September 10, 2007 | Author: Joe Matera

tim-rogersJust as politicians are prone to changing their minds, so too are musicians. Whereas pollies do it clumsily and usually to save face, musicians tend to do it more on a creative whim, a change of musical direction, a change of gear or recording technique. In May this year, Tim Rogers was thinking his new recording would be a Temperance Union album and told Australian Musician as much.

“Well it is no longer going to be solo album” he said. “We did a Temperance Union tour a couple times last year and I was playing and singing a lot … it was the most fun I’ve ever had. And the music was very inspiring so we thought that musically this band could do anything. And because some of the band’s family had a few horrible, tragic things go down, in response to that, I thought I better get cracking. And so I started writing this bunch of songs. It was going to be a record just under my name but has turned into a band record instead.”

So it was much to our surprise that a pre-release copy of the new album “The Luxury of Hysteria” arrived at the office baring the name Tim Rogers, sans band. It is in fact a solo album. Although utilising the services of the fine Temperance Union folk with the addition of West Australia’s Melanie Robinson, Tim had obviously had a change of heart and the album had strayed into solo territory. Perhaps it became more personal or his creative urge became so overbearing that he needed to take full responsibility. On the finished product, nylon strings are plucked, cellos buzz and meander sympathetically in the background as Rogers contemplates life and its idiosyncrasies. Occasionally Tim rocks out, but in a lush and mellow pop kind of way rather than raucously as You Am I would. I asked Tim back in May what  we might expect musically from the album.

“The songs for the most part are contemplative for a lack of a better term but though there are a couple of more upbeat tracks, it is very contemplative. I don’t think there has been one song where I’ve fallen into some bad cliché of the past fifteen years on there.”

How does making this album compare to when making a You Am I record?
I find that I don’t pay a lot of attention to it as I find I get limited as far as knowledge goes. I think that my job is to try and get the songs up to a certain speed and to be the enthusiast, so I really don’t pay that too much attention. And I think that when you work with guys like Shane O’Mara, he is conscious of that aspect. I just put my faith in him and financial faith as well in the people, so I don’t get too trapped into guitar sounds at all. I think it’s more about choice of instrument values as a guitar player than anything else. I don’t use any steel string acoustic on this album whatsoever, it’s all gut string. And I don’t use the guitars that I use with You Am I on it either.

So what sort of gear are you using?
I’m using an old gut string guitar and a Fender Telecaster, an Epiphone and a Sunn amp. I paid so little attention to my guitars on this record that most of my guitars are going to be taken out and replaced with different instruments anyway. It’s the only record I’ve ever made where it’s had the least attention given to the gear.

When it comes to making a record have you got a basic outline in your head of what you’re going to record?
Absolutely! A great example is a song called Jimmy’s Delicate Condition which is taken from an old Jackie Gleason film called ‘Papa’s Delicate Condition’ about alcoholism. It’s about a chap who goes to bed each night knowing that he’s going to waking up feeling horrible. So he puts news clippings, quotes and photographs of the day’s paper all around his bed so that rather waking up feeling horrible he wants to wake up on a brighter note. And this circular collection of newspaper clippings from the social pages on his wall will help. I had in my head what I thought that the song was going to be but after we had one rehearsal before we recorded the track, my bass player had a bass line which not only changed the character of the song but actually gave it character!

You began recording at Sing Sing but have now moved to Woodstock studios. Why?
It was purely financial reasons as Sing Sing was more expensive so we wanted to be there for just two days to do the drums. But we finished the drums on the first day and the next day we just celebrated! We also put most of the bass down too and some guitar but basically it was a drum recording though we kept most of the bass from that session.

How did you go about capturing the guitar tones in the studio?
We used close miking, where I had three mics close up to the cabs in a nice semi-large room along with a couple of room mics too. And that’s about it. It’s not intensely layered at this stage, it’s only got a couple of guitar parts, bass, drums and vocals and some strings.
‘The Luxury of Hysteria’ is out now.