Wednesday 23 September 2015

Behind the Music: Recharge

We had a lot of fun recording this song.  It began very close to the end of the recording sessions.  Most of the album had been figured out, recorded, arragned, even pretty close to mixed.  In listening we both thought there could be another moment, something a bit more ambient, so I started messing around with ideas.

Recharge was born of a cheeky inspired thought: what if I recycled a drum track from our debut album "The World Over."   We cut the drums for that album at Mushroom studio, with both Jonas Fairly and Jesse Smith covering the drumming duties.  For Recharge it was Jesse's drum track from our song "For the Glory" that I used as the basis for the track.  However, unlike The World Over, where we'd been making a huge bombastic, large room, lots of tracks kind of record, on Autonomous we wanted to make a dance record so that fantastic live room had to be tamed.  (Kudo's to Shawn Penner for his excellent engineering once again, those tracks still sound amazing!)

I did a quick stem mix of just the drum tracks, with the chambers muted, and the room mics lowered way down, just being keyed from the snare track subtly.  Then, as a stereo bounce I imported them into Ableton where I cut them up into four measure loops just to see where we could take things.

From there we messed around with a bunch of synths, real and virtual, until settling on a Crumar string machine to build the opening sounds.   All the gothic choir singing came about well under the influence very late one night.  We had a different bassline to begin with, something a bit more like Gorillaz might do, but that ended up on the editing room floor.

Stefan Sigerson was up from Los Angeles this past winter and on one of his visits to our studio we played him the first few ideas for the song and he was inspired.  With that encouragement we started to flesh the song out a little more but it wasn't until Don Harrison dropped in to add his guitar that we felt the song was coming to life.  He stopped by fairly late one evening, post Sons of Freedom rehearsal, and we played him the track.  Without even a proper arrangement I just started playing scenes in Abelton Live and he jammed along with it.  All the funky disco guitar parts were recorded that night.  Then, after some editing and proper thought about arrangement we played that for Stefan once again and he recorded the bassline for the song (though not without some annoying struggles with latency in Ableton - anyone have a good fix for those problems in Live?).

The song was taking shape, we'd kept things pretty simple with the lyrics, this wasn't meant to be a statement song but an ambient dance track; something to help you get into the mood for a good album.  We had the singing finished and the song was almost done however I felt it could go further still.  Don to the rescue once again.

After another rehearsal and this time with a full house full of friends and party atmostphere Don came in, we plugged his guitar into a couple distortion pedals (the Big Muff seems to come to mind) and he just soloed over the whole song, beginning to end!  Obviously from hearing the final version you can tell we didn't take advantage of all those musical moments, but the final movement of the song completely bursts with energy as he rips into his crazy solo.  It reminds me of Adrien Belew somewhat and is one of my personal favourite moments on the entire song.

Please have a listen and let us know what you think.  It's just one of twelve songs we've included on our new album Autonomous, we're both really proud of it!

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


We are excited to announce the release of our second full length album, Autonomous.  Twelve songs that combine the style and sound of modern electronic dance music with more experimental and traditional song writing.  

Have a listen, download it, share it, comment on it.  We'd love to hear what you think!!

with love from Mark and Isabelle

thanks to:
Robert Edmonds for the artwork 
Don Harrison for the guitar
Leigh Grant for the drums
Stefan Sigerson for the bass and brilliance
Ingrid Schroeder and Barry Flynn for the song writing
Jordy Birch for the additional production
Paul Schroeder and Adam Percy for their brilliant mixes


Matt Kennedy, Hugh Ellenwood, Elaine Henderson, Jesse Smith, Kevin Jones, Misty Reid, Jane Dunlop, Vince Tuckwood, Patrick Gilmore, Helen Mitteregger, Hajnalka Mandula, Richard Bafaro, our families, The Population Drops, Jim Newton, Sex With Strangers, Paul Dwyer, Benn McGuire,  Marc "Bandcouver" Bignell, Oswaldo Perez, , EatART, VNBphoto, and everyone who's about to listen to this album..  

Wednesday 2 September 2015

The UMAs - Feature article

We are very pleased to share the featured article from the Unsigned Music Awards site this week!  They contacted us this past summer and we conducted a fairly extended interview with them.  Please check it out!  

"Record producer Mark Henning and fashion designer Isabelle Dunlop are not your average husband and wife. The independently successful Vancouver couple decided to form Combine the Victorious after an evening of cocktails in 2007, and they haven’t looked back since...

    read more by clicking the above passage.

Marina LeClair photography