News Studio Diary: I Like Trains (Part Two)

I Like Trains Guitarist Dave Martin fills us in on the latest happenings in North Wales in the second instalment of the studio diary the band have been keeping for DIY. The Leeds lot are currently locked away in Richard Formby’s studio working on their as yet untitled third album and follow up to 2010’s He Who Saw The Deep.

Our studio is situated on the grey, wet edge of Snowdonia. I have a feeling Richard chooses to record here because it is almost always good weather to make an album. The studio is cosy and filled with things to make a noise with. It is a good start and definitely a step up from our last album sessions when we were sleeping in the same room as our amps. It all feels pretty remote, but we do note that the guest house next door has a miniature railway in the garden for no apparent reason.

On a arrival we split up into two teams. Team A sets up rock equipment whilst team B braves the local supermarket to buy bacon and other provisions. The first day we commit nothing to tape, but spend our time getting the right drum and bass sounds and cook the biggest chilli con carne North Wales has ever seen. Alistair is pleased with the size of his bass rig, even if most of it isn’t plugged in!

As is tradition, and indeed sensible, we track the drums first. Simon nails his parts in record time and we’re finished with the drums in the first three days. We made the decision in pre production to track everything to a click track which is pretty standard within popular music, but an I Like Trains first. We’ve always recorded as live, with a natural ebb and flow to the tempo. This record we felt would benefit from a more rigid approach. It came more naturally to us than I thought it would.

On top of the drums we layer bass and guitars and the album slowly takes shape over the next nine days. Everything seems to run very smoothly and we get through a lot of work in long days. I feel more relaxed about the whole thing than I have on previous albums. I put it down to having Richard on board, and to experience, I guess. We know what it takes to make an album now - and he certainly does! Some fun is had putting a vintage Solina string synth through some old Russian tape delays. We have no idea what the knobs do, due to our sad lack of any Russian language, but the results are great.

As with many aspects of being in band, the recording process involves a lot of waiting around. This results in us having to find interesting ways to amuse ourselves and each other. I’m thankful that the studio had a table tennis table, of which I’m a big fan. Some epic battle were had between myself and Simon. We filled the rest of our time with cat videos on youtube and some excellent culinary escapades. We also found a small Yamaha VSS-200 keyboard from the late 80s. It had an excellent voice sampling feature, and many an amusing minute was spent creating future disco hits with it. I will be trawling eBay to buy one of these, as I have honestly never had so much fun playing an instrument in my life. The sound of the Yamaha VSS-200 may or may not feature on the album.

A small note on our bacon intake. I think there was only one morning we didn’t have bacon for breakfast. Most mornings we also had sausages. I wonder how many pigs were involved in the making of this album. It would be nice if we could credit them on the liner notes.

Next stop for the album is back at Richard’s Leeds studio where we will be adding vocals and a few more bits and pieces of synthesiser I expect.

Coming Up

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

November 2023

Featuring King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, IDLES, Tkay Maidza, Sleater-Kinney and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY