Singer / Songwriter Beth Lucas will this week release and launch her second EP ‘The Let Down Days’. The launch happens at Yalebird Ale House in Fortitude Valley from 8pm on Saturday 12th May. Entry is free. The EP will be available via iTunes this Friday. To find out a little more about it, we got Beth to answer our On The Record questions this week. Expand this post to take a read and check out some of her tunes.
Tell us about the release title.. So, the general theme of the EP is about being let down and not achieving certain goals in the timeframes you set etc, etc, and there is a part of a line in the background of a Man Overboard song that goes “…in the let down days…” and every time I heard it, I kept getting that part stuck in my head. After I decided on the songs, it was really obvious to me that the EP would be called ‘The Let Down Days’.
Tell us about the artwork… The artwork is by my insanely talented younger brother Ted. I really wanted him to be involved with this, so I sent him the lyrics to a few of the songs and the result was perfect. The characters standing in that formation represent the recurring theme of travelling in circles but feeling as though you are not making progress. I also sing from a really personal point of view, so the women basically represent me.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged? I’ve chosen to put this EP out digitally and it will be available on iTunes globally. I will probably burn copies for my relatives who don’t understand technology though, namely my parents.
Who will it be released through, and when? I don’t have a label/distribution deal or anything, so this EP is wholly an independent release, due out on Friday 11th May.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there? I recorded this at my house actually and I chose to do this for a couple of reasons. First, because I don’t have any financial backing, it was the most cost effective way for me to get this done in the timeframe I’d set, and it meant that I could spend as much time as I wanted on the recording process. The other main reason was because I wanted a challenge and to record the whole thing from start to finish, doing everything myself with my own gear. I really wanted that ownership of doing it all myself.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them? I’ll answer this question with the guy who mastered my first EP (Matthew Grey Mastering)… It was actually a bit crazy because when I was ready for the mastering, it turned out that I had used a very different version of the recording program and I couldn’t bounce the tracks in the right format for him. I ended up having to take my external hard drive to him and he had to open up each individual track/file and completely re-mix the songs. Whatever version I used had completely messed with some of the tracks so I was really lucky that Matt was happy to spend some time fixing them up and getting them into the right format.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind? Initially, no. I just knew that I wanted to put something out and when I was gathering the new material, it became clear just how pissed off I was at not doing more with my music. After that realisation, it all came together pretty quickly and it was full steam ahead on the recording front.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all? I have been listening to a LOT of pop/punk and hardcore bands over the last year and there are elements of these styles that you can definitely hear in the release. Despite the EP being acoustic, I have used gang vocals in a couple of the songs and really tried to capture all my frustrations through that.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise? I really love the sound on the acoustic versions that A Day To Remember have released lately. I’ve probably used more harmonies on my tracks, but I like what they’re doing in keeping the heavier components of the song as well.
How long did it take to record? I think it took about 3 months of sporadic recording in between working, Christmas, New Year etc. I got the final copy at the beginning of March so I’ve been hanging onto it for a bit.
Tell us a little about the recording process you used? I just went in head first and smashed out all the guitars, then main vocals, then harmonies. The only song that I had any kind of trouble on was the cover – the lead guitar is crazy hard and it took me over 100 takes to get it (seriously). For that song, I did EVERYTHING else first and the lead guitar at the very end.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used? It was a pretty similar process to the first EP, in terms of the order of tracking but because I did it all myself, I had the option of going back over songs and if there was something that came to me at a later time, I could add it in whenever.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do? No guests on this release, it’s all me. I was going to get some buddies in for the gang vocals but I ended up recording each gang separately about six times, haha.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process? I was lucky enough to get a sweet condenser mic for Christmas (I was previously borrowing a friends) so I ended up re-tracking all the vocals.
Any memorable studio moments? Haha, yes. I’d recorded every song, completed, done and I just could not get the lead guitar to that cover. I walked out on myself a number of times, there was a lot of cursing, a few tears – I’m sure you get the picture.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime? Actually, I recorded a two track demo in 2005 and I intended to re-work both of the songs to put on this EP but I only ended up revisiting one (My Failing). I might re-do the other one someday, but probably not in the near future.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live? I love both the opening and closing tracks. The first song is called Drowning and it’s quite a short song but man, it has some punch. And the last song on the EP is called About A Boy… Surprise, surprise, it’s a love song, about a boy! It’s actually a really happy song and the reason I put it on this EP was a reminder not to ever lose hope or faith in yourself. I’m lucky that I have my best friend (who is coincidentally my boyfriend, hence “About A Boy”) next to me to remind me of this.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases? It’s definitely different to my first EP. There are less instruments, less vocals (the first EP had my sister doing back up) and I recorded it on my own equipment as opposed to in a professional studio. I think my writing and performing style has progressed for the better, and I can certainly hear that compared to the last EP.
Anything else you want to say or tell us about the release? I just hope that it’s relatable and that my listeners can take something away from it.
Beth Lucas – Track-By-Track // The Let Down Days EP
This song is short and feels like a punch in the gut. I wrote this at a time when I was feeling extremely frustrated with things around me. I was trying so hard to achieve a goal but I felt like I wasn’t making any progress and my commitment to the task was going unnoticed. I felt like no matter how much effort I was putting in, I just kept getting that overwhelming feeling of being drowned and not being able to catch a break or get out of that cycle. For the record, my hard work eventually paid off.
I wrote this a little while ago and it’s basically about not having much time left to do something. When I wrote this, I was adamant that I only had one more shot at achieving my musical dreams and I felt like as each year went on and I didn’t achieve those goals, I was another year closer to expiring.
This song is similar to Drowning in respect that it is all about feeling like you are going in circles trying to make something happen. The lyrics also touch on the fact that things don’t just happen automatically, you really do need to work hard for the things you want and if you don’t, the only person to blame is yourself.
Written in 2005, this is a song about breaking up. It is about feeling second rate and not good enough for the relationship, even after it has ended. I reworked this song because it was always a live favourite but I had never recorded/released it properly.
Another short song that details my frustration with one-way friendships. I came about the title when I was looking for tickets online to a gig and the advice was “Allocation Exhausted” or sold out. That phrase just stuck with me and I thought, I have no time left for selfish people who take every opportunity to complain about their problems but no willingness to change them, hence “you’ve exhausted your friend in me”.
Burned At Both Ends (With The Punches cover)
This is a cover of a song by the New York pop-punk band With The Punches. This is the first song I ever heard from this band and I immediately loved it. I have slowed it down and rearranged the guitars, however I have kept most of the key elements that drew me to this band in the first place (including gang vocals and lead guitar, which took me over 100 takes to finally get down – not kidding). My favourite lyric of this song is in the chorus “this just might be a let down, but these chances never last” – despite this being a bit of a relationship story, that line has always spoken big things to me and made me think that even though it might not be what I was hoping for, not to let opportunities get away.
About A Boy
I think the title of this song speaks for itself. It is a happy ending to an otherwise “emo” album and it is really about finding hope and saving love. For me, personally, I can openly admit I have had dark moments but luckily, I have someone by my side who never fails to challenge me, inspire me, motivate me and above all, love me. This song doesn’t really justify all of that, but I hope it shows some level of my gratitude toward this person (you know who you are).