Whilst cruising Twitter last week we struck up conversation with Kate Nash drummer-of-choice Elliott Andrews only to discover he is currently at RAK studios recording drums for Kate's new album in the same room that Phil Selway recorded Radiohead's The Bends. We wanted to find out more so sent Elliott some probing questions, and he duly obliged...
Hi Elliott! You are currently recording the new Kate Nash album. Where are you recording and who with?
We're at RAK studios, which is just next to Regent's Park in London. It's an amazing building with an incredible recording history to the place. We are tracking in a massive live room, it reminds me of Abbey Road. We are lucky enough to be recording with Bernard Butler (recently produced Duffy's record and played guitar in Suede) who is great to work with when it comes to recording drums. He has pushed me really hard for this record but I think he gets great results!
How have things been going so far?
I've recorded seven tracks in five days for the album. I am going to be recording another three tracks in a few weeks, which may or may not make the cut but we are going to have them available if needs be. It's probably the fastest recording I have ever been part of, but also the most in-depth. We have spent ages getting different drum sounds by changing drums, heads, microphones and also the live room itself so I am really looking forward to hearing how this comes out in the mix. Bernard has an idea of what he wants things to sound like and he gets it right every time. I think that because he has such a clear vision, things get done a lot faster than if we were to 'experiment'.
Have you tried anything different recording-wise this time around?
Compared to the first album there is definitely less pressure about using a click track. I have used click on four of the tracks this time around and we've just played live as a band on the others. I've been using two snares which haven't ever made it out live, or the drum case for that matter... I really got into collecting snares a while back and bought a 1960s Ludwig Acrolite which I fixed up and also a Yamaha Birch Custom Absolute which sounds awesome on the record. It's really deep and it sounds incredible when it's all slackened off with the snares ringing out. I've also tracked a few of the tracks by recording just drums and then over-dubbing cymbals afterwards to get a cleaner drum sound.
Can you divulge any details about any of the songs?
At the minute, it's all work in progress. None of the songs have any titles. The current titles are just made up of the main lyrical theme or named after their sound, which is very much a top secret affair at this point in time! There is talk of album artwork already though - Kate's birthday present, a really sweet bunny rabbit, called Fluffy!
How much input did you have in the writing process of this album?
Kate's had a lot of the new material written/demoed for a while in various forms. She still writes a lot of stuff on Garageband but we also had a big writing session in December 2008, where I rehearsed new material with her. Normally Kate will bring a finished song to the rehearsal room with programmed beats or an idea and I'll just do what I think works best. Kate always has a lot of input with all the instruments and I welcome it greatly because it's not always the most obvious idea but sounds really interesting when it's recorded. I get a lot of free reign on my parts though and it can always end up being quite fun. 'Mouthwash' from the first album was great fun to write and record with Kate because I just got to play the drums how I wanted and I was really pleased with the end result.
What set-up are you currently using?
At the moment, I'm still using my touring kit from last year, a Gretsch New Classic kit in Gold Sparkle (12", 16", 22"). It has been around the world with me and is still my favourite kit I have ever played. I really want to try a few more Gretsch kits out because I have only ever really played this one. Before this I used a vintage Ludwig which was awesome but not tour worthy!
Elliott's Gretsch kit at RAK studios
Snare wise, playing live it's got to be my Craviotto Cherry Wood. I went back to the drum shop from where I grew up and someone had just traded this snare in. It is perfect in every way and makes you want to play drums after a single hit!
For cymbals it's Zildjian all the way. I was very lucky to get an endorsement very early on with Kate and Tina (from Zildjian) looking after me very well. I got to try out the Hybrid cymbal very early on and they have stayed in my set up ever since. I don't have loads of cymbals, there is no need really. I used to aspire to have loads of splashes and chinas, but there isn't any need with Kate and most projects I've played in.
The view from the throne
What else have you been up to recently and what is on the horizon for you?
Just before I went back into the studio with Kate, I was very lucky to get offered an American tour with Ladyhawke. I got the call on Tuesday to see if I was available. We did two rehearsals the following weekend and then flew on the Monday. I was playing to 1,000 people in L.A that night! We did a small tour of L.A, Texas and New York. It was an amazing experience because they were all amazing people and great fun to be around, plus really good musicians to boot. It was all to track as well which was a relatively new experience for me because tracks didn't work with Kate's set-up.
I also had a little tour as drum tech for my favourite UK band The Maccabees. I met them all when I sessioned with them after their drummer broke his arm. We ended up staying great friends and they invited me out on tour to tech for them and hang out. I had a blast but it certainly made me appreciate my drum tech with Kate a lot more. It's not as easy as everyone thinks... that's for sure!
You can find out more about Elliott at his MySpace page or follow him on Twitter.