STRAPPING YOUNG LAD drummer Gene Hoglan has posted the following report from the recording sessions for their new album, "The New Black", due in July via Century Media Records:
"After those last few punishing rehearsals, where, I swear to god, I broke something (My back? My cloaca? My ass?), we packed all our gear into the mighty Armoury Studios. Now, the Armoury comes equipped with this beautiful Ayotte drumkit, and (ssshhh, don't tell any of my Pearl guys this) I have used it in the past, on both the 'Chicken Feather' and 'Alien' albums, but this time, I opted for my own kit. That Ayotte, great-sounding though it is, warm, big, nice, just lacks the oomph, the grrrr, that I've been striving for lo, these many years. I wanna have a terrifying drum-tone, and that really sweet Ayotte just doesn't scare me. But boy, my badass Pearl SRX sure does! A 13", 15", and an 18", which are retardedly large (and possibly uncontrollable) for the studio, but I figured, what have I got to lose? I haven't REALLY dug my own drum-tones since 'Darkness Descends' [DARK ANGEL], and that was my FIRST album! AND, it came out twenty years ago! But, since I am so smart, I chose my own Pearl to do the job. And did it ever not disappoint! Wow! I actually LOVE my drum sound on this record! And, since it was mixed so MASTERFULLY by the mighty Mike Fraser, it all sounds clear as a bell.
"We booked three days again, and as usual, the majority of the first day was spent on setting up, mic-ing the fuck outta everything, and getting tones. I believe we used around 30 mics or so for this one. The kit was expertly skinned and tuned by our good pal Ryan Van Poederooyen from the DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND, and at about 7pm or so, I started tracking. The first tune I blasted off was 'Fucker', since that's about the most straightforward number on the new one, and then I moved on to 'Monument', which has a rollicking, 'swashbuckling' sorta groove, and very little double-bass (don't worry though, dudes, there's PLENTY of haulin' doubles on this album!). Next up was 'The Anti-Product', another groovy one. I just wanted to get a few of the 'easier' ones outta the way on that shortened first day.
"Day two, and I don't really remember the order on that day, but suffice it to say, I tracked the rest of the album tunes that day. 'You Suck', 'Wrong Side', 'Hope', 'Decimator', 'Far Beyond Metal', 'Polyphony', 'Almost Again', and 'The New Black'. I guess there was no real reason to mention all the song-titles right there, other than I just wanted to start burning them into everybody's brains.
"On that second day, I met on of the guys working on the editing process of the record, Rob 'The Chicken' Shallcross, who resembles quite a bit our bus driver, Sean Sitka. I see this guy in fronta the computer screen, and I'm like, 'Hey! Sitk-you're not Sean...' The first thing he says to me is, 'Chicken', while holding out this bizarre little rubber-chicken squeezy-toy thingy, that, when you squeeze it, a little yolk pops out its ass! The second thing he says to me is, 'Hey, check out this little movie. It's called 'I Hate It When That Happens',' and proceeds to pop up this little porn window on his computer. It's a spooning couple, goin' at it, she's in front, with her legs closed, then the dude puts his hand under her leg and lifts it, and behold! The 'she' is packin'! Holy moly! I pretty much blurt out, 'BAAAH!' sounding (and feeling) just like Hank Hill. Oh, my scarred eyeballs! And Rob commences to bust out laughin'. He just wanted to see my reaction. So, I start playin' it off for the next few days like he likes the trans-testicles, which puts him back in his place. I think. But, I doubt it. Either way, a new friendship is born...
"Day three, and that was the day we tackled the bonus tracks as well as revisited a couple of the parts I knew I could do better. First up was Jed's 'The Long Pig', a righteous thrashing number, with Jed's stamp all over it, and my 'C:enter:###' another righteous thrashing number, completely in the vein of THE ALMIGHTY PUNCHDRUNK. I'm glad alot of you were able to figure oot that title! At the end of the day, we were listening back to all the tracks, and Dev was singing along in the control booth, and pointing out what's gonna go where, and Byron and I were just getting caught up in his vision, and that's when the goosebumps started. Y'know, even though we've worked on the tunes all the way up to the recording, the rest of the band only really knows the basic elements of each song. The guitars, bass, drums, keys, the basic templates of the vocal-lines, that sorta thing. We all do realize however, that as of those first tracking days, the songs aren't gonna turn out any way close to the way we know them. Dev, on the other hand, has the entire landscape of each tune completely mapped out in his head, and no matter how grandiose my, Jed's, Byron's, or hell, even Willy's vision may be of what the final product might be, it in no way even comes close to what Dev hears in his head from the inception. That, my friends, is only a part of the genius that is Devin Townsend. And I get to work with the musician, save for Stevie Wonder, who inspires me most. HOW FUCKIN' COOL IS THAT?
"Okay, I guess that's it for now. I'll be back next week, when we move across town to Profile Studios. Where the rest of the record happens."