Adam Savage While She Sleeps
The rewards of never playing it safe
Did you record So What? in While She Sleeps’ studio?
“That’s in Sheffield. We’ve had it about three years now. It was an industrial factory so we took it over, cleaned it all out, and built a studio in there. There’s a practice room, kitchen, bathroom, five bedrooms, storage room. It’s really cool, we’re quite blessed to have a place to chill and create all this stuff. We’ve done a lot of the album recording there now because Carl [Brown, producer] has his own studio but he moved over to the warehouse this time to make it easier on us. And we can record for a longer period of time. We’re not totally under the clock.”
That’s quite a luxury!
“Defo! I don’t see any point in rushing an album if it’s not done right. I do try to have a mentality to get through it and work quick, but at the end of the day it takes as long as it takes. I had to take a day or two out because I got repetitive strain injury on my elbow and it bled down to my fingers with a bit of nerve damage, so I was strapped up, I had ice, painkillers. I got to a point where I was like, ‘Look, if I don’t have a day off to try to fix it, it’s going to get worse,’ and you don’t want permanent damage. Five hour shifts in the studio just absolutely smashing drums, it gets on you.”
How do you replicate the intensity of playing live when recording?
“It’s the pressure and the passion for it, it fuels you to get it done. I have to hit quite hard to get the punchy sound you hear on the record, so it’s not faked. You’ve got to give it some welly but use technique to not break your arm or break the drum. Equally, I’m trying to hit the snare hard with my left but then not cracking through a cymbal with my right, so I’m trying to balance a few different velocity hits. You’ve got to think about it, but it’s worth it when you get that sound right.”
Did any tracks offer a particular challenge?
“I don’t think feeling comfy in the studio is a good thing. I like to have that pressure, it drives me. I’m not going to sit on my arse and play this chilled beat, I want to push it so I’m slightly nervous. Throughout the touring cycle, you end up learning that part that you were scared about a year ago. I’ve witnessed that happening, so I’m confident about throwing something into the album that’s going to scare me at the time of recording because I know in a year I’ll have it nailed. You can only do what you can do in the studio, we don’t fake anything, so there are some bits I’m pushing it to my limits. You’ve got to believe in yourself, practice, and get it nailed.”