Fleeing from Pigeons Records

A record label and blog from the same idiot that gave you Bearded Magazine

Andy Price talks Clothing and Failure (pt. 2)

DFFAfter yesterday’s piece about the recording of Clothing & Failure, today Andy writes about the songs themselves…

The songs on the record talk about what I’m doing now, not what I was doing a year ago. It’s in an attempt to pre-empt the idea of “quality over speed of delivery” – that’s what Coldplay are for, that’s why Green Day took five years to release an album.

Although some tracks had been written already, some like ‘I walked into the room’ were written at the time of recording and the title track ‘Clothing and Failure’ is simply one never intended for anything and was just something I’d written about a month before recording. I didn’t think it’d work out as an acoustic track but it turned out as one of my favourites – perhaps because I made the guitars up on the spot which nicely reflected the lyric writing process.

Every song has a story, but not all of them really need to be told here, so I’ve included some thoughts on just a few of them:

Maybe in Another Life
I’m currently playing in a Bristol-based alt-punk band called Dig For Fire and we run largely to the same ethic as my own stuff – documenting each moment within songs as well as keeping a record of the growth of our sound.

That may sound pretentious but there’s something nice about being able to release an entire album by yourself when you grew up in the times that singles were released well in advance of albums – even reports of DIY punk recordings that I used to love reading pale in comparison to what can be done now and it keeps us aware of how easy music has to be when every step isn’t about making money.

I like to think this is coming full circle in that respect and there will be someone who reads this and comes back in 10 years having recorded an album in 10 minutes via some super-fast speed playing during recording before slowing down the track afterwards. Now that would be cool.

Anyway – this was one of the first songs we wrote for our third album – and I love the transformation we gave it – turning a completely narrative song into a full on rock song was great, but I also love this quieter version, for those interested in the story, like.

Anyways – I go through a lot of phases in all aspects of life through simple boredom. This talks about the three things that always stuck: Writing for magazines, playing in bands and small-scale self destruction and deprecation.

I Walked Into a Room
This song was inspired by ‘An Afternoon Dance Party’ by David-Ivar Herman Düne and is basically a song about lacking in confidence and just reflects my experience in the great human trait of starting with good intentions but ultimately falling prey obeying a pre-destined ability to ruin things, miss opportunities or simply to get things very very wrong.

But anyway – the inspiration came from the DIHD song not in content, but in style. I like the way that his song meandered, never really reaching his point, including a lot of words that inevitably never led to a resolution.

I use this style a lot and I don’t think it’s either lazy or sloppy, I think of it more as playing a game and it entertains me to no end.

Before I wrote songs I used to write letters to people, and these letters always spent three pages going nowhere. A friend of mine wrote me postcards telling me exactly what he was doing and how we was feeling in 3 lines, and so I replied with a volume of nothingness. As long as people don’t realise that it goes nowhere until the end I think it’s a success. It’s a pointless hobby, but a hobby no less.

Negative Song
This is a song about how frustrating it is that being miserable seems to be so much easier. Maybe it isn’t? But it sure feels like it sometimes.

I can’t decide whether accepting this as your own personality is a good thing or a bad thing, probably bad – but it’s what I’m trying to say when I repeat the line “this shit is bigger than me,” I think that the simple feeling of acceptance of being helpless to something can be something everyone can relate to when things get out of control.

Clothing and Failure
This quickly became my favourite recording as the lyrics followed a similar concept to ‘I Walked Into a Room’ – but instead of conscious meandering, this is unconscious meandering – which I think sometimes feels like it has more direction.

It’s just full subconscious lyric writing – I found it best to type it as I’m quicker at typing than writing and there was literally no thought involved in any part of writing this song.

It’s quite nice to be able to look upon your own lyrics as an outsider… I’d say it ended up being about expectations: expectations about other people, their expectations about you and yours about your own life.

I’d quite like to do an entire album in this style – maybe next time.

And finally

Don’t take this album too seriously, if you like it, that’s great, if you don’t, that’s cool too. I just hope you appreciate that fact that it’s a fun experiment in both song recording and song writing. Here’s some links:

Myspace.com/digforfiremusic
Myspace.com/afbmusic

Love Andy x

Download the entire album for free by clicking here.

View the first part of Andy’s blog here.

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Filed under: Andy Price, Artist blog, Artists, Blog

Andy Price talks Clothing and Failure (pt. 1)

AndyPriceTwo 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.

Equipment

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 process

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

Filed under: Andy Price, Artist blog, Blog

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