We’re getting the band back together…
Most of you may know that Heavy Broken Machines are scattered across two countries; UK (Scotland & England), and France. This makes face to face sessions kind of a rare thing to happen, but when they do, we have to make the most of the time together. In April’23 we were lucky to be able to get a weekend away at The Cottage Music Studio, and the beautiful surroundings of Loch Fyne. If you are looking for a residential place to spend some time immersed in music, we couldn’t recommend this place highly enough (especially as Loch Fyne Brewery is just 2 miles back down to the head of Loch Fyne 😁).
So, cars packed and beer supplies on board, we headed off on the Friday to spend the next three days working on new material, catching up, and generally chatting about the future and where we go next.
Friday afternoon was all about setting our gear up and getting orientated to the studio and the cottage we would be eating/sleeping in for the next few days. Honestly, having two separate buildings for the studio and the accommodation is fantastic! It means you can step away from the studio and chill in the cottage and be away from the noise for a time.
Both studio and cottage have everything you need…amps, mics, drum kit, mixing desk with Protools (I think) and even a variety of guitars and basses hanging around the walls. If you were starting out and just wanted to jam with friends in a very, very cool environment – this is definitely the place.
Friday evening ends on chatter and the obligatory beer, or several. Happy with the setup, comfortable with the equipment in the control room, we settled down to pour over some of our favourite tracks from other bands, listening for that special something that makes a track stick in our heads, and hoping to capture that in what we come up with in the next few days.
Time to get down to business.
We started the morning off with a run through of our songs just to get back in the swing of things. Despite not having played together in the same room for around 6 months, things just click. There’s a few bum notes, a few glances around to see if anyone noticed, a few faces smiling back as if to say; “yeah, I heard that” – but it’s all good. The humour is there, the shared knowledge that we’re all going to be a bit rusty and that things will tighten as we continue playing, which it does. The best feeling is knowing that we’re all in this together, all re-learning to play as a unit, and listening as the songs come together into what we’ve recorded previously.
In between general alcohol induced philosophical ramblings, we did manage to get three new tracks down and these are with Graham M, (our guitarist and resident recording engineer) to piece them together into the start of something that we can pass on for mixing and mastering. The plan is to get these released in the next couple of months or so. We’re just debating on whether to put this out as a full 4-track ep (including “Static”), or whether to put out one more single before the ep. Decisions, decisions 😅. The track listing has still to be figured out, but the track names will be: Static, Copenhagen, A House With No Roof, Staring Down.
Another early start this morning (mainly ’cause Dav and Mr S were snoring like f*ck! 😂). G started to put some shape around what we had recorded on Saturday and work his magic so we had another good starting point for the day ahead.
We spent a fair bit of time in the morning going over the recordings from the day before, thinking about what tweaks were needed before Dav hit the booth again to record some additional vox and overdubs.
Of course, with the Loch Fyne brewery just down the road – it would have been rude not to have helped support local business. We spent time in the beer garden just blethering about music (shocker!) and plans for the future. One thing we all agreed on was that the time in the studio had given us a real enthusiasm for the music we were making, and the feeling that we were on the right track (‘scuse the pun).
Lunch done – back to the studio. More run throughs of the new material, working on song structure and the least favourite part of the song – the ending! Why is it the song ending is almost the hardest part to write/agree on? Do we; stop dead, fade out, repeat the chorus to fade? 😅
Time to bring the weekend to a close, and head back to whatever normality is for each of us. Early start to get G to the airport to head back to France. Dav back down to Glasgow to pick up the car for heading South, Mr S back to work and Kev back home to come down after the high of the weekend. It’s a struggle leaving this behind.
The conversation this morning is muted; interspersed with excitement about the new material that has taken shape over the weekend. It’s bittersweet knowing that it may be another 6 months, hell – even a year before we manage to get everyone together in a room again to play. Fingers crossed it’s the former.
Three tracks in the bag. Another EP for sure in 2023. More ideas floating about, and a greater sense of the music we’re producing now is the direction we’re most intrigued by. Is it alternative rock, indie, pop? We’re not certain, but we know we’re loving it.
Final thoughts…(RIP Jerry S)
Time together in the studio is precious to us, and never wasted time. Whether it’s productive or not was never going to be a question; we knew it would be and we knew that the time together would help to just reinforce that we were doing all this for the right reasons. It’s not about the money or the fame…maybe it’s a bit too late for that…but it’s about the experiences and the shared love of music and being able to create these sounds together…certainly, for me (and I’m sure the rest of HBM would agree) – that’s what it’s all about.