NEW ALBUM COMING SOON!
It’s been ages since I wrote an update on what’s going on. For those of you who have followed us on Facebook or Twitter will know that for the past year we’ve been writing and recording our new album, Braveface, which will be released on 13th April.
As songs were brought in and developed for what turned out to be the first album, it became clear that the music had a particular “shape” – and that shape was energetic and frenetic slices of power-pop with one or two songs that deviated away from that style. We didn’t plan it that way, the songs seemed to gel that way.
We were happy with the first album. It’s such a cliché when bands slag off their old material, or even just their most recent album: if it was so shit, then why did you release it? In our case, I’m absolutely unapologetic for anything that we’ve released so far: It may not have been perfect but it’s the best we could do with the available money, time, equipment, ability, experience and knowledge. However, I’d like to think that we’ve improved in one or more of those areas since then!
We decided a few things quite early on:
(1) The sound stage had to be bigger – the first album was all electric guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Plus a little bit of percussion here and there. Just about everything was straight down the middle and this gave it a very particular sound (like a demo – more of that in a minute). It was immediate and suited where we were, but this time we wanted things to sound bigger in terms of sonic depth, more interesting in terms of the instrumentation and wider in terms of using the stereo spread
(2) We wanted to get an outside mixer, preferably a producer – we had a chat about what we could do ourselves in terms of getting the recordings done and with my mobile rig I knew I could record drums properly and over dub the bass, guitars and vocals but to get the separation, width and depth that we wanted, as well as an overall technically better-sounding record, we knew we’d have to bring someone with more experience in
(3) We wanted to plan the release better. Ross had a ton of ideas on how to go about this, having taken care of all the promo, booking and scheduling since he joined at the tail-end of 2014. We wanted to make sure that there was time to get some press together prior to release, and then keep this ticking over for the following 18 months by drip-feeding tracks out to press whilst we back this up with live dates.
Ross and I had a few albums by CJ Wildheart, which were produced by Dave Draper. Ross contacted CJ to ask about getting in touch with Dave. To everyone’s surprise, CJ replied and was very helpful in giving us a contact via social media. Ross duly sent off a message telling Dave all about us and what our plans were. Dave replied saying he was happy to help!
We were asked to send what we’d previously released and Dave came back with some very pointed observations about the quality of the recording overall in that everything sounded like a demo. I’m sure that was due to the face that we’d recorded and mixed the debut album ourselves. Ross said he was “brutally honest”, but I like to think that it was just “honest”. In my mind, the truth is never brutal, or kind for that matter, it just is. It’s only the delivery of it makes it brutal or constructive. I personally found Dave’s comments really constructive. As our conversations continued about our plans for the new album, what the band could do themselves and what Dave’s role would be, it became clear that Dave could help us with two of our major aims. We decided to do all the sound recording ourselves and then get Dave to mix and master the tracks for us.
The recordings we made for the album included the use of some keyboard, synth and orchestral string sounds, as well as little bits of guitar effects, acoustic guitar, percussion and even some sound effects too. These were all put in place to make the songs’ instrumentation fuller, with the kind of splashes of sound that were absent on the first album. Arranging the strings and sound effects were also great fun too!
Once we were done, we sent the files off to Dave and he imported them into his computer at the studio. His production and mixing magic was sprinkled liberally over the initial mixes. Wow! He made our tracks sound so good!! All the depth was there in the drums and bass guitar, the separation was there in the guitars and the vocals sat squarely on top of the whole thing, telling the story, aided by the ebb and flow of the music. It was like a veil had been lifted on the potential of these songs. We sent mixing notes back and forth as the mixes were fine-tuned – and massively ran over our allotted time. Dave was incredibly kind and philosophical about the over-run and arranged to complete the mixes when time allowed. That was really good of him and we can’t thank him enough.
We’re now at the stage where the mixes have been finalised and we should get the mastered recordings in the next few days. I can’t wait for people to hear this record and I hope they pick up a copy and spread the word! ~Kabir