Andy Strachan has spent more than 25 years behind a drum kit; twelve of those years have been with The Living End. He is now ready to unleash his side project The Pants Collective. Taking on multiple instruments (drums, guitar, bass), songwriting and vocal duties. The first release is a self-titled, seven track EP that is set for release this Friday through Create-Control. It was recorded at Red Door Studios in Melbourne. You can pre-order now on iTunes [Here]. This week Andy took the time to answer our On The Record questions telling us all about the release. Expand this post for his answers.
Tell us about the release title.
It’s called The Pants Collective so, the EP is self titled. Pants was a nickname given to me many years ago and when I decided to do some recording I liked the idea of having a “collective” of friends rather than a traditional band to help play and create the music. That way, the creative door is always open and there are no rules or boundaries that can hold you back.
Tell us about the artwork.
I kept that side of things pretty close to home. A friend two doors up from me is a great photographer so I got her to come down to the beach, bury me in the sand and take some snaps. Then with the artwork and website/facebook stuff, I went about six houses down in the other direction to some friends who just happen to be awesome at that kind of stuff. Very bloody handy!
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
It’ll be available in digital format and I’m doing a very small run of CD’s for the “old school” music lovers.
Who will it be released through, and when?
Create-Control on the 30th of May.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
It was all done at Red Door Studios in Collingwood, VIC. I chose to do it there because I’ve done a bunch of stuff there with The Living End so it feels a bit like a second home but the main reason was Woody. I was never going to do this project without him and this is his studio so there was really no choice!
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
Paul “Woody” Annison. I’ve know Woody for a long time, he’s like family. He was the only choice for this project. He is an amazing producer and loves working fast and taking chances.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
No, does anyone? I just put ideas down and if they sound good the next day, they go into the mix.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
When I wrote ‘Secrets’ about 8 or 9 years ago I was big into QOTSA… Still am. I guess the other songs were more influenced by things that were going on in my life at the time rather than the music I was listening to.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
I don’t think so. We just aimed at getting a good simple drum sound first and build each song from there and see where the song took us. It was very fast and spontaneous.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
I think it was 9 days in total for recording and mixing over 2 sessions.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
Every song was different. The first track I played everything except bass so I put down a drum track first, then a bunch of guitars, then I was going to borrow a bass from Caz (the engineer) and he was tuning it up for me and it was clear that he was a far better bass player than me! So he put a bass track down before I could get another beer from the fridge. Most of the other tracks generally started with a drum track and then i got a bunch of mates (the collective) to play parts on top. There are 2 tracks (‘Take All My Time’ and ‘Hometown’) that are more traditional band tracks that we put together by jamming and getting a rhythm track down as a band.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
It was hugely different for me because I was wearing lots of hats. I was obviously playing drums but, that was the easy part. I had to play other instruments, direct other players, write lyrics and sing. That was fairly daunting I must say but I’m so glad I did it.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Lots of people were involved in the process and I love that about The Collective. They’re all great mates and people I love playing music with. Paul Inglis played bass on 4 tracks, Danny McDonald and Paul O’Brien played guitar on a bunch as did Adrian “LOMBI” Lombardi and Sean Miljoen who I hadn’t played with for years. And of course Caz and Woody. Everyone contributed bits here and there to the writing and put their flavor on it, it was a great way to do it.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Nah, we kept it pretty simple. But, I did use a roll of toilet paper to mute my guitar strings at one point. That was fun.
Any memorable studio moments?
Loads! Being in a room with Woody for any length of time is going to make you laugh… or cry! I remember finishing ‘You’ll Never Know’ and listening back with Woody and I got a little emotional… It’s a pretty heavy song for me and hearing it complete was a bit overwhelming.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Yeah, there were 3 that didn’t quite make it. It was more running out of time and money than anything, so hopefully I’ll get back in and finish them off soon.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
There is a song called ‘It’s Gonna Be Fine’ which is super fun to play and ‘You’ll Never Know’ will be fun too I reckon.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
This is the first.+
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
I’m really happy that I actually did it! It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for years, I just had to find the time and the right people to join The Collective.
THE PANTS COLLECTIVE – The Pants Collective.
Available Friday 30th May on Create-Control.
Order now on iTunes [Here].