"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where any recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with standard questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
A FAMILY OF STRANGERS: "New Techniques for Beginners and Champions"
A FAMILY OF STRANGERS is the new side project from Glenn Esmond (vocals and guitars this time) of The Butterfly Effect. Yes, it's more of the 'thunder from down under' as the aussies stikes again with clever rock songs that will stick on you like a bucket of glue. No stranger to success either as the latest Butterfly' albums have all been certified gold in Australia. Recording session was undertaken at Albert's studios in Sydney at the end of last year with producer Dean Belcastro with Glenn and Dean contributing all the basic tracking themselves. The resulting debut CD and EP, called 'New Techniques for Beginners and Champions,' is released on November 12. Here to answer all the "All About The Album" questions,: Mr. GLENN ESMOND...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
It's only so new, it's hard to tell. Mostly positive from what I can ascertain at this point. People are definitely digging the songs when we're playing live, so that's a good start.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
It was only about 8 days of tracking and about 5 days of mixing but it was spread out over a number of months depending on whether certain studios or players were available. I started in November and had a pressed copy in my hand by March.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
I was wary about trying to make it sound too overproduced so we did all the basic tracks live and tried to keep the character of the performances intact. I originally intended for the rock tracks to sound like Jimmy Eat World's Chase This Light record or The Color and The Shape by Foo Fighters, but as we started putting it together, the songs started to dictate how they were going to sound by the virtue of their arrangements and they sort of took on a life of their own by the end.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
We co-produced the record and so we spent a bit of time at the outset of each song bouncing a bunch of ideas off one another. He had a very clear idea of how the drums should sound and he had some creative ideas on how to begin songs, how to make middle sections more interesting or how we could add percussive or programmed elements into the sound to make the arrangements more interesting.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
I think it's natural to be displeased with some things because hind sight is always 20/20. I think in the future, rather than doing all the bass, guitar and vocals myself, I'd like to get the full band together and do the whole lot live in the studio. Also, my vocals have come a long way since recording so I'd love the chance to re-sing some of the stuff. But honestly, I am pretty stoked considering it's the first one.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Not really. We recorded a bunch or percussion one night using kitchen implements and anything we could find lying around which was fun.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't?
The band didn't really exist as an entity when the EP was made so we didn't have a 'live' sound at that time. As I mentioned before though, we did the bass and drums live to try and keep excitement in the sound. Guitars had to be overdubbed of course because I was playing most of it myself.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
'Farewell, Mr Hooper' was the last song written and I usually find the most recent stuff the most interesting. Paul Burton and Aaron Croft improvised an incredible outro solo on that song that blew me away. My lyric writing is still in it's infancy but I feel on this song, I'm starting to stretch my wings a little more. One example; 'The things that you've got are described by the cost of the things that you lost in the rise' meaning that you know how much something is worth by what you had to give to get it.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Not really. I'm not the first to say this but the best songs are the ones that you don't ever feel like you're writing, they sort of flow through you and your job is to try and get out of their way and not stuff up the process too much.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
The overall vision has remained pretty steady so far. I just keep creating and try to get better all the time. Hopefully I am going to be successful.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
I'm independent baby! No interference here. Maintaining creative control is really important to me but because I find joy in writing and listening to accessible and melodic music I can see that myself and any future labels would very rarely find ourselves at crossed purposes.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
We ate Thai food, drank wine and played music. Pretty un-rockstar overall. I did get to see a bunch of the AC/DC master tapes which was exciting though (at the 'Albert' studios).
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
It's melodic rock. It sounds a bit like Foo Fighters or Smashing Pumpkins. Go to our site afamilyofstrangers.com) and have a listen. You'll get it pretty quickly.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Ben Folds, Weezer, Tool, Frank Turner, Dire Straits, AC/DC
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
The EP's out Nov 12, facebook.com/afamilyofstrangers will reveal all.
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,