Monday, 25 June 2012

The Past pt.2: Drunk in Cumbria

Here is the long-awaited second installment of the Voo studio diary. So now you can FINALLY stop hitting Refresh & find the sleep that you've been desperately craving since the devastating cliffhanger that marked the end of chapter one.

Reading through both of these old blogs has made me think how ridiculous it was drinking as much as we did while we were in the studio to record half of the songs that would we thought would appear on our second album. Not that it was Guns N' Roses-style debauchery or anything like that, all swigging off J.D.& going nuts; it was more steadily drinking red wine while we were supposed to be recording good, in-tune, in-time music & then playing kinda badly.

Of the 6 songs we recorded in Ennerdale, only 2 made it onto 'Songs We Used To Dance To'. Some because they didn't fit anywhere on the record & others because the performance sucked balls.

The songs we really liked but didn't have a place for on the LP were 'Pages' (which is available on the split EP with Hammer No More The Fingers), 'New Buildings' & 'This New Distance' (a new version of an older song).

We recorded another song but you'll never ever know what it was...

These forgotten songs are now finally gonna see the light of day as part of our upcoming Used Vinyl Club EP , more details of which we'll have for you soon. But we're well excited about it & can't wait for these songs to be heard as we're proud of them.

The EP will also feature some brand new music as we're heading into WhiteWood studios with Rob Whiteley to record some new songs & will remain stone-cold sober while doing so. Promise.

Old blogs starts...


After re-recording the three songs which, to our dismay, we discovered sucked and then listening to the ones which rocked we went to bed happy with what we'd done & slept the sleep of the righteous. The next day when it came to listening to what we'd recorded the previous night, the problem was, although everything was there 'energy-wise' 'tuning-wise' it wasn't. Somehow our ears had failed us all bad-style which can happen after a dasy rockin' out all over the goddamn place and, unfortunately, the bass was out of tune on two of the four songs we had recorded so far.

We had decided, rightly or wrongly, to record the two most difficult songs on the Sunday. I think we thought maybe we'd be all kindsa 'locked-in' by then and could take on the world, y'know, musically speaking. However, the bass over-dubs threw a spanner in the works - y'know, musically speaking - and that meant all of our plans would have to be put on hold while Paul re-recorded his bass parts over again.

The second of the two difficult songs was played by just John & myself. Paul had had a pretty rough day & a combination of overdubs & lotsa booze sent him to bed around 1am. That was probably a mistake while we were in Cumbria - we did drink a lot. I think when it comes to recording part two of Voo two we won't drink as much wine.

With Rob Whiteley recording me & John as a two-piece, we stayed up 'til around 4am finishing off the second of the two most difficult songs. They'd both turned out to be a piece of piss.

As we'd recorded a song bass-less this meant Monday started with yet more bass overdubs for Paul. It didn't take too long yet as but as we'd set Monday aside for guitar overdubs (the parts on the album where I 'shred'  & double up rhythm guitars etc)...

I ended up doing this until 6.30 fucking a.m.

I'm not kidding, at one point I actually forgot how to play guitar. I was playing a guitar solo - shredding - it was 4am or later & at this point I'd played it fifteen times or so as I kept messing it up & it plain went outta my head. I was shutting down.

Don't get me wrong or anything, I fucking love being in the studio & can't wait to get back there. We were dead lucky to be able to record in a studio as lovely as the one we were in up in Cumbria, Ennerdale to be exact. But I was so. Tired. I was on the edge. Rob, god bless him, was as patient as any man could be & he was up 'til 6 fucking 30 am too.


Not a very exciting end, I'll grant you but an end nevertheless. The recording of the rest of 'Songs We Used To Dance To' was both more productive & more eventful. Coming soon: The Songs We Used To Dance To Sessions: The Dock Road Days! Probably not though.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Past pt.1

I just did my twice yearly Myspace check which becomes more & more depressing & pointless every time I do it. Remember how fun & busy that site used to be? Our profile now feels kind of like a birthday card from your parents you feel guilty about throwing away. I should just fucking bin it.

But, while I was there I took at look at some of the blogs for old times sake & came across one I'd wrote detailing the recording of 'Songs We Used To Dance To'. We made that album in two bits; the first in Cumbria, the second in Liverpool. This one is all about the Cumbrian session. 

It starts....


Anyway, Paul from 28 Costumes had kindly driven us to Birmingham in their big-ass bus to play Johnny Foreigner's single launch with Do Idea & Sunset Cinema Club. After the show Paul drove the bus, which was loaded with all of our amps & guitars, miles & miles to get us to Cumbria where we would be spending four days recording six songs. 

It was a fairly uneventful journey up until around 5.45am when we were nearly driven off the road by a dog which attacked the bus with a fury the likes of which I haven't seen in a dog since fucking 'Cujo'. It followed us for some time too. Having negotiated the dark country roads we arrived at the studio some time after six Friday morning. Maddigan, the owner, was there to greet & while doing so fell down the cattle grid outside his house. In the darkness we could just make out the shape of many sheep. 

We began playing at around nine o'clock Friday evening having spent the day setting up amps & tuning up drum kits and doing all the things that make being in the studio sometimes as boring as reading that last sentence. But, as I remember it, getting that first song recorded wasn't too bad & we even managed to get a game of poker in which I handed John, Paul & Rob's their asses to them.

We recorded three songs comparatively quickly the next day; that is compared to every other experience I've had in a studio. I reckon the view we had outside the live room, one of hills, trees, yet more sheep even a lil' ole lake where we were playing...all of this scenery contributed to a relaxed atmosphere which certainly helps when there's the pressure of having to make music which has to blow everyone's goddamn mind all over the place when they hear it.

That was the problem though see; we got too relaxed. We got lazy. We listened back to the the songs we'd recorded and realised of the four only one kicked the appropriate amount of ass. The remaining three were the work of lazy men who were too concerned with beating each other in after-hours poker games. I'm being honest with you all's hard to write & i'm sure it's hard to read but I'd become so concerned with beating Paul & John at poker that I'd forgotten what I was there to do. Which was lay down tracks so awesome that they would blow people's minds.

So that's what we did.