How different has the record process been from album to album, from Todd’s basement to Vancouver’s
Armory Record Studios and others?
It has changed an incredible amount over the course of the three records. On the EP we knew nothing about recording
and were basically flying blind. Even the second album, (‘Caught by the Window’ in Canada) recorded at Umbrella
was a relatively new experience. We really didn’t know enough about recording to dictate how the recording process would
proceed. We had an idea of the type of record we wanted to make, but I’m not sure that that included a vision of how
we wanted to record. On Caught by the window we essentially took care of the drums and then started layering.
On Sell Control, or Into the West as we now know it, our
vision of the recording process was definitely more defined. We had learnt from previous experiences and would apply that
knowledge throughout. The most dramatic change, apart from a greater budget and better studios, happened in the recording
of the core/bed tracks. We really wanted to capture the live performance in the most natural way possible. Instead of just
taking care of the drums and then layering we wanted to get as much from the bed track process as possible. Therein retaining
vibrant live performances, not rendered stale by over production and layering. For the most part I feel we achieved that.
Vocals were overdubbed and a couple other things here and there, but essentially the bulk of the album is just the four of
us playing together; as it should be I guess.
What was the difficulty level in mixing this album, with all of the extra sounds/instruments?
I think Jim Scott did an amazing job. There was an overall feel that we expected from him, and I do feel he delivered.
Looking back I feel the difficulties that arose were the result of having too many options. We recorded so many tracks of
core audio to enable flexibility in the mixing process, however at times I believe these options were stifling. It took time,
but in the end the results were great. Going forward I think it is important to have a vision for the song long before you
reach the mixing process. Then you can get the sounds you need before relying on the mixing engineer. This does not mean things
cannot go in another direction, but I think each song needs a direction, or grand strategy. Overall, mixing Into the West
was an amazing process. I sat in rooms with Michael Brauer and Jim Scott, and learnt a great amount in the process. It is
with good reason that the aforementioned men have such a fine reputation.
The excerpt from “Barley Listening” that is on the BIO page:
“You can’t shape love with a hammer
shape life with a will
lies in knowing
There’s no fate that chaos can’t kill”
Why was that set of lines chosen to represent you on your
website(s) and Press Package? Is there a message that you are trying to put forth to your listeners/readers?
Honestly, the individual who wrote the bio just liked it I guess. I don’t think either he or the band thought
to make a statement with those lines. I do like the lyric, and yes I think it touches on some themes that are repeated throughout
the album, however it in no way sums it up.
Simply put, the lyric just explores the notion that the
events that surround us are chaotic in nature, not part of some omnipotent master plan. I think this notion scares a lot of
people, and it is this fear that in part explains the popularity of religion throughout history. I think most of us would
like to believe there is someone driving the bus. Hopefully I didn’t lose anyone there.
Was the title of this album “Into the West” chosen because you as a band are reaching out to the American
fan base and American radio as well as keeping the Canadian fan base and radio you have already established or is there another
Into the West was chosen for two primary reasons. Firstly, much of the album was recorded on Canada’s
west coast, mainly Vancouver. Having grown up in the antipodean
country of New Zealand, spending time in the coastal city of Vancouver became very nostalgic. In the end the album reflects
this inspiration. Nautical themes, the ocean and the land itself are oft mentioned throughout the album. I also believe the
feel of that part of Canada was captured on the recording itself.
Secondly, there is a song on the album called ‘Into
the West’ of which we are all very proud. We felt it was a nice title for
the album. Short, sweet and relevant…
While out on the road touring how many times has the band been questioned, when trying to get into the venue, about
being a band playing there that night?
Almost always, especially cos I always either forget or refuse to put on the wrist bands they make band members wear.
My own fault I guess. Most of the time the security guards can figure it out cos the bands are always dressed like dandies,
street bums or disciples of darkness.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while on the road?
We once drove 25 miles with our trailer door open, and only lost on tom drum - which was later returned. One piece
of gear incredibly jammed in the opening forming a barrier that prevented the loss of everything else. This was as close to
divine intervention as I’ve seen on the road. The worst case scenario was a trailer full of gear strewn across 20 miles
of Thunder Bay highway, moored in a foot of snow, waiting for the next Semi to send it to gear heaven. Thankfully this was
not the case. Now we always double check the trailer. Always nice to learn your lessons with no loss of life/gear…
If you were able to share the stage with any artist/band ever, who would each of you choose and why?
I always thought I could play the triangle in the E-Street band.