O'Brother In the Studio: The Joys of Guitar Noises and Feedback
Atlanta’s O’Brother draw from an eclectic mix of influences like Radiohead, the Melvins and Queens of the Stone Age, but manage to create a compelling cohesive sound all their own, thanks, in part, to the three-guitar attack of Tanner Merrit, Johnny Dang and Jordan McGhin. O'Brother's sophomore album Disillusion is out now.
Recording Disillusion was unlike anything we've ever done before. Not only did we go outside of our comfort zone into a studio on Long Island, but we went in with a completely open mind with how these songs were going to shape and sound.
We decided to work with our close friend Mike Sapone, who mixed our last LP Garden Window. We were happy with how that turned out, and we love working with Mike. This time around, we wanted him to be more a part of the whole process, as a producer and a band member. We drove up to his home studio in Long Island to make a record. It was something we all lived and breathed for a month straight. Sapone has the same mindset as we do when it comes to experimenting and making sounds. His studio is filled with gear and random instruments and toys.
Our friends in Sainthood Reps would occasionally stop by to lend us more toys, not to mention a lot of Brand New's gear is stored there. Most of the time in the studio was spent getting tones, making guitar noises/feedback, and messing around with countless pedals. That has always been my favorite part about recording; I have the most fun when someone puts me in the tracking room for 10 minutes to make feedback.
Most of the guitars for the record were tracked through my custom 2x12 Janice cab. We used an old HiWatt head for a lot of the cleaner, more picky parts. I used a VoxAC50 head for a few songs because I've used an AC30 since the beginning of o'brother. I feel like that tone has somewhat become part of our sound. I brought my Bassman 100 (which I switched up from the Vox while writing for Disillusion) and Sapone had a Bassman 50 at the studio as well. Orange was kind enough to loan us a few amps for recording so we took advantage of that. For a lot of the bigger heavy parts, we ran the baritone through a Marshall (Soldano mod). Sapone introduced us to Brady from Walrus Audio and they hooked us up while we were there. We introduced Sapone to our buddy Ryan from Fuzzrocious Pedals, which had a big role in the fuzz tones on Disillusion.
Photo by Alex Gibbs.