In December 2014 Audio Network released ‘Girl Riot’, an album I recorded with Chris Bussey and Jason Pedder, featuring vocals from Fran Minney. It was the final album of mine to be released last year, and out of all the 2014 releases it’s one of my favourites.
When creating music there is a gut feeling when you know something is right (after all there are no rules when it comes to expressing yourself via music) you just have to trust your instinct and go for it. This album is all about raw emotion and capturing the moment of inspiration.
The initial sessions were recorded last summer at The Sound Yard studios in Ossett, West Yorkshire. The studios were only half finished and the live room opened out into a large Victorian warehouse. It’s the capture of this industrial space that gives each song on ‘Girl Riot’ a special and unique ambience.
The drums were setup near the back wall with a very simple mic setup. Chris used his vintage Ludwig kit for this session.
Microphones - Telefunken M82 dynamic on the kick, SM57 on the snare, and two Cascade Fat Head 2 ribbons as overheads. We also had a Brauner VM1s stereo microphone placed 30 feet from the drum kit at floor level to capture room ambience.
For the guitars, two Dr Z Maz 18 combo amps were placed in a corridor behind the drums. These amps are incredibly loud (we were running them flat out) and the sound filled the whole building, again adding to the special ambience of the recording.
The guitar amps were captured with a couple of SM57 microphones into a Chandler TG2 preamp.
Chris getting a feel for the room before recording.
Working on my guitar tone.
Power chords and pedal moves.
Chris in the moment.
Me in the moment.
Different combinations of guitar pedals were used for each track and five pedals in total were used for the guitar sounds on this album - a Z-Vex Super Hard On, Z-Vex Fuzz Factory, MXR Chorus, Maxon analog delay, Homebrew FX UFO fuzz.
Fran Minney did a fantastic job on the vocals for this album, she is definitely ‘Riot Girl’. I couldn’t attend the vocal session but on hearing the results, Fran nailed it. She sings each track with complete ownership and an effortless confidence. I hope to be able to work with her again in the future.
All of the drums and guitar riffs for ‘Girl Riot’ were recorded in one improvised performance, and are all first takes. Over a couple of evenings I’m sure we managed to capture something very special, natural and honest.