Die! Die! Die! will wrap up their Australian album launch tour dates this week with three shows in Queensland. It’s all in support of the new album ‘Harmony‘ which is available now. Michael from the band took the time to answer our On The Record questions to give us more insight into the new album. Expand this post to take a read and re-cap tour dates.
Tell us about the release title.
Well, what happened was, the HARMONY came after the majority of the record had been recorded when the best we could have ever done was to stop playing. When we stopped playing and got back to the root of it all, it was just two friends, and that was the right idea. We got everything back to how we wanted it to be in the first place. We wanted to make something where we had control over everything, and you don’t have some fucking arsehole whose never done anything try and control the direction of your band.
Tell us about the artwork.
The artwork for HARMONY was a collaboration between Andrew and myself. We wanted to use the circle as a starting point for the artwork. The circle is universal, It represents the infinite nature of everything really. One of our favourite New Zealand artists is Ralph Hotere who made these very minimalist circle paintings which were definitely an influence. I hand drew all of the artwork also which lends itself to a slightly off kilter end result.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
We are releasing it both digitally and on cd, using the tried and true standard jewel case, and of course vinyl also as we’ve always tried to make this a priority.
Who will it be released through, and when?
HARMONY is being distributed by Inertia and our own label Records Etcetera, its been a long time in the making finally forming our own label we’ve always just wanted to make sure people could hear our music and make sure our records are in the shops and with releasing on our own label its all on us to make sure everything works out. The record has just been released in Australia so is available in-store and online now.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded the album in Blackbox studio in France, it was a studio that came highly recommended by a lot of recording engineers and various bands who had recorded there. It is situated in very beautiful countryside and has pretty much everything you would want there to be in terms of gear and recording space. We were in the middle of a really extensive European tour so we booked the studio pretty much in the middle of our tour, we were in a fairly chaotic period with the band and we really didn’t know what sort of album we were going to make at that time, as soon as we arrived at black box we knew even if we were slightly unsure of what we would get down on tape it was such an inspiring place to be anything could be possible.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
We got Chris Townend by chance as we had never worked with him before but really liked the sounds he got from records he had recorded, we talked with him in passing and it became quickly apparent he would be the ideal producer/engineer for this record. Chris really emphasized our live guitar sound. He approached Die!Die!Die! from a very different experimental angle, he saw our live, really feedbacky, nasty guitar sound as a strength. Chris was like, ‘anything rock, anything pop, anything not future music needs to be out the window’. He just wanted it all to be in the red.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
The first night we arrived, Andrew and myself were just like, wow, we’ve got this studio, it’s magical, it has every piece of equipment we’ve ever dreamed of playing, so we just set up and jammed, and that’s what we did every night really, we had a few rough ideas of songs that we had been working on in the previous months but the environment lent itself to a more free approach, something which Chris definitely encouraged.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Frank Ocean, The Smiths, Boards Of Canada, Neko Case, Fleetwood Mac, The Terminals. Sometimes what your listening to and the music you end up making shares very little in sound but these were all big influences at the time of recording the album.
How long did it take to record?
The initial tracking in France was for 5 days, where we just tried to get as much material down as we could, we were sort of going at a million miles an hour and were thinking we needed to have this record finished in a month, little did we know it would end up taking over a year to get to the point of actually releasing it. After finishing up the second half of the tour and having a complete band melt down we didn’t revisit any of the tracks until a couple of months afterwards when we spent a few days putting different sounds and overdubs in a studio in Auckland and finally spending a week at Chris place in Tasmania mixing all that we had thrown at it.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We tracked to tape in France, and set up all in the same room. Its always a struggle to find the right attitude in a recording atmosphere where the songs your putting down can have energy and also not lose there bite that is easy to translate when you are playing live where everything is so immediate.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Chris threw in a lot of stuff we had never touched on, he definitely embraced the feed back crush of the guitars and really changed up the way we had recorded the drums by running them back through guitar cabs and taking the drum sounds from that. There was also some very strange mic setups that when mixed together put some interesting sounds and textures in there.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Shayne Carter who we had worked with on our album Promises, Promises did some extra backing vocals on some of the tracks.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
We used a few different instrument change ups like some very awkward piano and keyboard playing that in the end came through quite well and various amps that we don’t usually use.
Any memorable studio moments?
Throughout this entire recording we were visited by an array of different animals, in France we were visited by bats that would fly into the studio control room and fly around and stick to the walls, up close they have very noticeable teeth, in Auckland a giant white bunny came hopping into the studio which was so strange because its in the middle of the city and finally in Tasmania we made friends with a giant possum who would turn up every night to see what was going on. It was kind of hilarious how all these animals kept coming out of the wood work.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
There may be a 7” coming out later in the year with a couple of tracks which just didn’t quite make it onto the album, although we are writing new material all the time so sometimes what gets left off a record is left off for a reason.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
Pretty much all of them, although some of the songs we recorded are really hard to pull off well live just in terms of how fast a tempo we recorded them at, but its always a fun challenge to make them work.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
HARMONY has been an unbelievably turbulent record to make, just in terms of how many ups and downs there has been with Die! Die! Die! over the last year. This album was so much fun but such hard work and that HARMONY reflects the fact that the hard work paid off. We were all so burnt-out and run over by everything but the music… I thought this was going to be that album that would never come out so its just great it all came together in the end.
DIE! DIE! DIE! – Harmony
In Stores now, Buy online [Here].