SPB: Was the mic’ing of your diverse instrumentation fairly straightforward when you recorded the new EP, or were there some things you and the engineer did to find the right mics or experiment with sounds?
Brian Beatrice: The creative process behind Gnaw is always about trying to push instruments, production, and the recording process beyond the conventional limits. For example, "Rid the City" grew out of experiments with guitar signal processing, removing it from anything related to a rock context. The guitar was converted to midi and then run in parallel with the audio signal through different software and synth modules, including custom patches inside Native Instruments Reaktor.
Carter Thornton: As far as unique mic recordings we always have to make the most of whatever environment we are afforded to record in. If we're all in one room for a band recording we jump through whatever hoops are necessary to maximize or avoid sound isolation (depending on what the piece calls for). Our friend Jason Tubbs who did live sound at the Knitting Factory, way, way back, has a big mic collection he’d let us borrow liberally from over the years. We’re also always capturing direct signals for future manipulation and/or re-amping. Much of the stuff has also just been run dry and straight into the mic jack of a shitty computer, which always helps to evoke some close claustrophobia.
We also make heavy use of stereo Zoom recorders set back a few feet from the sound source (whether an amp or an instrument). The same recorders are used for a lot of the field sound capture elements. In the basement recordings that work their way into most pieces we rely on homemade contact mics and other dust pile inhabiting gear: it's hard to remember specifics involved in that because it tends to change a lot. We also build our own instruments and electronics – those secrets cannot be disclosed. Get Alan Dubin to sing in your band and go to a pawn shop and buy some old pedals that only work half-way. That's probably the best Gnaw-style sound making tip.