Bedford Brit-rockers Don Broco penned their debut album, 2013’s Priorities, on the road in their tour van, with guitarist Simon Delaney jamming through a practice amp that he’d wedged under his seat.
New album, Automatic, is a more considered affair, with most of the songs first finding life on an acoustic, before being quickly recorded and shared with the group.
“It resulted in hundreds and hundreds of riffs getting cut, but then one would stick,” explains Simon of the process. “It was a bit more calculated and a bit less scattergun in approach, but I think the songs got honed a lot more. Though you never know whether that’s for better or worse!”
Tight ain't right
Perhaps sensing that danger, producer Jason Perry - who they lived with for two months at Angelic Residential Recording Studio in Oxford - was keen to ensure that the new record still felt organic, and set about pushing his proteges.
“The big thing that Jason taught us is that a listener doesn’t care about meticulous tightness on a record,” says Simon. “The things that provoke an emotional connection tend to be playing slightly behind the beat. I’d never thought about that and I found it really quite testing.”
Picking guitar tones to match the epic funked-up rock riffery and whopping choruses of new tracks such as Fire and Nerve was less of a challenge, however, with Simon’s long-favoured PRS Custom 22 leading the charge.
“It’s just been my go-to for years,” he says. “I did loads of the last record on it and it feels like the right guitar to play for so many parts. I also have an S2 Custom 24, which goes really well with my EHX POG. Then, for the cleans, if I wasn’t using my PRS, I’d be using my Tele or my Pawn Shop Strat.”
The amp selections were also suitably wholemeal, with a tasty selection of valve heads and combos including a Marshall JCM800/Vox AC30 pairing for the overdriven sounds and a Bluesbreaker or a Swart Atomic Space Tone for the cleans.
“One of my favourites tones was on Superlove,” reckons Simon. “The chorus part is a JCM800 with a Tube Screamer and the POG doing both an octave below and two octaves below. Then we doubled it up with a RAT, and it sounds like this awesome, hellish synth - but it’s all done on guitar!”
Don Broco's second album Automatic is released on Epic Records on 7 August.