Were you conscious of a need to mature as players and writers on the new record?
Chris: “There’s obviously a mission: to write a better album than your last one – even if it’s just us personally that thinks it’s better – but for me, it’s just us writing songs for ourselves.”
Max: “I really wanted to show off our guitar skills on this CD. I think it kind of hit home to me when I was watching a Parkway Drive DVD, and the whole crowd was just singing the riff. I was like, ‘I want crowds to be doing that to our songs!’ And that’s why songs like Cold Night, Hope For The Best and Room To Breathe came out. I would almost start from the idea of humming it to myself and then put it on the guitar.”
Neal Avron [Fallout Boy, Weezer] produced, why did you go with him?
Chris: “It was about having someone with a great track record and who we felt comfortable trusting with what we wanted to do. In the past we went with GGGarth Richardson and I was like, ‘He recorded Rage, this is the shit!’ But when you think about it, for a band like us, it’s not the best approach. So it was an executive decision that ‘We can trust this guy and we get on with him like a house on fire.’”
Where did you record the album?
Chris: “We did it in LA again. We went to NRG for drums, and after that, we went to Neal’s studio, which is a big outhouse in his garden that he’s turned into a studio.”
Max: “It’s called La Casita, which means ‘little house’ in Spanish.”
Chris: “It’s the only studio I’ve ever been in that you can see the day go by. It’s a white room with these huge church-y windows on the side. For us, it really boosted morale to walk into a nice, sunny room in the morning.” Max: “It revived our recording dreams, especially after Sinners Never Sleep, which was such a tough album to record...”
What was so hard about recording Sinners Never Sleep?
Chris: “I just don’t think that we gelled with the people we were working with and it was a dreary, dark room. I’d get there and be like, ‘Let’s record!’ Six hours later, I’d still be waiting with my guitar plugged-in, and it would be like, ‘Can we do something now?’ Whereas Neal was like, ‘Let’s get in. Let’s work!’”
Max: On the last album, I'd come home at night and be like, ‘Fuck this! We’ve paid a lot of money to be here and record an album and I’m not getting to do my work...’ And that affects everybody. This time round, Neal understood us as people, he knew what we wanted to achieve and he doesn’t fuck about.”
What gear did you use in the sessions?
Chris: “It was different to what we were used to. Everyone we’ve recorded with in the past is very vintage gear-driven, but this time, when I walked in, I was almost a bit disheartened. It was like, ‘There’s a Krank and a new Vox AC30 head!?’ The only old thing was a Marshall JCM800, so everything seemed very tame at first, but when we actually started playing, it all sounded really sweet.”
Max: “Chris also brought a really nice old Fender Deluxe Reverb over, and I brought over an Audio Kitchen amp. We’re a UK rock band, so I thought, ‘Why don’t we promote some of these great UK companies?’ So we took out a Big Chopper and we used that quite a lot and I got this Big Trees pedal, which is like a clean/ distortion valve pedal. Then we varied tones from Vox to Marshall to an Orange AD30 and the Krank.”