Sound Check The Making of Love
posted by January 10 at 10:16 AMon
A Gun That Shoots Knives is releasing a six song EP called Love on Seattle’s Bad Horses Records. The CD release show is Saturday night at Sunset Tavern. Theyíre playing first and last with the Resets doing the middle set. Your $6 cover gets you a free copy of the EP. A Gun That Shoots Knives is Stubby Abbot, Jimmy LaRue, Jeff Greenwood, and Kurly Sorbel. They play deranged pop that touches into metal, groove, and soul balladry. In Love they sing of sushi and making you wet. If Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a band from Seattle it would be A Gun That Shoots Knives. Theyíre odd, they fly, and they have the power to make dreams come true.
AGTSK has toured four times. They have collected and worn over a dozen wigs, eight jumpsuits, five false moustaches, one chicken suit, one cow suit, one horse head, six mexican wrestling masks, several pieces of lycra, twelve two-dollar thrift store suits, a jetpack, and one pair of knee-high six-inch tranny boots.
I met the band at the McDonalds Playland in Ballard to speak about the making of Love. We sat waist deep in the Pac-Man plastic ball pit:
How was the recording? Where did y’all do it?
AGTSK: Well, Trent More-man, it was great. And we donít mean that to sound sarcastic. We recorded at Titan Studio, with our dear friend Scot Michael. It’s a classic basement studio environment, complete with spiders, spiders everywhere.
Did you do any pre-production? (They are throwing the little plastic balls at my head.)
Yeah, we started by practicing the shit out of the songs we were going to record. I’m talking at least twice a week. We pre-recorded everything as if we were going to be mixing it ourselves so we didn’t have to dick around a ton once we got there. We’re all vaguely capable of playing each other’s instruments and have a lot of input on each otherís parts. More of that comes out when we listen back to a multi-tracked version of a song and we can hear the individual notes/beats weíre playing. Scot uses Nuendo, and has an awesome collection of newish and vintage mics. (His condenser that we used for vocals is a trippy, old, and Russian.) We ended up throwing all six tracks down in three afternoons, five the first two days and one on the third, which was pretty fast for us. We took the better part of two years trying to record a full-length on our own. It was nice to hand most of the board work off to someone who’s a lot faster and has a better ear than you.
Talk for me now about any drum pad type gear you might have used. PLEASE do this, and do it now.
Drummer Kurly says: I used a Roland sampler that has nine indivdual trigger pads. That sampler then gets run threw anlog and digital effects that can be minipulated manulay by my own damn hands. The idea is to incorporate all that crap with an acustic set and keep it real. Also, it (the sampler) allows me to fill “sonic gaps” as well as being able to perform songs live the same way they are done on recordings. Eventually there will be more crap.
How did these sessions differ from the sessions for your first CD?
We made a lot more weird-ass noises this time. We can make some pretty sweet space noises now, and everyone besides Jimmy can make a realistic whale noise with their live set-up. All we need now is a church choir and light orchestra to join the band in real life.
Who mixed and mastered it?
Scot. Scot Michael. That man has REALLY got his shit together, both with his ear for producing and his skills at engineering what he hears. The main reason this recording went so fast is that he mixes virtually everything as he’s tracking it, so by the time you’re done with vocals it’s pretty close to the final mixdown. He just has a keen ear for filling holes in the EQ, keeping it really full, and finding little ways here and there to put some snap into it. To top it off, heís completely affordable. It feels like you’re getting away with something. He kept sending us different masters as they got more and more perfect. He even drove the last, most perfect unsolicited master to our drummerís work, because he was excited to have us hear it.
What was the most challenging part of recording the new cd? I know it sounds stupid to ask, but recording is such a bitch sometimes. How did y’all conquer the beast and render the beauty?
Kurly had to be at work at 7 AM all three days that we booked for recording. After we messed around into the evening and Scot got sick of listening to us, we were left with a very sleepy drummer man. We conquered this beast by getting him really stoned and drinking lots of Sparks. Our friend Billy Stern was sort of interning with Scot while we were recording, and he has long been making wherever he hangs out feel like a clubhouse. Scot has only the newest and funnest of video games. We’re pretty much going to be trying to emulate this recording session for the rest of our lives. But with more sleep.
And then you hung up on us. What the hell, Trent. Trent are you there? Donít leave us, Trent. Hold us, Trent.
We would appreciate it if you didnít mention our mob ties. Oh, and donít spell check Kurlyís drum pad quote. AGTSK4EVA.
After the interview, we exited the ball pit and I thanked the band for their time. They bought me a Happy Meal, and asked if they could keep my prize. It was a wind-up Ronald Race Car. They said they collect prizes.