The song that took around 8 years to write and record. It was the last song to be completed on the record largely because I was too terrified to mix it and finally finish it. In the end we had to get Dave Eringa to mix the song because it became evident to the band that I was intentionally holding back in order for the song not to be included on the record.
I wrote the first verse and bridge in around 2006 and had been chipping away at it ever since. I played the song to John on a piano in around 2008 and cringed as I sang it. John was writing very delicate, beautiful melodies and lyrics at the time in songs like So Long St Christopher and Anvil. In comparison this felt overblown and pompous. We never discussed the song again until after we returned from our first demo session in Luzern when I recorded a demo of the song at home. I was so excited by the basses on Linnaeus that at that point I thought we could layer up 4 or 5 bass melodies on every song. I demoed a full version of Sad Sad Stage at home with the basses providing the counter melodies (which later became clarinets and oboes) and inspired by Sea Talk by Zola Jesus I laid down a very similar Phil Spector sized electronic drum beat. Jake and Nick then wrote a beautiful score but for some reason after that I became embarrassed by the song again and held back from overdubbing very much on it during the main recording sessions in Luzern. We did lay down some overdubs on top of the demo, which were Nick’s acoustic drum beat (which he performed first time in one powerful take) and Kyle’s guitar, which I think is one of the highlights of the ￼record. After we recorded the real strings and new vocals in London I started to think it could maybe go on the record but always managed to avoid the topic until Dave Eringa’s fantastic mix killed any hopes I had of chipping away at the song for the next 8 years.