their latest project.
Speaking to Telly Binge, Glenn says it all began with director James Strong. “We were in the studio and James was talking about his ideas for a new show. He mentioned about wanting a song for the opening scene - that might somehow seem odd and perhaps even out of place, yet at the same time fit perfectly with the content and feel of the series.”
“We started to throw a few ideas around but didn’t really come up with anything that worked. A few days later, James called to say he had been reading a book of Bob Dylan lyrics and thought that the words for All Along the Watchtower suited Vanity Fair. All we had to do was find an interesting and new way to cover this classic, whilst making it sound like us.”
So how did that cover make it onto Vanity Fair? “We had recorded the song and loved it, so it was already going to be in our new album Addict. The opening scenes to the series had been shot and they were trying a few different song ideas – then they put our cover into the edit and it just clicked.”
Afterhere’s first glimpse of the song used in the opening title was during the editing process. “It was almost one of the first scenes that they filmed with the carousel and Michael Palin as Thackeray. It was just right, seemed to totally fit – even though theoretically it should have been at odds with the era and style of what was shot.”
“The track quickly became an important part of the whole series. We were excited when we went to the BAFTA premier of Vanity Fair and All Along the Watchtower started. It was very cool to see all those bopping heads as they listened to our song.”
“I think the entire series is beautifully put together. It looks fantastic and the cast is amazing.”
Meanwhile the duo recently released their debut album (Addict). It contains 11 songs and runs for just under 50 minutes.
“The title track (Addict) from the album is my favourite. It was the second song we had written, and it became a template for what we wanted the album to feel and sound like. I love the feel of the track and adore Berenice’s vocal. It was a pleasure to sit at the controls in the studio recording her voice.”
“We also shot a video for the song whilst touring America with Tony Visconti and Holy Holy performing David Bowie songs. We were on a tour bus for about eight weeks and it was the one thing that stopped us going mad!”
“This album had to be as perfect as we could make it. We have spent time, love and desire with every song – regardless of production styles and tricks. You can strip every song down to their most naked and they will still be beautiful and interesting.”
Afterhere will do their first gig in London on 4th October at 229. “We’re hard at work putting it together - I think we will be doing more live work both here and in America.”
What about the future? “Myself and Berenice have been talking about the next album, we love creating together and I’m certain it won’t be long before we start writing. We will also start work on writing the music for the second series of Liar.”
Telly Binge spoke to Glenn Gregory in October 2018. Visit Afterhere’s official website for updates.