There’s only a few days now before the band start playing their summer shows (details here). But before that, and right now, Mark is up front and centre talking about the the writing and recording of the bands upcoming new album…
WebMaster: How much fun are you having recording another album? Does it feel different to when you were doing the first one?
Mark: It’s a lot of fun. It’s a rather nice feeling knowing that there are people waiting to hear what we come up with. The thing is, with “Wired to Earth” it started off as an experiment. We were learning and playing all these prog covers and just thought we should have a go at writing our own stuff. If it didn’t work then it was no big deal. Now people are waiting to see what we do next, it is a big deal that we get it right and make the best album we possibly can.
WebMaster: How do you feel about the progress that’s been made so far? How much has the band recorded?
Mark: We’re pretty much halfway through as far as basic tracks go. We tend to write a track and then record it as soon as we can rather than wait for everything to be written. So although we’ve recorded the basic tracks for everything that’s written, we haven’t quite finished writing everything yet. I hope that sentence makes sense to at least one other person!
WebMaster: Is there a track or part that you’re particularly excited about?
Mark: Garden State has some big 3 part harmonies in the first section verses. I’m looking forward to getting those recorded with Doug and Dan. A choir of beardy angels is what I’m hoping for!
WebMaster: Has there been any particular moment during the writing/recording that you’re not going to forget?
Mark: We went into the studio a few weeks back to record two tracks. We knew time wise it was going to be tight to do two in a day. The first track took longer than expected as we experimented with tempos and arrangements. So we only had about 20 minutes to have a go at the second one. Dougie was understandably a bit cream crackered as the first track had some powerhouse drumming, but he was up for having a go at the other track. Basically he nailed it one take. That’s what’s going on the album. Awesome!
WebMaster: How do you think the new album is going to compare to the last one? Do you think it will be recognisable to fans of the first album, or is it likely to be quite different?
Mark: I think stylistically the songs on this one could have fitted on Wired to Earth to be honest. It’s still us four hitting stuff to the best of our abilities. The only difference I would say is that the writing is more confident and the production is stronger. It will also flow much better as an album I think.
WebMaster: What gear have you been using mostly so far?
Mark: Since the last album I splashed out on an Ampeg SVT Heritage amp. It weighs more than one of those concrete balls they push around on the World’s Strongest Man but sounds incredible, especially in the studio. My basses have stayed the same, Warwick Ltd Editions which I just feel comfortable playing and they sound great.
The other difference is that Dan has talked me into using a few bass pedals on this album. The dude knows what he’s talking about so who am I to argue?
WebMaster: Which part of the entire writing-recording-polishing process do you think you enjoy the most?
Mark: In all honesty the writing and arranging part is a double edged sword for me. It’s generally 30% bliss and 70% hell. I’m not too bad at coming up with melodies but lyrics are another story. I tend to start with nonsense and then re-write the nonsense. Then when I’m happy I read them again and decide they are nonsense too. So then I throw all that away and start again.
I can only compare it to doing a 2000 piece puzzle, finally getting to the last piece only to find that the cat has eaten it. So you have to go out and buy the same puzzle, open the bag and go searching for that missing piece. It hurts your brain. Arranging can be quite frustrating too as that’s the point where we rip everything apart and turn it from an idea into a Tin Spirits song. We’ve got 4 strong chiefs in this band so it can take a while but that’s the thing that hopefully turns it into a great song rather than a song. Eventually though all that comes together and it’s a great feeling when everyone knows what they’re doing and where they’re doing it and the magic between the four of us kicks in. So my favourite part is recording. I tend to take the skills of the rest of the band for granted a bit. I guess because I never get to really see and listen to them properly when we’re playing. It’s only when we record parts that I’m reminded just how talented they really are. Not just musicians but very musical people. It’s also the point where the months of work come together and you get to hear the fruits of your labour.
WebMaster: When do you think you’ll be happy to say the album’s done and release it?
Mark: Well, we are pushing forwards at a fair pace now. The only issue is schedules really plus how quickly inspiration hits us to finish the writing. It’s a tough call getting everyone in the same place at the same time and for that to coincide with when the studio is available. We’re hoping for September but if it takes longer then so be it. Not too much longer though I hope.
We’ll be giving some of the songs an airing at our upcoming gigs though so people will be able to hear them very soon!
The Tin Spirits are playing several live shows starting on Monday March 13th. They’re likely to be playing some of the new material from the upcoming album, so check out the dates here, and we hope to see you there!