listening to the friends in america record whilst reading uni stuff. we’re taking it in to do a final mix/early master of it on wednesday, and it’s weird thinking that it’s nearly fucking done. it’s been almost two years since we started working on it. two long years, filled with untold amounts of stress and sleepless nights trying to ensure that the hardware didn’t just entirely fuck up and ruin the whole project. the phrase “pained art” comes to mind - at a few points the project threatened our relationship as a band, and even as friends due to the amount of pressure put on all of us to make this record. i nearly had a nervous breakdown and at many points just thought about deleting everything because of the amount of work required just to keep the project going. the hardware used to record was utter shit and so i would spend days and nights just trying to fix technical problems before we could even think about the next recording session. momentum as an actual live band had totally halted due to the lack of a bass player and the fact that we were so focused on the fucking record, which created even more tension. all of this for what, seven tracks over half a fucking hour of music? seems totally ludicrous when explained like that. all this considered, was it worth it?
not a fucking doubt in my mind.
i’m actually sitting half welling up as i listen to it, i’m that proud of it. this is the first big project i’ve worked on that has, from start to finish, been totally controlled by myself and the band. it started as me offering my services as an engineer due to us being too broke to go into a studio (at this point matt and i could barely afford to eat let alone even think about studio time). the ambition of the project soon shot right up as we stopped thinking of it as “drums done, bass done, guitars done” and started just building and building and building upon the foundation laid down by the bass and drums. each track became a massive collage of sound, with clusters of guitars being piled on top of each other just to see what it would sound like.
we’d record anything if we thought it sounded cool - there’s the sound of windows being tapped, which i would manipulate and place under some guitar clicks we had done to make it sound a bit weirder, for example. there are also just a bunch of joke noises that we thought it would be funny to include in the mix, such as me eating a sandwich but in reverse, liam on the phone, us cheering our own music, fuck ups that we thought were funny, and various other in-jokes. the recording of these things was hindered by the fact that my hardware kept fucking up, so i had to improvise ways around problems which created some interesting results which we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. the fact that we were able to achieve a recording quality this high despite these problems is testament to the fact that it works.
this may all sound like unnecessary clutter, but believe me when i say there’s not a single sound on this record that i believe doesn’t have to be there. the reason for this is that the record became this hugely personal thing to us - to me, anyway, it’s an aural document of the last two years of our band. it’s truly representative of us as a band, as individuals and, most importantly, as friends.
all in all this project has taught me so much, and as much as it’s caused so much stress, it’s brought us closer as a band i think. now that it’s nearly done, we’ve been able to focus on the live stuff again, and with our new bassist it’s picking up again incredibly fast. we just want to have the record out for people to hear, because it’s been a long time coming. i know people usually say “i don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks” but honestly in this case i would fucking love it if people gave a fuck about the record, because we have worked so fucking hard on something we believe to be truly special. it’s not like i need that validation or whatever, but i think secretly everyone wants their work to be appreciated. at the end of the day though, this has been a very special couple of years for me and the end product, like i say, has been totally fucking worth it.
we’ll be bringing it out around april, and we’ll be having a launch gig for it. more details to follow. we’re playing a show on thursday the 21st at the art school in glasgow (supporting billy fucking boyd fae lord of the rings’ band no less). it would be cool to see a few friendly faces there, and it’ll be a good taste of what’s to come. it’ll probably be your last chance to see us before the record launch. either way, i’m very fucking proud of what we’ve achieved with this record and i can’t wait for you all to hear it.