Our third album, Blank Tape, was a bit of a strange one to put together. Some of the tracks had been written years ago, and some were polished off literally five minutes before we sent it to get mastered. In that spirit, we decided to take care of everything around it ourselves – we put it out, we did the press, and we forwent the usual ‘premiere’ thing to literally stick it on top of a massive hill and play it on a loop until the battery in an old phone ran out. It’s out today, so here’s a run-down of everything that went into it...
A Way Out
The main melody to this was lying around our ‘unfinished folder’ for quite a few years, and we didn’t really know whether it should be turned into a massive techno banger or an intense wall of noise. In the end it took form as a piano led piece backed with field recordings from the Lake District and Dubrovnik.
The Violent Sequence
The opening sounds to this track probably sound like piano or synth, but they’re actually guitar sounds cut up very finely. This was one of the first tracks we finished on the album, which took a lot of direction from a constantly evolving TB-303 line (that sounds nothing like a TB-303!!) ebbing and flowing throughout. It was a bit difficult to whip into shape, as we didn’t know what to do with it. We had a brainwave, and decided to pull out the ol’ Satan studio trick: split the track in half, and explore some ambient textures at the end. We did that, and it sounded fucking great, so we decided to just repeat that trick endlessly on everything (joke).
The Tower And The Steward
This is one of the tracks on the album that was completely constructed in the rehearsal rooms, with only a very small amount of studio editing afterwards. We only have a very small amount of tools available for writing in the room, so we have to utilise everything we have carefully. The vocals are made up of Gavin’s voice, which are played on a keyboard like a piano. Its working title was ‘The Underworld One’, which made playing with them this summer at Bluedot Festival quite a nice little full circle thing! Oh, and the finished title was ripped from a spam email we got in our old Yahoo account - we made a big spreadsheet of them and dipped in whenever we needed one.
This Restless Wing
This was the last one we did for the record, and very nearly didn’t end up on it. Last year we got a tweet from Vincent in Anathema, saying he was enjoying our album Even Temper, so we stayed in touch, and we eventually ended up meeting and shooting around some ideas about doing something together. We did a very rough jam session in the studio, and sent it down to Vincent to sing on, and he did an incredible job. We had lots of ideas on how it should sound and he agreed with all of them! The main tools on this track are the Reaktor, TR-808, Juno 6, Korg MS20 and guitar.
Forward Into Night
This was made from a demo that was mainly a very eerie drone, but we felt it needed something driving behind it. At the time we’d just bought one of those Moog filter pedals and we slammed the Juno 6 through it to create a step-like melodic sequence that pulses alongside the 808. It was a bit of a weird little thing to put together, so we doubled down and added a brief blast of a jungle break and some creepy guitar stuff.
This was another well old tune, which was left over from a production thing we did a good few years back, which never really saw the light of day. We opened up the session again, and satan-ified it with some bowed guitars, live drums (via Tom’s massive V-drum kit), acoustics, and a shit ton of reverb. Our good friends Face+Heel really brought this track into new light as it was kind of buried underneath all the techno style tracks we made. Sinead from F+H provided a brilliantly ethereal vocal line to compliment the piano and bubbling synths.
Nice To Meet You
I think by the time we recorded this, the album needed a little something extra. It wasn’t that long at one point, so we thought we’d try to add a little interlude, which soon developed into this ambient track, which is pretty much just one big loop of a synth we have called a String Melody. We use it loads on stuff as it’s really creepy, but also does these really thick, warm washes of sound. We pressed a few keys and looped them randomly. The voice is a well old interview with a famous 60s singer, who we’re not sure won’t sue us if we tell you who it is…
We’re big fans of cut up piano and vocal sounds and this is our melancholic moment in the album! We originally recorded this as a standalone single, but it fitted perfectly with the dynamic of the record, so we chose to include it. The synth on this sounds well nice, right? I think we pinched it from a sample CD put together by Legowelt, where he basically just records all his gear and gives them away on his website!
This was the final track we recorded and is actually two tracks melded into one. We had the big euphoric swell that was about to drop into a big drum section, but it just didn’t feel right. Sometimes we like to give songs some unexpected twists, and so going into a solo piano prelude is all you need after a wall of synth. In one version, it had this massive slide guitar in it, but we ditched it as it actually ended up being really irritating, and not a million miles away from that Moby song which ruins all the Bourne films.
From A Dead Man (Part II)
Probably the first track we put together for the album, way back when. If you were at Drowned in Sound’s Christmas shindig thing back in 2013, you’d have heard us play this as Ghosting Season, as it was originally a GS big room banger-type thing. When we turned it into a satan tune, we decided to split the two versions – the massive part I, and the more introspective part II. You may be asking, “Will we ever see Part I?”, and you won’t! The second GS record was shelved, and we retired the project altogether earlier this year. The main synth line, by the way, is made from noodling on a Juno 6 in the rehearsal room, playing with the portamento setting to change pitch.
Blank Tape by worriedaboutsatan is out now. For more information, visit their official website.