Our Debut Album 5 Years On

stephen and sion recording

I thought it’d be nice to do a little retrospective on our debut self titled release five years on. You can get the album for free or pay what you like on our bandcamp page.

On 23rd November 2009 we met up to discuss putting together an album (that’s right – we were around way before those yellow cartoon things). Originally planned as featuring 12 tracks, it was cut down to 10. We put our self titled release out on April 1 2010.

That’s only just over 5 years ago so it shouldn’t feel that long but already the memories are fading! The same year Inception, the Social Network and Tron: Legacy came out, all with great soundtracks.

Our plan was simple – put together an album of all of our tracks we were playing at the time. We’d already had an EP (which became tracks on our Demons & Rarities release). At the time we were playing a lot of shows so it was a nice breather to just stop and focus on something else. We did it all ourselves in a tiny warm room. We were sharing with another band at the time and I think we ended up pushing them out as our equipment took up far too much room (sorry Pete!). The whole thing took about three months to complete.

Ok some (fading) memories of recording…

Photos were taken of mic positions to remember where the best ones were. We were learning on the fly here, mostly trial and error. A lot of time was taken to read and study how other bands were recording.

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I fondly remember the time Simon was recording the middle drum section of Daggers at Lily as he progressively got more angry each time he’d make a mistake and have to start again – it was quite a long and tough part! We’d be hiding behind our amps as he’d throw his sticks at us if we made a joke. I completed the game Peggle through that session…

Don’t Burn the House Down was recorded the year earlier and was only later decided to be the last track. It felt quite nice to have the calm after the storm that was Robot Meets Girl. In a way it kind of reminded me of how Here Comes the Sun was placed after I Want You (She’s So Happy) from the Beatles’ Abbey Road.

This was the second time we recorded Battleships. We felt we’d give that track a fresh approach for the album for consistency. I remember it taking a long time to get the guitar tone right.

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Sion and Justin helmed the mixing duties and the rest of us received daily mixes of the tracks to listen and give feedback. I seem to remember all coming around to my place for a group mastering session near the end.

The artwork was done by an amazing artist, Alice Rix-Moore. We’d come across her work somewhere and were really impressed. We asked if we’d be able to use something to create a cover for the release and were so happy she said yes. She sent us some mind blowing pieces to choose from. From there we were able to create multiple versions of the what would be the cover. Justin actually sew the ‘MinionTV’ name into some fabric and I scanned it in and placed it over the image.

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alternative cover art

We were quite rubbish at promoting (still are). I remember sending off the album to websites stating that it was a bit like sigur ros or mogwai which wasn’t very helpful, we weren’t really aware of the genre at the time. I think thanks to our own site forum (now dead) and Facebook (when it didn’t have all the page ranking business) we were able to get it to ears.

Notes about track names –

  • We Are Ghosts – taken from Garnett Lee’s  sign off from the 1UP podcast.
  • Battleships – about a dream I had about playing the game, originally titled “You Sunk My Battleships’
  • I Hit, I Miss, I Fall –  was originally titled ‘Volcanoes’. I think the new title was inspired by the girl with the slingshot in Stephen King’s It.
  • Marla the big Tourist –  after the character in Fight Club.
  • Robot Meets Girl –  came from a spelling error from Boy Meets Girl (Bot meets Girl).
  • Daggers at Lily – About a remark made by Lily Allen on Radiohead.
  • When Skyways Are Highways – From an old advert.
  • No Grave But Sea – From the Liverpool Naval Memorial.

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We were immensely proud of putting that album together, it’s always going to be something we look back on with fond memories. I think nowadays it’s a lot more convenient with instagram, vine etc where you can document every second at the touch of your fingers. In a strange way it’s kind of nice not having that as we have to rely on meeting up and talking about it to help jog a memory or two. We’ll look forward to looking back in another 5 years where we can remember even less of our debut album time…