The second full-length album by We Set Sail is set to be released on Friday 16th September.
Titled ‘Feel Nothing‘ it was recorded over a couple of years at Neutral Ground in Brisbane by guitarist James Jackson before being mastered by Jay Maas.
Pre-orders of the album now Digitally, on CD and on limited edition Frosted Clear Vinyl (these are selling quick) via Bandcamp [Here].
This week, the band took the time to tell us all about the album via our On The Record questions
Check out a few tracks below while you read their answers. If you dig the tunes, go grab a pre-order.
We deliberated on the title for a really super long time. Like anything, the title is up for interpretation by the listener but I think for us this is about just being so caught up in the ‘daily grind’, whether that’s going to work for long hours everyday, looking after children or dealing with shitty relationships, you just get so swept up in it that you never actually get a chance to stop and take part. You just kind of become numb to your own life. We almost called it ‘Feel Something’ but chose realism over optimism.
Tell us about the artwork.
I laid everything out, but the main elements are a couple of photos taken by a guy named Kevin Russ, who is a wandering photographer & traveller who pays his way by taking photos on his iPhone. Yes, his iPhone. We looked at hundreds, possibly thousands of photos. We like this one because it has a kind of mundane serenity but it’s just a little washed out and so has that bittersweet vibe. And the horses are just kind of doing their thing, galloping off somewhere, but it’s not like they have meetings to rush off to. That’s why animals are so cool, we live vicariously through them since they have nowhere to be in a hurry, and so much less of the problems we’ve created for ourselves. The vinyl has actually a dual front cover – the back is flipped upside down so it can be presented either way.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
Limited run vinyl, online via the usual – bandcamp, and evetually spotify etc, as well as some DIY CDs for people who want them. I’m still a huge fan of listening to music on CD which is why I wanted to offer it without doing a huge QTY run. That way you know you’re getting something we put a bit of effort into also.
Who will it be released through, and when?
We set up up our own label – Kill the Music, which is a name many people wil be familiar with from Paul’s record store in Brisbane which ceased a couple of years ago now. We’ll be hitting up a few stores around AUS too to see if they want to stock it.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We’ve always had our own rehearsal space, in fact many, all over brisbane, between 2008 and now. We couldn’t function as a band without it. Currently we have a nice old warehouse space in Northgate that we share with a couple of bands and that’s where we wrote and recorded this album over the last 2 years. Our guitarist Jimmy (James Jackson) recorded and engineered the album. He’s been building an arsenal of gear for ages now and we hired a few bits and pieces to fill in some gaps and make sure we had a really lush signal chain for recording the drums.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
First of all I just gotta say how stoked I am with how the record sounds, and I’m doubly stoked that we did it ourselves. And really most of the credit belongs to Jimmy because he’s the one that not only makes sure that everything goes in sounding great, but he’s also the one who mixed it and did all the editing. We produced this record together as a band without any real outside help or influence. We operate as a democracy. If someone doesn’t like something, generally we don’t do it, or we have to justify the hell out of it. I suppose Paul (Paul Voge, Guitarist & vocalist) and I are the most vocal and opinionated when it comes to songwriting and stylistic stuff in the sense of what I think a producer would be brought in to do. Though, there were points where I really feared for my continuing friendhsip with Jimmy due to my incessant requests for ‘more flavour’, mainly on the drums. I’m usually the one telling other members to “do it again” when something sounds out of tune or sloppy. But Jimmy is responsible for the polished yet natural sound of the record which is something I think we were all stoked on right from the first mixes. We had it mastered by Jason Maas (Defeater) who also mixed our first record and it was awesome to have him involved in that process seeing as it wasn’t something we were totally comfortable DIY’ing.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Not at all. Every time we start writing something, there’s always a sense of ‘I wonder where this will end up?’. Andy writes most of the riffs and a lot of those riffs are reflective of the stuff he was listening to at the time, but most songs flourish from those small riff ideas and really turn into something pretty different every time once we all get our hands on it, which I think is nice. Though like I said, it’s a democracy so it’s nice knowing that with everything we do, we’re all pretty much 100% stoked on something or it doesn’t happen or we change it until we are.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Probably! But the process took about 2 years so that’s looking back through a lot of music…
Were there any albums you were referencing in the studio to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
Not really, though I secretly think of this album as our ‘Siamese Dream’ if only because it’s a bit heavier, uses similar tones in the guitars and drums, and was maybe a little less experimental than our previous album. Though I think that answer would be different depending on who in the band you asked.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
All up, nearly exactly two years from when I did the drums for ‘Tragedy’, until we did the last vocals on ‘How did it go last night?’.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We always record the songs live together as a pre-production reference and to make sure nothing we play really clashes with what another person is doing. Then I program drums as a backing track for the guys to record guitars to, so they have something tight to play along to. Then once all the guitars are good, I’ll come in and record the drums. I got really used to recording drums first, on my own and with no audio to play along to, but doing it this way gives me something to really get in the mood for and thrash it out with the guitars. And vocals kind of get done all over the place whenever we can fit it in. We also use a dry bass signal so we can re-amp it later and mess with bass tones and effects to our hearts content.
Other than that the process really goes like this:
“Are you free this week to record?”
“No, [insert reason: sick child/work commitments/relatives birthday]”
“Ok, how about next week…?”
That’s pretty much it.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Pretty much the same as the first record, just a different location. Our new studio has super high ceilings and a delicious natural reverb which makes playing there delightful.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Uhhh. Nope! Just us idiots.
When it comes do naming the tracks, is there any particular approach or process to it all?
Haha, we always have the DUMBEST working titles for songs which mostly come from a lingering joke that someone made. Trouble is, when we come up with a proper title that reflects the song, we can never remember what it is and we have to refer to the album artwork.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Nope it’s pretty much just our usual setups with the addition of the re-amping unit which helps us cheat with tones here and there.
Any memorable studio moments?
I really wish I had a cool or hilarious story to tell here. We share a wall with a cabinet maker’s workshop so a lot of the time we would have to wait until their air compressor would stop and record vocal takes in between the noise. Filming the clip for ‘Snails’ was fun too though. That was a fun day of just making it all up as we went along. We lit stuff on fire and it got a bit sketchy for a moment there but everything went according to plan. Mostly.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
We have so many demos of different ideas or versions of songs but generally once we ditch something that isn’t working, we don’t come back to it. Anything that we’ve written since sending the album off for mastering will most likely end up on album number 3. We’ve got 3 or 4 songs written, which is pretty standard progress for us at this stage.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
‘Animal, Mineral, Vegetable’ is a great song to play live simply because it has a quicker tempo and a bit more energy compared to most of our songs which are designed to maximise sadness. ‘How did it go last night’ and ‘This machine destroys everything!’ have a real fun flow for me as a drummer though, so I’d be stoked if we get to sneak them into a set here and there.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
Questions like this are tricky only because I gaurantee that how we hear these songs is so super different to how other people hear these songs. But I suppose I would say that it’s a familiar version of us as a band but different enough to keep it interesting.
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
Writing and recording is a really insular experience for us as a band, so our music becomes something else when it enters the public. I’d love everyone to give it a try even if they hate it, and get some honest feedback. And hopefully someone gets something out of it.
1. Animal, Mineral, Vegetable
2. This Machine Destroys Everything!
4. Reminders Written On Maps
5. How Did it Go Last Night?
6. This Could Be the Tragedy We’ve Been Waiting For
7. Understanding This Is Not a Car Crash
8. Pet Cemetery
9. Space Jam