Inside The Studio with Everyday Sidekicks

Everyday Sidekicks have put in a lot of hours and have now finally released their EP ‘Hope‘ to a decent reception. Within that, they have released a studio diary which you can read below detailing the days they have put in as well as the preparation.


PREP

Before we entered the studio we were working hard on getting the demos the best they could be. We start our writing with the music first, getting them roughly where we want before piecing together the melodies and lyrics on top of it. This goes back and forth between Tim and Archie a lot until we feel the tracks are strong enough to enter the studio with, although we fully expect the songs to change in the studio as they progress! Tim spent a lot of time working on the songs before entering the studio. Re-writing parts to get the best out of the songs. Once he had all the demos to where he wanted them he sent them over to the other lads to work on their own parts.

When we felt like the songs were ready we started looking for a studio. We tend to let Tim search for a studio as he has a certain style of recording he looks for with our sound and virtually straight away he knew that he wanted to go to Monnow Valley studios in Wales. Monnow Valley is an incredible studio! We learnt so much from our time there. Its set in some beautiful country side which is great for clearing your head and hanging out whilst you record. We were lucky enough to work with Tom Manning on this EP, which we feel changed and moulded our sound a lot due to the fact he prefers to keep the music less polished and more of the rougher hardcore style – this really helped us capture the energy of the music and to be honest we can’t thank him enough for that.

DAY 1 

Drums: We started the recording with Mat laying down the Drum tracks. We were already impressed with this studio purely on the amount of time they dedicated to get the drum tones right – if something was just a little off it wasn’t good enough and the engineers were back in there to alter mic positions and tune the drum heads. Mat was really being pushed – we had loads of takes, a lot of them were absolutely fine to use, but Tom still wanted more! It was great, we’ve had studios before just accept the track and move on… But with Tom, he kept pushing Mat to get the perfect take! Eventually after a good 7 hours we had the takes we needed.

Bass: Next up was Sam on the Bass, It took a while to come up with the perfect bass tone for the tracks but eventually we got that awesome mix of crunch and big thick bass which we feel every band aims for. We set the bass rig up in the main room which had lots of natural reverb, it’s definitely the best tone we’ve had so far whilst recording! After a few warm up runs Sam was away and as he managed to track all the bass tones in one evening, it gave us a lot of time on guitar and vocals. Sam was being pushed really hard to get every note and riff as clean and tight to the kick as possible and we definitely feel like he nailed the takes, but as with drums some parts we would just have to play over and over again even if they were good takes, just so we had a choice of a bunch of them. It was refreshing to have that option rather than to be rushed for time!

That night we headed back to Tim’s in Cardiff and played computer with a few beers, It’s a great way to unwind after a busy day in the studio and we can reflect on anything we want to change the next day.

DAY 2

Guitar: Leading up to the studio Tim practiced the songs everyday thinking about what little changes could be made or what lead/ambience could make a part better. Going into the beautiful studio at Monnow Valley it was hard for him to relax as he wanted to be involved as much as possible seeing how the songs are coming together. The occasional game of pool was needed though just to chill him out haha! Tom was great to work with as he was on the same wavelength as Tim, not letting us settle for a half-hearted take definitely helped the EP turn out the way it did. There were times whilst recording where the same riff was being played over and over for about 25 minutes. It was soul destroying to listen to but worth it! We had a very different method for tracking some of the “chugs” in this EP, after we played them all down thick strangely Tom produced a Fender Strat from his Guitar collection and got time to go over all of the opens with it again. It sounded INSANE! A technique we will be using in the future.

Vocals: Archie was confident going into the vocal booth, he knew exactly what he wanted out of his vocals, achieving them was the next step. He always likes to face away from the window so he hasn’t got people in his view whilst he’s singing,= and after a few warm up takes he started laying down the vocals. We started with cleans, laying down the main melodies and choruses, doing lots of layering and creating lots of similar tracks just so we had loads of choices. Once we felt they were where we could get them, we moved on to harmonies – this is always an exciting bit as it can really bring the vocals to life! Then we progressed to screams – Archie’s personal favourite. Tom had a very different approach to screams than we were used to: instead of the normal layering and making them as thick as possible, he decided to use less of but better takes. This was interesting as it gave the EP a lot more of an Underoath feel vocally; they were more raw and edgy but we loved it! We wrapped the vocals up and then double checked all the recordings before leaving.

STUDIO DIARY: Catch Fire – EP The Distance I Am From You

Ever wanted to know what it was like to be cooped up in a recording studio with some of your best mates?

Well search no more..

Musicology caught up with the awesome pop punk dudes from Catch Fire, whilst they recorded their most anticipated EP The Distance I Am From you.As cliché as it sounds, we just want to play our music to as many people as possible before we keel over and die,” grins Tim Bell, guitarist of Nottingham quintet Catch Fire, a posi pop-punk proposition formed earlier this year from the ashes of local heroes, Layby; “We have a burning desire to write and play music. It’s really as simple as that. I don’t think any of us can see ourselves doing anything other than this.

The good news is, with their debut E.P The Distance I Am From You, boasting bangers as infectious as lead single and future floor filler, ‘Bad Behaviour’, and the soaring, killer  ‘Anaesthetic’, it’s not likely that the lads of Catch Fire will need to consider doing anything else, any time soon. Following its recent release, here the band discuss the recording process…

We spent three quarters of 2015 writing and perfecting “The Distance I Am From You”, so we pretty much felt as prepared as we were ever going to before heading into the studio to record. We were throwing around ideas of who to record with for a while; we knew we wanted someone current and innovative to work with that we felt could connect with our music and make it into something great. We decided to go with Seb Barlow as he ticked all the boxes. He’d worked with an extensive list of bands and artists that we were fans of (Neck Deep, Blood Youth, WSTR) that are doing well for themselves, and we were pretty much all in agreement as soon as he gave us his availability.”

We spent 6 nights down in Wrexham with Seb, programming drums (which would later be replaced by real drums) tracking bass, guitars and vocals. We then spent the following weekend in Sheffield at Steel City Studio, where James Hill tracked and edited them, for Seb to later mix and master. We had a lot of fun down in Wrexham; Miles got his ears and nose pierced behind his parents back and we all listened to the backlash on loudspeaker when he told them, Joe broke up with his girlfriend, Ash accidentally cuddled Tim during his sleep but still denies it to this day, and Neal was ginger throughout… and still is. Bless him. We couldn’t be happier with the final product. Seb has some great ideas and was most certainly the right person for our EP. He contributed a lot of great ideas and was so laid back and easy to work with. We didn’t feel at all rushed or on edge, and that helped the process a lot as it was a fun experience. We’d definitely go back to him in the future!”

So if you haven’t already listen to Catch Fire’s debut EP, The Distance I Am From You, OUT February 5th 2016. Get it:

Physical: http://smarturl.it/CFTDIAFYPhysical

Digital: http://smarturl.it/CFTDIAFYDigital

Stream: http://smarturl.it/CFTDIAFYStream

Watch Debut Video ‘Bad Behaviour’ Now:  http://smarturl.it/BadBehaviourVideo

More info: https://www.facebook.com/catchfireband | https://twitter.com/catchfireuk

Also check out what Musicology thought about Catch Fire’s killer EP:  https://www.musicology-online.co.uk/article/catch-fire-the-distance-i-am-from-you-review