Music videos, promotion, management. It's all part of modern-day band requirements. But self-recording an entire LP must be the next step on the DIY chain. This month, London-based indie-folk-rock six-piece The No Sorrows release their first LP. Inspired by everyone from Fairport Convention to Felt; the album's warm, analogue sound is pure 1972. And it's hardly surprising given that they recorded it in a collapsing farmhouse in rural France. We asked frontman Tom Huddleston to give us a little insight into the making the record...
Recording The No Sorrows: A Day in the Life
"The final day of recording The No Sorrows was the hardest work I've ever done. It was the day we realised that we were on the verge of completing a record that, against the odds, we were genuinely proud of. But we also knew that if we didn't get our asses in gear and work until stupid o'clock in the morning, it would all be for nothing.
With one exception, and if you've ever seen us play you'll know who that is, the members of The No Sorrows are all enthusiastic amateurs with busy day jobs: it took us two years to play our first gig, three to make a demo and six to get around to making this record. But when the time came, we approached it the same way we do everything else: we made a vague but really fun-sounding plan, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best".
"I always imagined that most bands make their first record close to home, in a local studio they've practiced in for years. We made ours in a tumbledown farmhouse smack in the middle of France, owned by a couple of my relatives. There were snakes in the grass and spiders in the outdoor shower, and there weren't enough beds so some of us had to camp in the garden. We carted all our gear; kit, amps, recording equipment, down from London in a splitter van, allowing ourselves ten days in total: two to set up and eight to record. If we didn't get it down in that time, we wouldn't get it at all".
"The first nine days went pretty smoothly; they were hard work, of course, but we could feel it coming together. We shifted the furniture out of the living room and laid mattresses up against the windows, creating a makeshift recording booth in the front hallway and running wires under the door. We laid down the drums and bass first before starting on the acoustic guitar, the violin and the vocals. When I wasn't needed I spent my time pottering around with a portable recorder, picking up the ambient sounds around the farmhouse; sheep in the next door field, frogs in the pond, kids playing in the lake down the road. We wanted the record to sound like the place it was made".
"But by the dawn of the final day, we were started to panic. We'd laid down a few electric guitar tracks but they weren't close to done, and the vocals were only about 60% finished. What's worse, we'd ambitiously carted down every single instrument we could lay our hands on; mandolins, banjos, oboes, percussion, a saxophone, even a bloody didgeridoo, and were determined to find room for every last one of them (the didj never made it, because we're not idiots).
By 2 in the afternoon we were working flat out, by 4 we were drunk, and by 8 we were in another world entirely, laughing hysterically as we added maracas, frying pans, wine glasses and cheese graters to the last song on the album (listen and you'll hear them all). But somehow we managed to pull it together, and by 3 am we were floating on our backs in the aforementioned lake, watching shooting stars rocket overhead and trying not to fall asleep and drown.