Two weeks ago today, Andy Price sat in his bedroom and recorded Clothing & Failure. A few days later, it was available to all to download for free from Fleeing from Pigeons Records.
It raced into being our most successful release in our month’s existance and here Andy talks about the album’s recording – just so you know how ramshakle it is. Tomorrow we’ll have the second part of this post, where Andy writes about the songs themselves…
Those interested enough in FFP-R to be on this site will hopefully understand the concept behind this album.
For a long time I haven’t felt comfortable selling my music. It happened awhile ago when I realised that paying hundreds of pounds for a recording when you’re in a small band removes so much of the fun of playing the music itself. It may be nice to have a polished and well produced record in your hand, but in all honesty, with the bands I play in at the moment, I’d prefer to record using borrowed or average equipment and putting together something myself just to entice people to show support to the band and come to the shows – after all, that’s where the real fun happens.
The purpose of Clothing & Failure was to simply push the abilities of the internet in releasing music: how quickly can it be done when there doesn’t need to be such a huge hoo-har behind a release.
So, discarding money spent on equipment (none of which was bought specifically for these recordings), this album was made for nothing. If I spent 5 years producing a beautifully sounding record I’d be cheating myself – and this, for better or for worse, is why you had Clothing & Failure within a week of recording.
This is a bedroom recording – even the quality of my equipment is entirely average. I have a laptop that cost about £300 about two years ago and is so poor I can’t actually hear what I’m recording as I’m recording it and the only way of tweaking the sound is to record, listen back, blindly tweak, listen back.
I use a digital 4-track to record too. Its substandard amount of tweakers and twisters is way too many for me to handle, but over time I’ve perfected the optimum settings that can be used for both guitar and vocals, it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for me. Which I’m considering making my motto.
As for microphones, yes, I have one. I use it for both guitar and vocals. I seem to remember the mic and 4-track costing me £100 together three years ago. If there are any clunks, it is most likely down to having to freehold the mic as I left the stand at the Dig for Fire practice room – my bad.
The software used for recording was Acoustic Mixcraft 3. A licence cost £15 or so a year ago and it does the job, a similar set up to Cubase.
Guitar: I’ve only ever had two acoustic guitars. The first cost £35 when I was 19 and lasted a good three and a half years before meeting its end at the end of the first ever Bearded magazine gig. Needless to say it was a drink-fuelled incident which I whole heartedly welcomed as it was a terrible, terrible piece of equipment.
The guitar I used on this recording is made by Lindo. I don’t know much about them except that they’re based in Bath where I work as I had to collect it after they screwed up the first delivery. It’s half-depth, but has a great, full bodied sound, it’s nice and light too so it’s good for gigs.
And as for the voice – it’s 24 years old and cost me nothing. But I still feel somehow ripped off.
The songs on this record have all been written over the last couple of months, many of them demos for the next Dig for Fire record – but the transference from electric to acoustic was pretty much made up on the spot. All the tracks only have one guitar track on them, and usually two vocal tracks, three or four for special occasions.
All I did was sit in a chair, with the microphone resting on the table and recorded the guitar tracks one after the other – the majority are first take.
The vocals required a few more takes – mainly because I’m still getting to grips with singing a little less loudly after being in noisy bands for so many years – but I listened to a few old acoustic demos the other day and there’s a definite improvement in there. Let’s hope they never get out!
Afterwards I tightened up the different guitar and vocals tracks with a few pre-set settings which I don’t really understand but they did the trick…
Download the entire album for free by clicking here.
The second piece of Andy’s write-up will focus on the songs themselves, it will be published here tomorrow