We recorded Red Earth & Pouring Rain at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, Wales. The legend, Ian Grimble produced the album.
Andrew Davie - Guitars
My main guitar I used on the album was a beautiful 1974 Guild Starfire IV which I got a few years ago. I played through any number of combinations of a 60's Vox AC-30, a Fender Super Reverb, a Roland JC 120 and an awesome old Marshall Bluesbreaker. Bit obsessed with the JC120, which has become a huge part of the chorus sound we explored on multiple instruments on the record. We also had the honour of having a beautiful acoustic guitar made for us by the incredibly talented Vincent Shelfthout, which made it on to several songs on the album. I'm a bit obsessed with Martin guitars, and my D-15m was also used on a bunch of songs too as well as a Deering Goodtime banjo and a beautiful Gibson Hummingbird, which the kind folks at Gibson loaned to us.
Andrew Davie - Pedals
I played through a bunch of different pedals from Walrus Audio - my particular favourite is the Voyager, which is just the coolest thing ever. I love the way it breaks up and adds these beautiful harmonic colourations as opposed to just sounding trashy. My Strymon "El Capistan" Tape Echo pedal was always on in the studio too, and occasionally a Big Sky too, but my go to reverb pedal has always been the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb Pedal. Strymon, Electro Harmonix & Walrus Audio just make awesome stuff - it’s all sick.
A huge part of the sonic identity of the album comes from Kev, who plays so many different instruments all across the album. He mainly used a vintage '78 Les Paul Silverburst he picked up in Nashville, going through a '70s HiWatt. He used a Strymon Flint and a Klone pedal alongside a Cali ’76. The bass he used was a '79 precision through a '66 Ampeg Portaflex and a Sansamp pedal. Kev also has a beautiful Martin Guitar DX1AE, which he plays on 'New Jerusalem' and most of the other songs on the record too. He also used a Fender Telecaster on some of the songs. In addition, he plays Fender Rhodes and a Yamaha Grand Piano on multiple songs on the album.
We’re very fortunate to work with some incredible musicians when we tour and in the studio. Marcus Hamblett and Julian Owen are massive legends; here’s their take on their respctive rigs.
Marcus Hamblett - Synths
In the studio, I used many more synths than it would be possible for us to take on tour. For bass lines I used either a Yamaha CS5, Jen SX1000, Korg MS20, or a eurorack modular system. The heart of the modular bass sound was the deep, rich Intellijel Rubicon oscillator. For pads and leads, I mainly used a Juno 60 through a Roland RE-201 tape echo, as well as the DX7S and the Prophet 08. The Prophet 08 was really great for random arpeggiation and pads with more complex modulation than the Juno could provide. We also doubled pretty much every lead line with the Prophet in unison mode – all eight oscillators together sound monstrously huge.
On a few tracks I used a Godwin String Concert, a beautiful Italian string machine from the 70s. It’s a bit like an Arp Solina. We used a Dave Smith Tempest, mostly for Linn Drum sounds, as well as a Korg Volca Beats and an MF Berlin 502 Drum Computer for synthetic hats and claps. Other fun toys included a Casio SK1 for resampling voices, a Casiotone MT-400V, which I believe is the only Casio with a real analog filter, and some fx including an EHX Deluxe Memory Man, Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl and the Knas Ekdahl Moisturizer. I also play a Yamaha tenor horn, Boosey & Hawkes cornet and a few other horns.
Julian Owen - Drums
Main kit: Gretsch Renown 22", 16", 10" Secondary kit, for more open sounding percussive parts (positioned in the more reverberant room) birch-shelled 60s Premier; 20", 12", 14" - my first ever kit bought for £150 when I was 12 if anyone's interested! We also used the 12" Tom from this kit when we wanted a bigger, rounder Tom sound.
Main snares we used were an enormous 14x8 pearl signature model, tuned right down. This had the pleasing effect of setting off all the spare snares in a bright sounding tiled corridor next to the live room, that we ended up mic'ing up and gating for a huge 80s style snare sound. We also used a 14x6.5" Maple Premier Modern Classic on tracks needing a tighter, more natural rock snare sound. To get a happy medium live we now have a fantastic 'Tiki Black Relic' 14x6.5" snare which ticks all the boxes acoustically, and can be used in conjunction with a subtle triggered album snare to get a more 'true to album' sound across different songs through the set. On that subject ,we now also have a beautiful set of drums made for us by Tiki, based around vintage Ludwig specs with a few custom tweaks that fit the album sound perfectly live.
Cymbals wise, the majority of the album was made with an A Zildjian Sweet Ride, a vintage Super Zyn 18 crash, and a combination of a Super Zyn Hi Hat on top, and the top of a set of Sabian Stage hats on the bottom - just to be confusing... Every now and again we used a Super Zyn ride, which was a bit softer and darker, and also a really dark and fast 19" Murat Diril Crash for variation. This is the same setup we use live, with the addition of a tambourine mounted on a cymbal stand over the kick drum.
We also made use of an enormous 1500 litre oil tank in the yard for some cavernous sounding percussion parts in songs such as 'Roses' and 'Fortress'. This was played with a combination of a left hand for the bass sounds, and a large firm marching bass drum mallet for the harder edged snare type parts. You can see us record it in the second part of the film we made.
Red Earth & Pouring Rain is out now on Communion Records. For more information on the band, including upcoming tour dates, visit their official website.