Guest of the Month: November 2016 LIFE
We visited LIFE in the studio to chat about their upcoming Momentum funded debut and the recent announcement that they will be main support to Slaves on their European tour. LIFE recorded at the Fish Factory in London with long-time producer Ian Dowling.
How has this session been compared to others?
We’ve been here and worked with Ian before, but it’s good to be able to settle into a track and pull it apart and do it justice. We try and do that anyway normally but you can’t always when you’ve got the clock in your head, like if we’ve got to drive back to Hull tonight for work tomorrow. It’s really given us a freedom to explore sounds as well. It’s heightened our creativity just because we’ve had the time.
We’re kind of cocooned here as well.
It becomes more of a creative process. You’re not just recording performances, you start thinking about the tone of things and moving the rooms around. In the studio downstairs we can split the guitar amps and the sound that comes out of here is probably going to determine the sound we end up with live more than it ever has.
And I guess you have you kept all your equipment set up overnight?
Yeah it’s so much better! Being able to stroll in here and not spend 3 hours putting drums together…
Have you re-recorded anything?
We re-recorded an old single that’s completely different to what it used to be, from an early part of our career. We’ve given it a new feel, quite an intimate feel. It’s quite raw, it’s just me and Mick playing. We thought we’d moved away from it, but we’ve just totally put the soul back in it. It was a point in the album where we thought it just needed a bit of downtime.
That’s the other thing, being able to spend the time experimenting, and spend the time getting the sound that you’ll never otherwise get, a bespoke sound. The thing with a studio is that you get the opportunity like that to create memories, and the experience of it. You can sit in your bedroom all day and make music and put reverb on it but you’re just clicking a mouse.
So the process is creative too?
Massively. And it’s great to hear that song again because it’s such a good song.
We just wanted a Velvet Underground moment!
When I was singing it with Mez, he was sitting on a chair with three mics around him, looking like it was a press conference. He had his sunglasses on and his big jacket, which you could almost hear. A bit like method acting! He’s done that a bit on some songs, getting into character, another thing that we’re getting a chance to do.
So you’ve recorded all the tracks live?
On this one track it was just a basic take, Mez and Mick sitting opposite each other, Mick playing guitar and Mez singing, and then everything else is put on top.
Drums on top after?
Yeah, it doesn’t sound like it does it!?
And some of the other new tunes are more live oriented.
And how have you found the studio?
There’s a separation from the outside world. There’s windows but with no view, light but nothing to look at. It feels like we can shut ourselves away. We did a single at the Strong Rooms (in Shoreditch, East London) and you’re on Curtain Road so you just feel like if you go out for a cig, “I can go for a pint, so I will”.
Have you got games in here for downtime?
We’ve been planning for the Slaves tour. We have got some books *points at Sartre book*. If someone’s not playing, they’re just sat on that couch, or doing the sandwich run. Reading a paper, doing a crossword. It’s been nice to actually have time just doing that, hanging out as a band. We’ve got some cards and whisky at the Airbnb.
We used to stay at the Easyjet hotel and it’s like staying in a Tupperware box. Like a tomb.
How long is the Slaves tour?
It’s pretty epic – 21 dates – UK and mainland Europe.
Go see LIFE!