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June 12, 2008 | Author: Australian Musician

eddycurrent_2221A.12That Eddy Current Suppression Ring managed to record their debut album in one four-hour sitting for a meagre $250 says much about the Melbourne rockers’ no frills approach. Whipped up during a lunchtime session in 2006 the self-titled record has since been showered with critical bouquets for its blend of simplicity and manic energy. Two years on, the quartet return with the similarly bare-boned Primary Colours.

“This one was slightly more extravagant but not too extravagant,” begins Eddy Current, the band’s guitarist and producer on the phone. “We hired a real studio and I took my tape machine in there and we used the room for a couple of days.”

In typical Eddy Current Suppression Ring style, capturing the unadorned sound of the band in motion was paramount.

“I wasn’t sure how people would react to the last (album) because it’s pretty rough sound quality,” says Eddy, “but I think rather than try to achieve some sort of sonic perfection, just trying to capture the four of us playing together is the most important thing.

“One of the better elements of the band is that we play together well so the idea of not doing it all live, I just don’t think you’d get that urgency in the songs. Brendan sings the way he does because of the music that’s playing around him and I think if we did it separately then we’d loose whatever excitement is in there.”

With an obvious disparity between artists’ live and recorded material, ECSP do come close in the studio to what they present on stage. And key to their albums as honest documents is not only an avoidance of studio trickery but a penchant for recording new songs largely unrehearsed.

“That’s even truer on this album,” nods Eddy who again mixed the record in his bedroom on 8-track reel-to-reel. “Probably half the songs we were only just starting to work on and some of the ones we were only just figuring out turned out better than songs we’d been playing for ages.

“It’s exciting playing when you’re nervous and wondering whether you’re actually going to make it to the end of the song or if you can remember the bits. But maybe that nervous energy helps.”

Noted for his clean distortion-free guitar tone, Eddy eschews effects pedals, an approach complimentary to ECSP’s immediate rock sound.

“I’m not anti-pedals or effects or anything,” he says. “In other bands I might want to go crazy, but for this band I find we play better if we keep the songs clean and uncluttered. It helps Brendan and gives him more space to sing if we just keep it really simple so you can hear the melody quite well.”

Sonically, it’s a sound familiar to fans of 60s vinyl.

“I guess back then they had no choice, the technology and amplifiers were not big enough to create any sort of effects beyond maybe reverb in the amps,” says Eddy. “Bands like the Troggs where it’s all just really rigid, almost beating you to death with the simple riff hammered over and over again, I’m really into repetitive stupid stuff like that. Whether I’m consciously trying to emulate that or not, I’d say that thing is my biggest influence. But it’s not like we’re all sitting around going ‘let’s make 60s music’. I just like the sound of those bands and those guitar amps more than I do modern stuff.”

For Primary Colours, the band called upon their live mixer and Sing Sing studio staffer Lachlan Wooden to assist with the recording in Melbourne. “Last time I was playing guitar and pressing all the buttons but this time he offered to sit in for a bit of extra knowledge,” says Eddy. “So that took a bit of pressure off as I wasn’t running back and forth.”

Following the sessions last winter, ECSP spent September in the US performing ten shows from San Francisco to Texas to New York, rounding out the tour at a mini-festival in Memphis hosted by indie label Goner Records who have expressed interest in releasing ECSP’s albums State-side with possible tour dates to follow.

“I pretty much organised the last tour just being in contact with people asking me for records (at Corduroy Records),” says Eddy. “The small rock ‘n’ roll record trading scene is a good way to meet people and I just emailed them to let them know we were coming. Once you‘ve got a couple of shows booked then dudes started contacting you. Realistically we could’ve played twice as many shows but being not being seasoned travellers we thought we should take it easy on our first tour.”

Primary Colours is out through Shock.

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