If you like your hard rock sludgy, stony, and scream-y, and you can’t get enough of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Wolfmother may just float your boat. The Australian quartet’s rock ‘n roll swagger was so potent, that the band went from recording a four-song demo in 2004 to winning a Grammy in 2007 and since selling over a million albums.
For the Wolfmother’s second album, Cosmic Egg [Interscope/Modular], singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale and his bandmates worked with producer Alan Moulder on preproduction in Byron Bay, Australia and then relocated to West Hollywood, California to record.
Here, Stockdale shares his thoughts on recording a couple tracks on Cosmic Egg and avoiding gear lust.
What was the process of writing and recording “New Moon Rising”?
“New Moon Rising” was written on the drums. I came up with the drum pattern and sang to the beat. I sort of sang the riff. Then I listened back to the riff and copied it onto the guitar, went into the studio that night and jammed the idea with the band. Whilst we were recording, we tried to make the hi-hat as big as possible, so we added all kinds of bells, tambourines, and instruments that chimed to make it stand out.
Did you try out any recording experiments this time?
On “California Queen” we put the end of the vocal line on the chorus through a tremolo and changed the speed to give it that kind of trailing off effect.
What gear could you not live without?
I try to avoid this situation. We did a gig in Berlin where we just walked onto the stage with another band's gear and played for three hours. Sometimes you really discover a lot about your playing when you've got nothing to fall back on. It can really test the song—sometimes even make it better. I love pedals and effects, and they can be really important. Although I guess where I'm at now, it seems more challenging to have none. Though it’s always good to have some kind of distortion pedal: I play a Gibson SG guitar through a Marshall JMP amp with Xotic AC Booster overdrive, Electro-Harmonix Micro Synthesizer, and Fulltone Supa-Trem tremolo pedals.