Frank Attard of Frozen Planet.... 1969 talks about the making of “The Heavy Medicinal Grand Exposition”. It’s a true heavy-psyched-out instrumental adventure.
With Frozen Planet.... 1969 being an instrumental, Improvised jam band there’s not really a lot of thought that goes into the production of the album other than trying to capture the best tones in the studio to translate our sound and what we’re doing. There’s absolutely no overdubs in our recordings, all sounds are made by drums, bass and guitars tracked together live in one room.
With The Heavy Medicinal Grand Exposition we scheduled a jam on the 8th of July 2017. My Job (Frank) is to set up the studio ready so all we have to do when everyone arrives is more or less get some levels and start jamming. On this particular session, Paul (guitar) had a bluesy riff to kick off the jam and me and Lachlan (bass) jumped in and proceeded to jam for around one and a half hours.
We found the jam really started to take off at around the 15 minute mark, so that’s where the album begins. We used the next 39 minutes of continuous jamming as track one and the title track to the album The Heavy Medicinal Grand Exposition. That portion of the jam seemed to flow quite well, so we found no need to break it up into separate tracks like our previous albums. Track two “Encore: A Herbal Miracle” is taken from a section of the jam closer to the end of that initial one and a half hour jam. After a couple of sandwiches and some beers we then went into record another two hours of material, but who knows when that material may surface?
This session like all our previous recording sessions had its own unique sound as it really depends on the mood of the day, how we lock in together and how we communicate through the music.
Other than maybe a riff idea to begin the jams, we really just depend on spontaneity and using our ears to connect with each other to make the music. There definitely is something else at play when we go into create music of this nature. There’s a feeling that sometimes the music is channeled through us as if we’re not completely responsible for all the sounds. It really is about not thinking too much and tapping into some musical energy. Our musical influences cross paths in certain styles yet everyone brings their own unique style to the session. We’re all open to experimenting with rhythms and sounds but like to maintain the groove. On this album you’ll hear all of that!
Technically I’m very pleased with how this album sounds sonically. Because I record and engineer the music in my own studio, I’m always looking at ways to improve the sound of each album. This is the cleanest sounding record we’ve produced to date. You can really hear more detail in all the sounds which is always a challenge when recording in one space without isolation. It really is best enjoyed on a decent stereo system with some power driving your speakers. I like headroom in the overall sound for maximum dynamics similar to the records produced in the late sixties and early seventies. The Mix really works well for the vinyl edition which has some added rich and warm analog character.
Once we’ve created the audio and decided on which material to use for this particular record the next thing is to come up with a concept which fits the sound of the record and find an artist who’s style will best capture that concept. In this case, Paul had the idea of a vintage comic book style artwork where we could tell a story about a fictitious travelling medicine show. We collaborated a little on the story but we left some room in there for the listener to interpret it their own way through music. We were lucky to find a local Sydney artist John Debono-Cullen who created a lay-out of hand drawn artwork which fit perfectly with our ideas.
Once again we were blessed to work with Headspin Records in The Netherlands to release the vinyl issue of the record. The Compact disc and digital issue is released through our own label Pepper Shaker Records. It’s our sixth album release to date and our best sounding yet in my opinion. It’s available on all the usual digital platforms but I do believe it’s music that’s been created for the physical format as we like to maintain some of that old school production ethic. There’s no sound replacement, drop ins or studio tricks just three guys jamming in a room and you get to hear exactly what happened that day.
- Frank Attard
Order your vinyl copy (colored or regular black) at HeadSpin Records or CD from Pepper Shaker Records.
Read our interview from 2017