Type: Recording / Date: October 2016
No sooner was the song written than it was recorded in one of the final sessions for the album at Greenmount Studios. The drum machine the song was written to featured, with live edits / mixing recorded straight in, rather than midi-ing the hell out of it. We used a pretty basic guitar as a guide that ended up staying as we liked the raw aspect to it, making the jumps later more explicit.
A song I had in mind as a reference fro recording was “Scenery” by Arab Strap. It’s opening is similarily low-fi, with studio noise. It doesn’t massively feel like it is going anywhere until the really quite lush chorus comes in. Although lush wasn’t our angle, a wall of noise, kind of somewhere between beautiful and violent would do the same trick.
Before building that noise, Dan added his drum work in. I think it was freeing for him to drum over a drum machine, with less pressure to fill out the space and he was able to concentrate on the power of the rhythm. Dad also added in some backing vocals on the final chorus which really make it at the end I reckon.
For my own vocals we used one of these weird mics that you usually see connected to megaphones. We ran it through a guitar amp, so it fed back to fuck most of the time. So I hunched on the corner and mumbled through the lyric sheet. I felt happier that it was so distorted, it helped to get into the mindset a little.
We built those more dramatic elements of the chorus-noise with some pretty simple distortion / octave modulation which are my standard live pedals. We then built that up with Jamie’s violin line. I resisted either building up lots of lines or emulating the string parts as I felt the atmosphere of the song’s subject suited a single line better. Still, with all the noise, mixing it was tough but having Jamie switch up an octave for the last chorus did the trick.
With most of the track down, Loz Campbell joined us in the final session, adding her backing vocals to the choruses and completing that big sound we were looking for.
A couple of structural elements came together in the studio, the different styles of gap before the second and third chorus that keep things interesting. The bass line took a while – it couldn’t be simpler but sometimes you have to go somewhere to make your way back. In the end, a 4/4 rhythm on the beat, resisting anything fancy and just rising on the third chorus was the best option.
Finally, we spent time deciding whether we liked the noise at the very end, and whether people would think it was a mistake. When it went to press, the pressing plant did ask if we want it removing, but it felt kinda cool in there and was a good transition on the album.
Structurely, the song is counter intuitive for ODAS. Completely dictated by the space on the vinyl, I ended up cutting it shorter than I would ever normally do. The second verse repeating only twice is unusual, but with the gap and the sudden noise in the second chorus, it creates a feeling of less verse/chorus through switching length and dynamic. Otherwise, it’s strength is its confidence in it’s brevity, though when played live, that last chorus was extended to a more natural four times round than the odd 3.