Watch Red Fang and (ex)-The Ocean Make an Album Together

Basically the story goes as follows: Aaron Beam and John Sherman from Red Fang fly to Switzerland shortly after their appearance on Letterman back in January. They meet up with Louis Juckner and Luc Hess (formerly the rhythm section for The Ocean, currently operating under the moniker Kunz) and load their gear into a deserted venue, Le Romandie. They write some tunes, drink some brews, and hang out. It sounds like they loved to hang out that week. A few days later, they emerge with a record. They call their band Red Kunz and the record Teeth, Hair, and Skin. Check it out:

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Besides the tunes and the tale (see The Obelisk for more details), there are a few noteworthy events that went down here, from a technical perspective.

The dudes wrote the music in one afternoon, and then tracked it live in one day (with the exception of the vocals, which were done afterwards). From the looks of the video, they didn’t even isolate the amps. Everyone is mic’d up and playing live in the empty venue, at the same time. You don’t see that too often: usually when bands track live, the guitar and bass cabinets are kept in isolation booths (or at least gobo’d off), with the signals feeding into everyone’s headphones. Here, whoever mixed this thing must have had little to do. The band and engineer had to have figured out together a solid live “mix” when they actually recorded the thing. This is a common tracking process for jazz, where a lack of crazy frequencies and level variance from distorted guitars, and vocals means little post-production work. I wonder if they at least ran DI’s for the guitars, in case too much cymbal bleed hit the amp microphones.

It works, especially for the style of the songs. The record not only sounds “live” in the “vibe” sense of “these dudes went and made a record in a week and its a cool story”, but also in that you can hear the instruments in the room breathe, because that’s what actually happened. I always thought Hess and Sherman were tight drummers (Hess in particular impressed me with his playing on Pelagial, which in my opinion is one of the great metal drum performances of the decade), but to play together at the same time and nail takes, even when the songs are pretty straightforward, is no easy task.

You don’t always see this kind of spontaneity in metal. It makes for quite a unique sounding record from songwriting as well as production perspectives, despite the familiarity of these musicians’ styles and riffs. In a time for this music where so much is intricately plotted, this is great. Also, the tunes are cool. Here’s how one turned out with the vocals over the top:

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.