TIM ROGERS AND HIS ALT-ROCK BAND YOU AM I ARE STILL ALL ABOUT CLASSIC GUITAR WORK
The new kids on the block may be making music on their laptops, but You Am I are still very much a classic guitar band. Their 10th album, Porridge
and Hot-sauce, doesn’t stray far from their roots and that’s exactly what will keep the fans, who have followed them throughout their 25-year-career, happy.
They’ve gone down the oldschool route of recording all tracks on tape at the legendary Daptone Records in Brooklyn, New York. Guitarist Davey Lane, who has been with You Am I for six years, says the band hasn’t recorded that way since the 1990s, probably not since 1995’s Hi Fi Way, and it really doesn’t leave much margin for error. “It certainly put the pressure on because the room that we were recording in was tiny. It’s not like an ordinary recording studio where everything is sort of cordoned off and separated, it’s basically the size of a small lounge room and if you listen to each track individually all the instruments are bleeding into one another.
“So we had to make sure that we all nailed our parts at the same time. If someone buggered something up we had to go back and do it again,” Lane says.
Without multiple tracks and modern crutches such as autotune to fix up any mistakes, there were some errors. But that’s what Lane says gives the record its authenticity.
“We enjoy working within the limitations that were forced upon us in that studio,” he says.
“Everything had to be recorded live and everything was going down onto tape, so it’s not like nowadays if you’re recording on to Pro Tools, you can go back and manipulate anything in any way that you want it, really. And, if you listen closely, there are little mistakes here and there.”
It’s those little mistakes that reminded the band of classic albums they loved from bands like the Rolling Stones.
“I’m sure those little things that they left in ended up becoming people’s favourite parts in the songs,” Lane says.
“We like music with a bit of character.”
With this classic sound comes a classic image. The album’s cover is a snapshot inspired by the album’s title: an overturned bottle of hot sauce that lies beside an oldfashioned can of oats, making it look like a snap from the 1970s.
“That was the directive with the images, to give a nod to that era but something a little timeless as well,” Lane says.
The concoction also reveals what frontman Tim Rogers likes to eat in the morning.
“I can’t say I’ve tried it yet but Tim eats porridge and hot sauce,” Lane said.
He has no problem tolerating Rogers’ quirks as he’s also been tolerant of the singer’s foray into modelling. The band’s frontman is one of the faces in the latest David Jones campaign, dancing to Kanye West’s song Power with his top off. “Good on him,” Lane says. “As with everybody else in the whole wide world, we’ve got bills to pay and he’s got his daughter to put through school.” The guitarist reckons Rogers can take on anything and do it well.
Perhaps that’s the case, but he’s also benefiting from the backing of his band who are back out on the road with him.
With the new music, Lane says You Am I have been learning from scratch again.
The band left some room for spontaneity on the recording and so were still working on their parts when they entered the recording studio. When it came to playing the songs live, they had really only played them a handful of times.
But now it’s all coming together as they tour the country until December.
“It took a few shows for everything to settle in but everything’s starting to work really nicely now.” Porridge & Hotsauce is out now.
WE ENJOY WORKING WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS THAT WERE FORCED UPON US IN THAT STUDIO
You Am I play Parkwood Tavern on Saturday night
You Am I’s Tim Rogers, David Lane, Andy Kent and Rusty Hopkinson are touring again after putting out new album Porridge and Hotsauce.