This article is from Paste Magazine, a really cool ‘zine about music that I subscribe to. Thought it was interesting and I’d share it!
New Order’s Bernard Sumner : 5 Ways to Know if your Studio is Haunted
1. It feels like some ancient vampire abode.
St. Catherine’s Court (pictured above), the home/recording studio owned by actress Jane Seymour, is a rambling restored manor from the 1300s outside the British town of Bath. “So we called it Dracula’s Castle,” says Bernard Sumner, singer for Manchester technopop combo New Order. He even christened a punky dance track with the same name for New Order’s new return to “Blue Monday”-ish form, Waiting For The Siren’s Call.
2. You can’t blow out the candles until the creaking noises stop.
Because Sumner often had a hard time sleeping, he regularly decamped to St. Catherine’s oak-paneled, candlelit writing room after midnight. He soon discovered his cozy nook had once been used as a criminal-sentencing court. Not the best news, he sighs, “when you’re up late on your own and everyone else has gone to bed.” Then one night he heard the floorboards creaking. The chamber door gently swung open. Slowly, Sumner turned around to face … “only Andy, our manager, who’s also nocturnal.”
3. You have to watch the portraits, since they’re already watching you.
There was a painting in the bedroom of drummer Stephen Morris, depicting a stoic Elizabethan couple. The rest of the suite was adorned with mirrors. “And one day he said to me ‘Watch this—lie on the bed and look in the mirrors!’” Sumner adds. “And when you looked in the mirrors, you could see that couple’s reflection in every single one. That really freaked us out.”
4. You don’t dare touch the baby.
Next to Morris’s bed was a crib, with a date from the 1600s carved into it. Inside it was a baby rag doll and another antique painting, this one of a young girl. Sumner kidded his bandmate about the crib, then reached for the doll, only to hear Morris scream, “Don’t touch the baby!” Turns out that in the ’60s, workers were removing wall panels when a baby’s skeleton fell out. The child had been the result of a clandestine affair in the 1600s between the daughter of the owners and the gardener. “So if you move the baby out of the crib, or take the portrait out,” Sumner shivers, “something bad happens.”
5. You try to shrug off the spine-tingling echo.
During his entire stay at St. Catherine’s Sumner swears he could “just … feel something.” Perhaps that had something to do with the spine-tingling echo reverberating from the Siren sessions? No, that’s just the sound, Sumner shrugs, of countless copycat bands, aping the New Order sound for a new New Wave movement. But that doesn’t really scare him. “Even in our Joy Division days, we had our heroes and we were influenced by them, like Kraftwerk or Iggy Pop,” he admits. “…I do think it’s an honor to have so many of these groups cite us as an influence.”