By this point, [Belle and Sebastian] were producing the equivalent of two albums a year, breaking new ground for ourselves with songs and arrangements, and trying to play concerts. Especially around '99, it became a very difficult time for the band; a couple of people had better things to do, so the process was a bit fraught. I was acting like a Glaswegian Brian Wilson, always in the studio and looking for the sound. It was a shitstorm. We weren’t geared up for it. The records actually got weaker around Fold Your Hands—we were trying to be ambitious, but we didn’t have the group consensus. We were always fighting. I wasn’t listening to much music.
I remember going to a club and this group Camera Obscura came on and right away I fell in love with Tracyanne Campbell’s voice. We started chatting, and I said, "You should come and rehearse in the church hall," which was our house at the time. It was such a pleasure to get away from our group and watch this fledgling band who were much more innocent. Their sound was really clean, and they hadn’t been cluttered by loads of arrangements. The songs were just simple and real pretty. I remember sitting in on all their rehearsals and pretending to mix their sound, because the grass seemed so much greener in their world than in our own. I remember one track in particular, "Park and Ride", which was perfect. They were a real guide and made me think, "We need to get back to playing simple music again."