Hailing from the Gold Coast, singer / songwriter Laura Mardon recently released her album for One Week Records.
Ten tracks, recorded in seven days at Joey Cape’s joint in San Francisco that others such as Betty and The Boy, Jo Bergeron, Chris Cresswell and Brian Wahlstrom have also done. The artists lives with Joey and his family for the week whilst recording on a limited schedule that doesn’t allow for over-production and allows you to hear a more natural sounding record.
Available now from One Week Records website for just five bucks, it is well worth picking up. This week via our On The Record questions, Laura tells us more about the album, how it came about, and the overall experience. Take a read.
Catch her live next at Currumbin Creek Tavern on the Gold Coast on Friday 15th May alongside The Meaniacs, Being Jane Lane and The Volleys.
With One Week Records, everyone uses the same title of ‘One Week Record’. I like that idea, it unifies things and helps build the labels identity as more of a session label rather than a record label.
Tell us about the artwork.
It’s the artwork is what separates each record cover on One Week Records. Everyone is given a blank piece of paper and a sharpie to create their album cover over the 7 day period. Mine is a 3 faced girl. I’ve always liked the idea and imagery of the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone; I like the idea of phases and personal development in life. I feel like I’ve come a long way since writing songs in my parents’ house back in London. I feel like my songwriting has developed a lot over the last year or so and especially whilst working with Joey, I wanted something that would represent that change.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
Initially it will be digital only via the One Week Records website however I’d love for it to be released on vinyl at some point, it’s just a matter of finding the right people to do so.
Who will it be released through, and when?
It’s released through One Week Records and came out on Tuesday 14th April.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
It was all recorded and mixed at Joey’s home studio. I spent 7 days living at Joey’s house with his family. It was really cool to do that. I mean there needs to be a lot of trust on both sides to be able to do. It was an awesome experience and I’m really thankful they invited me into their family for that time.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
I first met Joey when he and Brian Wahlstrom played a show on the Gold Coast. They invited me up to play a song after watching a video I sent Joey of me playing ‘Hail Hail The Dead Can Dance’. We spent a lot of time talking the night away and it felt really easy to talk to both of them. We met again after that and spoke about this concept Joey had about a label. I really liked the idea and after talking through everything, it seemed to just make sense.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Due to the time limit on recording we did a lot of pre-production via email. I had all these songs I’ve been recording at home over the last couple of years so I sent them all over to Joey and we talk through what we both liked and didn’t like about certain songs and chose from there.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
During recording and living with the Cape’s, I was lucky enough to have access to Joey’s record collection which was very cool. I remember listening to Elvis Costello – ‘My Aim is True’. When I had some down time on my own I was listening to ‘Devour’ by Dave Hause, Crusades – S/T Ep and Erica Freas.
Were there any albums you were referencing in the studio to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
To be honest, I went in with no reference or expectations; I’m pretty green when it comes to recording. I’ve only every been into a studio once before to record a 7inch with an old band back in London and everything else has been done at home or in practice rooms so production has never been something I’d really considered. The reason behind recording 10 songs in one week is to not over produce. There’s no time to over think things. We just wanted to focus on the vocals and guitar and make them the best they could be.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
We spent 7 days in the studio. We’d be in the studio for 12 hours or more recording and tracking. We were totally consumed in it. There was one day I’m sure we spent 18 hours in there, it was crazy but it’s all part of the One Week experience.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We used a three mic set up to record guitar and vocals and then would track vocals afterwards. It was a really nice process because it felt comfortable and not totally alien to me. Joey is great at constructing songs, hearing everything, things I missed and it was great to have that mentoring ear in the room with me. I learnt a lot in that week.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Oh very! I mean, I’ve not even considered or thought of having a particular process at all. I just sit down with my guitar, open up Garage band and hope for the best. I definitely think a lot more about why and how I’m writing now.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Brian Wahlstrom plays piano on the record which I’m really happy about. His playing just adds this beautiful element and brings out parts of the songs that a single guitar just didn’t. Joey sings a few lines and plays a few different instruments on there too.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
I used a much nicer guitar than I had been that’s for sure. I got to use a 000 body Martin which was beautiful. Back home I played a Tanglewood Dreadnought. It was nice but nothing special; an Evolution TW28. I’d never considered guitar size or shape before; I just chose guitars similar to ones my friends played. I now play a Blueridge BR-163 which is more suited to me and my playing style. It’s a beautiful guitar and I can’t wait to play it live.
Any memorable studio moments?
Yeah, there was one day, it was pretty horrific haha. I think it was day 5, we were going well and was on track for recording. Then all of a sudden something just stopped working. All the treble had disappeared when we were playing back the recordings. We couldn’t work it out and figured it was the pre-amp. It was like the whole momentum just stopped and then there was that dreadful sinking stomach feeling that we weren’t going to finish the album. Joey was going straight on tour the day after we finished so there was literally no extra time. After a lot of talking to people and driving back and forth around SF, we realized we’d inadvertently blew the monitor tweak. We were running around like headless chickens and Joey was making all these calls trying to sort it and I just felt helpless. It was the worst. It was about 1am, maybe 2 and we’re in the kitchen of Motor Studios borrowing their soldering iron. It just added to the surreal nature of meeting Joey, flying half way around the world and making an album at his home.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
There was one track that was culled because we ended up writing a new song together. I just started playing this one line I had written before I flew to San Francisco one evening and Joey liked it so in the little spare time we had we sat down and wrote a new song and it was an amazing experience. Maybe it will be recorded at some point but who knows, I might look back at it just isn’t what I want for a new recording.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
I’ve played a few of the new tracks live recently and I really love playing ‘Hail Hail The Dead Can Dance’, it just has so many memories attached to it. I mean, it’s where all of this started, so I’ll always be fond of it. ‘Stella Wake’ is pretty epic and is a nice song to finish a set with with.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
It’s above and beyond anything I’ve released before. I listen back to the original demos and the progression is so obvious, I just want to keep making songs like this album. I never thought I could make something like this. I’m really proud of it and I hope people like it.
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
You can get the album from oneweekrecords.com for $5, enjoy!
1. Hail Hail The Dead Can Dance
2. Don’t Worry Doll
3. Falling Fallen
4. Visiting Hours
5. Lobby Floor
6. It Rained When They Took Her Away
7. Apologies Apologies
8. Cut Ups
9. The Sweetest Notes
10. Stella Wake