Boys begin Boys @ Deluxe Mastering
Another couple of crazy weeks. Ben's been flat out mixing the remaining tracks on the record, Justin's been busy sending the new single off to many international destinations, we shot a video clip for 'Stay Awake' and I've been trying to get concepts for album design together.
Album art, album art....I'm finding it difficult because I'm still really in love with the Earnest album artwork, this album is so different to anything else we've done and I think the artwork should reflect that..... by how?
We're in the mastering studio with Adam Dempsey today do the last three tracks Small Things, What I Need and Stay Awake. We've also got sign on the album order..... it's pretty bloody difficult when there's 12 tracks.... 8 tracks would be easier, but then we'd have to throw some in the bin and we can't have that now can we.
Tomorrow we're heading up to Sydney then Maitland on Sunday.... on the road again
So it's ANZAC day and I did promise more pictures from our January stint in Applewood around 8 weeks ago, but hey! This girls been busy. After much deliberation we decided that Benj was the one and only choice to mix our third record so he's been a busy bunny mixing away in his bedroom for the past 5 weeks.
We'll be releasing the first single 'Break and Keel' from the new record in 2 weeks! As you may have notice we've already plastered it up on the home page so you can have a sneaky listen... It's a pretty big shift from the sound of EARNEST but if you've been to any of our live shows over the past two years ... the rockier edge to the music won't be coming as any kind of surprise.
We'll be doing a small single launch tour in May to launch 'Break and Keel', if you're in VIC or NSW your in luck... QLD friends, you'll have to wait until the album launch tour later in the year ;)
The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC
Saturday 18th May w. Justin JB Blues, Doors Open 8.30pm $10
21 Walker St Castlemaine VIC 3450
The Workers Club, Fitzroy VIC
Saturday 19th May w. Victoriana Gaye and Little Wise.
Doors Open 1.30pm Music Starts 2pm. $12 on the door.
51 Brunswick St Fitzroy VIC 3065
Mars Hill Cafe', Parramatta NSW
Saturday 25th May. Doors Open 7.30pm, Music Starts 8.30pm
Tickets $10 online, $15 on the door. Tickets here
331 Church St Parramatta NSW 2150
The Junkyard, Maitland NSW
Sunday 26th May. Three big sets of music from 5.30pm. Free
88 Church St Maitland NSW 2320
Yesterday was pretty exhausting. With only one and half hours sleep between returning home from Newstead Live and catching a cab to Tullermarine, we arrived in Brisbane.
After collecting the Tarago our beloved Good Ship comrade had us we headed from West End to get some coffee and breakfast.
Choosing the only cafe' open (public holiday) we encountered the worst possible service... the restaurant was owned and run buy a family. The stress was apparent as soon as we sat down... the mother who was waitressing barley spoke English and was in a bit of a tizz, the youngest son being agressive making coffees and the other son look as if he was trying desperately to ignore all the fuss.
We got word from Sean that we may not be able to make it to the studio as the town where it's situated (Fernvale QLD) was about to be cut off my flood water on one side...
By 10.30am we got word that the bridge on the east side of town was clear so we set off. We arrived around 11.30am fairly exhausted and dazed.
Justin put his hand up to do vocals. He nailed two songs, but couldn't quite muster the third and by 6 o'clock Sean (our engineer) decided to call it a day is wife was at home alone in Brisbane where flooding had caused a power outage.
Today was slightly more productive. I sang three songs, 'Break and Keel', 'Feel so Young', and 'What I Need. We finished off the session with a duet type rock n roll number Justin and I wrote called 'Dish it Out' ... we both got under the drum-barella (pictured below) and tracked the song together.
Ben's been chilling out most of the time, practicing his lap steel and smoking on the porch over looking the pool, coming inside to lend a fresh set of ears when needed. He has also been the resident cook making dinners and lunchs.
Although it's been a slow start we're hoping to finish all the lead vocals tomorrow and move onto harmonies.
I’m glad and also a little sad to have finished the drums for the new record. Had so much fun the past 4 days, although I don’t think I full realised that at the time. Really wish we were up here for another week or so cause it’s been so sweet recording away from normality and the distractions that come with it. Plus Applewood’s such a beautiful space and we’ve come off 5 days on the road which means we’re all nice and warmed up.
Justin’s currently got a clean guitar sound going with his Les Paul for ‘Break and Keel’, he’s got it cranked through Ben’s Fender Reverb Deluxe … the guitar keeps going out of tune every 8 bars or so, so there’s lots of stopping and starting happening. Don’t know how he’s isn’t not loosing his cool with it J
The new record’s going to sound mighty different from Earnest. Touring this last year or so has meant a massive difference to the sound of the band, we’re much rockier from all the three set pubs gigs… plus I’ve been writing all these angsty songs…. Plus we’ve got a new (well not so new) bass player Edmondo whose a totally rock ‘n’ roller.
Can’t wait for y’all to hear it. Back south tomorrow. :(
I’ll post more behind the scenes pics soon.
OMG! Just finished recording ‘Smile, Smile, Smile’, the SLOWEST darn song ever existed! We’ve been playing it at live shows for around 9 months, but the way we perform it is much faster and rockier than how we’d like it for the record. The band’s playing live to a click track at 57bpm, no extra subdivisions, just crotchets …. Mother loads of concentration! Slow as hell. Anyhow, it’s all down to tape now so that’s the last of the drums ‘n’ bass tracking for the record (we hope)…
All the recording we’ve done at here has as a full band to a click track… some of the guitars and pedal-steal will be kept and re-amped once we back in Melbourne and some we’ll re-record.
Earlier this morning we tracked ‘Family On The Run’… a country rock number I wrote about my family. I was a little concerned about this one as it’s relatively new for us. It’s uptempo at 148bpm and the beat is un-relenting through the whole piece. Surprisingly we nailed it on the third take. Sounds rockin’ and ragged round the edges…if we played it slick and clean it’s sound all Keith Urban-like… and who needs that!
We’ve got one more day at Applewood… looks like we’ll be tracking electric guitars and steal so I can have a little break J
Catty Can C
Day 2...Today was smashing! We played our rocky, raucous, hard-hitting tunes, all 5 song went down without a struggle! Very happy. Just after dinner Ben was attacked by a small possum who we’ve been told has a reputation for mischief.
Tired now and needing some down time. Haven’t stopped since we left Melbourne.
Day 3 was HARD! It’s started awesomely though… we opened the day with Justin’s tune ‘Small Things’ a New Orleans-esq, Ry Codder, Little Feat-ish kinda song. Sean (the engineer) suggested using an old Brisbane made ‘Dandy’ kick drum for the song to get a more old school sound. So sat on my drum throne doing my darnedest to channel Levon Helm as we lay down a few takes. To my surprise, we had the song nailed in 3 takes.
We moved on to ‘You don’t know what I need’, four on the floor, bluesy, finger-picking number…. Big Bill Broonzy type thang, that’s when trouble hit. Or first take was great, but Edmondo wasn’t happy with his bass sound and wanted to move from using fingers to a pick. The pick tone was totally the ticket; it suited the relentless, driving nature of the tune. The only thing is, now my kick drum and Ed’s bass notes had to be perfectly in time, and I mean perfectly! We tried of 3 hours to get it down as a band, alas, no joy. Eventually we put down a take with Justin, Ben and myself with the view of Ed over-dubbing his bass. Will it work? Who bloody knows ey.
We moved onto two brand new songs, Justin’s ‘Pick up the phone’ and my song ‘Everything’. We’ve only been playing these for around 3 weeks so they're still finding their feet. ‘Everything’ was a task to get right as the arrangement is a little complicated and we still don’t really know it but heart but ‘Pick up the phone’ went down with much drama at all. I took all the dampening off my tom to get some epic sounding open drum fills on the song…. Sounds pretty killer…. I think.
Today felt like an up-hill marathon.
The band has been making tracks up and down the east coast for the past two years without too much trouble, but the past four days, some members have found the tour to be quite brutal. Despite some great shows, the long distance driving and illness have been taking its toll. Cat was sick on the day we left Melbourne, which meant we had to leave a bit later than usual, forcing us to cancel a live radio appearance on ABC Canberra. Just when Cat began to get better; Edmondo was diagnosed with conjunctivitis.
Today we arrived at Applewood Lane Studios in Fernvale, Qld, which is not far from Wivenhoe Dam. Engineer Sean Cooke greeted us, we loaded in then Ben and myself headed out to the super market to stock up with food while Cat set up her kit. Sean didn’t take too long to pull up a great drum sound from Cat. When Ben and I got back around 3pm, we started doing takes. Two songs nailed (we think)… we’re all pretty tired but happy bunch with today’s results. I think a lot of our fans will be surprised with both the new songs and the sound. The sound is high on energy! Is this what you achieve in the studio after a short tour? I guess so. We have the rest of the week to complete the rhythm tracks, figures crossed we get through all 12 tunes.
My song/tempo list for record #3
What a stupid 3 months it has been. Justin and I both began recording solo records, and Ben's been on tour with Lumiere and co on The Celtic Divas Tour round OZ.... We have, of course been rehearsing for The Stillsons third record as well.
While there are a few brand new tunes most of the potentials for the new record have already been road tested on one, if not two tours... I guess we're hoping our knowledge and experience with each of them will translate into a record which reflects us as live band.
For those of you who aren't stalking us via Facebook, we've decided to record the bed tracks for the album in at Applewood Lane Studios, Queensland. Applewood is an old weather board church that has been converted into a recording studio and residence. Edmondo introduced us to it during our last foray in QLD. The space, location and living quarters at Applewood had obvious potential for Stillsons. We're always extremely busy when we are home in Melbourne and it's easy to get distracted from your goals.... writing, recording etc, so why not get away from the city and all other distractions? There's a cohesiveness and energy to the band once we're been on the road for a time, which isn't really something you can get for rehearsing alone (at least I think so). So it seemed logically, play a string of shows that would take us up to the studio... the band will be cooking... they'll be no distractions.... we'll be eating, sleeping, and playing with each other everyday, just like we would if we were on the road. Happy times. Applewood is the place the album will start it's life. *Sigh* Harmony.
So we leave in 4 days for the first show of our tour dubbed 'No Distractions Tour'. First stop, the nations capital CANBERRA and according to one of Fran Kelly's Radio National Breakfast guests "the most intelligent city in the world"...
10 days till blast off at Applewood.