The Cribs talk new album 24-7 Rock Star Shit...
When it comes to choosing a producer, Wakefield trio The Cribs have welcomed all-comers. They’ve worked with Franz Ferdinand mainman Alex Kapranos, super producer Nick Launay and for 2015’s For All My Sisters they hooked up with the ultimate master of radio rock, Ric Ocasek of The Cars. For new album 24-7 Rock Star S**t they’ve cast off the smooth trappings of Ocasek and plumped for Steve Albini.
For most people Albini is the man responsible for Nirvana’s In Utero and the Pixies’ early classics, he despises digital recordings, works very quickly and every record he touches comes up sounding raw and powerful. 24-7 Rock Star S**t is no exception to that.
As the record comes to hmv shelves, we spoke to co-frontman Ryan Jarman about working with Albini and why this album came together in no time at all…
How did making this record compare to making For All My Sisters?
“It was completely different. For All My Sisters was about six weeks in the studio, this was five days and very minimal overdubs. The way Steve Albini works is he does everything live and he doesn’t like overdubs, which is the same for me, I like unadorned, raw recording. That’s where the humanity comes out, a lot of modern recordings just edit out the human element of everything. We wanted to keep that intact on this album.”
Did that apply to how you wrote the record?
"Writing was different too. We spent a long time writing For All My Sisters and we spent a long time rehearsing the songs, really making sure we knew them before we went in the studio. With this one, the songs were written and not rehearsed. We wanted to go in the studio and the songs feel really fresh to us. We wanted it to come out visceral and powerful.”
How did working with Steve Albini come about? He’s got a big reputation within music…
“Working with Steve is really easy, he’ll work with anybody, anyone can book him. He’s in demand and it’s difficult to get time with him, but anyone can do it. We first worked with him in 2012 and we did a session and we really enjoyed it. I listened to a lot of his records growing up, a lot of my favourite sounding records are his records and we’d wanted to do a full length with him. So we called him up and asked, it was that simple. You don’t send him demos, he doesn’t get involved in the music, he’s like a tradesman, he just records.”
“You have to accept a few things with Steve, our record company and the people we work with told us that if we work with Steve you won’t get on the radio. Originally this was supposed to be an EP, but we ended up doing an album and we’re treating it as something different. We’re not taking it to radio, we only announced it two weeks ahead of release, it’s very much its own thing.”
Does working with Steve live up to the stories about him? He’s known for being pretty blunt…
“There are a lot of myths about him, you’d think he was this very acerbic, difficult guy, and he’s not. I’ve always found him to be a really nice guy, very warm, he even invited us to Thanksgiving. As long as you don’t go in there with any airs and graces, or expect him to work on the music with you. If you went in and you didn’t know anything about the way he works and you thought of him as any other producer, you’d definitely get a shock. He works very quickly, he gets that amazing drum sound in no time. We made the album in five days and we actually had time left over!”
Five days recording time, you must have had to be organised...
“Steve is very organised and that definitely helps. I don’t remember us spending more time on any one track than any other. We did it live, so we’d set up, record two or three takes of every song, come back, have a listen, stick a vocal on it. That’s it. Very simple formula, very old school style of recording. No procrastinating, just a lot of playing, which is how I like to work, I don’t want to be spending a lot of time in the studio sitting around.”
Where did the songs come from? Did you go back to any songs or did you start with nothing?
“We didn’t start with nothing. A few of the tracks had started when we worked with Steve in 2012 for In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull. We’d done one track with him then and we had three left over for this album. We had a couple of songs that didn’t fit for For All My Sisters too, they got left out because they were a bit too punk rock, so we went back to them. We didn’t have a specific writing session for this album, it’s lots of songs we’ve picked up along the way.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
“Having recorded in only a few days, a lot of lyrics were written in the studio, so it’s where our heads were at then and there. There’s a lot of isolation, a lot of chances missed, those things always seem to come up. They’re as cryptic as usual, we’re from the North of England, we’d hate the idea of being too literal, it’d just be whining.”
Finally, how’s your live set coming together? You’ve got seven records to choose from now...
“We’re getting together now. It’ll be a split of old and new, that’s always what we try to do. We like to try and weight our set towards the latest record, but I still like a lot of our old songs. There are some that I’m completely sick of playing and I never need to play again, but the fans still love them. It’s a balance of keeping us happy and keeping the fans happy, so it’ll be a split of all the records.”