When an album is released, it is picked and prodded at by critics and fans alike. The songs are played over and over and read at their face value. But often times, we as listeners forget that there is another dimension to an album: the mind and timeline that went into creating it.
Tera Melos’ masterpiece “Patagonian Rats,” with its vast array of swooping content, acid-tripped melodies and unforgettable hooks was released to the public in September of 2010. With it being the band’s first or second full length (it is a long story), it was put under the critic’s microscope. Sure we all know it is technical, sure we all know it is a poppy rendition of a traditional “Melos-piece”, but do we know the emotional and exhausting story that ended up being just under 50 minutes long? Such a story needs to be told, and thus unfolds here today.
Going into the writing process, did you have any ideas for what you wanted “Patagonian Rats” to be?
Nathan Latona: We had started writing one or two songs with our old drummer. When Vince quit, it was like let’s see what happens next. We realized we could write new material that would lend to a different type of drummer. We knew the drummer was going to help carve out the direction that our band was going to go in, we were going into the unknown.
John Clardy: I think there was definitely an idea going into it, if nothing else that it would be another step in the path the band has been on with its releases. When I first joined Tera Melos they mentioned that the new songs were “headed in a less freaked out direction” which made sense looking at the lineage from the first album to “Drugs to Complex.” I was on board with that immediately because I thought each of those releases improved upon the last one. I could see the melding of the gnarly out there stuff and vocals with a strong emphasis on melody coming along and felt good about it.
Nick Reinhart: I don’t think I could articulate the idea we had for it. It was just something we had wanted to do for a long time. A few people have asked about the theme of the record: my answer is “Patagonian Rats” is Patagonian Rats. It wasn’t until after we finished recording it that we realized it had its own life and became its own thing. I think it is a really cohesive record that’s incredibly fucked up and non-cohesive at the same time. To me, this is something I’ve always wanted to do with the band. When our old drummer quit, we wanted to further explore song structure coupled with some newer ideas/concepts and write a record that we’d always wanted to write, so we found a drummer that could do just that. Our band has always sounded the way we wanted it to sound based on what we were capable of. We were not good enough 5 years ago to write Patagonian Rats.
How did the writing process begin?
NL: We were busy getting John caught up on our old material, so we didn’t write a lot initially. We wrote one song to play from front to back for practice purposes and scrapped it. We finally sat down and said “Let’s go somewhere neutral to all of us and write new without old looming over us.”
JC: Before I’d actually even joined Nick had sent me two “skeletons” of guitar only tracks that outlined the song ideas. The first new thing we started working on became the song “Patagonia” though we hit a wall and shelved it until right before recording.
A lot of the other songs came about in a similar manner, starting with guitar ideas. Right after my first tour with the band we kind of bunkered down in a rehearsal space in Los Angeles and that’s when we really starting working on things for the album as a whole.
Where did you write the album?
NL: We ended up in LA and began writing the first half of the album at a rehearsal space up the road from Sargent House. We would walk 20 minutes everyday to practice and beat each other up trying to figure out what to write. When we’d get home we would go our separate ways. I would sit downstairs and work on stuff. Nick would record new stuff and John would go walk around and think about parts. The next day we’d meet up and do it all over again. Another time we went out to Texas for a couple weeks and wrote a bit out by where John is from. On another break from tour Nick had moved to Hollywood temporarily and we got a practice spot there. We met up for another month and we finished up the record.
How did writing the album in different locations affect the writing process?
JC: I had fun with it, I’d read about other bands doing it and always kind of wondered what it would be like. Looking back it’s nice being able to think of or hear a song and remember kind of where its life began. Something that I think makes it all work is that it reflects the dynamic that the band has with me living in a different state than the other guys. It was new for the band at the time and from what I understand, so was the method of writing in that manner.
NR: I think it had a non-tangible direct influence on the record, which probably makes it an indirect influence (laughs). LA was cool because it took us out of our comfort zone and we were really able to focus. Writing this type of music very arduous. We have friends in bands that talk about how they get together once, maybe twice a week for practice and it consists getting a couple of twelve packs of beer, joking around, hanging out, going over a couple songs and then maybe jamming a new riff, which is definitely not the case with this band. A lot of the time when writing the album, practice took on the role of actual work, and that’s totally fine. That seems like it’d have negative connotations, but that’s what it takes to get it done. So being away from our home distractions helped to keep us focused on what we were trying to achieve.
Writing at John’s house in Texas was interesting because Nate and I hate Texas. We have had (and continue to have) amazing shows there, the people are great and we have some really close friends there, but I think the state itself is awful (laughs). It’s massive, dry, bleak, humid and a whole bunch of other things we’re not fans of. I think this had more of a true indirect influence on the writing process. We’re already doing this mentally exhausting activity, and then couple that with being in this weird place that’s really foreign to us. But I like those types of situations, as I believe they help to push the creative process in unusual ways.
What was the writing process like?
NL: Nick and I always know what each other are thinking, we’ve got the telepathy thing going. Nick would come with a riff or a guitar part. He could have easily written everything but he left room for us to be creative. He understood that we wanted to figure things out on our own. I know he wanted us to write our own stuff. He had direction sometimes. He would be like “hey dude we should both mash on this same chord you know?” We did that in “Skin Surf” and it worked. Sometimes we’d sacrifice things because it would be better for the song as a whole.
JC: Writing a Tera Melos song is a long, sometimes painful process for all involved, but not in a bad way. It takes a lot of work and lots of trial and error making a bunch of crazy pieces fit together to make the “final” product, and I put that in quotations because even after a song has been recorded and maybe put on a release, its evolution doesn’t stop there, because it will often see changes when it gets played live.
NR: Nate and John are usually composing to parts that I’ve already come up with. That could either be a riff or an entire song. There haven’t been too many times, by comparison, that I’ve been put in their position and had to write to something someone else has shown me. That can be a good and a bad thing. Good because we’re happy with the process by which we write songs and we’ve always been stoked on what comes out of it. Bad because I can get too comfortable and prohibit myself from pushing my own boundaries. It’s not usually a problem though because I have little ways to jolt myself out of that comfort zone. So the process I go through in writing music is very different from what I imagine those guys have to go through. I start off with zero context. Most of my ideas come from just playing guitar on my own. I’ll come across a melody or a part I really like and build upon that. Eventually that becomes the skeleton of a song.
Is there any greater significance in the content of the album, besides the individual song meanings that is?
NL: When our old drummer Vince quit our band we were fucked. I remember being so depressed. All the years I put into this could have been for nothing. It was just Nick and I. I didn’t harbor any ill feelings for either Vince or (former guitarist) Jeff, but it came down to how much we depended on each other for our futures. We both had a drive to not give up and took the harder road, which was finding someone and trying writing a new album. Losing a drummer really set back our lives for a year and when you’re young that’s a big deal. The industry moves so fast and we’re really lucky that we have such a supportive fan base that was hanging on to see what would happen. So basically, our album encapsulates that time off we had and how ready and eager we were to show people that we have time and things to do.
Now moving onto the actual content of the album, from where did the utilization of broken time signatures and breaks in songs come?
NR: At this point it’s just naturally how we write music. Rarely are we conscious about making something have that odd time signature feeling. Although there are times where we second guess ourselves and will ask each other, “Wait, is that too normal sounding?” (laughs). The awesomeness of a riff or part can sometimes depend on a small factor that, when missing, can make all the difference. I think we usually tend to question chord/melodic progressions though. Like I mentioned, the timing and rhythm of the stuff we write is just second nature now. However, I did record my lawn sprinklers the other day because they were creating this really strange pattern that I thought could be cool for something. Ive gone back to listen to it a couple of times and have no idea what is happening (laughs).
How did the addition of more and more vocals affect the writing and recording process?
NR: It played a big part. With the addition of vocals we started utilizing those weird things called “verses” and “choruses.” We were pretty conscious of it. Now it wasn’t weird to do this or that part for a little longer because we knew there’d be vocals helping to move it along. Whereas before that was one of the reasons that our music was so quick moving from part to part. We wanted to keep it interesting for the listener and ourselves. There are very few instrumental bands that I listen to because I’m not a big fan of where most people tend to take instrumental music. So it was really weird being in an instrumental band for so many years (laughs). But that was the challenge: turning it into something we really liked. Adding vocals opened up a lot of possibilities for us. It took a few years, but we finally got comfortable writing and performing with them in mind.
JC: We had 4 days of studio time to track drums which were the first things recorded for the album. For this record only a couple of the songs had finished vocal parts so I was largely unaware of what the vocal melodies and rhythms would be. I was a little bummed at first because I really like my drum parts to mesh with the vocal lines, but actually the finished versions of both worked with each other really well.
NL: Our first record was written with vocals in mind, but the decision was made for the vocals to be background noise. We didn’t know how to fully incorporate vocals; it was still very early for us. When were doing the songs for “Complex”, Vince and Nick thought that was the way to go and I was hesitant. I thought the instrumental thing was making us special and naturally I was worried how adding vocals would work. I still didn’t know how we would do vocals. After that “Idioms” needed vocals, and so we began doing “Patagonian” with vocals in mind. We were basing things around vocals and experimenting like that. By now I had warmed up to vocals and saw Nick progress and do the vocals. I was able to throw in suggestions and it has given our songs a new light for me.
Now let’s go through each track on “Patagonian Rats” and get the inside story on each of them
NL: Nick had sent me a demo titled “diddy.” We’re always like “here’s a little diddy.” He said “I don’t know why I’m sending this to you, it’s nothing you even need to write to I think it would be cool to use.” “Kelly” is just another “diddy” we’d use as an intro. Before we went on our first tour, Nick and I would listen to top 40 radio everyday. There was one Red Hot Chili Peppers record, I think Stadium Arcadium. We called it Kelly because Anthony Kiedis sounds like “Kelly-fonia” instead of California. We used it as a set intro and “So Occult” worked really well with it.
NR: “So Occult” was a little piano part I’d had for years. Always thought it’d make a cool intro. It was too “old timey” sounding, like something that’d be playing in a saloon in the 1800′s (laughs). So we used the chord arrangement on piano and the accompanying melody was done with falsetto vocals, making it much less saloon sounding. “Kelly” was also a very old song. We’d been playing that one instrumentally for a few years. I thought it was really cool that, while technically there is a buried guitar track in “Kelly,” that there was really no guitar on the first couple of minutes of our record.
NL: “Skin Surf” was another one that Nick had sent a demo of just the guitar lead, I had no idea what time signature it was in. Sometimes I really have to struggle, listen to a song and fall asleep to it. That high part that harmonizes with the guitar part just jumped out to me. A lot of the time constructing bass parts I think of a vocal melody and play that. John and I would be playing on the upbeats together for the verses and for the chorus me and Nick would “do the Weezer” and mash on the chord, play in conjunction with each other. For the “thrashy part” at the end, we had the riff looped and John just played a bunch of things to it. I wanted to play something different. I came up with a tone that sounded like an organ: like Black Sabbath meets Black Flag. I came up with this weird part that just counters everything. Pat looked at me like “what the fuck are you doing, how is this in the song?” and Nick was like “that sounds pretty evil, really cool.”
NR: I remember not liking the main riff of this one until we were all playing it in the practice spot. I’d demoed the song and sent it to the guys but was iffy on it. The ending too- the out of nowhere thrash part. It’s like, what? Why did I think that would sound good there? But when we started practicing, it all made sense. Now it’s one of my favorite songs.
JC: This was the first ones that we wrote in Los Angeles that ended up making the cut. It took me a long time to come up with a drum part that I liked for the verses. There was a certain sense of movement that I wanted to convey, almost like a shuffle.
NL: We got into our first “battle” while writing it. We had a feeling for the chorus and John wasn’t down with it. We were thinking like Flaming Lips with big crashing drums. John liked the idea but wasn’t into the drum sound for that. It took us a while before we were all happy with how it came out. I was stoked because the bass part also came easy to me.
NR: I remember thinking the ending reminded me of Deerhoof somehow. Also, the little twinkle sound that starts the song and comes in every once in awhile- I had to fight to keep that in. John didn’t like it very much; rather he didn’t think it needed to appear as often as it did. We’re all happy with it now of course, but at the time that little 1-second sample was not a fun topic of conversation! (laughs)
JC: An older version of this was one of the two tracks that Nick sent me; the intro in particular was very different. After it got changed I again struggled to come up with a part that I liked for it, whereas what I play on the “got a job at a party shop” section popped into my head the first day we started working on the revamped version. The really tricky busy part about halfway through was a total nightmare for me to track, and I imagine it wasn’t easy for the rest of the guys when they were putting their parts down over it later on. Originally I was going to play on the later part of the song but couldn’t really come up with anything that we were all stoked on so we left it to the minimal programmed drums. I think this is one of the really standout songs on the record.
NL: I think we were touring and Nick did a demo of it and thinking about writing to certain parts really stressed me out. I had no idea what to do in the verse, or in the quick jazzy part at the end. It was really stressful. For the first part I was going to think outside the box and write a part around one pedal that I have. I decided on the pitch shifter I used because I like the swooping electronic feel, so I wrote around that. We love older Flaming Lips and I thought about some of the bass lines on “Pink Robots” and how a lot of them have that weird swooping feeling.
NR: Cool things about this one: the 3 second Police/ska sounding part is awesome, the fast jazz chord bridge is one of my favorite parts on the record (The strat copy I used on the record was the guitar used on the bridge/outro. I think we even went direct and reamped the signal. We wanted that really thin, 80′s sounding compressed guitar tone) and lyrically it is about me and my friends working at Party City off and on for years and years.
JC: This song came about after drums had already been tracked for the album. I’d had the beat that I play during the chorus since before I joined Tera Melos, Nick had always liked it and had me record it during the final day of drum tracking. A few months later he sent me this song he’d put together out of multiple ideas from all of us and it was amazing to hear what it had become.
NL: Nick showed us the prechorus one-day and we jammed it a bit and we didn’t really do anything with it. We left it up to the recording. It reminded me a little bit of Jesus Lizard but it ended up coming out nothing like that. After the whole record was done and recorded Nick just put it together with Pat, with samples. John made drum samples of him playing each of his drums and we used that and then I came in once and played the bass line and then looped it. We laughed because that’s something that would happen on a rap album, but we wanted it to have this weird drum feeling. After stressing out so hard it was nice to be like “that’s a cool idea.”
NR: This is one of those tricks I had of jolting myself into new territory. It was a completely new way of writing a song for me. I also remember being a little worried about the reception of this song, namely because our label wanted to release it as the first single. It’s not that I didn’t stand behind 100%, it was more because if that was the first thing people heard off of our record, they were going to be confused, even more so than usual, and I wasn’t sure if that’d be a good thing or a bad thing.
JC: The second half of this song was another headache for me write a part that we all felt worked with it. A couple of guys recently transcribed the entire song into sheet music, very mind-blowing.
NL: When we were writing the midsection to the end of the part that is pretty much straight, we knew that people were going to think, “this is really weird for Tera Melos.” It’s a really straightforward part with a Pixies and Deftones feeling. We added a little skip in it so you have to think about it.
NR: This song, along with “Sky Watch” was written in my bedroom in a day or two in November of 2009. I remember thinking, “Ok, I want to write two songs, I don’t want to sit on them for months and months. I want to finish two songs.” Instead of stewing on this or that and developing it over time, I just wrote it and was real happy with it.
JC: “Sky Watch” was, for whatever reason, one of the easiest songs for me to track. There’s two sections at the end that to me have a kind of “spiraling” feel and for the second one in particular I wanted to make a part that felt like it was underwater. I almost always have that visual when we play this song.
NR: This one’s a basher. Pat Hills (engineer) said the vocals in the verse reminded him of Propagandhi. There’s a lyric in the song that people mistake for the word “figaro.” as in, “figaro, figaro figaro.” I’m surprised people think we’re that dumb or maybe that far out to have that sung over and over again in a song (laughs). The lyric is “beguiled” just to clear things up.
“Party with Gina”
JC: “Gina” and “Westham” were written before an East Coast tour at the place I was living in Texas at the time. Something about the beginning of this song makes me think of an old NES game. Actually I guess a lot of this song does because the kind of dark sounding parts towards the end made me think of Castlevania or some other medieval kind of vibe.
NL: We started writing it with Vince. Nick said, “We have ‘Party with Tina’, and I wanted to have a song called ‘Party with Gina’.” It’s actually a meth reference; it’s slang that’s used on Craigslist a lot. “Whos got some Tina? I wanna party with Tina” Gina is a different strain of it.
NR: This one along with “Trident Tail” and “Purple and Stripes” are sort of the long super crazy songs from the batch. The last lyric of the song is one of my favorites: “sitting on a rock for now, never gonna leave this rock.”
JC: “Another Surf” came about when we had extra studio time after I’d finished tracking drums. Someone had the idea to record the end riff from “Skin Surf” over and over with each phrase being played a little differently. We cut the wonky parts out and everyone got to have fun getting weird all over this one.
NL: The end riff of “Skin Surf” is really cool, but I wanted to elevate it to an even crazier level. We thought it would be cool to remix ourselves. We thought, “Let’s play it until John can’t play it anymore. Let’s get a dude to come in and wail on sax.”
NR: We struggled with whether or not we wanted to have the “all my friends” part included or go straight into the thrash part. I’m glad we kept it in there. I love everything about this track. It’s so obnoxious and awesome. We’ve always joked about how parts of our songs are “fuck yous” to this or that. Well “Another Surf” is the biggest “fuck you” we’ve ever written (to date).
JC: I got to utilize a rhythmic concept that I’d been really interested in on this song, the idea of what I call “rubber time.” You can hear on the phrases that go back and forth with the kind of reggae-ish parts in the middle of the song, I wanted to kind of push and pull the tempo in an exaggerated way to create a kind of giant rubber band feel.
NL: This song has a pop punk feeling, and I mean like pop elements and punk elements. It’s actually pretty funny to me, a song being written in Texas about punks in the 70s in Britain. Westham United is a football club that has a big support group of punks. It was just channeled to be more punk. I think a life changing record is “Red Medicine” by Fugazi. It has a lot of atonal noise parts. I wanted to have poppier parts that led into atonal noise parts. It’s kind of a mix of Fugazi influences with other punk stuff.
NR: There are a lot of cool things happening in this song melodically-
as in odd notes/chords that we make work somehow. That’s one of the (hopefully) many things that make this band unique. You find a lot of melodic shifts in classical music and film scores. We try and apply some of those concepts to our music. Also, the sax in the bridge part is so cool.
“A New Uniform/Patagonia”
JC: “Patagonia” is the other song that underwent a lot of changes and made the list of songs to record towards the end, kind of a “Hey maybe we should finish this song” thing. The drums on the verse are one of my favorite parts that I’ve written, I wanted it to be an extended phrase that went from being tom based to snare and hi hat based. Nate described this as being a very “triumphant” sounding song, which I agree with. I like how almost playful the middle to end of the song is, which is a contrast to the difficulty we had writing it. One of the sections before the chorus (that starts around 1:19 in to the song) reminds me of the “Rainbow Road” kind of courses in Mario-Kart. It’s probably my favorite song on the album.
NL: We went to see a friend’s hardcore band play and we noticed that all the dudes in our friend’s band and people at the show were dressed like this; everyone was wearing a flannel and a beanie. We were like “this is the new uniform.” That’s just a Nick solo track, bass drum, one guitar track and Nick doing vocals. It’s a really cool lead in to “Patagonia.” The guitar line of “Patagonia” was initially a sample that Nick would trigger, but it felt weird with the sample coming out of nowhere. I really liked the part that I came up with at the end, and I really liked that I wrote it around a pedal. When we had extra time in Hollywood we put it together in a day, which is really rare for us.
NR: I think this song was originally referred to as “Theater,” because we’d originally worked on it when we were practicing in the basement of an old movie theater. If I recall correctly, I wanted to scrap it because I wasn’t stoked on my parts. When we were almost done writing the album revamping that song got brought up. We must have rearranged the parts I wasn’t happy with because now I think it’s an awesome song.
Onto the actual recording process, what gear did you use and what were you going for tonally?
NR: For amps I used a Fender Twin and a Marshall JCM 800. Both belong to our engineer, Pat. The Marshall had a cool mod where you could get an extra boost on the dirty channel by pulling up on one of the knobs.
There were a handful of guitars used. From what I can remember: a Peavey Destiny, my custom surf-green Peavey, an Epiphone Les Paul with a Bigsby vibrato custom installed and coil tap (this is Pat’s guitar. I used it for really thin sounding jangley parts) and a really cheap but awesome sounding Strat copy (also Pat’s guitar. fun fact: I actually traded this guitar to Pat for a Korg KP2. The guitar was given to me by this rad, tech wizard friend of ours, David, in Arizona). There may have been more. Pat and I have loads of guitars between the two of us, so we just kind of picked whatever we were in the mood for.
This was the first time that I really cared about my tone when it came time to record. I think tone is super important, but it was always sort of complicated for me, because rather than seek out the tone I was looking for, I had to create it with the equipment I already had. This was, and still is, mostly a practical and financial issue. I own a Mesa Triple Rectifier and a Peavey 6505 combo. There’s not a whole lot to be done tone-wise with those two amps.
I really wanted an awesome tone for the record and was able to accomplish that with Pat. I’m not sure what I was going for other than a nice, natural sounding overdriven guitar. I didn’t want to rely on too many tone-shaping pedals. It’s pretty much broken down into: real clean parts with the fender twin, rock parts with the JCM 800 and then super rock parts with the JCM 800 plus the mod.
Pat Hills: I think my ideas were most utilized when it came to vocals. Tera Melos is a pretty tight band musically. They know what their going for and most of the time its already been well thought out. So musically I may have only offered opinions on tone but not musically. Vocally it was a little different of a story. This was Nick’s first attempt at putting prominent original vocals to a Tera Melos recording. So Nick was a little on edge, second guessing things and really just making sure that the vocals were on and interesting. I personally love recording vocals and working out harmonies. So I had a fair amount of ideas when it came to background vocal harmonies.
JC: As far as the drum sound goes, I knew going in that I wanted a really big room sound. I’ve been really into drum sounds for a long time and my favorites are the big Flaming Lips/When the Levee Breaks type ones. Those aren’t always compatible with music as “busy” as ours so there had to be a degree of compromise. Flossy, the engineer understood what I was going for and did a great job finding the middle ground.
Robert Cheek: John was describing to me how he wanted the drums to sound and it sounded great on paper but it proved a little difficult to implement so we had to come up with a compromise of sorts. He was really into the idea of having it super ‘roomy’ like ‘In Utero’ which every drummer wants but with their music (Tera Melos) he plays so fast that the room mics start to sound like mush and take away from the intricacies of his playing. With that said we probably spent about 3 hours going through different combinations of room mics and placement to get them as big and detailed as possible before ever even listening to what the close mics were doing. I was going to borrow a ‘Keplinger’ snare drum from a friend of mine, which is my favorite to record, but as it turned out John had just purchased one and I believe it arrived the day before recording. He plays live with only 1 bass drum head and I did my best to make it work but ultimately had him put on a second head to get more low end and resonance.
NL: The happiest I’ve been with bass tone was on “Idioms Vol. 1”. Every other time we’ve recorded bass it’s been so much more of a hassle, reamped and done dry. The tone is so naked and sounds like shit. Listening to yourself not sounding your best does something psychological to you. For “Idioms” we just recorded it live without reamping in the theatre we recorded in. I wanted to do bass with Pat because he did that. We did a mix between natural signal and a Marshall half stack. That’s what Kid Dynamite did on “Louder”, an SVT through some Marshall. Also I used some Sans Amp.
What was the significance behind the sequencing?
NL: I was excited because it was going to be on vinyl, and I took that into consideration. I took a lot of time thinking about the flips between sides. London Calling is one of my favorite records, and that’s a double record, and listening to the record is different because you have to get up and flip it. This is like 4 perfect EPs if you think about it. That’s why I thought so much about it. We always knew how we wanted the record to start with “So Occult” and “Kelly” and we knew “Patagonia” was an obvious ender. So that was good basis for sequencing. From there it was just linking the songs and thinking about what would go good where. I really wanted to put a lot of thought into it. I wanted it to be a formula and I wanted it to work out, and it did and I’m really stoked on it. It got easier because there were some natural links on the album.
How was the mixing process? Did you have any idea of what you wanted the album to sound like?
NR: We mixed the record at the Hangar in Sacramento with our good friend/engineer Robert Cheek (he also recorded the drums there). Mixing is always crazy for us. There’s a lot happening in the mix, like 40 plus tracks deep. Robert is so close with the band that he is basically another member in the studio. We’re not trying to sound like anything. We just want to sound like us, and Robert gets that. We used up every last second of mix time that we booked. I think we were in the studio until something like 7 AM on that last day.
JC: Mixing was interesting because it was several months after we’d started tracking and had gone on two little mini tours in the time that had transpired. The songs had become so lush and layered and we wanted to make sure as many of the details as possible were in there own little space to create the whole sound.
We’d take a song and then each of us would go through and kind of tweak the sound of what we wanted then find a balance we all liked. The final day of it was a 24-hour marathon to get it and the songs that ended up on the “Zoo Weather EP” all finished up.
RC: Having worked on the previous 2 records before Patagonian my thoughts were that I knew the band was going to take it to the next level. Nick had been describing the songs to me for months and I was excited. When we worked on the ‘Complex’ split the band explained to me that the vocals were sort of a precursor to the future material where they wanted the vocals to be a prominent feature in the music. I’m at an early stage in my career as a producer/engineer and I know that they tour a lot so I wanted the album to really sound great and unique for my sake and theirs.
Now that it is all said and done, is there anything you would change about the album?
NR: There’s nothing I can imagine changing about it. I love every second of it. I think it takes a band a handful of years/records to finally get 100% stoked on what they are doing. This was it for me. Now I’m completely comfortable with what we can do and super excited to see where we go with it. I guess the only thing that would have been cool to change would be making “Another Surf” longer, and therefore a bigger “fuck you.”
JC: Aside from the normal kind of “Fuck, I could have played that better” which I think is all but inevitable for most people, I think all of us are very happy and satisfied with the way this album turned out. I think it was the perfect next step in the evolution of Tera Melos.
PH: I am definitely proud of myself and all the dudes involved with the making of the record. It was nice because everyone realized that we all have these different tastes but that we ultimately have to come together. Sometimes people have egos and sometimes people are to stubborn to actually work with the other people but I think everyone on this project kept their egos at bay just let the record be whatever it was going to be.
RC: I listened to it recently and the only thing I would have done differently is dip a little bit more of the high-mids in the guitars. Nick really wanted a new guitar sound for this record and I’m super happy with what him and Patrick got with the Marshall 800 but when I listen to the record now I feel like the guitars become a little fatiguing on the ears after a while. It’s a neat effect for making the record sound super loud and in your face but after a few songs I think its a little taxing. All and all though I’m very proud of it and I think the music is great.
NL: Looking back on it. I’m pretty happy on it, still to this point. Usually when you record or are mixing you wish you could have played something differently. But not with this album and that’s why we did it the way we did. We recorded it in our friend’s bedroom so we could take our time. It still feels like a new record to me. So far there’s nothing that I wish I had done differently. I’m really happy with the record, I’m happy with it representing where we were at that point in time.
by Bobby Marko (of Native)