Interview with Tim Wheeler - 13th February 2007
So, the album is finished!
Yes, finally. What a relief. It became pretty hellish at the end. I got snowed under with the amount of things to do. I was finishing tracks in our studio while Michael Bauer was doing the mixing in his. In the last week, I was getting like 3 hours sleep a night. I actually delivered the very last track after a marathon 24 hour session!
But you got there in the end.
We did. That was the thing, actually, Michael was freaked out by how good the stuff we were delivering was, even though I was recording backing vocals at 8 in the morning after being up all night.
How much did you do in the last week?
Probably six or seven songs. It was kind of crazy but I knew I had to get it done.
Sounds like the classic schoolboy tactic of leaving things 'til the last minute.
Yeah. I've always been terrible with time management. The structure's been crazy, but I think the album's turned out great. It's all mixed now and I think we're going to master it in the next week or so. I really enjoyed Rick's comments about the mysterious world of mastering in the last blog!
Can you clarify the whole mixing/mastering thing?
Well, mastering is getting all the levels up to a certain volume. It's about getting it as loud as you can, without losing certain parts of the sound or causing distortion. It sounds simple, but it's actually quite a hard trick. We've tried three different mastering engineers out for these songs, and each one sent back songs that sounded totally different.
Would a normal listener be able to tell?
I think so, yeah. It's like when classic records get re-mastered and they'll sound totally different to the one you know. They might bring out the bass or whatever. But we're so happy with our mixes, we don't want to get them altered too much .We're just trying to get a good loud volume, but still sounding as close to our mix as possible!
Will that be done soon, then?
Yeah, in the next week or so. The mastering is also when you sequence it and decide how long the gaps between the songs are and that sort of thing.
Is the track order sorted?
Not yet, actually. We know how we want it to start - so the first four are decided. And we know what the last song is. We just need to fill in the gaps.
And you've decided the title?
Yeah, we've got it, but I can't tell you, because we're playing hangman with the fans on our new forum [go to the ash forum to play].
Is the artwork done?
Yeah, that's sorted. It's a photograph. Quite silhouette like. I think it's gonna look great.
Will there be a vinyl version of the album?
Yeah, I think so. We've done vinyl for all our stuff. It'll be fun to get one of those and make sure that the mastering is good!
Can you announce what the first single is yet?
Yeah, I'll tell you now, It's called 'You Can't Have It All'. It's a bitchy love song, dealing with bi-polar emotions. It's got a really big driving bassline and the beat in the verses is almost dancey. But then the chorus is classic Ash bubblegum punk-pop. I really love it. It was actually written before 'Meltdown', but I didn't think it was that good. But then we started playing it again before we started recording and we all fell in love with it. And there was me thinking it would just be a B-side. But then I thought that about 'Goldfinger' too.
So your judgement isn't great.
It would seem not! 'Burn Baby Burn' was another one. We left that off 'Nu-clear Sounds'. I think sometimes it just takes a while for a song to come together.
Is the single's video done?
No, we're coming back to the UK to do that at the end of this week. We've got about a week of rehearsals here first, then we head over to do the video. After that, we've got a couple more days of pre-production and tour rehearsals and then the tour starts. We're really looking forward to getting out there with the new songs.
Does it feel nice to have finished the album?
Yeah, it's a huge relief. I really did almost kill myself making it. I've never put so much into anything in my life. I went totally deep with this and got completely lost in it. To be honest, I think I'm still in a bit of a state of shock at having finished. I'm just glad it's finally done and I can get on with my life. We've got a lot of fun stuff lined up over the next few months. I can't wait.