I am really looking forward to getting the physical CD. I love the geometric cover and I am almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t see the ‘bigger picture’ of the CD design until I saw it unraveled on the t-shirt. Who designed it?
The artist is Craig Macfadyen, a good friend of the band and an excellent musician to boot (he plays bass with our drummer Richard in another band called The Discordian Trio). Craig also did the video for It’s All Over, some of our press shots, and will be doing live visuals for us at the Inspace show. He’s a very talented man and I hope this throws some more work his way.
By the way you aren’t the only one who missed the ‘bigger picture’. I only noticed a few hours after signing off the design.
Sometimes the difficulty of being an ‘old’ fan is accepting new material. On the first pass through the new full length ’13 Towers’ the initial reaction was a bit of a double take. Listening at the computer through the monitors it seemed like a big departure. I’m doing it again right now and it sounds fantastic. Was there a conscious decision to tighten things up musically or is it really just a natural progression of your song writing?
To be honest it was more about taking a fresh approach in the studio. We knew the live show was becoming one of our strongest points so it felt right to try and replicate that in the recording. The mantra was very much that “if we couldn’t do it live then it shouldn’t make it onto the record”.
The next step was to take it into the living room with a 4 speaker sound field centered about the couch. Here is where it really began to make sense with the second listen. There is a coiled vibrancy and visceral feel to the songs that despite my professed, at the time, preference for ‘Glitter’ couldn’t mask. It also suggested that these songs would really come to life when played live. How do the live versions differ than the studio ones, especially in terms of execution?
As I say what you are hearing is really pretty close to the live show. Things are naturally slightly more restrained on the recording but we went out of our way to try and capture the energy of the four of us playing together in the same room. Yes, it could maybe sound more polished at times but we sacrificed a bit of that in exchange for the energy.
I’m struggling to keep up with all the incredible music coming out of a relatively tiny geographic area. I’ve had to accept that I’m reaching my own limits in terms of what I can buy and even find the time to listen to. Further compounded by the fact that most people don’t actually spend 70% of their free time looking for new music, how does a band get noticed, draw enough of a sustaining audience to be able to continue amidst what seems an increasingly shrinking pie?
Make no mistake it’s tough. If the pie was the be-all-and-end-all we’d have given up a couple of years ago. It’s taken us four years and a lot of time and effort to get this record out there but the warmth with which it’s been received makes it all worthwhile. It pays to take your time.
I don’t think there is any secret to getting noticed, you’ve just got to make what you want to make and hope that people like it enough to part with their hard earned cash.
We’ve set the bar high for the next album but that’s the most exciting part for me. Hopefully one day it will end up paying the bills. We’ll certainly continue to make records regardless.
The album launch party is on May 9th in Edinburgh. Is Edinburgh the ‘hometown’? Because it strikes me as a bit late compared to the actual release date, it makes me wonder how hard it is to secure a venue there? Beyond the well-deserved celebration is there any deeper significance to a band’s album release show?
It’s our hometown in the sense that it’s where we are based. None of us are actually from here though. The reason we chose May was to give the album a bit of time to breath and for plenty of people to hear it. It’s also a pretty ambitious show we are attempting so the extra few weeks are a godsend to get it all in place.
Inspace is part of the informatics lab at Edinburgh Uni and isn’t normally a gig venue so pretty much everything has to be hired in. We aren’t making life easy for ourselves…but then we rarely do.
Have you carefully scheduled your Inverness shows so that Houdi will be able to attend?
I’ve been listening to the album so much, I’ve completely missed the video for ‘It’s All Over’. More geometrical design play; where was it filmed and is there a story behind it?
It’s all images of Edinburgh, painstakingly pieced together by Craig. It’s literally thousands of photos of the Capital put through an Adobe blender.
You’re working with Badge of Friendship. They’ve been pretty good to us and really seem to have music at the heart of what they try to do for their clients. Assuming that you chose to work with them, what prompted that decision?
We’ve never used PR before but felt like this time round we needed the extra support. They are based in London, work with a lot of Scottish bands and we’d only heard good things about them so it was a pretty straight-forward decision.
They’ve most certainly helped to get the word out and are always willing to pick up the phone. Journalists get bombarded with so much stuff these days you need someone fighting your corner.
I just read that the album was recorded in a ‘former lighthouse’. Is it a converted studio? What was the recording experience like there?
The Depot is part of a former lighthouse depot in the Granton area of Edinburgh. At the far end of the complex it’s got a proper glass lighthouse that looks out to sea. I think they used it to test parts for the real ones. Could be wrong though.
Our rehearsal room is based above the studio so it’s pretty much a home from home. Craig and Garry that run the place are good friends of the band and both of them were heavily involved in recording / mixing the album.
The favourite song (at the moment) is 6s and 7s. Could you tell us background story to it?
I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was all about. I remember being fascinated with the idea of a “Berlin heart” though and the lyrics sort of spiraled out from that. Google it. It’s damn cool.
One last song from the new CD – ‘TalkDown‘ played live at Go North a few years ago.