Jeff Lang Interview

Jeff Lang – Depth Of Field

Todd Macalpine catches up with Jeff Lang ahead of his show at the Tanks on the 13th of June, and chats about the recording of his new album “I live In my Head A Lot These Days”.

TM:- Hi Jeff, thanks for taking the time to chat to NQ Music Press. Your new album was recorded in an unusual way, can you elaborate for our readers?

Jeff Lang:- It’s mostly the mixing process that was unusual. I noticed that when listening to music, particularly in headphones, certain recordings have what I call a “depth of field”. You get a perception of instruments being in a space, and certain instruments being closer or further away from you. I just wanted try and get a real sense of that and was willing to experiment to get that.

TM:- So how did you go about achieving that sound?

Jeff Lang:- I ended up instead of mixing from multitrack through different channels of a desk, taking each instrument off different outputs from the multitrack and piping them out to a speaker each. In some cases like drums, we had three speakers for the drum kit. We then arranged the speakers around a stereo microphone as if they were players in a band and recorded that back in through the stereo mic. It is that stereo mic that your hear on the record.

TM:- The process certainly seems to have worked, it definitely has a tangible sense of depth, that a lot of modern recordings lack..

Jeff Lang:- It’s recorded in a certain way also, I prefer to not have too much decision making left till later, the drums are usually recorded with 3 or 4 microphones, sometimes less. I don’t like looking at it at the end and having to mix with like 96 tracks of stuff to sort through. I like to make the decisions early in the process, so when it comes time to mix, the harder choices have already been made

TM:- For sure, it is definitively good to get a lot of those decisions made early on,  because with the amount of tracks available these days it can be overwhelming come mixdown..

Jeff Lang:- Yeah, I like to keep it moving forward. The whole thing with the experiment wasn’t to try and replicate any one album sound. It was just me trying to chase down a sound I was pleased with, and thinking of a way that would be fun to try. It wasn’t anything that I had heard of anyone doing, which made me a little nervous. I didn’t want to go into a place, set it all up and spend loads of money experimenting with something only to find it’s a waste of time. Luckily it worked!

TM:- There’s an interesting mix of sounds on the album. On tracks like “Gunshot nights”, and “Petra Goes To The Movies there’s some interesting percussion sounds, almost industrial..

Jeff Lang:- Yeah that was Greg Sheehan playing percussion on the album, along with Danny McKenna on the kit. A lot of the setup for the album was built around those 2 guys playing together in the rhythm section and having Danny get his regular kit sounds combined with the various things greg does on percussion. On the metallic sounding things it is literally a bunch of pots and pans and  tins and stuff.

TM:- The cover of ” I live In My Head A Lot These Days” has a bit of a “Donny Darko” vibe to it, what brought about the album title?

Jeff Lang:- Haha, It just came to me. Looking for a phrase that would point in some kind of way. When I say it came to me, actually my friend Chris said the phrase in a conversation we were having and then followed up with, by the way, there’s your album title!

TM:- Will you be bringing the band up for the Tanks show?

Jeff Lang:- Yeah, that’s looking like being Danny Mckenna on drums and Tim Keegan on bass. The three of us will be hitting the Tanks, it should be a ripper. The Tanks is one of my favourite venues. I’m hanging to get back up to Far North Queensland and play at the Tanks, the sound is amazing in that place. It really has a great atmosphere and it’s wonderful Cairns has a place like that to see  shows.

Todd Macalpine

Jeff’s new album I Live In My Head A Lot These Days is out now and available through ABC shops

Jeff plays the Tanks Art Centre in Cairns on Friday 13th of June

COST:  $30/25 (CONC) (PG)