North East greats Pigs x7 return to our consciousness with superb new album ‘King of Cowards’ and its supporting UK tour. Damian Robinson caught up with guitarist Adam Ian Sykes to talk about the recording process and the challenges of being such an intense band.
We’re loving the new album. Approaching its release to the general public, how are you finding the initial reaction?
It’s been very humbling to hear that people are enjoying it so much. A slight change of direction always leaves you with a faint inner voice telling you people aren’t going to gel with it to the same degree as past releases but thankfully, so far, the reception’s been great. Of course, we’re not going to hear much criticism direct to our weathered faces and a quick vanity search on twitter brings up the odd putdown, which, in its own way, is refreshing to see also.
Given your reputation as a dynamic live band, does studio recording come as a hindrance in any way?
Not at all. Sam owns Blank Studios here in Newcastle and he designed and built the space himself which makes recording a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. Playing live is a different beast: in a lot of ways it’s the most enjoyable part of Pigs, but after a long period of writing and gigging, getting into the studio is refreshing.
What techniques do you use to re-create your live sound in the studio?
We don’t really set out to re-create the live sound on record. Live, often through sheer volume and visual aide, the audience will mainly perceive energy and intensity, so with good use of compression and distortion, and some good mastering, we can get that side of things fairly close to that feeling. There are lots of small gains made throughout the recording process though, from tracking to mixing, and we may often re-amp guitars through multiple amps to thicken the tone or double track guitars and vocals.
Lead single ‘Cake of light’ has been really well received and has gained a lot of attention. Considerably shorter than the other tracks on the album, do you see the band moving to 3-minute songs in the future?
It certainly won’t be a conscious decision but when we write a track and it feels natural to end it at a certain point, that’s where we end it. Saying that, it’s fun to play live – the breather after just 3 minutes is very welcome.
With such a reputation for a relentless show, how challenging is it to maintain your dynamic whilst out on tour?
It’s tiring but adrenaline takes care of that while we’re on stage. It’s boring but playing 12 consecutive shows dictates that we take better care of ourselves while we’re out there.
Pigsx7 play Stockton’s The Georgian Theatre on Thursday 25th October. Tickets, priced at £8.00 in advance, are available from georgiantheatre.co.uk.