The question I get most often right now is "When the fuck did you guys have time to write a new album? You've been on tour non-stop since February?!?" Well, unlike All Guts, where we were able to write at our leisure and swap pre-production files, this album has been put together in fits and starts. Due to being on the road so much, I have been writing in between tours - a little bit here, a little bit there, and as the deadline neared, I have been clearing out my "riff warehouse" with feverish speed. I always have songs that never get finished, or get finished but only have one or two cool parts, or a riff with nothing to go with it that has been bugging me for years. Luckily, our former guitarist Wes and I were on an intense writing jag when we did All Guts... and I had about six songs written that didn't make the cut. That said, they didn't make the cut for a reason - we recorded the strongest songs for the record. However... there are always a couple of good ideas in those songs that just need to be gleaned, extracted, strengthened and molded into something else. They have been an excellent springboard for new stuff. So between coming up with completely new songs, getting ideas from the best riffs and unused bits I had languishing around, and writing in the jam room, we have about 40-42 minutes worth of brand new material. Again, we're shooting for an album length of about 35 minutes (I feel that with this style of music anything longer starts to drag and sap the listener's endurance / attention span), so we have more than enough new stuff.
What we didn't have enough of however, was rehearsal time. Between our liver-destroying and brain-numbing road schedule, disparate zip codes, line-up shifts, occasional bouts of employment, and any facsimile of personal lives, we have had little to no prep time as a band to work out these new songs. Every time we would get in the jam room, we were getting a set list ready for a tour, and if we did work on a new idea, it was neglected for a month or more and never really picked up again.
So, we spent a little over two weeks after returning from Summer Slaughter in the jam room, pounding away at the new material and getting the basic framework of the songs down. The details and fancy bits we're honing as we go in the studio. It's been an exciting way to work, and each take really captures the vibe of that particular moment, which I really dig. Mike's drum set is sounding fucking huge already, and I'm itching to get to Chandler, AZ to start laying down guitars and vocals.
Day one was spent tuning the drum kit and getting some tones. The vibe of this record is a little darker and more open, so we went for a little lower tones, added a bigger tom, and got a bit bigger and boomier drum sound from the get-go. That took most of the day (which is pretty normal, actually pretty quick compared to most recordings), but we opted to track a song in the remaining few hours. Since our prep time was so limited, we compensated by booking more studio time for everything this time around and we were shooting for getting tones the entire first day and nailing two songs each of the following days. So we were psyched to get a little ahead of the game - the extra cushion always comes in handy. However, it was a bit late to drive out to LA for the Murder Construct CD release show we were considering attending that night, which was disappointing. I would have loved to have time to hang with friends and enjoy some top-notch grind. If you haven't checked out their album Results, do yourself a favor. It features a bunch of my old buddies kicking some serious ass. But I digress... Instead we grabbed a couple of bottles of wine (yes, go ahead and snigger) and retired for the evening.
Day two, Rob and I headed to the Japanese consulate in Los Angeles (about 50 miles from Corona - which means about two hours away in LA traffic) to file for our visas for the Japanese shows we have coming up in October and get one of my guitars repaired. Meanwhile in Corona, Mike got to work on a song recording along with the midi pre-production tracks I had whipped up. By the time we made it back to the studio, several frustrating hours had elapsed sitting in traffic and we were a bit behind schedule. I settled in, got hastily warmed up, and Mike and finished the track. After a short break for a late lunch / early dinner, we decided to try and nail another one. Then one of those killer moments happened when things just started working. The vibe was awesome and great ideas kept coming out at breakneck speed. Even our engineer, John (who used to play drums in Phobia back in the day) suggested a beat that no one had thought of that worked out perfectly. Before we knew it, the song was in the can, and we were all pumped on our day's work left fully stoked! Which brings us to the present. Which means I need to stop typing, and get my ass over to the studio to get this record done.
- Harvey and the lads