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We haven’t posted much online for a while. We had a baby, and he’s far more interesting for now. But don’t worry – we’re not going to bore you with baby stories. There’s nothing duller. Instead I’m going to post this blog I just found that Juju wrote a couple of months ago and never posted. It explains the beginnings of the Garage Sessions Vol. II EP, and it already seems like a millions years ago now that we’re almost finished recording the next volume and well on the way to getting the next album recorded.
So take a seat, ladies and gentlemen, and please join me on a journey back in time…
It’s been a week since we got back from touring China. I haven’t been sleeping too well because of the jet lag. The jet lag gets to me. A few years back, when we were going over to the States a lot I used to enjoy the jet lag. I kind of liked feeling weird and staying up all night as it made me feel slightly insane, like I was living on the edge of life, reality verses dream. Today however, jet lag annoys me because I can’t seem to get my head together and be productive. It makes me feel like somebody has just whacked me over the head with a seriously large plank of wood. It isn’t until around a week after the travel that I feel my brain starting to function again and that I feel myself coming back to normal. I don’t like feeling un-enthused and lacking in energy. I like to give everything of myself all the time.
Yesterday was the first day that I felt a little like my old self. This was good as I managed to clean the house, wash some clothes, and catch up on emails. Today, I woke up to a different kind of excitement. Late last night, Ben spent three hours putting up our four-track Turkey EP up on Bandcamp and so this morning I woke up seeing what he had done. Over a bowl of cereal, I did something that I don’t do very much, I pressed the ‘play’ button to our music and listened to the EP. I started to wiggle my hips, the songs made me feel happy and I to my surprise, I realised that what we were doing was great. I decided to write a little blog to tell you more about the tracks and what we are up to here in the Fish Bowl.
Before we went to China and in between getting a new band together, playing shows in both Turkey and France, Ben and I started to record songs in our garage. We call this garage Spinney Records as the house we live in is called Little Spinney (believe it or not, it was called this before we moved in!). Ben and I moved into the house just before Christmas. When we moved in, I was kind of in a down period about Little Fish, the music, the direction and didn’t really know where I was headed. Unlike myself, Ben had dreams set on turning the garage into a little studio. I on the other hand, feared this very much and so in an attempt to thwart his idea, I kept putting things into the garage in the hope of clogging it up, however I had no chance. Ben kept moving the things that I had put into the garage out. He was determined to keep the place clear of anything but musical instruments and bits.
My problem with turning the garage into a recording environment was that up until now, I had never done any home recordings. My idea of recording was getting the huge record deal, and then going into some plush studio in LA (which is exactly what happened to LF), with some sort of famous and successful producer. That, to me, was the only way that anyone could record. I suppose, up until the last few years, that was what bands did. Old School. I feared the other way. I didn’t believe that we could make something that would be great from home. What experience had I with recording or Ben for that matter? We don’t have any snazzy equipment, in fact, we only have two SM58 microphones, no cymbals, a tatty snare and kick, some guitars and some organs. We have got an old computer that barely works and no plug-ins, no board, no nothing. Recording seemed to me both ridiculous and impossible.
One day, just after Christmas, Ben sat in the garage by himself and made a backing track for a cover song that we agreed to do for The Beatles Complete On Ukelele, There’s A Place. He had been trying to get me to record this song for a while. I kept putting it off. In the end, I couldn’t ignore the work he had done and so agreed, one night after dinner, to go and sing the song for him. I didn’t really feel like singing and so had no desire to be the person that you might usually see on stage. I decided that I wanted to try and sing differently and so I leant up on the radiator and sang the song like I didn’t care. I wanted to give it the least energy possible and in doing so, make the voice sound fragile, lonely and weak. To me, that was what the story of the song lyrics meant anyhow. Neither of us wanted to spend long on the song or the vocal. We don’t really know how to use all the ProTools magic tricks and we are the last people in the world who will sit at a desk for hours, cutting and snipping vocals to get them perfect. To us, we do the vocal in one take, mistakes and everything, and then it is done. Bam.
The following day, Ben played the song to me. I was strangely surprised. There, in our kitchen, Ben was playing through speakers a song that we had recorded, from home. To me, it sounded great. It sounded real. It sounded exactly like it had been recorded in a garage. It sounded alive and human. Something that I felt we lost on our record Baffled & Beat.
This then gave me heart to write and some music so that we could try and record another song.
This is exactly what we did.
The following days, I wrote some new songs. Different songs to what people might know LF songs to be. I no longer wanted to shout or be angry, I just want the music to groove and be sexy.
Song by song, Ben and I went into Spinney Records and started to record the new songs. Neither of us know how to play the drums and so we decided to create our own drum loops. Ben would play these bits, hitting whatever was around and I would just say yes or no to it. In the end, we would have a drum loop that we liked and we built the song up from here. We don’t really bother with cutting anything. If a take isn’t right, we simply play the entire take again. We like the feeling of continuity and breath that you get from recording music this way.
And so, the songs that you find here on this little EP are the start of something that we have been working on. They have been recorded in our garage and are the basis for our next record that we aim to release early next year. We have written half the record and my job now, is to write the rest. I have two months before the baby is born and so need to get this brain working. We do intend on also recording the final record in our garage, with the help of our good friends Mike (drums) and Elise (vocals) and Narco who has always had great taste to guide us some, we are very excited. We are hoping to get a good vocal microphone but apart from that, we are going to keep with what we have. Why compete with an industry that we can’t compete with? We really do feel like we are putting the garage back into garage music. And no, we have a real garage, not a Dave Grohl “garage” but an old school garage and it is called Spinney Records.
Keep on keeping on.