Bellowhead's Sam on recording at Abbey Road
"On the eve of the launch it seems incredible that it's already half a year since we went into Abbey Road to record Hedonism. What an amazing experience it was. Living in beautiful apartments in St John's Wood for two weeks and being able to walk to Studio 2 every day was a dream in itself; no greasy hotel breakfasts and sweaty tube rides, just a refreshing five minute stroll through leafy grandeur to the most famous recording studio in the world.
Sam Sweeney and Rachel McShane of Bellowhead recording at Abbey Road Studios.
"Of course every morning there were crowds of tourists at the gates, stopping traffic on the zebra crossing and graffiti-ing their favourite Beatles lyric on the walls. And wondering who on earth we were and if they should know us, as they parted to let us through.
"As if entering Abbey Road wasn't exciting enough, once inside, there was the legendary John Leckie waiting for us. The very same John Leckie who produced one of my favourite albums of all time, Showbiz by Muse. When we entered the huge Studio 2 for the first time he casually pointed out the piano that I had just put my fiddle on was the one McCartney played on Lady Madonna. And the vocal microphone he was setting up for Jon Boden was the one Lennon always used. Surreal!
"And now, somehow, six months of gigs, festivals, beer brewing - more on that later - and anticipation has passed and here we are finally about to unleash the album to the public.
"To launch the album we're throwing a party with an invited audience of the great and the good, family, friends, and lucky fans who won the prize draw for tickets. It'll actually be the first time we have played some of the material since Abbey Road, and I can't wait.
"To top it all, we're promised that they'll be serving Hedonism Ale there too, brewed by our own fair hands. Back in May, John (Spiers), Pete (Flood), Ed (Neuhauser) and I arrived on the steps of the Potbelly Brewery in Kettering at 7:30am, bleary eyed and ready to brew our very own golden, summery ale to commemorate the album. It was a long but hugely enjoyable day of mashing, sparging, shovelling and disinfecting, punctuated by long gaps of waiting filled with tunes and the sampling of many other ales. Lots of sampling. And I can confirm our beer is absolutely delicious!
"So - after next week's party we have a month to prepare, both mentally and physically for the mammoth Hedonism Launch Tour. Personally, I'll be playing squash everyday until November in order to lose the weight I will inevitably put back on in beer and service station pasties"