Author: Melanie Selby (photography by Matt Uwin)
|"I think a song is easier to get when it's shorter. It'sver and you go 'Oh I want to hear that again,' rather than 'Oh, this part again."|
The Liberation website notes also boast about betchadupa's performance "...oh yes, and in case we forgot to mention, betchadupa are one of the best live bands you will see for many years to come".
Hooking up with producer Nick Launay (Midnight Oil, Silverchair, Nick Cave), was a step in the live direction and proved to be just what the band needed. Launay mixed Sleepy News on their first album and told the band then he'd like to produce an album. A fan of analogue recordings, Launay's ability to seize betchadupa's live sound in a recording was what appealed. The new album was recorded entirely in analogue format and it provided the missing link for their music.
"This album is probably a lot more focused in a way. The last one, like the EPs, could have been a few different bands and different songs and this album is as equally as diverse but I think it definitely sounds like one band playing them all," says Liam.
"It was always really frustrating - every time we ever work on Pro Tools there's always that indefinable something that isn't there. Whether it's something to do with the vibe, or something to do with the sound not being as air-moving. There's something about analogue that when it squashes onto tape it really sounds like the air is moving with the kick drum and it sounds more real," he explains. "It's more crunchy. That was a big part of why we were so keen to work with Nick."
Liam is again responsible for writing the lyrics and says this album is a lot more personal.
"I think it just comes with experience of doing it and as far as songwriting goes we're always looking for a new way to write a song, or a new way to keep it interesting for yourself, so I think the songs came about in different ways."
Launay's aggressive editing skills have added further focus, making the album of 12 songs just 37 minutes from start (My Army of Birds and Gulls), to finish (the appropriately entitled Running Out of Time). A vast difference from the 54 minute-long first album where most of the songs spill out over four minutes and one (Other Way), lasts for seven.
"I think a song is easier to get when it's shorter. It's over and you go 'Oh, I want to hear that again,' rather than 'Oh, this part again'."
While Liam is the only one in the band who writes full songs, everyone dabbles in songwriting and 'Aiming For Your Head' is, he says, a more collaborative effort. He considers himself fortunate to be able to work with the other band members and use their ideas to compliment his own.
"It's like hearing a song on the radio you like and going, 'Hmmm I like this part of it but I don't like this bit so I'll get rid of that bit and make this bit my own'. So I guess it's like ripping someone off but being allowed to."
The six week recording process started in January amidst frantic summer touring. Two weeks were spent tracking the album at the Milk Bar in Sydney. The band then headed home, played Auckland's Big Day Out and spent two weeks doing the overdubs at Neil Finn's Auckland studio, refered to as The Building.
Back to Australia for a four day mini tour following which Liam flew to Los Angeles and spent two weeks mixing the album in The Mix Room alongside Launay.
After that he flew back to Auckland, did a show at the Kings Arms, then jumped on a plane back to Australia for another tour. A tough process but one he says he found rewarding.