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Recorded in Oz- Mixed & Mastered @ JAM Studios, Ireland

Sean Woods's latest release as 'Three Machines' was recorded using a laptop and 1 microphone in Austrailia, contributed to by musicians in Spain, Austrailia and Ireland and finally edited, mixed and mastered in JAM Studios Ireland. We talked to Sean about the project.

Q. How would you describe the sound of your project “Three Machines”?

A. I think the 1st record was pop with a rap influence... But this EP sounds a bit more traditional instrumen-wise with the songs based around more real sounds like guitar, piano, strings... Rather than crazy synths... I think pop is probably the best description.

Q. You went through some personal turmoil but decided to use music to diary your emotions…?

A. For me these songs were all written in a 3 month period after the break up of my marriage... I suddenly had a whole load of free time and writing was a good way of relieving the boredom... But it's a double edged sword cos then you just spend that time thinking over the best way to phrase the heartache you've been trying to avoid.... I think this is summed up well in 'Tell 'em'. It is a bit like a diary entry sometimes when you write a song in a particular moment... But there is also a fair deal of manipulating your emotions for the purpose of the song... Like if you were really sitting there balling your eyes out you wouldn't be able to construct a coherent tune.

Q. I think anyone who’s loved and lost can relate to the raw honesty in your lyrics. There are no punches pulled here….?

A. Words have always come very easily to me, which can be a real curse cos I tend to just sing them off the cuff as I record then never change them. Meaning a lot of my stuff is nonsense. For this EP I wanted the words to be strong so rather than dramatically change my process I just extended all the verses and choruses at the demo stage so I could free style for longer periods then worked backwards to reduce them down to the best bits..

With regards to the honesty... I've never been good at the poetic hinting or suggesting stuff, so I just rely on being honest That can be tough with this particular subject matter because your opinions change every second when your in those early stages of a break up, so you never know which part's the honest bit. I think this is summed up in the line 'it's not your fault but I hate your guts, that's not quite true I love you so much'. The song 'eat yer heart out' was a big test of how honest I wanted to be... I had all these soppy 'want you back' songs but I also had a whole batch of 'fuck you' songs and I thought it was important that both sides were represented, the lyrics to that are pretty bitter and I tried to rewrite them twice but I thought it lost its purpose if I watered it down.... I think that's probably the reason it took so long to finish this project... All the songs are well over a year old but I had to let enough time pass for it not to mean so much to me.

Q. You approached the construction of the music for the project with little or no equipment. What did you use for drums and music and how did you get it done?

A. I had broken my keyboard before leaving for Australia in 2011 and as far as I know it still sits in the repairs in a music store back home. As a result I didn't really write any songs till late 2012... I wrote the 1st track on the EP a month before me and my ex separated on the qwerty key board of a mac book air... Then after we went our separate ways I bought a guitar which lead to writing more acoustic stuff... I'm pretty terrible on guitar as I have never had the patience to learn songs... A good example of this is my attempt at learning 'no woman no cry' which resulted in 'cigarettes, beer & copyright infringement' - it's far easier to write your own crap song than play a great song crap. I later decided to let other musicians, including Martin Quinn, record the final guitar on the songs for me.

When it came to adding more instruments I went back to the qwerty keyboard... It's very laborious making music in this way as the keys are not touch sensitive so if you want to play a piece gentle or want a particular note to be played that bit harder you have to manipulate it after recording. Adding drums is always the worst part for me as I don't really know what I'm doing and I think using preprogrammed loops is cheating so when I do finally get a beat on something it usually stays the same for the entire song... This is something I am looking forward to getting better at.

Q. Your in Austrailia but decided to hand control of the final edits and mixing over to Martin at JAM studios back in Ireland. What compelled you to do this?

A. I've never been too savy on music and always relied on band mates to take care of the music while I work on the words.... As a solo artist you don't have that luxury so I used Martin as my band mate, I gave full authority to cut edit change or add to the songs as he saw fit... Obviously this is a leap of faith, but I have worked with Martin many times before and I value his opinion. I have my versions of the song before I send to Martin and they are always there if I want to step back but I find in 99% of the cases where Martin has made a change or creative decision which I was not expecting... It ends up being the right call for the track. Obviously working on different time zones and via email, makes it hard to make real time decisions, but this also alleviates snap decisions or time waisting so every decision is carefully considered over a day of two. It has worked really well fot me on this project.

Q. On one track the vocal recording has the sound of the native birds of wherever you were – and its still evident in the recording. Did this intentionally add to the song or was it a coincidence?

A. Coincidence and lack of a proper studio... I Recorded the vocals under a kitchen table with a quilt draped over it the whole thing surrounded in pillows as it was the best way to drown out the ambient noise but bits creep in... Luckily Martin has lots of audio restoration tools and cleaned most of it out. I have never been a stickler for sound quality or hitting the right note, or pronouncing a word correctly... So Martin has to pull me up on these things occasionally... I remember on one song he asked me to redo the vocal cos he didn't like how I pronounced the word 'separate' its good to have someone involved who gives a shit how you say a particular word... Then you know they are committed to making something as good as it can be.

Q. After a project themed on a journey through hard times - whats next for you?

A. Next? who knows? I have a batch of songs from my first experiences on the dating scene which I think would make a good part 2 of this project perhaps called 'over drinking' but I'll prob change my mind on that many times before anything comes to fruition.

 

Three Machines "Over-Thinking" EP is available to listen to on soundcloud or spotify to stream. Its also availailable on iTunes and all other major download sites.