Our gig at Jazzhouse Copenhagen this friday was captured on tape. Here’s “Vile Geometry” off the coming record. This marks the first time any of you’ve been able to actually listen to some of the material to be featured on “Night And The City”.
For once, we’ve kept our promises. As prophecized in the previous update, we were to meet Mixmaster Q at an Aarhus studio today, and against all odds we actually did. We’re ON SCHEDULE! Despite not living in Aarhus Q has a studio/rehearsal space in an old warehouse here. Located at the heart of the industrial harbor, adjacent to an ancient abattoir, Q’s studio is stereotypically metal to a much higher degree than our own rehearsal space with its arbors and abundance of assorted independent businesses.
Immediately upon entering Q cranked up the speakers and played us “Night and the City”, the title track. For the first time since it’s inception, the song actually sounds like it was meant to/imagined when initially written. Despite how we’ve already praised the record ad nauseam in every post in this series, this seems like the first time the songs actually sound like they’re supposed to, or more precisely like what they were imagined to sound like when written long ago. Whether that colours our ealier self-aggrandizing disingenuous as we might not actually have had the neceessary information to judge the tracks, or simply means that they’re even better than we thought, we’ll let you be the judge of in due time. Regardless, they fucking rip now! Today’s meeting was, aside from the assorted adjustment of levels, chiefly aesthetically oriented; concerned with the overall feel and atmosphere of the record. While coherence and narrative is very much a compositional concern, dealt with when writing and rehearsing, production have a weighty mandate as well.
As well-written and intensely performed as records like “Jane Doe” and “Goat” are, they would be very hard to imagine in any way separate from the production of Kurt Ballou and Steve Albini respectively. Working with someone possesing a heightened level of production-chops, a frame of reference similar to ours and with the grit and willingness to discuss and explore every potential approach to production, simply for the sake of presenting the songs the right way is a huge blessing. At this point it almost feels like we’re obliged to pull a stunt similar to what the first incarnation of Rollins Band did and simply list the producer as a member of the band on par with instrumentalists and writers.
The main benefit of a producer with similar tastes to your own is that it allows someone like myself, who’s completely oblivious of the correct technical nomenclature in regards to production, to communicate intuitively and actually have som semblance of a clue of what’s going on. In That vernacular, what we’re looking at now is “Contemporary-Converge-Drum-Sound”, “Early-Converge-Guitars” and “Locust-Moog”. A language easily understandable for the technically impaired musician.
We’ll release the first snipped of sound very, very soon.
Like so many times before, and to the utter dissapointment of both the doer and the done-tos, promises have been broken. More precisely, that last update in which we proclaimed to have finished recording was, in terms of truth-value, worth as much as the paper it was printed on, and since this is the internet and not a physical medium that means: exactly nothing.
Put more brevilloquently: we decided to record a bit more.
Additional vocals, vocals replacing already recorded parts in need of a do-over, and a bit of additional guitar. Aside from all the extra guitars being scrapped not many seconds after their having been recorded, this was a productive choice. While do-overs and additional layering is an activity that we, without exception, unrepentantly but also always accidentally have engaged in at some point during the recording of every released and unreleased Oxx album, the productivity of said practice varies greatly.
Nevertheless, sometimes you just know. This was very much the case last tuesday. So much so, that it in hindsight would seem unbearably dissapointing to have released the album without these improvements. Embarrasing even.
The fruits of this will be especially noticable on a song for which you have no frame of reference, as it’s the sole track from the record to never have been played live. Nevertheless, ”Animal” as it is called, will feature one of the most devastating codas to ever have been wringed out by the three of us by whichever psycho-social issues in needed an outlet at the time of writing and recording. Aside from being in 4/4, in itself quite a feat for our band, we’ve taken our penchant for unison vocal raging to a logical conclusion, for once having the luxury of layering two of our best individual vocal perfomances on top of each other, proving very much that sometimes more is more. Ever the maximalists, said coda also contains an abundance of soprano-saxophone squall and six-string-shreddage, both of which also turned out to be some of the better perfomances of the album on their respective instruments. Get hype!( an appropriate imperative in lieu of recent reveals in certain corners of mass-culture).
Aside from that, me and Martin went to see The Melvins in Copenhagen yesterday. And while it would be utterly redundant to say anything about the awesomeness of a band as self-evidently awesome as Melvins, it did net another, and more directly Oxx relevant revelation as we had a brief talk with Q, the much-lauded producer of the album. Aside from a discussion of what exactly constitutes the epic drumness of Dale Crover, the topic of the chit-chat was of course: ourselves and to what degree our delusions of grandeur did actually diverge from or measure up to the the product over which we’re completely unable to pass anything resembling objective judgement ourselves. Always the straight-shooter, Q assured us that the record would in fact end up good, or at least, as is his field of expertise, end up sounding good. All this have of course added to our already substantial level of excitement. After a meet-up with Q in Aarhus next week, we’ll move on to the more extroverted, and decidedly grosser, aspects of releasing a record: all sorts of planning and phone-calling, video-shooting and artwork choosing etc. To some extend those exploits will be documented and soliloquized about here as well.
This one is way overdue. Some personal shit got in the way of recording and updating. Unforeseen, uncontrollable and undisclosed, with the exception that exactly this kind of shit has its sticky fingers all over the record, in the playing, the howling, implied and explicitly stated in the lyrics.
Every guitar-track on the record(with the exception of solos) turned out to be one-takes. Having played most of the songs live makes it pretty easy to bypass any trepidations about the complexity of the fuckers and just rage through them. While most of the record goes out of its way to be as caustic and disshevelling as possible, theres a couple of tender moments too. The use of overtones and harmonics( who made a cameo in the solo in “Sjælen er større end verden” from BTOWLABTR) have increased drastically, as have feedback and(the hardcore crowd takes a collective shit) tapping. Aside from the trusty Les Paul, a hard-tail Jaguar makes a debut appearance. There’s some acoustics hidden in there too, Niko Wenner-style.
Vocals, ever the emotional climax of recording, were done over two days this week. Though the lyrics were written anywhere from 1-13 months ago, and thus rooted in a myriad of long forgotten, but thoroughly unresolved issues, aforementioned personal shit made most of those ramblings acutely in need of an outlet, once again allowing the erstwhile dysfunctionals a much needed sojourn in what turned out to be not so erstwhile dysfunction after all. Life starting to mirror lyrics already written is a trippy fucking deja-vu.
In terms of the actual singing, everything turned out fucking great. Singing is much more evenly split on this record, and it shows! Having two very different vocal colorings to play with, amounts to the luxury of writing for a 10-piece, instead of a measly trio. On top of that, this is the first time Oxx songs were written with the knowledge of there being singing on them. What this means, besides the occasional hook(!), is dramatic increases in cohesion, and of course a lot more screaming than before.
This very evening, pre-mixes will be send to the magical Klaus “Q”, who’ll wring something beautifull out of all of this.
This series will continue until the record is released.
Synth today, at our rehearsal space.
Hearing the songs and parts starting to take shape is extremely gratifying. For 8 months, they’ve existed only between the three of us. Recording the songs and passing them on to Q for mixing is the preliminary step towards much needed respite from the insanity of creating in a vacuum.
The use of synths has increased considerably between this record and the last. For those who have caught us live during the last year, this is no surprise, but as far as recorded material go, the change will be very noticable. Knowing that we were moving in this direction while writing the record really contributed to the sound and feel of the songs. While personal turmoil and transformation between records, by far, have the weightiest mandate in defining an album, a paradigm shift like Lasse moving to synthesizers will be a game changer too. Compositionally the added low end allows a much greater reliance on heaviness, while the instruments also lends itself to writing lines in unison for the guitar and keys.
We’re a bit behind of schedule, as it took all of the day to record the synthesizers, so tomorrow will be guitars and additional instruments, instead of vocals. Those will be done next week.
Oh, and the picture is one from an awesome set of shots taken by Jeppe Fastrup during our gig with Halshug.
Second day of drums. Danish weather oppressively humid. The two tracks recorded today will become the centerpiece and the closer of the album respectively. Long, labyrinthine tracks running all over the map.
We’ve made a consciouss, to the extent that any creative process is ever consciouss, effort to fuse our disparate stylistical leanings into something resembling cohesive songs, instead of splitting it out across several tracks, as on BTOWLABTR. Carrying out that decision has taken us pretty far into unknown territory, trying to glide back and forth between meditative drone and frenetically hammering out 16th notes, without sounding like several songs interchangeably copy-pasted into a mess, is a bit of a jigsaw. A lot of what glue these songs together is all the little ideosyncrasies that reveal themselves after the umpteenth playthrough; certain leitmotifs that seem to grow out of the playing of a song, and creep into the actual structure of it.
On what we recorded today, theres a ton of that kind of subtext going on in the drum-parts, and while these tracks, as is wont of every Oxx song ever, are complete clusterfucks of time signatures, they require a heightened degree of attention to detail and touch to boot. It seems like a good sign that this part of the process went as seamlessly as it did.
We’ll take the weekend off to prepare for next week. Tuesday we’ll do guitar and synth dubs, and add every appropriate and unappropriate orchestral layer to the songs. Vocals will be recorded wednesday and the record will be in the trustworty hands of Q before the end of next week.
The great Malte Riis visited the studio today, and will again for the sessions next week, so at some point there’ll be a nice bunch of photos of all this. For now though, you’ll have to contend yourselves with our increasingly boy-bandish selfies, this time featuring a tiny, cardboard dinosaur.
Recording of “Night And The City” begun today. Will try to keep you guys updated on the process, as we slowly near the release date.
If you haven’t guessed, the title of the record will be “Night And The City”. The reason for that is two parts intertextuality and one part biographical. Intertextual, of course, in that it shares its name with Jules Dassins 1950 masterpiece, whose mood and spirit is all over the tracks; you’ll find that out soon enough. A shitload of other movies and litterature, all of which have been crucial in shaping the record and the people playing it, show up as well, so having the title be a reference kind of serves as a warning of that kind of pretentious shenanigans… Biographically speaking, most music and lyrics were written while perambulating various cities during various fits of insomnia. Stressing that we’re not a prog band, and consequentially not writing concept albums, i’ll go as far as saying that that particular kind of delusional headspace seems to have been an influence on every track.
Anyway, today we commenced the recording of the album, drumtracks being at the top of the running order!
We’ll be tracking those at the great venue Radar who have a great, big room for booming drum sound. Given the abundance of visual cues and our issues with committing to a single tempo in a song, we’re essentially doing live play-throughs, adding additional guitars, synth and vocals on top of that later.
Tonight we nailed down all the fast-paced, mathy songs. A lot of shit can go wrong during those, and since they’re also, unstrategically quite long, it can be quite a time consuming endeavour. That being said, drums are sounding fucking huge, and the grooves are gonna be deep as shit! It is basically gonna be morse-corde hammered out by a savage on the biggest toms imaginable, interrupted by the occasional free-form-freakout.
Tomorrow we’ll lay down tracks for the longer, epic songs of the record.
Here’s a midnight band selfie:
These past months have been very eventfull. We’ve been putting the finishing touches on the upcoming record, and it’s shaping up super nicely. In fact, we’re entering the studio tomorrow to track drums and rough guitar and synth. Vocals and dubs will be completed next week. We’ve a lot of exciting shit to reveal, but we’re not yet able to drop you anything specific. I will say this though: the new record will be released late this summer!!
This past weekend we premiered a couple more tracks from the record during the two gigs we played in Jutland. A hometown gig with the great K-town hardcore trio Halshug, and one at the legendary 1000fryd with Mantar. What a fucking band! Super nice guys to boot, and since we don’t have any photos from either of the gigs, you get one of me being psyched in the shirt i traded with Hanno from Mantar.
Details regarding everything coming soon.
Our merch-store is up and running on bandcamp, which means that you’ll no longer have to go through the trouble of personally contacting us through facebook. To celebrate, every T-shirt order will include a free download of our album, for a limited time only. Go visit here!
2015 marked the release of our first record in several years. In hindsight, it might as well have been our debut, as we’ve only now started to come into our own.
That beeing said; the record we’re working on right now, will positively crush anything we’ve released previously when we release it later this year.
We’ll hit the ground running in 2016, kicking things of with a string of great gigs in January and February. From there we’ll immediately get to recording the next album, and resume gigging in the spring. Hopefully the summer will be incredibly busy!
Epic news! In addition to our previously announced concert in Copenhagen January 9th, we’ll be visiting again a mere two weeks later. We’ve been invited to infuse some much needed weirdness into the annual “When Copenhell Freezes Over”, a sort of miniscule version of Copenhell, but with the sensible addition of various bussiness-types from labels, booking-agencies etc. Needless to say, this will be a good fucking time.
However, that isn’t the end of epicness for you eagerly awaiting earthlings! “When Copenhell Freezes Over” will, paradoxically, be extended to an additional show in Aarhus February 13th.
The bill includes lots of great bands, and we’re stoked to play!