Spontaneity of a live recording

By Paula Yeoman

Rockers go for a different sound on second album, explains Paula Yeoman.

Auckland  band Clap Clap Riot previously from Canterbury were once winners of the MTV Kick Start Your Career competition.
Auckland band Clap Clap Riot previously from Canterbury were once winners of the MTV Kick Start Your Career competition.

Those eagerly anticipating the release of Clap Clap Riot's second full-length album will be sorely disappointed if they're after the same raucous rock that made their first, Counting Spins, such a success.

That's not to say Nobody/Everybody isn't distinctively a Clap Clap Riot album. That element of riotous abandon that stands the rockers out from the pack is still there, but as band member Dave Rowlands explains, they didn't want to rest on their laurels and worked hard stripping their sound back to basics, and building it back up again, under the guidance of Kody Nielson (Mint Chicks) on production desk duties.

"It was a huge risk for us because the last album had some really good success to it. But we got to the end of that and decided we wanted to go back effectively and work harder for a record like we did previously with the EP; sort of flip our recording process on its head and do it in more of a live domain."

And it's Nielson's trademark touch - that 60s lo-fi vibe - that gives this new record its point of difference.

"It was super, super exciting because working with Kody really gave us the freedom to do any idea that we wanted to do. I think the whole recording set-up was closely limited to an eight-track technique and that in itself meant the drums and everything sounded like recordings that we love, like the old Kinks recording and stuff," says Rowlands.

He adds that it's given the band a new-found appreciation for their craft.

"Going back to that technique, and deciding to track it live, you realise how hard you have to work to get to that point where your takes are good and no computers are needed to fix it. You also appreciate how good those bands were back in the day."

Rowlands accepts there could be some loyal listeners who don't like the direction they've taken with Nobody/Everybody but it's a move Clap Clap Riot is happy to defend.

"Before we went into recording, we knew working with Kody wasn't going to be polished enough for our previous rock audience. But we'd rather do something we're happy doing rather than feeling forced into a box to carry on doing. It's nerve wracking. But we think it's a strong album."

Nobody/Everybody is out now. Clap Clap Riot plays Galatos in Auckland on March 7. For more dates visit www.clapclapriot.com

- Herald on Sunday

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