This Friday is release day for Newcastle punk rock outfit Local Resident Failure’s long in the works full length ‘A Breath Of Stale Air‘ via Pee Records. To find out a little about the album, and it’s lengthy recording process we got the band to answer our On The Record questions this week. Expand this post to take a read. You can order your copy online now [Here]. They’ll be launching it July 27th at Hermann’s Bar in Sydney with The Decline, Chris Duke and the Royals and Cash No! The following night will be the Newcastle launch at The Cambridge Hotel, also with The Decline and Cash No! as well as The Delta Lions
Tell us about the release title.
It took ages to think of a title. We were about nearly finished recording before ‘A Breath of Stale Air’ came about. The current music scene seems to be dominated by a much heavier style of punk/hardcore than what we and a few other bands are still doing, so it’s almost like a breath of fresh air to be a bit different and to play a faster more melodic style of punk, but at the same time what we are doing was done 15 years ago so it’s nothing groundbreaking; hence ‘A Breath of Stale Air’. It also seemed fitting because the venues we play at are usually pretty dingy and stink of stale beer.
Tell us about the artwork.
We also spent a while considering who to get to do the artwork. Our good mate Pete Pee has done the majority of our artwork over the years for our previous EPs, posters and shirts and has always done an amazing job, so he was originally the first in name mind when it came to this artwork as well. However, with all of our previous releases we had our good mate Heath Rowley recording mixing and mastering, but at the time he was unavailable to record this one so we had to look elsewhere. So with a new team recording, mixing and mastering it seemed right to try something different in the artwork department as well just to change things up. After seeing the amazing work Ben Brown had done on bands such as Frenzal Rhomb, Lagwagon and even a Nirvana tour poster, we knew he was the one to make it happen. So we sent him a few different working titles and eventually we decided on ‘A Breath of Stale Air’, after that we let Ben do his thing with the concept and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
It’s to be released on digipack and digital. Hopefully even a vinyl release somewhere down the track maybe.
Who will it be released through, and when?
It’s coming out through Pee Records on June 15.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded in a bunch of different places. We initially decided on the engineers and then the studio came based on the engineers. The drums got recorded at a piano studio called ‘The White Room’ which was a huge room acoustically built specifically for piano recording. I think ours was the first time drums had actually been recorded in it. Guitars and bass were recorded between a couple of dudes houses and the majority of vocals were recorded at RTN studios in Mayfield. We went into this thing with not a lot of funds and thankfully we had some awesome friends help us out along the way, which is why everything was recorded where it was.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
As I mentioned before, all our previous EPs had been recorded by our mate Heath Rowley of Wiseheimer, but he was unavailable this time so we had to look for someone else to make it happen. At the time Sully our guitarist was doing music production at TAFE and after mentioning our situation to the class, one of his teachers Phil Sawyers of Bootleg Recording who has been recording bands for years and years mentioned he was happy to help us out and record drums. Feffy was another friend who was doing the course and was keen to record the rest and even had his own equipment as well. Both guys were extremely good at what they do so we knew it would turn out awesome. Previously Heath had always had a big impact on producing our recordings, especially vocals wise, so we managed to get him to help out with producing some vocal melodies (while he was up in North QLD and we were down in Newcastle) and we got the majority of vocals recorded with the help of Geoff Mullard at RTN studios. After having everything recorded awesomely we knew we had to get it mixed and mastered at the same high quality so we decided to go with Jason Livermore at the Blasting Room in Colorado – he has mixed and mastered the best of the best in punk rock (Rise Against, NOFX, Frenzal Rhomb etc) so it was a pretty easy decision.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
There wasn’t any direction that i was heading, I guess i just wanted to get some ideas out there and see if people would connect with them. I know some people dont care about what some artists write about, just as long as the music is catchy, but this time I wanted to express some of the things I was seeing on TV and in the newspaper etc. About half of the songs were written after the music had already been recorded.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Alot of Propagandhi, I know some of the songs still have that poppy punky feel about it, but some of them have some punch to them…that was definately the anger/metal influence coming through. Also lyrically when i listened to the record in full, I realised it is darker than I anticipated which wasnt the intent, it was just the fact that we were running out of time and had to throw some songs out and a couple of them were more downbeat and less negative, but i think the balance is still there.
How long did it take to record?
Too fucking long! We started recording drums in November 2010 and mixing and mastering was finished in April this year. So about 18 months of recording. Our friends The Decline started recording their second album a few months after we started and they still had it out a year before ours was done.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
Well, we recorded all the drums with Phil Sawyers at the White Room in about two days then started tracking bass with Feffy at Smitty’s place in a couple of days. Then it came to guitars, and this is the shit that took a solid year to get together. A bit of guitars were done at Smitty’s place then the rest had to be done at Feffy’s whenever Sully and Steve could get in there. But due to work commitments and other stuff there was very little time where times worked between everyone so guitar tracking was a loooong process. Then some vocals got recorded at Feffy’s as well which is when we decided we wanted to get Heath back in to have his input as he had produced our other stuff and he is the man when it comes to vocal melodies and harmonies. So we sent bounces of everything we had up to him in North QLD and he sent back some parts he felt could be changed for Dal to base his melodies off (technology hey). Dal then smashed out all the main vocals at RTN studios with Geoff Mullard and Smitty engineering. After all the mains were tracked they were sent back up to Heath for him to edit together and to record backups for as by this time Steve was having a time in South East Asia for a few months so he couldn’t record his backups. All the while this was happening Smitty was editing the drums and Feffy was editing all the guitars frantically to make sure everything would be ready to send over to The Blasting Room by the deadline. In the end it all worked out and everything got sent over to The Blasting Room for Mr Livermore to work his magic. As each song was mixed they would send it back over for us to check if there were any little changes here and there. When that was all done and checked off they mastered it all up and it was done, finally.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Yeah it was a nightmare compared to other times. Usually we just went into a studio with Heath and spent a few days recording everything and let him mix and master it all when he had time. But it was a given that an album would take heaps more time and effort than our old EP’s which we kind of just chucked together.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Heath Rowley of Wiseheimer did backups in pretty much all the songs on the album as Steve our guitarist was overseas for six months when it came to vocals time. There was also a few cameos from Dan Cribb of The Decline in a couple of songs.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Not really, just a couple of different guitars here and there, oh and a keyboard.
Any memorable studio moments?
I guess when we initially got some mixes back from The Blasting Room and realized how good they could actually polish our turds we all started getting pretty excited again, after more than a year of recording we were all getting pretty over it and jaded by that point.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
We started with 19 songs recorded on drums originally, with only 15 songs ending up on the album, so a few got shaved at various stages along the way – some got bass recorded, some made it to guitar, but there was only one more that got finished and mixed and mastered which is a redo of an old song as a different version – it will get included on the vinyl it that ever happens.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
We have already played most of them live as the recording process went on for so long, but then there’s a couple we still have to learn as a band. I think it will be fun to finally open the set with ‘The Opener’.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
Whenever a band puts out a new release it’s pretty standard that they say it’s their best work yet so I’m not gonna say that – but it is better than our other stuff.
Anything else you want to say or tell us about the release?
It took a heap of time and effort so I hope people don’t think it sucks too hard.
Grab your copy from Pee Records [Here]