Studio Diaries: Everyday Sidekicks - Hope (2017)

“Hope to us is a hugely important factor in life. You constantly have obstacles thrown at you that you need to overcome, times change and sometimes it's not always good things that come your way. Without Hope for things to get better, life can get on top of you,” say Everyday Sidekicks of the choice behind the title of their recently release EP Hope.

The band feel Hope is a huge jump from prior EP ‘The Things I’ve Seen’, the release of which led to them sharing the stage with the likes of Marmozets, Slaves (UK) and Coldrain. Thematically the band attempt to avoid becoming ‘a one trick pony’ and so keep things diverse, with Hope spanning topics from heartbreak to the state of the world.

Suppleness doesn’t end at the lyrics either – although they can be currently best typified as post- hardcore – the band reveal “We like to think of ourselves as a blend of teeth gritting hardcore mixed with the pop punk roots that we all come from.” Now Hope is available to hear in full. theband discuss how their time recording it went….

PREP: Before we entered the studio we were working hard on getting the demos the best they could be. We start our writing with the music first, getting them roughly where we want before piecing together the melodies and lyrics on top of it. This goes back and forth between Tim and Archie a lot until we feel the tracks are strong enough to enter the studio with, although we fully expect the songs to change in the studio as they progress! Tim spent a lot of time working on the songs before entering the studio. Re-writing parts to get the best out of the songs. Once he had all the demos to where he wanted them he sent them over to the other lads to work on their own parts.

When we felt like the songs were ready we started looking for a studio. We tend to let Tim search for a studio as he has a certain style of recording he looks for with our sound and virtually straight away he knew that he wanted to go to Monnow Valley studios in Wales. Monnow Valley is an incredible studio! We learnt so much from our time there. Its set in some beautiful country side which is great for clearing your head and hanging out whilst you record. We were lucky enough to work with Tom Manning on this EP, which we feel changed and moulded our sound a lot due to the fact he prefers to keep the music less polished and more of the rougher hardcore style - this really helped us capture the energy of the music and to be honest we can’t thank him enough for that.

DAY 1:

Drums: We started the recording with Mat laying down the Drum tracks. We were already impressed with this studio purely on the amount of time they dedicated to get the drum tones right - if something was just a little off it wasn't good enough and the engineers were back in there to alter mic positions and tune the drum heads. Mat was really being pushed - we had loads of takes, a lot of them were absolutely fine to use, but Tom still wanted more!

It was great, we've had studios before just accept the track and move on… But with Tom, he kept pushing Mat to get the perfect take! Eventually after a good 7 hours we had the takes we needed.

Bass: Next up was Sam on the Bass, It took a while to come up with the perfect bass tone for the tracks but eventually we got that awesome mix of crunch and big thick bass which we feel every band aims for. We set the bass rig up in the main room which had lots of natural reverb, it’s definitely the best tone we've had so far whilst recording! After a few warm up runs Sam was away and as he managed to track all the bass tones in one evening, it gave us a lot of time on guitar and vocals. Sam was being pushed really hard to get every note and riff as clean and tight to the kick as possible and we definitely feel like he nailed the takes, but as with drums some parts we would just have to play over and over again even if they were good takes, just so we had a choice of a bunch of them. It was refreshing to have that option rather than to be rushed for time!

That night we headed back to Tim’s in Cardiff and played computer with a few beers, It’s a great way to unwind after a busy day in the studio and we can reflect on anything we want to change the next day.

DAY 2:

Guitar: Leading up to the studio Tim practiced the songs everyday thinking about what little changes could be made or what lead/ambience could make a part better. Going into the beautiful studio at Monnow Valley it was hard for him to relax as he wanted to be involved as much as possible seeing how the songs are coming together. The occasional game of pool was needed though just to chill him out haha!

Tom was great to work with as he was on the same wavelength as Tim, not letting us settle for a half-hearted take definitely helped the EP turn out the way it did. There were times whilst recording where the same riff was being played over and over for about 25 minutes. It was soul destroying to listen to but worth it! We had a very different method for tracking some of the “chugs” in this EP, after we played them all down thick strangely Tom produced a Fender Strat from his Guitar collection and got time to go over all of the opens with it again. It sounded INSANE! A technique we will be using in the future.

Vocals: Archie was confident going into the vocal booth, he knew exactly what he wanted out of his vocals, achievingthem was the next step. He always likes to face away from the window so he hasn''t got people in his view whilst he's singing,= and after a few warm up takes he started laying down the vocals. We started with cleans, laying down the main melodies and choruses, doing lots of layering and creating lots of similar tracks just so we had loads of choices.

Once we felt they were where we could get them, we moved on to harmonies - this is always an exciting bit as it can really bring the vocals to life! Then we progressed to screams - Archie’s personal favourite. Tom had a very different approach to screams than we were used to: instead of the normal layering and making them as thick as possible, he decided to use less of but better takes. This was interesting as it gave the EP a lot more of an Underoath feel vocally; they were more raw and edgy but we loved it! We wrapped the vocals up and then double checked all the recordings before leaving.

The E.P has turned out exactly how we wanted and we hope people like hearing the passion and hard work that has gone into it. Recording and Monnow Valley was definitely the right choice and we cant thank Tom enough for helping mould our sound to what it is now!

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