Tuesday, 1 April 2008

In the studio with Jazz Thrash Assassin

Spent 3 days in the studio recording the new Jazz Thrash Assassin (as yet unnamed) 2nd EP and living on coffee, bananas and Mozzerella & Ham slices. This is the second time we've dropped into Robanna's to record with the sound engineer Miguel Seco who seems to get and like what we do. The tracks we chose are; Prick, School of Random Thought, Schizophrenic Love Song, Sneezing Drum and The Answer.

The tracks are our usual mish-mash of styles veering wildly from smokey-jazz to blood-splattered metal, mostly topped with a piss-poor sense of lyrical humour. First day drums went down swiftly followed by my bass parts (which I'm mostly happy with apart from being a bit 'slapped out' in the funk section of School of Random Thought), Guitar and vocals went well second day. Third day more screams & vocals and keys go on. The mixing is yet to be done, but the EP should be available for download soon!



Recording is always a bit tricky to start as the tracks inevitably sound different stripped down to their separate instruments and slowly layered back up (usually drums, then bass, guitar then keys & vox last). Mistakes become painfully obvious, although the studio is the best place to chop em out or rerecord em, and you suddenly appreciate bits never noticed other people did before, cos you were busy concentrating on your own stuff. There's also parts that you never learnt properly ('shame on you!') or always forget, that become stumbling blocks in the process. The best part is usually when the vocals go on, and people get excited about how the track is finally going to sound. School of Random Thought (or Dr. Guitarbett as it's been known) is my fave, closely followed with The Answer, which now has a wicked tempo change only heard by the lovely folk in Manchester last gig. Schizo's mellower-than-mellow keys are also sounding amazing. Prick is sadly sounding the weakest of the batch, which as it's usually our big finale, is a shame but hey - we couldnt get in the orchestra and gospel singers needed!



Recording is always a bit weird compared to rehearsing and gigging because there's only the music and none of the usual stupidity/moshing/dancing/screaming/exercise routines/masks and other chaos that usually ends up in the JTA live shows, and the final version usually varies quite a bit from the original lo-fi demo knocked up in Dr. G's Garage Lair. It's also a great opportunity to sit and listen and talk objectively about what works, what maybe needs tweaking and what should be emphasised in the mix. You can also do fun things not possible on stage like double up guitars and vocals to make it super beefy, or add effects or switch sounds more accurately. I also realised quite how much you rely on cues from other instruments and how much you play off each other. Something that I liked was that there are parts in most of the songs, that are always left to improvisation by at least someone in the band, meaning you get an slightly unpredictable but original performance at every gig!

Here's Pork Rind Grind feat. Sharon Format from the JB's gig in March;

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