It’s been some year so far!
Well well, it’s been some six months and a loooong overdue update on what’s been going on and what’s to come
-Promise of the year ahead
-Let down by “Simon Efemey” our planned producer
-Searching for a plan B
-Recorded our album
-Two Piece/Dynamic Duo
So we started this year well prepared and ready to go. We had arranged last March to work with
on our new album in Feb 2017. We had specific dates as you guys know with Tom being a teacher and it was all set. Our ideal was to be in constant touch with Simon throughout the year, meeting him and feeding him our demos as they developed. He was interesting for he offered us interesting feedback from our last EP. We originally had hoped to work together for BROKEN STRINGS but we couldn’t make dates work for the same reason, Tom needed the mid term.
We kept our side by getting the tracks to Simon and in fairness, he kept his part to a point by giving us initial feedback on the progress. Feedback dried up however and I rushed to get the 17 demos roughly done before the Xmas break 2016 for it was squeaky bum time as far as time before recording and needed to have feedback for the New Year.
We were concerned by mid Jan when we hadn’t heard from Simon so I kept reaching out. He then told us he couldn’t do the agreed dates!! Something had come up…. He said he could check other dates in other studios. We agreed even though this could mean multiple trips to studios in Birmingham or Wales – from London. He offered us a vague alternative which was nothing close to what we needed and certainly did not go out of his way in anyway to MAKE IT HAPPEN. which has always been our attitude, which is why we were immediately flexible with our time and our budget to try our best. People keep making promises they can’t keep, and sure life gets in the way, but then you gotta do EVERYTHING humanly possibly to fix it…too many people are so complacent with such important matters to others. It happens time and again which is why it stung and we tried so hard to mitigate against it.
I told Simon we couldn’t work together and he left us in a very difficult position to which he didn’t respond. He was introduced by a friend, perhaps he wasn’t getting his usual rate, either way very unprofessional for someone working in the industry so long
PLAN B – SAVE THE YEAR
We were both restrained by time and budget and our intention for this release was to invest more than we had to date to try perhaps one last time as a unit to get our sound and work with someone that knew our genre. With Simon letting us down, we had to compromise everything -which was terrible given how much we tried and fought to not be in this position again
Long story short after much fretting we got in touch with MATT HYDE who mastered our album MMXV, he has done extensive work with guitars in both rock and metal genres so it made a lot of sense and thankfully we could muster some dates. That was never going to be the issue, we ended up working in a studio 2 hours one way from my house and I spent 10 days down there. It never matter where the studio was or how long we had to work each day, we just needed to see the same commitment from those we worked with and thankfully Matt provided that.
STUDIO – RECORDING
We did the drums in Tooting in the GRAVITY SHACK and then we did the rest of the album in SCREAM STUDIOS in Croydon. Tom worked hard for two days in TOOTING and smashed the album out with metronomic ease. I spent much of the next two weeks down there doing vocals and guitars and at the time Michael down some bass. It was a pity in a way that the lads couldn’t be there at any stage really when I was doing my thing but it helped focus the mind and work the team to get the best for each part and song
I ended up re-doing the bass on the album too a few weeks later which I will come back to as we are now a two piece. We decided to part ways with Michael Eden. As nice a fellow as he was and as a good a player, he could never give the level of commitment to the project we made very clear from the off. We constantly made sense of it for the above reasons and others but at this important juncture when the next stages required more time and effort, the 70% of what we needed and kept asking for just wasn’t enough. We wish him well on his next project and thank him for helping to develop some of the bass groove on the songs. We do wish though he was honest from the start as we had other candidates applying to be in the band offering to do the basics we asked – which aren’t heinous for any band taking themselves half seriously in this realm as you have to be so so so good just to get seen.
We had started with 17 tracks and MATT immediately jumped in the saddle of helping us whittle them down to 10 or so. We had a great deal of footage by this stage as a reaction to our situation. We needed media to show any prospective producer what we were about so we began videoing all our rehearsals
We were all struggling to get the tracks down to around 10 though the back and forth. Things finally seemed to be moving with MATT and his vested interest helped gather a second wind from our perspective. We finally agreed to give 12 a stab and as we stand that is still the amount of tracks set for the album…unless the mixes highlight something none of us have seen/thought of yet
Overall we are so so happy. But the sound is quite typical of us and somewhere between MMXV, EVERYTHING BUT TODAY and BROKEN STINGS…We’d like to think taking the best elements of each 😀
This affected our year in a few ways, especially as we had been confirmed for CAMDEN ROCKS a week before we decided
LIES LIES LIES
As I mentioned we have a name for our album and we’re trying to match the artwork as we speak. The songs have an underlying meaning linking them all we realised in hindsight and a couple of album names that came up along the way never quite tipped the cap to the songs in a fair way. Maybe it didn’t and doesn’t matter!? either way, we kept on thinking and we’re delighted with what we came up with…No matter how dark it appears at first glance. But like most things with us it’s a contrast 🙂
BACKING TRACKS – A NEW IDEA
Recording this album Tom and I really wanted to avoid the situation with the last two recordings:
1, MMXV was fantastic and a great basis from which we have been known but it was recorded as a four piece and we ultimately delivered it as a 3 due to the member needing rehab.
2, BROKEN STRINGS was more concerted with an aim of recording only what the 3 of us could record live. It went really well and was in line with our intentions but our member who recorded (CHEMA) had to leave before we could release. For those who were around/remember, he got a sweet gig touring the world with a punk band and had to leg it.
The aim with this album was in line with BROKEN STRINGS but as soon as we started recording and a few of the songs came to life like frankenstein in front of all our eyes. We are not the most technologically savvy band, in fact we’re closer to the wireless than the internet historically. Some of the songs required subtle backing tracks on vocals for example, so we laid down 8 or ten and in that moment in the first listen back we all knew the song was born. The question then became about integrity of performance and the album as not to compromise what we play without sacrificing any integral parts.
The obvious decision to any musician with half a clue (so I’m told) is to turn to backing tracks. As soon as we realised they were vital we went about figuring how to integrate them into our live set and what not to drop etc
The means has always been a question so it really was a matter of figuring out, how do we play gigs and how do we play live. Do I need in ears now? or can it be driven by the drummer, T in this case?! The long and short is we sorted the answers to all these questions in an very quick manner and we think a very easy way. The next sincere chapter of prac is crafting the songs along side these tracks
This made the transition from Michael far easier. As I explained above there was unf no way forward for Michael with us…. given that we had worked so hard, replaced the bassist so many times (at hhuuuuuuuuge detriment to time and progress)…without ever finding anything but a plaster for a cut rather than a stitch to fix the issue.
Promoting the release is a topic since we nearly finished recording and 3 lads in some ways is less of a USP than 2, especially when when T and I have been playing together over 5 years and we are the ones constantly standing still trying to help others catch up
The reality is with this being our 3rd major release as a band (I recorded Everything but Today myself to put the band together). We haven’t broken through in any meaningful way as yet! We’ve enjoyed the success of BROKEN STRINGS with the many radio plays and review relatively. We were so delighted to get on KERRANG! and PLANET ROCK. We still haven’t found the best way to communicate with our audience and get our message across. We’ve tried a number of things, could try harder with others :), but we’re clearly not ONE DIRECTION…But we do have something
In that moment, with the backing and means established we are simply going to add the bass to the backing we intended and deliver the new chapter of THE SURVIVAL CODE as a duo
The most annoying factors were learning and playing bass lines and making the days to record and facing the prospect of the biggest gig we’ve played – CAMDEN ROCKS as a two piece.
We had two weeks to come up with a plan to deliver a credible show for CAMDEN, we were playing THE GOOD MIXER with a 1pm stage time, early, but we were still delighted… Especially with present circumstances considered!!
We came up with a smart way of playing it. I went into my usual guitar setup with an emphasis on the loop pedal along with being plugged simultaneously into a bass amp through splitter. Better yet the bass signal had a low octave on it before input so offered quite a robust sound for two lads.
There was a great crowd and we had an amazing show tbh, sweated our asses off and cannot wait to start planning the next steps
The next idea is to wait for the mixes and spend the next two months planning for a release at the very end of the year(if we’re lucky), or very start of next – if not
We have finally named the album too and really looking to find the right combination to deliver it to the world 🙂
There will be tons more to come, clearly there’s lots going on…this is the most neglected of all our socials, something we need to work on
We are so proud of the 12 tunes of what we’ve heard so far and cannot wait to find the best way to try and share them with you all
Happy Wednesday!! and here’s to still making 2017 a massive success, there’s loads of time 😀
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