When London rock band Gengahr began the process of recording their third album they recruited an old friend, Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club, as their producer.
“Jack was a friend of ours since we were kids,” Gengahr’s Felix Bushe tells Noise11.com. “We grew up going to house parties together when we were 16. We had known him for a long time. We had gone our seperate ways but decided to do this one off single inbetween albums. We did ‘Atlas Please’ and recorded it in his bedroom. It was an out of the studio recording. The process of making that was really fun and it felt a good fit. It was obvious straight away that there was stuff I could learn from Jack. I think he came out of that experience a little bolder and wiser than when he started as well. They were getting ready to do their own album as well. Jack probably enjoyed the dry run working with a band again before he got stuck in with the Bombay guys.
Steadman separated himself from his Bombay Bicycle Club persona for this record. “We didn’t reference Bombay Bicycle Club,” Felix said. “A lot of the records we were listening to were more sort of abstract. We had references to sounds from dance records and hip-hop/jazz stuff. We were trying to build on our existing sound and make something that was a bit more experimental. We tried to find things that were an interesting collaboration with the sound. Jack goes into that dancey world if you let him and I probably lead more with a heavier sound. There is that battle through-out the record”.
The third album experience was a learning experience from Felix. “With music there is an endless amount of knowledge to be absorbed. I am coming more and more to terms with that now. On this record I learned a lot doing that. It is a constant learning curve working as a musician. Production is not necessarily my forte. I am always learning when it comes to that stuff”.
Having three albums now presents a new dilemma for Gengahr. They now have a growing number of songs that may never be performed live. “On the last record there were a bunch of tracks that never found their way on stage,” Felix said. “When you make your first album you play everything. That’s the way it goes. Even now we are working out which songs we will perform live. We will be doing in-stores. That means stripping back and that is a challenge with a new album, especially one with so much production. There is a lot more to think about now. I don’t know exactly how much of this album will be performed live. Maybe half of it. A lot of it depends on the audience and what the crowd wants. We try and let the audience decide through Twitter. It is always an open discussion”.
Gengahr are still deciding which ‘Sanctuary’ songs they will perform live. “We did a small tour with Bombay late last year and played ‘Atlas’ and ‘Heavenly Maybe’, They are road ready. We are in the process of thinking of another three or four to add. That may increase as the tour goes on”.
10 March, Auckland, Neck of the Woods
13 March, Sydney, Lansdowne Hotel
14 March, Melbourne, Howler