Eric Quach (Thisquietarmy)
SPB: In recording your new record, did any particular piece of gear (or combination) stand out for how it captured or delivered the final tone that you were seeking for the album?
Quach: Not anything in particular per se. Though to further elaborate that answer, here are some photos of our setup at Méduse Audio's studio for the making of "Thisquietarmy x Away - The Singularity, Phase I", which happened during the winter of 2019 when we were both back in Montreal from our respective European tours with Voivod and Thisquietarmy (full band).
We spent one whole day recording without having any written material nor proper ideas -- the only reference we had was a 15-minute improvised jam that we did for the Suoni Per Il Popolo festival in June 2018. Basically, our recording engineer Marc-Olivier Germain (who also played and mixed Thisquietarmy's "The Body and the Earth" album) prepped the studio for us to jam all day and was on stand-by to capture literally every sound we made.
Away (Michel Langevin) usually likes to play on Pearl drums but it was just easier to use Marco's Mapex drums that were already set up, which consisted of a 22"x20" kick, 12" tom, 16" floor tom and hi-hats. He brought his signature Away Drum Shop USA snare, DW 9000 kick pedal, Sabian cymbals and Vic Firth sticks.
I had my Fender Blacktop Jaguar HH and was set up to play through a Roland JC-120 guitar amp, and a Traynor monoblock bass amp, and I also had my stereo signal plugged in directly from my mixer. For the pedals, I had my semi-usual setup of effects that I use for my solo live sets, plus some additional ones off the board that I wanted to integrate. At times, I also had a Realistic Moog MG-1 synth which also went into a few other pedals, before going through the whole aforementioned pedal setup.
As you can imagine, the final "tone" of the record was basically an amalgamation of all these elements. What made the record was having a comfortable time and space to focus on playing music the way we would usually play, and have it captured as best as possible without us having to worry about the technical details. We owe that to Marco's engineering skills and the vibe of that dreaded February day, which I remember was very cold, most likely in the minus-20s Celcius. The session turned out to be really fun -- it was basically just a matter of trying out different things, playing and reacting against each other, building up the mood with various atmospheric loops then trying to play some structured riffs to the drums, locking it down, then layering some more textures and melodies over the whole thing, until it became cacophonous enough to break it down and work with what's left in the underlayers of noise remnants...then start something again, but differently.
We jammed about 4 times for approximately an hour, with breaks in between and ended up with more than 4 hours of material that later upon re-listening turned out to be surprisingly impressive. "Phase I" consists almost entirely of the first part of the recording session, subsequent phases are likely to include most of the rest, almost in the order that we played it. Can't wait to unveil the whole session!