Grinspoon will release their new album ‘Black Rabbits‘ this Friday 28th September. Their live promotion for the release got kick started over the weekend playing the Fat As Butter Festival, they are also locked in for the Big Day Out early next year with no doubt more live dates to be added. This week Joe from the band has taken the time to answer our On The Record questions. Expand this post to take a read. You can order a copy of the album online [Here].
Tell us about the release title.
The album’s called Black Rabbits, and Pat came up with it. at first it didn’t really sound like an album title, i was kinda thinkin’ “what the hell does black rabbits have to do with anything?” but then after Pat explained how it rhymed with bad habits it kinda made sense. It was certainly a lot cooler sounding than the other title contender, “Just A Sound”.
Tell us about the artwork.
It was done by a company Phil was in contact with, I’m not sure what they are called. Surprise surprise the front cover features a black rabbit! It’s a cool hand drawn type picture. The rest of the artwork is kind of made up of the rabbit hanging out in different cityscapes.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
It’s in a digipack, I haven’t even seen a copy yet so it’s gonna be cool to get one in my hands and see how it came out. It’ll also come out on iTunes.
Who will it be released through, and when?
We have a licensing deal with Universal so it’s coming out through them, on the 28th September.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
The studio was called The Bank, in Burbank, LA. It’s a private studio owned by a couple of session guys, including Joey Waronker (Beck’s drummer). The funny thing was it had an unmarked door and was directly connected to a mechanics workshop so as you turned into the carpark it felt like we were just dropping the car off for a service. Our producer Dave Schiffman is friends with the owners and organised us to use it. It wasn’t huge but was stacked with vintage gear of all sorts so it was great if we wanted to try something like using different amps or guitars or whatever. We also borrowed some guitars off various people including producers Joe Barressi and Garth Richardson.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
We met Dave Schiffman when he was in Australia recording in Byron Bay. We were already impressed with his credits, like Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Bronx, and once we met him we were positive he was the right guy to go with. He had a lot of good ideas about structure and parts without being over the top and pushy. In the studio he was super easy to work with, so we’re very happy with the decision.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
We never tried to limit ourselves to one particular style or theme or whatever but over time it became apparent that the best songs were the ones that had something a bit different to the tried and tested “Grinspoon” sound. The songs we picked sounded fresh and different to our ears. Musically we were looking for more up tempo, hooky, rock songs rather than the out and out riffage of past albums.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Jane’s Addiction, Neil Young, Oasis, Weezer, Eels, lots of different things but all have great melodies and choruses.
How long did it take to record?
We were in LA for about four or five weeks, but we did 10 days of pre-production at Pat’s studio in Byron first, so we were pretty well prepared. Once we hit the studio we pretty much worked from 11am to 11pm each day.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
Well we basically got in there and set up as a band in the live room and knocked the songs out. Once we got a take we liked and made sure the drums were good I went and fixed up any little bass bits that were a little out. Of course there weren’t many things to fix up! Ha Ha! After we’d done all the bed tracks that way Pat went back over them and laid down all the extra guitar bits, and then Phil did his vocals again if he wasn’t happy with his original take.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
It was similar to most times we’ve recorded, we’ve always tried to capture the sound of a band playing together as opposed to overdubbing everything.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
We were really lucky to have some of our best mates in the business in town at the same time as us, so we invited them in to the studio to hang out with us and then hit them up to get behind the mics, they couldn’t really refuse! Tim Rogers from You Am I was passing through on his way home from a solo tour so he came in, drank a few beers and some whiskey and put down some group backing vocals with the other boys. On the same day Chris Cheney from The Living End, who’s living in LA, came in and played a solo over a track called ‘Another Son’. A different day we had our mate Scott Russo from Unwritten Law come in and lay down some backups, it was really cool to have people like that happy to come in a contribute.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
I used an amazing sounding vintage Ampeg B-15 bass amp to play through which was great. Kris play a Gretsch kit and Pat had a bevy of different amps and guitars. One guitar that was pretty effective was a Danelectro Baritone that he played on a lot of tracks to beef up the rhythm tracks. We also experimented a bit with some of the old keyboards and synths lying around, Moogs and stuff.
Any memorable studio moments?
Probably the most memorable studio moment was the day Chris and Tim came in, up until then it had been all business, but we really let loose that day. A lot of drinking, a few sing alongs, some general hooliganism. I think poor Dave was pulling his hair out trying to get some work done, and we weren’t really helping.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
We’ve played two tracks, ‘Passerby’, which is our first single, and ‘Branded’ live already and it’s a lot of fun to get new songs into the set. It even makes the old ones feel new again.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
Our last album, ‘Six To Midnight’, was mostly traditional downtuned Grinspoon riffage. This album is more about melody, hooks and energy. It’s different and fresh for us, but the songs are gonna sit very well amongst our older tunes in the live set.
Anything else you want to say or tell us about the release?
No, just make sure you go out and buy a copy on the 28th September!
GRINSPOON - Black Rabbits
Available 28th September via Universal Music Australia
Order your copy online [Here] * Comes with a bonus lanyard while stocks last.