PHFat’s launching their first full blown album next Friday night at the Assembly. With a killer local line up and an extra HUGE (festival style) rig, it’s bound to be a dog show. Happiness Machines becomes available for free download on MONDAY from the PHFat website. But today sees the launch of their very first video: House of Clashes. BCTC caught up with one of the trio, Mike, about the album, the process and what we should expect.
BCTC: You’ve had so much success since your Dinosaur Blood EP. Why do you still choose to give your music away for free?
Mike: Haha. Success is a strange word. Uhm. The short of it is this. We give our music away because it makes us more money that way than if we were selling it. I would rather that 13000 people download our album for free from us from our site (and then share the shit out of it) than maybe 1 or 2 thousand people buying our cd and then copying it for their friends and feeling bad about it ‘cos we are a small local band. And then we also have to treat people who want our music like criminals and give half our money that we make from sales to a record label. Doesn’t make much sense to me. Also we own our own music.
BCTC: You’ve been quoted in saying that you sound more like yourselves now than ever. Is that just a product of growing up and knowing who you are even more so, or do you feel that you’re settling more into a more certain musical voice?
Mike: Uhm.. I think we just had a really good run while we were making this album. We had to deal with a lot last year in the process of going full time and it kind of strips away the nonsense and makes you look at your facade and ask yourself the big questions. And we just became more comfortable with our own taste, you know? Listen to the album when it comes out… you’ll hear what I mean. It all just sounds more natural and less forced.
BCTC: You decided to step back in time and use analogue synths to create sounds for this album. Tell us how that process was different to your previous processes?
Mike: Analogue synths are different from digital synth in several ways. Firstly, the ones we used mostly didn’t have presets and if they did we aren’t really the type to save patches. So the sound in front of you is what you have- if you move a knob you won’t get that sound back. Which means you have to make decisions on the spot and commit to your sounds.
Secondly, they mostly didn’t have midi and where they did… we aren’t really the type to use it that much (Midi lets you program what notes get played by the synth). So what gets recorded is what you play in with the keys. If you can’t play it in perfectly it doesn’t get recorded perfectly.
Thirdly, analogue synths’ raw sound is much, much, much more powerful than what you can get with the raw sound out of any digital synths that I’ve heard and they kind of put you in the position of being able to get away with much more simple sounds that are still good sounding.
The process of having all the controls in front of you also activates a different part your brain. Programming stuff digitally is very cerebral. You sit there with a mouse making weird seemingly logical decisions. With hardware synths you kind of get to play. It feels more like being a six year old with your hand in a jar of paint inside an unpainted house. Narch, in particular, is just the master of using his own enjoyment to find magic places on these old hand built boxes that smell like an old persons house.
I also just have a thing for hunting out weird pieces of gear that no one else has. It wasn’t just synths. We also did the mixdowns without board gear.
BCTC: What’s your favourite track on the album that you hope everyone loves the most?
Mike: Eh… I dunno. It depends on my mood. This is the only album so far where I feel comfortable telling people to choose whichever track they like to be honest. That’s a pretty satisfying feeling.
Make sure you get to the Assembly this Friday night for a MASSIVE launch party. Make sure you download the album TODAY, get to know ALL the tunes and show the local boys some support. I’ll see you there 😉
Here’s HOUSE OF CLASHES VIDEO!