SUBSET's 8th release in partnership with VenomBase Record, Reality Records and Underly records recorded between Nov12 and Dec12, made up of a collection of riffs, ideas and vibes collected by the band on their 3rd UK tour across England in 2012. The album was record at MidiMadness Studios by Jim Urquhart in Chichester (UK) and Benoit Pouzol aka Zool in Estezargues (FR). Guitars were written by Rob Robertson and Romain Daste, bass lines by Jay Garrett, drums by Arran Tropper Ramone and vocals by Romain Daste. Songs like Carnage, Remember The Sun and Jaguar Spin were composed and finalised before getting to studio. The other tracks were writen in Nov.Dec12.
REVIEWS BY ROMAIN DASTE - Guitarist/Singer/Composer in SUBSET
'Hi guys, Romain here. Thanks for listening to our work and reading this, it does mean a lot to us. Unlike bigger better funded bands, we at SUBSET have worked hard all these years on providing you with honest quality music of the sort you can't find anywhere else. I am only one of the 4 people who worked on this new album. I am sure that Arran Rob and Jay will have different things to say about how we wrote this album. Being myself a very keen reviewer of other people's work I wanted to share publicly some of the thoughts and feelings I have attached to this songs. Read, enjoy and share if you think it's worth it.
WHERE TO GO AFTER DRENCHED?
Coming out of our previous EP Drenched we embarked ourselves into complicated touring, exhausting promotion events and all the stuff a big band does but with a small band budget. Like the other folks in the SUBSET team I have a part-time day time job in an office because we simply can't live off the band's money at the moment. Some of you know how soul-destroying it is to be forced to do something during the day and how liberating it is to finally get to the moment of the day when you/we/I can finally collect my thoughts, grab a guitar, and record some ideas. That's what we've done collectively from end of 2010 until end of 2012.
HOW DO SUBSET WRITE SONGS?
Like in any band we all work differently inside the SUBSET team when it comes to writing songs. Arran usually comes up with ideas about vibes, direction, cymbals techniques or instrumentation. Rob is the 'patient' guy in the team: he listens to everybody's ideas, gives his opinion about structures and directions. Jay is a great judge on tastes and he's so versatile technically speaking he can learn/accelerate/rephrase any line/melody that is given to him. The team describes me often as the 'constantly writing type', the continuous source of ideas/riffs/tempo/structure for songs. I write a song a week on average. Loads of them ain't that great retrospectively. Still after 2 years of writing I accumulated roughly 50 songs under all sorts of different shapes and forms. I keep a list of them and I play them to all sorts of different people at pubs, parties, mornings, online, anything. This way I get people's initial opinions and feedback. Feedback is key when I write so many songs otherwise I feel like a speed boat without steering wheel. The beauty of doing this is the rest of the team has plenty of materials to listen, judge, pick and choose or discard. Zool our sound engineer also has been key for me to select the best ideas and sometimes making recommendations on rhythm or vocal lines for instance.
WHAT ARE THE EVENTS THAT CAN CHANGE THE LIFE OF A SUBSET SONG?
Out of the 40 songs 20 were selected, jammed, developed and recorded. 5 were 'put to bed' and 15 others were 'put on the shelf' for us to go back on to for later. Remember a song like Countdown To Adoration on Drenched for instance? Well that song was written even before Lucid Dreamer that appeared on the EP before Drenched! I always find fascinating to watch from the inside and read views from outside about the 'life-cycle' of an original material and see how the song (just like a baby getting to adulthood) goes through the challenges of its life. Countdown To Adoration was supposed to be recorded live with all us 4 on stage or in a studio. We tried to do it several time and it never worked. I had to coordinate the recordings separately from Jay and Rob and Zool and I finished it in studio very late in the process.
HOW DID WE BUILD 'CARNAGE' on LOVERDOSE?
Now coming back to the songs on 'Loverdose'. By mid Dec 12 we had recorded so many songs we didnt know how to release them! What order? Which ones would go on the album..etc?' We have spent a lot of time listening to other people's recommendations and suggestions. Out of all the new songs we've had recorded and accumulated by 2012 'Carnage' came back to many conversations. How did we write this song? Well it's a long story. First Rob back in Sept sent me about 6 or 7 riffs he really liked in an email. I opened them and as usual I would listen to everything and then give him a call and we'd talk about it over the phone (much quicker than when in rehearsal with 4 people all talking in same time). One riff in particular caught my attention but I was only convinced of the potential of a portion of the riff , not the whole riff as Rob had it at the time. I value a lot ideas from Rob because contrary to mine Rob's creative output is often very quickly seductive, appealing. Mine can be often disappointing for being too experimental, too extreme. For Carnage we started with this opening riff (the first 3 seconds) and I came up with the progression, the arrangements and the chorus. The last section with the drums rolls were a much more collective effort. Once Rob and I agreed on the main riffs, we traveled to Chichester and worked with Jim at MidiMadness studio. I love working with Jim cause he's fun, friendly, open-minded, relaxed. Rock music isn't his main thing (he's much more into Dance) and to work on new song with SUBSET for him is as much a discovery as it is for us exploring our new materials. So here we were in Chichester jamming on that last section and trying mad drums stuff and Jay came up with that insane off-beat rhythm on these long pulls in D. Jim and I were so surprised we thought it would never work. But then we played it to Zool and it didnt shock him at all. I think we are all very proud of the end result on the instrumentation cause we all forced our way through it, pushing obstacles aside and emerged. I took the final ideas and traveled to Pujaut in south of France and sat down for about 2 days, just thinking about what kind of vocals I wanted on this song. I have had many different techniques for writing lyrics and vocal lines in the past. Words sometimes come first before music, sometimes it's the opposite. For Carnage first I jammed over the instrumental track on my own. Like sitting on a mattress on the floor and making weird noises. Then I heard melodies in my head. Then voices. Pretty weird. I knew I wanted to talk about what happened in the UK in summer 2011, the despair and anger of poor young people who turned to their corner shops and stole bottled water and chocolate bars. Thousands of them stormed areas I knew, my house-share was 2 bus stops away. The wasted/lost off-line generation listening to hip-hop and rock that has been lasting since the early 90s. Zool and I did a lot of work on the vocals. I stayed under semi-constant pressure for 48hrs working on nailing the vocals right. Once we had the final master of the song we sent it to Rob Jay and Arran and shared the draft with our very trusted group of friends and close fans. The response has been overwhelming. People started to talk about 'a new SUBSET'. It's difficult to be convinced straight away that the baby you've worked on for almost 4 yrs has grown up and reached a new age.
More details on www.facebook.com/subsetband
SUPPORT the tour and the next release: www.sellaband.com/en/projects/subset
Bookings via VenomBase - Emily.