Why are you releasing a covers EP?
Greatest Hits (Vol 1) is not an EP of covers. These songs happen to have the same titles as songs that defined the careers of other bands.
Where did the idea for Greatest Hits (Vol 1) come from?
I had always wanted to call our debut album “Greatest Hits Vol 1” as I thought there was something wonderfully pretentious about it. The idea got shelved when I found out that Welsh rappers Goldie Looking Chain had already done this.
After writing “Acrobat” it seemed like the right choice for album opener and the more we thought about it, the better it seemed as the title track. Recording the album took a long time, almost 2 1/2 years and the band formed during those sessions. I spent a lot of time honing the arrangements and learning how to produce the band so that I could capture the sound that I had in my head. I’m incredibly proud of “Acrobat” and I’m really excited about releasing the album in February 2009.
Whilst mastering the album it was brought to my attention that Supertramp released a song and album titled “Crime Of The Century”. Our mastering engineer had worked on the Supertramp album and was slightly confused to why we’d titled one of our songs “Crime Of The Century”. Growing up in Wales I was obsessed with 80s hair rock and was pretty much oblivious to anything else, let alone Supertramp.
After spending a large amount of time in the studio working on “Acrobat”, I got serious studio withdrawal symptoms while waiting for the right time to release IT. Most new artists don’t release albums in the last quarter of year as the press devotes most of it’s column space into reviewing the year and the music industry giants are the only people who release albums.
The idea hit me: what about rewriting the classics? Songs that are untouchable, their place cemented in pop culture. Artists’ big songs. Why are there several songs that are titled “Stop” or “Hold On” but only one “Bohemian Rhapsody”? I went to buy some milk from our local shop and walked home ready to write “Stairway To Heaven”.
What was the process behind writing and recording the songs?
Recording this EP had to be completely different from the process we used to record the album. I wanted to approach it with a deadline set in place. It meant the writing process had to be much quicker and with that, there’s a certain kind of energy. Each song had to be written and demoed in less than 2 sessions, which meant that if ideas weren’t working, they got axed. It’s more pressure but a very exciting way to work.
We originally wanted to record this EP live as we’d got good results from doing the live session at the E4 studio earlier in the year. Unfortunately, due to scheduling this didn’t work out. The recording rule was amended slightly – each band member had no more than 8 hours to nail their parts. Nick blasted through the drums in a day at Rage Studios, Dave Laycock did the bass in a day, I recorded my guitars over 2 half days, Dave Marks played his rhythm guitars in 6 hours, and Andy destroyed the keyboards and his backing vocals in half a day. I then did all of the vocals in about 12 hours over a week. The last parts to get recorded were Dave’s guitar solos about 6 hours before release.
Why give away the songs?
We’ve had a lot of support during the making of “Acrobat” and wanted to give our fans something to say thanks.
The business model for the music industry is currently under going a huge change. The previous system was to record an album, release it, make some money from the album and touring, buy a house with swimming pool and sports car and then repeat the process until you enter rehab or split up. This process is slowly dying.
The “old way” of doing things would have laughed at us for wanting to write these songs let alone release them. Not only would we be in thousands of pounds/dollars/euros worth of debt but record companies would have complete creative control over our musical output.
The internet is the greatest distribution mechanism in the history of music. Most people I know rarely buy CDs and either buy their music from iTunes or download music illegally. Artists have to find a new way to cater to their audience.
This EP is an experiment for us. We’re interested to see how many people will find the EP online and how many of those people will download it.
We have a link on www.jowebb.com
to donate however much you would like. You’re not obligated to donate anything, however we believe it’s good karma. If you like our music we need money to be able to survive so that we can make music. The more money that we make, the more content (ie. music) we are able to provide for our fans. The money is not taken by a middle man – your donations go straight to the band.
Feel free to download Greatest Hits (Vol 1). You can also print the PDF file to create your own album cover. This EP sounds great on your computer, mp3 player or phone. Hell, burn a copy onto CD and listen to it in the car. It makes a great present for a friend or family member.
I hope you enjoy Greatest Hits (Vol 1). We’ve had a lot of fun making it.