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Gomez: 'How We Operate'

The pop band Gomez won England’s prestigious Mercury Prize for record of the year with their very first release in 1998. For their fifth studio album, the members operate as they always have: more like a musical cooperative than a regular band.

Most pop and rock bands have one or two members writing the music -- usually it's the lead singer. Or, maybe they all jam together and the lead singer comes up with a melody and lyrics.

Gomez has three lead singers and five songwriters. "We’re not a band of one guy and a bunch of others standing around making him look good," says Tom Gray. "There's five very creative people in this band -- That is our best asset and our worst enemy."

After four self-produced albums -- and perhaps with some nudging from their new label, ATO -- Gomez decided to hire an outside producer to reduce the chaos of so many competing songs. Gil Norton, who has worked with bands like the Pixies, Counting Crows and the Foo Fighters, was brought in to whip the band into shape.

Gomez are known for sophisticated arrangements of songs that are part bright Brit-pop and part '60s psychedelia, with a dash of loops and electronic sounds and a healthy dose of American blues and roots.

But for the past few CDs, the band has been accused of layering their songs with too many bells and whistles.The new CD is mellower, more acoustic and much more focused on delivering clean, comprehensible, radio-friendly, grown-up pop songs.

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Christian Bordal
Christian Bordal is a Norwegian-American (via Australia) musician, radio producer, and freelance music journalist who contributes regularly to Day to Day. He's very good at making faces and making a fool of himself, and he once impressed his NPR editors with a drunken recitation of the gibberish poem "Jabberwocky." He briefly considered launching a career performing at children's parties, but he finds his own children to be trouble enough. In addition to this list of remarkable professional accomplishments, he is a producer at member station KCRW in Los Angeles.
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