"So when are you doing an album?"
We’d released an ep and a couple of singles, digital only, on Bandcamp and SoundCloud, but friendly looking people kept asking about an album. At first we thought they were just being nice, but then we thought they might actually be serious. We didn’t have any money, so we put our trust in them and launched a Kickstarter campaign, with a video recorded in 15 minutes on a phone, to try and get enough money to press some records.
It was what might be described as a threshold moment. We thought we’d look really stupid if nobody contributed any money, but then if nobody wanted the album, we figured maybe we shouldn’t be a band any more anyway. Turns out our fears were unfounded. People gave us money, even a fan in Estonia called Mait. He was meant to be in the video we made for Disco Tryst, but because of the distance we couldn’t do it, so he got a cameo as the guy on the wanted poster which our video co-star Wayne defaces. Ben Gallivan of Red Medicine was the man to take us over the Kickstarter threshold which meant the project was successful and we’d get the money. We hadn’t met at the time, but we’ve played a bunch of gigs for Ben since and he’s established himself as the best sandwich buyer in the industry (and a good mate).
We recorded the album ourselves, just before Christmas, mostly in the mess hall of a naval reserve base.
We like to think you can hear the mess hall ambience, and Rosie played the piano solo in the song Art Of Falling on a piano which was in there, a woefully out of tune old thing and lovely for it (the piano, not Rosie). If you’ve got the vinyl copy, there’s also a bell which sounds between Slovak’s Dream and Words on side one — that’s the mess hall bell, rung by Jeff Poole, the barman. It’s not on the digital copy, so don’t look for it. Analogue easter eggs, innit? There’s one on side two, too.
Then we mixed the album at our own One Mic Wonder studio (i.e. Max’s front room), and with a little email advice from Ephraim Nagler of Dub Narcotic, mastered it ourselves, too. We had offered merch as part of the Kickstarter incentives, so we learned how to screen-print from the internet and printed all our launch shirts and tote bags in Max’s hallway on an ironing board.
The day the test pressings came was pretty amazing, since neither of us had had anything on vinyl before, and the day the records proper arrived was even better. We did the artwork mostly by ourselves, with a little help from a graphic designer called Arth. The dots on the cover are the band’s name, in non-tactile Braille (buy yourself a drink if you worked that out already).
Ben helped us put on the launch party and a Spiller’s records instore appearance.We had wanted to do the launch party on a ship, but it didn’t pan out, so we settled on Buffalo Bar, which was somehow appropriate because we used to play there like every two weeks when we first started out.
The launch was a year ago today, today being the 8th April 2014. The album, Repeat Play Torrent Rar, was our first. Thanks again for helping us make it, Kickstarterers. And thanks for subsequently buying it if you weren’t part of the Kickstarter. And thanks for illicitly downloading it or getting a copy from a mate if that’s what you did, because that’s a weird kind of compliment in itself. Album number two is on the way!
For now… Happy Birthday, Repeat Play Torrent Rar!