Wrecktheplacefantastic in the studio

A few weeks back my band spent the day in Studio 284, Brighton’s number one seafront-based DIY punx recording studio. I figured I’d write a little diary-style piece to celebrate our first crack at proper recording.

Why were we there? We wanted to record a three-track demo for two reasons: firstly, so that we could acquire a new bassist once Jake heads off to spend three months in Japan, and secondly, to try and convince promoters to give us more shows. Sans bassmonkey that second point might prove tricky, but hey, we’re thinking ahead.

Unfortunately I don’t have any mixed and mastered copies of the recordings as yet. We ran over the slot we’d paid for by a couple of hours and still didn’t quite get everything done. The only really problematic bit of what we got was in the vocals, which aren’t great. Ben (singer and lead guitarist) is planning to re-record these but it may be a few weeks before this gets done. Some of the guitar and drum parts were also a bit sloppy, but the drums don’t matter since we were playing to their rhythm anyway. It’s just the guitars, really, which are occasionally slightly out during the faster parts where both Ben and I are palm-muting. I’ve always sucked at palm-muting really fast. Still, fingers crossed this can be ironed out in the mix, and hopefully then I’ll be able to at least get some vocalless masters to put up here soon so you can check those out.

I took my camera down with the intention of taking some photos but ended up not bothering. It turned out to be way more fun to drink and listen to / play music. Who knew? So anyway, I turned up later than everyone else as I had to work the morning, but when I arrived we were still getting the drum tracks down. Jack has only been drumming – with us and at all – for about four months, and thanks to Jake skipping town we’ve not practiced as a band in the last two. So, it figures that those would take a while, but eventually they were done. Then Jake mocked us all by recording all of his bass parts in the first couple of takes. The bastard.

Ben got his guitar parts down in about an hour, including setup, and then it was my turn… I took about two hours, most of which was spent on our fastest and most complex song, ‘Like Corpses’. The final recording of it wasn’t perfect but it was about as tight as I was going to get it in the circumstances. Fortunately, after spending an hour repeatedly trying to get that bastard perfect, I went back to my favourite song (‘The Bus Song’) and nailed a perfect take. Woohoo! Fortunately Austin, 284 recording chap and he of Flatpig, convinced me to play with his Les Paul which was a damn good call. It is a nice guitar and for the first time I want something to play instead of my Epiphone SG.

The vocals took a while to get going since the first pair of headphones Ben tried were screwed up in a weird way: the recording came through fine, but his own vocals were entirely inaudible. So the first few takes were pretty bad! They got better once we switched out the ‘phones for another pair, but we didn’t have time to get them spot on as we had just 10 minutes to get some backing vox down for ‘Like Corpses’ (which has a three-headed shout at the start of the chorus) and ‘Down With The Ship’ (which I do some backing gruffness on during the chorus, and which Jake busts out his finest scream crunk screeching for the bridge). As luck would have it I got the broken headphones so couldn’t hear myself, but apparently my policy of “if in doubt, max the gruff” worked out.

It was fucking good fun and honestly, I can’t wait to get writing more songs and get back in the studio… it’s a helluva lot less pant-wetting than playing live, hahaha.

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