Category Archives: Track By Track

TRACK BY TRACK: ‘Professor Elemental And His Amazing Friends’ by Professor Elemental

This is a track by track guide for ‘Professor Elemental And His Amazing Friends’, the new collection of collaborations/rarities/remixes from Professor Elemental.

 

I make a lot of music that few people ever hear. Sometimes that is a blessing for all concerned: my ill-fated attempt to tell the story of Spring Heeled Jack and attempts at sung choruses, are best left in the vaults forever. But there are also creative swaps and B-sides, commissions and adverts, songs for friends and collaborations for the fun of it. More often than not, these are over Tom’s amazing beats, but this time there are also new friends joining us for the ride. There are also tales to tell, hidden in the spaces between the songs.

 

TRACK 1: PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL: THE CARTOON (INTRO)

A few years back, when I was lucky enough to appear on Phineas And Ferb, I had the chance to pitch a Professor Elemental cartoon to Disney. Working with storytellers who had worked on everything from The Simpsons to Ren And Stimpy, we presented an exciting Saturday morning show, full of weirdness and wonder. Sadly, Disney weren’t quite ready for the Professor and all that remains is this proposed theme song and a devilishly handsome figurine. Still, surely it’s only a matter of time…

 

TRACK 2: MORE OF WHAT YOU ASKED FOR

A mashed up remix of Ice Cube’s ‘Today Was A Good Day’ made me fall in love with Mr. Frisbee’s beats, track him down and demand a track. He plays every instrument known to man, is an amazing graphic artist, plays in bonkers psych band ‘Platypus’ and has several children. He doesn’t look nearly as tired as he should do.

 

TRACK 3: ALL YOU CAN EAT

I can’t remember why I even made this song. Other than I spent a funny night with Pete Cannon and Dr. Syntax stumbling around Boomtown Festival and I think it came shortly after that. Pete’s beats are legendary and I am delighted he blessed me with this banger.

 

TRACK 4: BARE WITNESS

Bill Evans is not only a genuine professor, but knows one of thoaw rare people that seems to know everyone in the music biz. Working with ‘prof rock’ supergroup Flying Colours, Bill dropped me a line and we got chatting, then boozing, then a collaboration was inevitable. He made this beat and then assembled an incredible line-up of musicians to replay the samples. The result was explosive and it was nice chance for the Prof to get fired up on a track.

 

TRACK 5: COTTON CLUB [SKIT]

A lovely little skit left over from the ‘Father Of Invention’ album.

 

TRACK 6: BEEGEES GOT NOTHING ON ME

This disco infused number has sat waiting patiently for a couple of years now. Thom was kind enough to give it to me and I really wanted to see if the Prof could rap like Kanye West for a verse (good early Kanye, not crappy recent Kanye). The result is one of my favourite songs for a while, not least because of Thom’s awesome voice and arrangement.

 

TRACK 7: ALL IN TOGETHER [DNB REMIX]

I love it when Tom really flips a track around, especially when Nick’s cuts kick in. This was created especially for this mix and touring in 2017.

 

TRACK 8: MECHTORIA

Doktor A creates fiendish little models and figurines with a distinctive style that has won him acclaim all over the world. So when we started discussing a creative swap (I’d make him a song, if he’d model me a Geoffrey), I snapped up the chance. This was a particularly hard song to write, what with the ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’ sample and so much info about the good Doktors’ wonderful world to cram in… but we were both happy with it.  And it goes without saying the Geoffrey model is a beautiful thing.

 

TRACK 9: INN AT THE END OF TIME [TEASEA REMIX FEATURING NICK MAXWELL]

As is so often the way, I make the vaguest suggestion that ‘we should do a remix for…’ and a few hours later Tom comes back with some magic. I still can’t believe that any one man can make so many beats on his own, I think he employs woodland elves.

 

TRACK 10: I HAD A HAT [SKIT]

A left over skit from ‘Father Of Invention’, which was already too long by the time we recorded this. I went through a phase of people knicking my hat at shows and I also started receiving some unwanted attention. This was my angry response.

 

TRACK 11: PUT UP YA DUKES

This song was put together to promote the ‘Dukes And Dirigibles’ video game and I was rather keen on it by the end. It’s the only song ever where my singing it tolerable. And that’s only because Tom has a special device to make it sound like someone else.

 

TRACK 12: SWEET SUE [SKIT]

A skit from the ‘Giddy Limit’ sessions.

 

TRACK 13: 101 QUESTIONS

This is one of my favourite B-sides ever. Made as a prize for a donor to the ‘Don’t Feed The Trolls’ campaign. I was very grateful when I was handed this concept to write about. It was a nice chance to sneak a lot of biographical information into an unusually mellow song for the Professor.

 

TRACK 14: LAUGHING GAS [SKIT]

In Victorian times, they would sometimes pump nitrous oxide into a theatre to get the audience giddy and giggly. Tom created this track especially for the collection and it’s made me want to bring back those heady days of gassing the audience for laughs.

 

TRACK 15: THE WAGES OF GIN

It’s a sad truth that, largely because of being unable to leave a show directly after coming off stage, I spend far too much time hungover. This was recorded during ‘Apequest’, but rather lowered the tone. Still, there aren’t many songs about hangovers and it’s nice to record such wretched behaviour from time to time, evening if it’s just a warning to others.

 

TRACK 16: THEME MUSIC [EXTENDED VERSION FEATURING NICK MAXWELL]

So many people asked for a longer version of this song, so I had to oblige with a full rerecording. I’ve always had a soft spot for those 90s hip hop remixes where the MC redoes his vocals. And of course Nick’s cuts make this tune.

 

TRACK 17: OUTRO (GET HIGH) [SKIT]

A sweet goodbye from the world’s greatest producer, Mr. Tom Caruana.

 


 

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TRACK BY TRACK: ‘More Than Me’ by Six Time Champion

This is a track by track for ‘More Than Me’, the 4th release by Brighton pop punk proprietors, Six Time Champion.

 

‘Always writing about my own personal issues is quite a self involved act, and I just hope that these songs do actually reach out on a personal level to people other than myself’ declares James Dagg, discussing the origin of the EPs title’. The band are looking to get their heads back in the game with this release, following a period of respite. Recorded at The Outhouse with John Mitchell (Architects, Lower Than Atlantis), ‘More Than Me’ sees the quintet slickening up, whilst still retaining the somewhat aggressive edge that has become their hallmark.

 

Writing ‘More Than Me’ was a very gradual process in comparison to our previous releases. At first we set ourselves no particular deadline and just focused on constantly writing new ideas, until it got to the point where we had almost 10 full instrumental tracks. But then we wrote ‘Doubt’, which ended up being the final track on the E.P. and at the time this seemed to have a far better feel than anything we had written so far. As a result we scrapped all of the other demos we had and started afresh, trying to find some more of those good feels.

 

As always, our general aim was simply to create music that we love to hear and love to perform. Once we had a set of songs we were truly happy with we headed to Outhouse Studios to work with John Mitchell, who previously did a solid job on our single ‘Let Me In’.

 

TRACK 1: LOST
When ideas for ‘Lost’ first came around, it was all about the bounce. Piece by piece this song just fell into place, featuring classic STC guitar chugs and rough vocals, pushing personal lyrics about feeling smothered by past failures.

 

TRACK 2: DOWN
This song really came out of nowhere, it started off as a short clip of Si jamming over some drums Rich had written. Initially this song had a totally different sound to anything else we had written, but something about it stood out. With a lot of work this track turned out to be one of the favourites all round for us, and we feel that the difference in sound is still present in a slightly more subtle way. The lyrics are about unknowingly falling into a totally negative mental state, and dragging everyone around you down to that same level.

 

TRACK 3: EVERY ANGLE
‘Every Angle’ was written in the most familiar format for us. Si and Rich put together pretty much the entire instrumental between them. By the time the rest of the band had heard this track, all it really needed was the vocals. We all know about burning the candle at both ends, and this song is really about feeling totally rundown, and never finding time to rest.

 

TRACK 4: UNEASY
This song is really the stamp of our new rhythm guitarist, Hus. We had already spoken about writing a new acoustic track after the popularity of ‘Old Friends Loose Ends’, one of our earliest tracks. Hus set out to put his own style all over it, taking the song to a whole new level, and hopefully setting it apart from the token pop punk acoustic tracks, whilst still sporting some sad boy lyrics.

 

TRACK 5: DOUBT
‘Doubt’ is the song that set the bar for this E.P. It just felt good right from the start, keeping it upbeat and aggressive. This song is about working hard towards something you love and being persistent in your efforts to make it work. This is still one of our all time favourites as it is so relevant to us in every way.

 


 

You can check out Six Time Champion here:

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You can get a copy of ‘More Than Me’ here.

You can watch the video for  ‘Doubt’ here.

TRACK BY TRACK: ‘We Were Once Lost’ by COVE

This is a track by track guide for ‘We Were Once Lost’, the debut album by Kent metalcore mob, COVE.

 

Recorded with producer Oz Craggs at Hidden Track Studios, ‘We Were Once Lost’ sees COVE succeed in their aims of writing ‘heavy, riffy music, with big choruses that make you grab your friends in the middle of a mosh pit and sing along’. Featuring thudding, muscular grooves and stomp paired with ferocious roars aplenty, COVE’s debut is a ‘post-metalcore’ powerhouse: evoking Ruin/Hollow Crown era Architects, whilst also drawing from the gene pools of Defeater and While She Sleeps. Bruising riffs and urgent, desperate screams give way to moments of melodic, textured respite, before plunging back into the abyss again. COVE already leaps and bounds ahead of their would be peers.

 

This being our first release meant that a lot of the songs were written without a game plan, and just written for the sake of writing songs we wanted to hear. Often we’d listen to music of other bands and hear parts we liked, normally the dynamic or tempo and get inspired by that. A lot of the earlier songs were written on computers with programmed drums and were often guitarists Ben and Pete trying to write the most complicated stuff they could, whereas the later written material has more of a live aspect taken into account. The aim became to meet in the middle and write songs that were not only fun to play live, but also had parts that were interesting to the listener. About 60% of the songs were written before our drummer Jack and our vocalist Sam joined, however they both helped create finished product enormously.

 

When it came to recording we didn’t want the sound to be too polished. A lot of us listen to emo/punk/grunge/hardcore bands, so we wanted something that still sounded organic and not too overproduced and metal. Even though some of the actual guitar parts would be classed as ‘metal’), we wanted to keep the sound raw like hardcore bands. This meant no over editing, and choosing recording takes that were not always ‘perfect’ but had more feel to them, something producer Oz Craggs is great at.

 

TRACK 1: …

This was something we used to jam out in rehearsals and start our set with, it’s not so much of a track but rather an intro to get us pumped to play, it rolls straight into the next track.

 

TRACK 2: NO PLACE

This is the oldest track we have musically. In fact, the EP is actually mostly ordered chronologically. The main riff features an odd time signature that was written by accident quite a while ago. We wanted to keep the song flowing though so had a punky fast paced straight chorus. This song also features probably the most melodic middle section on the entire EP. Lyrically this track was written about people who are ignorant to things they don’t understand, specifically subjects like heavy music. As a result, they never truly listen to find meaning or substance, but merely hear and make judgment from that. The songs has points of anger but also vulnerable parts demonstrating the emotion in this music. Playing this song personifies the meaning and the passion is translated in the performance.

 

TRACK 3: DEAD SEA

This is probably the most chaotic song on the EP. Guitarists Pete and Ben have always liked how bands have used harmonics in riffs, which inspired the main verse riff. It also takes influence from a lot of earlier Architects albums, with discordant harmonies and runs, which can be heard in this song before the end breakdown. This was the first track lyrics were written for and the song that actually introduced our vocalist to COVE as we were looking for a singer at the time. Sam later listened to the track and wrote the lyrics within a day. It’s about a certain breed of people that seem to bring everyone down around them, but failing to realise they are their own downfall. It packs a hell of a punch live.

 

TRACK 4: BURIED

This song was musically influenced by the song ‘The Void’ by a band called ‘Last Witness’. The main riff was something we all thought was really cool. It was slow and sludgey, groovy but also so heavy. We wanted to write something like that, where the riff was the hook in the song. It’s probably one of our favourite songs to play live because the riff is so fun and the end breakdown gets such a good reaction. Sam took lyrical inspiration from a time in which he was working a job where he was surrounded by people with little to no aspirations in life. They would choose this menial job over personal opportunities or chances to truly live. All around people were digging metaphorical holes to dead ends and he wanted to say something about it.

 

TRACK 5: SONDER

This was originally an interlude, a lot of us listen to bands like More Than Life, and other melodic hardcore bands that have really melodic sections that build in intensity. Originally planned as just an instrumental piece, we all loved the lyrics that were sang over it in a rehearsal and so we thought it deserved to be turned into a full song. This was the first song we recorded in the studio and it was finished very quickly, simply due to the raw emotion involved. They are about the one person you know will be there if/when the weight of life gets too much and for Sam that person is someone he hold close.

 

TRACK 6: FOUND AT LAST

The basis of this song was written in 2014 before the band had even started! However the song got chopped and changed and eventually sounded nothing like the original idea for the song. The beginning riff is probably collectively one of our favourites and it was one of the last to be written musically. The lyrics in this track site the EP’s name, ‘we were once lost’. As a band we all closely relate to this song as its about pushing boundaries, taking risks and stepping into the abyss without a second thought. For us all this is COVE. Our vocalist Sam moved from his small hometown to London, to pursue his love of music and this song speaks that action. It’s a song of unity and was written to sing along to live.

 

TRACK 7: AN HONOUR

This was the last song to be written on the EP, it was written randomly in a day by guitarist Pete. As soon as he wrote it he rang up our drummer Jack and told him we needed to book in another day to demo as this song should be the single (even before the lyrics had been written). I think collectively this is our favourite song, it has a wide range of dynamics and big anthemic choruses, something the band want to look towards more for future material. The instrumental and vocal came together so naturally and goes down well live as an in your face ear and eye opener. The message is to simply make people aware of the many wars which still rage on today killing millions of innocent people all for nothing and I will scream for the weak voices that are victims of this modern day travesty.

 


 

You can check out COVE here:

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You can get a copy of ‘We Were Once Lost’ here.

You can watch the video for ‘An Honour’ here.

TRACK BY TRACK: ‘Towers’ by Towers

This is a track by track guide for ‘Towers’, the self titled debut EP from melodic rockers, Towers.

 

The entire concept of Towers is something which vocalist/guitarist Mark openly reveals is rooted in his mental wellbeing. ‘I went through a tough time last year with personal and mental issues. Music was the only thing that kept me going through it. I started writing these songs during that time, and once I recorded them I had made a lot of progress with myself. It was basically therapy for me!’. In fact, all of Towers’ members: comprising of guitarist Dan, bassist Matt and drummer Jamie share this motivation, as Mark explains ‘We do it for the love for music, we love playing music, writing music and we are all best friends. That’s really it! It’s that simple. If we don’t write music we go crazy. Trust me.’. The tracks certainly are anthemic, brimming with emotion, infectious harmonies and an overriding sense of positivity. Easily drawing comparisons to the likes of Deaf Havana, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Biffy Clyro, the band cite influences ranging from Jimmy Eat World to Sigur Ros. Since the EP has been released on September 30th, the band are pleased to discuss it.

 

TRACK 1: TITAN

This track punches you straight away and is probably the most all round ‘Towers’ track we have done so far. It’s full of energy, with an epic ending. Beginning life as a song Dan wrote, Mark just added vocals. However, Dan was never happy with how the song started… so it has about 5 different intros in demo form. This was one of the 1st songs we wrote, so lyrically it’s all about starting a new band. Like all of the songs, we recorded with Jonny Renshaw (who is also in Devil Sold His Soul) at Bandit Studios. All the songs were mapped out and we slowly added more layers to each song. This features Signals’ Ellie Price, as we wanted something different to this track. Most Towers tracks are meant to be uplifting and there is usually a resolve to a problem stated in the start of each song. As a result of recording with Jonny, each track sounds massive, we are so happy with how they all sound. Especially Ellie’s performance in this track.

 

TRACK 2: OTHERSIDE

Originally intended as an acoustic track, this is our rock ballad and probably the most melodic of the 3. It forms a very emotional and honest portrayal of mental illness that Mark has gone through first hand. Taking around 2 weeks to complete, it was born from a time when he was at his lowest point of depression and anxiety. Living alone in Milton Keynes, he decided to write it as something to look back on, to realize how far he would come, knowing he was about to seek help in dealing with his problems. In his own words ‘It’s saying everything I was unable to say to anyone at the time.’. When it came to tracking, it was a challenge for the rest of the band to get their heads around as it was their first time hearing it! But it has become a firm favourite amongst some of them now. Live it’s hard to sing, as it’s so deeply personal and packed with layers to consider… but it’s a challenge we love to put into a live setting.

 

TRACK 3: COULD HAVE

In short it’s a summery, catchy as fuck rock song! Technically it is the oldest Towers track, written around 2 years old and originally intended for a previous band. Following a refining process, which saw it have 4 chorus ideas before we settled on this one. It was a hard song to get right! Thematically it’s all about dwelling on things you never did and where you may be in your life if you had done them, echoing Mark’s feelings at the time as he dealt with personal issues. We love the harmonies on this track, which were a last minute addition during tracking. We also added a lot of extra instruments to this song, such as shakers and acoustic guitar, so it was great to record. It’s so much fun live, such an upbeat track to play with a lot of varied parts to it.

 


 

You can check out Towers here:

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Towers have released the self titled debut EP, which you can purchase here.

And you can watch the video for ‘Could Have’ here.