Melbourne’s Foxtrot have recently released and launched their new album ‘Gone Fishin‘ via Jackknife Music. To find out more about it, the band took the time to answer our On The Record questions this week. Expand this post to take a read of their answers. You can stream / purchase a copy on CD or digitally [Here]. Vinyl is coming soon.
Tell us about the release title. We struggled for a while to settle on what to call this album, messed around with a few ideas. We fished around, asking people we knew if they could think of anything fitting (pretty sure someone even started a group message online to get people’s creative juices flowing). “Covered in ash anyway…” was a contender for a while. We settled on ‘Gone Fishin’, which besides being the name of one of the tracks on the record, would explain why it took us so long to get this release out…
Tell us about the artwork. The artwork was done by Stephen Baker, who has done heaps of other rad stuff with other bands we love. We basically gave him a worded blue print of what we wanted and he sketched it all together. The album title gone fishin’ instantly set up the Maritime vibe and so within that we wanted to also display a sense of urban sprawl chaos kind of thing. Most of the songs are generally about wanting to ‘get away from it all’ so that’s where i guess the chaotic element comes into play.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged? So far we’ve pressed a bunch of shiny jewel case CD’s with a 6 page fold out illustration that Stephen put together for us. We’re also weeks off a batch of 12”s which is pretty exciting. Our stuff is also online for listening at jackknifemusic.bandcamp.com, and for purchase at foxtrot.bigcartel.com
Who will it be released through, and when? It’s out now. All of our stuff basically gets released through Jackknife Records. They’ve helped us out a bunch since we started and we’re all really close so it makes it almost like a family-run label.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there? We recorded across various locations over an unreasonably long period of time.. The drums were recorded at our drummer at the times house, which had fairly big open spaces so we we’re able to get a nice warm sound and experiment with mic placements. The room mic that was placed in the upstairs toilet definitely had an interesting sound, and more than likely captured more than just rim taps. We recorded the guitars and vocals at a large open warehouse in Brunswick, and extra guitars were recorded at our engineers house. Not being able to afford a nice studio or expensive engineer can be somewhat limiting, but we find it forces us to be creative with how we get things done. The warehouse had a massive natural reverb and was being rented by our guitarist (Tyler) and some of his friends who wanted to turn it into a rehearsal studio, so it didn’t cost us anything.. We had recorded previously at our engineers house and since then he had all of his gear packed (dubbed the energon cube) so that he could transport it to other studios and spaces.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them? We produced the album ourselves.. The track listings were agreed upon by the band. There are extra instruments and sounds, including segues and the extended outro, that were composed by Tyler. Other intro’s and outro’s came about at rehearsals, usually by getting carried away with a riff or more than likely just forgetting what it was we were actually trying to play.. The tracks were mixed under our guidance by Jacob Munnery who recorded it for us. We recorded our first Demo (which became ‘The Bottom Line EP’) with Jacob, who did a great job and was reasonable about how much we paid him, so he was our first choice when we decided to put down these tracks.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind? Not exactly.. We each contribute to writing for the band and rarely set out to make a specific point or statement. Usually the process is a therapeutic one (particularly with lyrics), or simply a musical expression that gets developed into a song. Josh writes a lot of songs which the other guys will then add their parts too, but there are songs on the album that, for instance, Nick wrote the music, Josh the lyrics for the verses and Tyler the lyrics for the chorus.. We don’t believe, or aren’t aware of, a particular formula for writing a Foxtrot song.. Picking a swear word and then building a song around that is usually a good trick..
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all? I think we’d all agree that whatever’s playing in the car for that week is what your next song is most likely going to reek of but in our case we’re all listening to something different all the time so josh might have a song that’s got a slight hot water vibe too it.. but then nick will have been listening to At The Drive-In or Kesha or something and then that will give the song a completely different vibe to any of those artists so I guess whilst we recorded there would have been motivations from who we were listening too but i couldn’t tell you who they were.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise? Well not at the time of recording but it was one of those questions that came up in the mastering process. It was literally a question on the application form, so we just picked a bunch of well recorded Against Me / Hot Water Music / At The Drive-In records and really just hoped it would come back sounding clear and consistent.
How long did you spend in the studio recording? It took us a long time to get the whole thing together.. All up I believe it was almost shy of two years. Although compressed into one, I’d say it would have been a month, but everything was drawn out due to availabilities etc. The mixing process was pretty hectic and we had the genius idea to record 16 songs at once so it was all pretty epic. Only ten are on the record so we’ll look at releasing the others during the year sometime.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used? Well the songs we’re already written and in most cases were being played live so the recording process was really just about getting down what we’d been playing. We stuck to standard procedure for tracking ie; drums, then bass, add guitars and vox and mix it all around with fingers crossed. However, this time around Tyler got hands on the files and was basically keeping up to date with whatever our engineer was doing at the time so we could add things along the way and also construct the segues etc. We had a lot of fun recording, and there was usually some scotch or something on hand that we’d convince ourselves would make us sound better, keeping ourselves amused in the process.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used? Prior to this album we have only released an EP – ‘The Bottom Line which’ was recorded by the same engineer however we recorded at his house rather then various spaces and Tyler’s computer. All of the stuff we record and demo we try to do ourselves and utilize whatever tools (ie; spaces, mics etc.) to get down whatever idea is current so essentially we’re always changing the way we record. We’ve just finished recording an acoustic track that was recorded in nicks garage / kind-of-sound-proofed-studio / refreshment-centre, just using one mic to track individual parts. Which is already sounding really different.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do? Not on this record unfortunately, we love the idea of getting our mates involved though, specially for gang vocal and epic solos, but for this record I guess we were all pretty focused on just trying to get our own parts down, let alone thinking of where other people could come in (although in hindsight we wished we’d asked some mated to jump in). Also the fact that we recorded at really sporadic intervals throughout the process, made it hard to plan a day for everyone to come in and have a yell or a shred. Next record we’ll be sure to have some mates involved, and our mates cats and dogs hopefully.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process? Considering the layers on the record in terms of harmonies and guitars being quite complex, we wanted to keep our set-up the same as our live back-line. Effects during the songs are mainly from Tyler’s actual effect board rather then plug-ins etc. The last track ‘Gone Fishin’ has an extended outro which we recorded at home using a variety of utensils (ie; styrofoam bats, salad bowls, leather cushions for bass drums and catching coins for hi hats). Tyler produced this section himself, adding effects and playing around with sounds. It was a really fun and creative process and basically gave us an idea of what we’re capable of putting together ourselves on no budget. Through the experience we learnt heaps which we utilise in what we’re recording and demo-ing currently.
Any memorable studio moments? Well I really cant say much about any of our memories to be honest. I guess every time we got to record or get something done was always pretty special. For me the memorable moment was picking up the 5 boxes of CD’s and realizing a week later the track listing was wrong. That was fun, repacking all the CD back covers.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime? The other 6 songs we recorded will come out as an EP later this year, however we may just make it a download rather then CD. Two of the other tracks already appear on a split EP we did earlier this Year with Adelaide’s, The Hardaches.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live? The ones we know we can sing. I guess it’s not one song we look forward to the most, it’s more seeing that we’re 40 mins into the set and we’ve chucked a high one at the end, and your gut just sinks knowing your gonna struggle/hold-back-a-vom-dog. That being said lately we’ve chucked some of the old songs at the end and they’re really fun and a little easier so balance is restored.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases? Recording wise I think we were all really happy with how both recordings have turned out. I guess songs on this record were written and arranged when the band had established itself a little more and we’d spent more time together, so i guess there’s more of us on this record then on ‘The Bottom Line’. Although that’s gotta be said for any band really, the recordings are markers of a time and a place. There’s more production on this record then our EP, but only for creative purposes rather then ‘enhancement’ tools. Getting lost in playing around with effects and weird instruments were some of the funnest times i had recording this album.
Anything else you want to say or about the release? Just swim between the flags and make sure your standing behind the yellow line and we’ll all be sweet.
FOXTROT – ‘Gone Fishin’‘
Available now via Jackknife Music.
Order CD, Vinyl or Digitally [Here].