London’s Apologies, I Have None were recently announced on the line up for The Smith Street Band’s upcoming album launch tour this November alongside The Front Bottoms. Not surprisingly, tickets are moving quickly for the tour with a few sold out signs already up, and more to follow. Back in May the band released their ‘Black Everything‘ EP. The four track effort can be streamed and purchased on Bandcamp [Here]. This week the band took the time to answer our On The Record questions to tell us more about the release. Expand this post to take a read of their answers and remind yourself of those tour dates. Grab tickets while you still can.
Tell us about the release title.
The record is called ‘Black Everything’. It fits well with the subject matter of the songs on the record and also very much so with the artwork (if you can call it that). I had for a while wanted to call the record ‘Fuck It’ but the other dudes in the band were not keen on that at all.
Tell us about the artwork.
There isn’t any artwork. I had wanted the whole package to be entirely black with no text anywhere on it at all, no band name, no title, no track listing etc. to tie in well with the title and songs. I had a hard time trying to convince the record labels releasing it that this was a good idea though and in the end we agreed on having the lyrics screen printed on the B side of the vinyl. This was a good decision. We had wanted the lyrics to be printed in black on the black vinyl, so they would be just about readable but very subtle. The pressing plant messed this up and printed them in white.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
It’s released digitally and on one sided 12″ vinyl. The vinyl package is black, with a black inner sleeve, black vinyl with blank black labels and screen printed B side. Following on from what I mentioned in the previous answer, I had also wanted to have no labels on the record but apparently labels are need to correctly stabilise the vinyl. Knowledge.
Who will it be released through, and when?
It’s out already through Beach Community Records (UK) and Uncle M Records (Europe). You can also get it from No Idea Records (US). No physical Australian release at the moment unfortunately.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded it at two different studios. We first went to a place called Fish Factory in North London. It’s a great place with so much gear and weird pieces of recording equipment and amps just lying around. It’s a bit of a mess but I like that, and it has an amazing live room. We did the drums, bass and main rhythm guitar there and then did the vocals and all the rest of the guitar parts at a place called Resident Studios where Joe our drummer works.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
It was engineered by our good friend Sean Douglas. He had been doing our live sound for a while and so was already very familiar with how we sounded and what sort of thing we were going for so he seemed like an obvious choice when it came time to record.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
We were actually in the process of writing an album when Dan who I had started the band with left. We’d had a vague direction in mind but nothing too concrete, this carried through his leaving and the songs on ‘Black Everything’ are certainly in the direction we’d talked about. I never have a very clear direction when writing, usually a much looser idea of what I want and then I start to tie everything together a bit more coherently as I progress.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Nothing that I was listening to at the time particularly springs to mind. During the time of writing some of the songs though I had recently got an eReader and loads of classic books are really cheap or free. So I was reading a load of them, things like Frankenstein, Heart Of Darkness, The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula and stuff like that. I read them all multiple times and I’d say these had more of an influence than anything I was listening to at the time.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
Yeah there were two albums we had in mind while recording. One was ‘In Utero’ by Nirvana and the other was ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me’ by Brand New. Not that those two records sound particularly similar or that our songs are much the same as either of those two bands, but sound wise we wanted something that fell somewhere within the range between those two. I think we achieved that.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
We spent three days in Fish Factory recording the main bulk of the songs and then another six or seven sessions in Resident over the next two weeks finishing everything up.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We recorded the drums, bass and main rhythm guitar live, all playing in the same room. We spent a day just setting everything up and tweaking stuff until we were happy with the sound we were getting. The next two days were spent playing the songs and tweaking further until we were happy with the takes we had for each song. This was recorded to tape purely so we can sit around and talk about how much better it sounds because of this! We then took these recordings into a different studio where we had a bit more freedom timewise to just experiment with guitar and vocal parts and try different things out. I prefer to record vocals entirely alone and so Joe would set me up in the studio and just leave me to it for hours.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
This was very different to how we have recorded previously. We hadn’t recorded live before and I quite like doing this. It’s a bit more like practice, and although it’s only subtle there is a slight ‘feel’ that you can achieve which is harder to get when doing everything separately (it really is only very subtle though). For our album before this we recorded the pretty standard way, booked into a studio for 10 days and ploughed through everything until we had a record at the end. Although having a limited amount of studio time is good for making you settle on decisions more quickly, I preferred our more recent recording experience as it allows a bit more freedom to experiment.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
No guests unfortunately. We have no friends.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Joe borrowed a Grestch drumkit that he liked but I can’t remember the model. Apart from that the majority of the gear we used was our own live gear. I use an Orange Rocker 30 through a Marshall cab. We did also use a Fender Bassman 50 head for a lot of the clean guitar parts. This isn’t part of our live gear but I way prefer it to the Orange for cleans so I’m hoping to bring that into our live setup soon. We also used a microKORG synthesizer for some soft pad type sounds in ‘Two Bombs In A Box’ but this is very low in the mix and almost unnoticeable.
Any memorable studio moments?
Nothing exciting I’m afraid. I generally find recording pretty stressful as I’m not a great player so the most memorable part of this process for me was that stress levels were reasonably low, which is good.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
No, we were working on a few others at the time of recording but only ended up recording the four songs on the record.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
‘Raging Through The Thick And Heavy Darkness Of A Bloodlust’ is my favourite song to play live. It’s heavy and slow and dynamic and there is a fair bit of scope to play around with it and make slight changes from the recorded version, which I always like to do.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
It’s definitely darker and more depressing in tone. Maybe slightly less polished I guess. Our previous release there were two of us writing the lyrics where as it was just me writing lyrics for ‘Black Everything’ so I think the songs are tied together slightly stronger because of this. In terms of arrangement, the songs are slightly more oddly structured than on our previous releases.
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
Check out Great Cynics, Sam Russo, Crazy Arm, Gnarwolves, Bangers and Muncie Girls for other sweet UK bands. Also, go cop ‘Black Everything’. Thanks for having me.
APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE – ‘Black Everything‘
Available now on Bandcamp [Here].
THE SMITH STREET BAND
With guests THE FRONT BOTTOMS and APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE
19th – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart [18+]
20th – The Gov, Adelaide [Lic/AA]
21st – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane [18+]
22nd – Manning Bar, Sydney [18+]
23rd – Zierholz @ UC, Canberra [18+]
26th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+]
27th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+] SOLD OUT
28th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+] SOLD OUT
29th – Rosemount Hotel, Perth [18+]
—> Tickets available now.
—> For more information, visit [Here].