Dear the Internet and its users,
I hope this finds you well. This is a blog update designed, in list form, to update currently known information about our band, Hot Club de Paris.
1. We have played some shows and will continue to play a number of shows across the rest of the summer . Some of these shows are shows that we are insanely excited about. You can learn about where these shows are by clicking on ‘shows’ in the left hand navigation of this website. Some of the shows we have recently completed have been beyond awesome also. Many thanks in particular to everyone involved with Leefest and Lounge on the Farm for organising such wonderfully laid back, grande vibin’ festivals. No thanks to the traumatic weather that threatened to cripple our set at Leefest though. September, congratulations in performing more successfully as a summer month than the summer month of August.
2. Europe? Hello? Are you still there?
The keen strategists at the record label who signed us, Moshi Moshi Records, are combining the two 10″ vinyl EPs (With Days Like This As Cheap As Chewing Gum, Why Would Anyone Want To Work? and The Rise and Inevitable Fall of the High School Suicide Cluster Band) into an easy-to-listen-to CD album! The CD will be called Free the Pterodactyl 3 and will be available in Europe only, so as not to rip-off our awesome and loyal followers in the UK who have already bought the songs. However, should you be a Hot Club de Paris completist, we will have a small quota of the pressing available in our online shop. A full European tour will accompany the release. We love fully touring Europe and putting out records, so we’re considering the whole situation to be great news. We’ll keep you posted as to when and where the record will be available and when we’ll be crossing the channel.
3. I recall a schoolboy coming home.
Once upon a time we were excited as shit about going on tour with Maximo Park in the United States of America. For whatever reason, the tour fell through and we didn’t go. With a month to kill, I suggested to Paul that we should maybe make some music together and we hit upon the idea of covering Cattle and Cane by the Go Betweens, seeing as the song was a shared favourite. We recorded the music and then captured Paul’s vocal in a dressing room at the Manchester Apollo. We’ll be releasing the song via our friend Sophie’s Run of the Mill record label. Visit them, yo. We’ll let you know when it finally comes out.
4. Is this thing on? Can you hear me now?
It feels like a lifetime ago when we went to work in Elevator Studios, Liverpool and Engine Studios, Chicago making our first and second albums. Sometimes bands say that they’ve “LOCKED THEMSELVES AWAY IN THE STUDIO” when they make records. I can’t think of anything less inspiring, holding yourself hostage at the expense of your songs. Anyway, we’ve now begun work on our third LP. The record will be self-recorded in our rehearsal room in Liverpool in a similar vain to the two EPs released this year. We’ve already tracked 3 songs and they’re sounding like songs by Hot Club de Paris, which depending on your politics is either an awesome thing or a not so awesome thing. We feel that it’s an awesome thing as we like a lot of our existing songs and get excited when we have the opportunity to make more. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rob Whitely for the loan of microphones and to John Wallace of Voo for helping us out with the tuning of our Ludwig trap set.
Should you be interested in the technicalities of a Hot Club recording session, read on for a list of all the stuff that bores most people. “Why don’t you just marry your microphones?” they say, bored.
So. We like to record LIVE as we think our records should represent how we sound as a band. This means that we need to be able to record the drums, bass and guitar at the same time. To do this we use a 16 channel Yamaha desk (an RM1608 – it’s early 80s, and the pre-amps are plump and warm) into a Focusrite Pro 26 and a Focusrite Pro 10 (daisy chained by firewire) into an old Dell desktop computer (Many thanks to Andy for hooking us up!). We use Cubase SX3 to track our songs and we tend to mix in Pro Tools at Whitewood Studio, Liverpool. I couldn’t recommend Focusrite more. Their customer service is friendly, thorough and insanely detailed. Should you encounter a problem, I would doubt that you’ll be stuck for long. Thanks Focusrite!
Right. We tend to mic the kit with around 10 mics, just so we have more control over the sound of the kit in the mix. Below is a list of what goes where:
Sure Beta 91: Placed inside the kick drum.
Beyer Dynamic M88: Placed outside the kick drum.
Beyer Dynamic M201: Snare top.
Sure SM57: Snare Bottom
BeyerDynamic Opus 88×2: Rack and floor toms.
Modfied T.Bone RM700x2: Kit overheads.
AKG C1000: Central room kit mic.
AKG D130x2: Left and right room mics.
We try to keep the bass and guitar amps as quiet as we can in the room so that they don’t spill into the drum mics. The guitar amp (an excellent Hiwatt Custom 50) is currently miked with an old Electrovoice mic called a PLR6. It kinda sounds like an SM57, but a little less GARRRRRR in the mid range. The bass guitar is DI-ed from the back of the live amp (a Hartke 350w) and will then be re-amped later. We also take a DI from the guitar (pre-effects loop) so that we are able to re-amp the guitar later also.
Re-amp town is a fun place to dwell. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Sincere apologies.
We send the guitar signal out of the computer into a re-amp box (to ensure the impedence of the signal is correct, or something) into the pedal loop and finally into the amp (which has recently been the afore mentioned Hiwatt custom 50, a Hiwatt Hi-Gain 50 and this awesome little WEM Westminster 15 watt combo).
Microphone wise, we’ve been using 4 mics on the main guitar:
Modified T.Bone RM700 placed close to the speaker
Electrovoice PLR6 placed close to the speaker alongside the T.Bone.
Beyerdynamic M201 a metre away, pointing at the laminate floor. (I’m told this is pure Dire Straits technique. Anyone who doesn’t break down whenever they hear Romeo and Juliet doesn’t have a heart/has never really been loved).
AKG D130 as a room mic.
The bass re-amp also involves a 4 mic technique. We send the signal from the computer, again into a re-amp box, and out to a Fender Bassman cranked to shit, into some 4×12 Marshall bass cab we borrowed from our pal Andy. We’ve been pointing these mics at it:
Beyerdynamic M88 placed close to the speaker
Beyerdynamic M201 placed close to the speaker.
Sure Beta91 placed a metre away in front of the cab.
AKG D130 recording the room.
So yeah. There you have it, so far. I hope it might have interested at least a few of you. All that is left for us to do is play the songs properly and have the best time possible writing and recording music. We look forward unveiling our new record sometime soon and hope that you enjoy it as much as we enjoy making these things.
Next week I’ll bleat on about my stupid bicycle.
Be awesome to each other and remember:
DIY is doing things yourself, not sitting around and freaking out about its definition.
PS: Here’s a picture of Al holding a shotgun. Don’t mess.