Slowly feeling more at ease in this city again, after the ravages of winter drift away, and sprigs of spring shoot up and through the ethnically diverse array of plant life in my area, over days and weeks and sometimes hours, the sky opening and closing according to the whims of Antarctic wind and whatever else influences the weather here (will I ever learn, it’s been nearly 7 years??)… I wander around, mostly non-shivering, re-acclimatizing to a mostly sunny world outside of my bedroom and my workplace and my layers of winter clothing. And I take my camera out too, because there is plenty to be documented, if only to satisfy my own need to capture the fleetingness of inspiration and expression, whatever happens around me that I’m worried I’ll forget, or even to capture the aspects of the culture I know and understand, the culture that nurtured me, the one that keeps me here for the time being…
This weekend I took some photos of a two-day album recording session.
It hasn’t been very long since I took photos of a recording session. A few weeks ago I dropped in to a studio in Coburg, a real nice one I can’t remember the name of, and snapped for around 20 minutes the improvised drone sounds of First Response. Apparently I will be featured on the album as something like: “additional footsteps by Tahl Palm”. Lucky the band was too loud to have my camera snaps recorded as they played. Camera shutter but Tahl Palm. The photos looked good, though. I had to leave quickly; that project is an intimate experience between the two players that I could not comfortably be long a part of.
But before that time, it was aaaaaaages ago: WASP, the band that Poiter Bibby played drums in back before he left for tour and things and decided that Melbourne was too cold and grey and nice-beach-less for his sunny-boy disposition. That band he played drums in was a great band, (this video features their stand-in drummer because Pete was on tour) and all the players are fucking sweet (and are also going on to do some interesting things, more of which will mostly likely be documented too, unless it involves me going to a city nightclub in which case SORRY LOUIS NO WAY but, John, I would watch you play anywhere because I’m fucking glad you’re writing your own songs now xxx). I followed them (WASP) to Sydney earlier in the year – that was a mind opening and friendship discovering time, a very interesting and fondly thought of time – and then they recorded once they were back in Melb but no release as of yet, as far as I am aware… and I’ve still got all the footage for a documentary ready for when I’ve got some free time… but yeah, that was ages ago. Seeya next week Peeta!
So I found myself back at The Bank, same place as WASP recording, but different and bigger room; a room that has been the host of many-a-night spent watching friends play music (ey, Perth, Lalić is one of those bands, they’ll be back your way very soon) surrounded by wonderfully like-minded humans in a place where liquor licenses and security guards weren’t a thing, until the council cottoned on and now it’s back to purely artist studios and recording spaces and darkroom (and legit council approved domicile)… Oh, Bureaucracy, the bane of my existence; both as a word to spell and a system to live under. Sigh. You’ll die soon, I’m sure of it. No one has the stamina anymore; there are far too many variables these days.
But this one! The band are called Drug Sweat.
I posted like four photos to my instagram account, that’s how excited I was about it. Because IT’S GONNA BE A FUCKING GOOD ALBUM DUDES. Really good, musically fuckyeah, punk with excellent guitarists and hectic vocalists and electronic beats as well as real drums, all very catchy and driving, good shit. There are songs about drugs and songs about chodes. One song even sounds like a VB commercial. We all got pumped about making a music video for it, though I’m not sure it will be me they choose to make it.
It was the first time I’d encountered a recording session that wasn’t completely live. Or even, it was the first time I’d sat in on one for more than a few hours. I think it was about 11 hours in total I spent sitting there and walking around and taking photos and rescuing beers from the fridge to be given to the hungry mouths in the room and also helping feed when the Japanese food shop was closed and also contributing to the layer of smoke that hung in the air and observing quietly and also being a nice friend to whoever wanted it. And I learnt things too.
I learnt about drum recording techniques, and I learnt about the humans who were playing and recording (three of the five band members I had never met before, except for one briefly, who’s keyboard I confiscated from the bar at my workplace after it sat there for fkn ages as humans drank far too merrily around it for it to be safe from harm), and I learnt about what Ableton Live looks and works like thanks to Liam’s acceptance of my seating position behind his Recording Boss computer screen, I watched hard at what he was doing, it was good. That guy teaches me many things in all kinds of ways without even meaning to.
Thanks Liam. Thanks Drug Sweat. Thanks Zen. Thanks nature. Thanks culture. I’ll let y’all know when the album comes out.