Better Than Never: ‘Head Under Water’ EP Studio Diary

Better Than Never Head Under Water EP

Vocalist James Harris says of the recently released record: “Head Under Water covers the idea of how dealing with depression and anxiety can sometimes just feel like you are drowning in a sea of hopelessness, the ball and chain in the imagery showing how you can feel chained down by those struggles and anchored at rock bottom.” Better Than Never decided to take maximum advantage of their girthy line-up during the writing process, the members sitting down as a group and working together on every track for several months, trying to perfect every aspect. The result is an EP jam-packed with hard-hitting layers: the dual vocalists are used to maximal effect, triple stacked guitars cleverly interplay and the lyrical content delivers a punch to the feels. With the EP now out, the band are pleased to give you further insight into the writing and recording process …

“We dedicated hundreds of hours into demos before we went into the studio. Sat in mine and Jim’s living room where James’ computer seemed to have gone from temporarily living to a much more permanent fixture. Me and James had spent the past 6 months writing and demoing new ideas before we got the whole band involved as we knew recording was imminent. It felt like every night an assortment of the band were round perfecting every second of the song, writing on the demos and ordering countless Chinese takeaways. We actually named the first track of the record 126 after the house number where we spent all that time together hanging out and writing.Our first aim when recording our second EP was to avoid the mistakes we made the first time around. We don’t regret our first EP on any level but it taught us so much about the best way to go about things for ourselves and how to make the process as natural as possible.

‘When it came to recording the full EP we had producers and studios floating around in our heads, but it was fairly clear from the onset we wanted to record with Ian Sadler at Emeline Studios down by the seaside in Whitstable. His work with ROAM sold us straight away before even getting onto the countless other talented bands he’d worked with. Recording with Ian was unlike anything else we’d experienced in the past. He was meticulous and wanted every single note to be perfect, it felt like he cared as much as we did about how well this record turned out.”

“The first night of recording we decided to stay in a little campsite just a few minutes walk from the studio. Don’t ask me how this came about, it might have been my idea but how we found ourselves in a tent on that first windy night and not a hotel was beyond me. I didn’t have the worst time, despite the tent collapsing on my head at some point in the early hours of the morning, but I couldn’t say the same for the rest of the boys. We were spending £50 a night for an empty field and shower block – so when Ian regrettably offered us to just sleep in his studio the decision was made.

‘Ian’s studio is well equipped and state of the art so I’m not trying to subtract from its value when I point out it didn’t have a shower (why would it, most bands would just stay in a hotel). We tried to offer the campsite owner a little hush money so we could stop by every other morning and have a quick shower but he wasn’t biting. Obviously this left us no choice but to break in at midnight and use the showers anyway (we did try to pay).

‘All the recording went surprisingly smoothly. I felt bad for James, he had been paranoid all week that he would get ill and wouldn’t be able to record his vocals. He had spent the whole week refusing to share food and drink with us, I was surprised he allowed himself to use the same bathroom as us! When it came to his day to record, the boy drank so much water that he couldn’t stop himself weeing. I swear I must have seen him drink about 15 bottles of water in the space of a few hours and it resulted in him having to take loo breaks in-between literally every two or three takes. By the end he was just weeing out pure water (sorry if that’s too graphic, if not I’ve attached an image of just how clear it was).Overall we were extremely happy with the way the EP turned out. Ian made it sound so much better than we ever could have imagined and were so happy that we could finally share it with everyone and we hope you like it as much as we do.”

Read our review of the EP here.

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