Next month emerging Nuneaton alt rockers Speaking In Shadows release their new EP – ‘The Lies We Lead’. Filled with soaring melodies and adrenaline-filled riffs, the quintet have all the ingredients to be one of the UK’s most promising melodic rock bands.
As part of our “Studio Report” series, Speaking In Shadows recently documented their time at Regal House Studios in Cambridgeshire especially for Already Heard. Read on as vocalist Adam Smith tell us how ‘The Lies We Lead’ came together.
Today marked the start of our ten-day stay in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, to record our new EP: ‘The Lies We Lead’. After an early morning and couple of hours in the Friday-morning rush hour traffic, we arrived at Regal House Studios, ready to make some noise.
A quick tour of the premises confirmed our choice in facilities: this was exactly the standard of studio we’d hoped for. From the quality of equipment to the comfort of the settees – which, we can assure you, really is as vital as the mixing desk – we immediately felt confident in our decision to make our record here.
First up, we needed to lay down the drum tracks. Grant, a blur of bashing and banging, blazed his way through all six tracks, setting a good pace for the rest of us over the rest of our time here. Already, even with just grizzly guide-guitar track to complement the cacophony of crashes and snares, the songs were sounding sizeable; just the quality of recording we had hoped to hear.
With day one behind us, we checked into our B&B: a quaint, serene series of apartments ten minutes from the studio. Feeling well-and-truly content, we unpacked and prepared ourselves for the week ahead. And what a week it was shaping up to be already.
With all six drum tracks needing mixing, today was ours to do with as we pleased. The weather was warm and welcoming, inviting us out into the country. We decided to take a walk to the ‘local’ pub – 3 miles away! – and get a feel for our surroundings. On our walk, the sun decided to take one too, leaving us with grey clouds to accompany our amble. Half an hour from home and our destination, we knew what was coming…rain!
Armbands firmly secured, we swam the rest of the way. Arriving eventually at the pub where we drowned our drowned sorrows, we watched as the rain raged on. And on. As the evening drew to a close, we ventured back down the lanes towards home, soggily.
To round off a hilarious day, we cracked open a few beers and ciders, and played the often- enlightening “I Have Never” – the less said about that, trees, showers, and drunken walks home, the better!
Back in the studio, it was Sam’s turn to track. Bass at the ready, he played through his parts in EP-order, giving us all a sense of what the final product was going to sound like. Lee, our producer, offered some suggestions and alterations to certain areas of the songs, which created a tighter, cleaner rhythm section overall. The bass was sounding big.
With three of the six tracks complete, we called it a day. Back at the B&B, we worked on an acoustic version of one of the new tracks ‘Technicolour Trainwreck’, and ate biscuits. As you do.
Day four. Three bass tracks nailed. Three to go.
Sam was certainly on form today, slapping and tapping his way to completion much ahead of schedule. The extra time allowed us a chance to listen more closely to what was currently in place, and the basis (bassis? No? Okay…) of the tracks was certainly ready to go.
Tomorrow would be the beginning of the guitar tracking; rhythm first, then lead. At the B&B, Lewis and Ali practiced their parts together, before we all chilled out to watch American Psycho.
“TRY GETTING A RESERVATION AT DORSIA NOW”
Feed me a stray cat; day four was done.
It was cold this morning, but Lewis was on fire as he began to lay down his guitar tracks. Burning through the rhythm guitar for the six songs, the EP really started to sound more complete as the layers merged into music.
Adam’s lunch of some ill-conceived Thai noodles was thoroughly unsatisfying, but the delicious sound of rhythm guitar atop the thumping drums and bass lines more than made up for it.
By the end of the day, Lewis’ parts were tracked and sounding great. To make up for the lack of nourishing, substantial luncheon, pizza was had by all. And that sounded pretty good too, really.
Ali, all pizza’d out, prepared his plectrums and pizazz for tomorrow. We’re half way there!
After a stellar session of rhythm guitar yesterday, the goal in the studio today was to add the extra layers of guitar – both distorted and clean – to fatten the track before laying down the lead, ready for vocals.
As Lewis and Ali recorded the final gloss to each of the rhythm tracks, the quality of the studio equipment became glaringly apparent: the tracks were starting to sound really sensational. Big walls of sound, glittered with clarity of instrumentation and deep, reverberating effects created a brilliant rock sound, leaving all of us eager to hear the completed songs in a few days’ time.
With a devastatingly early start planned for tomorrow – feel our 7am pain, people – Thursday looks to be the final day for guitars, and Ali is frothing at the fingers to get his lead recorded. The EP is truly shaping up to be something pretty awesome. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
With the heart of all of the tracks now in place, Day 7 was Ali’s time to deliver his own personal brand of beauty and record his lead sections on guitar. After deciding on the right sound for the tracks, he began to smash his way through the EP song-by-song with a fusion of furious riffs and sleek solos.
As the day rolled on, new suggestions were made and tested to ensure the final track was exactly the right balance: a song wasn’t wrapped until we all felt the final guitar part was the correct complement for the overall piece, and the EP as a whole.
At the end of the afternoon, Ali had completed three of the six tracks, and was half way through the fourth. Though we had spent longer on these sections than we had predicted, we were still very much on track, and feeling all the more satisfied for the in-depth nature of our process.
Day 7 would bring a close to guitars, and make way for the vocals. Honey and lemon time!
After some more early morning lead guitar from Ali, acoustic guitar sections were all that remained before vocals. The variation from electric sounds to clean, crisp acoustic ones brought clear dynamics to the tracks, and gave the EP a new sense of assortment and variety. Rather than using an electroacoustic guitar and piling on the effects, we opted for a true acoustic recording, which captured the sliding of fingers on strings, as well as the natural reverberations from within the recording room. Beautiful.
With all other instruments in place, the padlock to the vocal booth was finally unlocked, and Adam took his position before the microphone. To begin, he sang guide-tracks for all six of the songs, warming his voice up ready to record the real thing. The rest of the band readied their earplugs…
As Friday came to a close, two of the six tracks now boasted a completed main vocal line. Back at the B&B, Ali discovered a football in a hedge, and suddenly the entire band were candidates for the England squad. The skills shown that evening were awe-inspiring, breath-taking, and… then we lost the ball in a tree. Oh.
In previous recording sessions in the past, Adam had maybe gone through a vocal track four or five times before he had a take that the whole band considered ‘his best’, but then, that was prior to arriving at this professional, immensely-high-standard studio. Today, for eight whole hours, Adam was made to record, re-record, and re-re-record ad infinitum. Never had singing been so meticulous, or so exhausting! Yet, the outcome was a wholly positive one, and the sheer quantity of vocal takes ensured the very best songs could be produced in the long-run.
After a few alterations to melody here and there, and some last minute adaptations to lyrics, all six of the songs’ top vocal line were complete, leaving only the backing vocals, harmonies, and gang vocals to be recorded.
With this, our penultimate day in the studio was over and – wonderfully – everything was going to plan and on schedule. ‘The Lies We Lead’ was almost complete!
Today marked both a happy and sad moment for us: happy in the knowledge that, before the day was done, our brand new EP would be completely recorded, yet sad because this would be the very last day together at Regal House. With nine successful days in the bag, it was time to make it the perfect ten.
Backing vocals and harmonies followed in a similar vein to the main vocal line, with Adam recording multiple takes of each section to ensure the very best clarity and consistency. Once all six tracks were ready, all that remained were gang vocals, which could only mean one thing: cramming all five of us into a coffin-sized vocal booth, and having us shout at one another until nothing but hoarse voices remained.
The booth was boiling: the heat of exertion and exhalation filling the thick air until all that remained were five flailing figures scrambling for what little remaining oxygen existed. We sang. We shouted. We screamed. We suffocated. Thankfully – unbelievably – no one died. And as the door to our communal sarcophagus finally opened, spewing us back into the fresh studio air…
…it was done. ‘The Lies We Lead’ was recorded. We had finished the EP.
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If you’re interested in setting up a future “Studio Report” feature, please contact Sean Reid.