September 2016 Studio Diary Day 1

Day one back in Greenmount Studios – this year we’ve already spent some time in there in February and June, which produced 4.5 tracks, including the two from our upcoming AA Single.

Today we started on two brand new songs, ‘Becoming Dust’ and one with the working title of ‘Highlands’. By the end of the day both were surprisingly complete given we only spent 8 hours on them.

Highlands is so called because the vibe of the main riff, which loops round and round throughout brought to mind Forest Hills by Arab Strap, which in itself reminds me of a holiday in Scotland when I was a teenager. Hence Highlands. The part sounds nothing like the song, but the feeling is similar. I’d tried demoing this, mainly because the picking style made it hard for me to work out the melody. The lyrics however came in one single 16 line burst. I wish that could happen more often.

In contrast, Becoming Dust has been bouncing around my head for well over a year. It’s working title was ‘Malcolm Attack’ as it felt like it might mix Malcolm Middleton downbeat and Massive Attack big beat / piano combo. However, despite running it through as a band and as a demo, enough progress couldn’t be made and the lyrics couldn’t settle. There were just so many ways it could go, and I couldn’t decide where to take it. So I felt a trip to the studio might be the only way to force this one out.

Highlands came easy. Demoing does help if your time is short (as it is for us) and the timed saved there left more time available for Becoming Dust. For the latter for reference we listened to So Whatcha Want by Beastie Boys, a couple of Sigur Ros tracks from Kviekur and Bear With Me by Malcolm Middleton and I learnt a little about adding additional bass drum samples across a loop that we took from Dan’s playing, adding to the ones, twos or threes and varying across different bars. By the end of the day we had a structure and some interesting ideas, but without the vocals in there, it’s hard to see how it’ll pan out, so that is the first job for tomorrow.

Having got home and listened to the rough mix, it is clear the prepared lyrics don’t take up enough space in the song. I want this one to be an opposite to the instrumental tracks we have in the can, and be lyric-heavy. Plus, it’s easier to remove than to add on the spot. So a late night plunder back through the lyrics stacks has got us a 5 pager. It was hard to piece together as a whole. I’d been listening alot to Watch The Throne which seemed to help me find a rhythm. I feel they’d be good delivered by James from Post War Glamour Girls as he’d really add some vigor to them, but I think I shall keep my deadpan, Arab Strap delivery instead. We’ll see how that works out tomorrow.

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