Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reigning Rock With Big Wheel Stunt Show


Justin Gimse (drums/co-vocals) invited me down to Egg Studios in Seattle to sit in on the recording of Big Wheel Stunt Show’s  next CD due out later this spring.  Kurt Bloch of the legendary Seattle band The Fastbacks was behind the controls and steering the ship as Justin, Jake and Evan recorded their third release since forming the band in May of 2009. A few other notable local musicians make contributions to this CD including Kim Hamel, Voxxy, Gene Vallejo and James Coates I’m not going to do a review here today, but what I heard being recorded and during the playbacks is going to have people talking as soon as this thing is released. Actually this band already has people talking as far away as Spain, "...Why do we recommend? Because they are brutal. It's clear. Furious guitar, heavy drums, hammer bass and a voice that freezes the blood..."  

Here’s a few minutes with Evan Nagle (guitar/vocals), Justin Gimse (drums/vocals) and Jake Melius (bass) of Big Wheel Stunt Show!

How did recording with Kurt Bloch and choosing Egg Studio's come about?

Evan - We had played some shows with Kurt’s bands and at the time we were figuring out how we wanted to do our next album. We heard from our friend Heidi, that Kurt records bands, and he expressed to us that he digs our band so we had a little chat at the next show. From there, he told us he would love to record us, but didn't have his own studio but had done some work at Egg.

Jake - The way he would talk about music and ideas, it totally fit our style and was definitely on the same page as us. He knew Conrad at Egg Studios and had recorded there several times and suggested it when we were looking around for the right place.

Justin – There’s definitely something to be said about hanging out at shows and making friends. Our friend Heidi Park, who has put together some of the best shows around in Austin, Texas during SXSW and of course, constant Ballard rocking – said she had a bill for us with one of Kurt Bloch’s bands… She had me at Kurt…

Evan - I had been to Egg recently and loved the fact that you record onto 2-inch tape - plus Conrad Uno (the owner) is way cool and helpful - so we got Kurt on booking it up and recorded there.

 What did Kurt's presence add to the recording process that maybe didn't exist previously with BWSS? 

Evan - This experience was the best I have ever had at a studio. Kurt was completely open-minded. We tried things that none of us had done before on a recording and I feel that we got some sounds that would typically not be available and I love what came out.

Jake - Kurt was very relaxed and had good vibes throughout the whole recording process. He had us laughing almost every time he would be say something to us from the board. He’s kind of goofy, like us.

Justin – Even though we started at the unGodly hour of 1 o’clockish, I’ve never experienced a more low-pressure recording session. I actually had a good time. Not that we didn’t have good times during the recording of our previous two albums, but this was just a really cool, rocking and relaxed session of work – front to back.

Besides the recording process, musically how do you feel this new CD differs from Big Wheel Stunt Show's second release “Cheetah Milque”?

Jake - This album shows how much the band has matured and grown. We really gelled together on the making of this album and have put in a lot of hard work and heart into it. Cheetah Milque is a great album but we were still finding our sound and figuring out each others playing style.

Evan - This is best described as Cheetah Milque’s big brother. I was happy with the energy we captured on Cheetah Milque but it was Lo-Fi compared to most modern recordings. This next album is a musical description of our evolution. I feel like the songs are better, the sound we got is bigger, and the magic that we felt in the studio is well represented in the songs.

Justin – I remember bitching about laying down 15 tracks on the drums in one 5 ½ hour session on our first album “A Brand New Bag” (after the fact of course, I’m a team player… hahaha). Drum work for Cheetah Milque was a bit more relaxed, but not fun.. This Egg Studios bit was phenomenal from a “just play and have fun” standpoint. We banged out 14 tracks and had time for some rough mix-down at the end of the night. Don’t put a time-meter up to a lot of these songs… We don’t play them that way live, why should we polish them up in the Studio?

While you guys were writing the songs for this CD was there anything you were listening to music wise or stuff going on that maybe inspired or influenced the process of writing?

Evan - I was listening to a lot of the Meters, classic Van Halen, and a lot of Black Sabbath and I know that affected my playing. Also, as a band we had been spending a lot of time together and discussing different concepts we could use on the album, and probably spent a weeks working over some late night beers ironing out all the details to go along with the concept of the album. It was pretty intense and I can't wait to get it out there.

Jake - Evan introduced me to a lot of Motown and older bands I had never really heard of like King Crimson, Ram Jam and Mountain. I was really into Band of Gypsies and The Who at this time and really wanted to have a Lead Bass approach in the songs we were writing.
Justin – When we dropped the hammer and recorded the album I think I was listening mostly to Vintage 60’s Bee Gees, Van Halen and a lot of Rockabilly – that week anyways….

Jake was telling me he was really proud of this CD because the writing process was more collaborative especially with his input on this CD, what has he added to the band since joining, live and in the studio?

Evan Nagle / by  M. Willis
Evan - The process was different. We were still just bringing in new song ideas and jamming them out, eventually coming up with a semi-standard version - but this time I think we all kind of had a goal for our sound rather than being as freestyle about it. Each of us were throwing in parts on the actual written parts of the songs. I think we have just become tighter as brothers and that put us more on the same page with what we wanted to accomplish.

Jake - This experience was the most relaxed and natural process I've ever experienced while recording. I was surprised because usually I'm very nervous and a perfectionist (aka pain in the ass haha) in the studio but it was different. We all knew what we wanted, what we were going to do and what sound we were looking for, it was amazing.

Justin – I think this album has a big Jake stamp on it. All of the songs for this baby were fresh out of the box and ready to be created by Jake’s fingers, compared to a few songs off of Cheetah that we had performed live with our original bass player Stuntman Mike.

Evan - Jake has totally added more to this album with the writing than the last. He has changed our sound both live and in the studio by holding the grooves down strong and putting out his crazy beastly bass energy. Plus he's sexy, but we all know that…

Being there while you guys recorded this, I noticed no stress or tension at all. You guys seemed totally in sync and on the same page with everything. I know that's not always the case with bands recording. What do you attribute your cohesiveness to?

Justin – The BWSS is approaching 3 years on the scene now. We have witnessed several of our own friend’s band's self-destruct in that time. I’m not sure what’s in our secret of our own friend’s band's self-destruct in that time. I’m not sure what’s in our secret brother sauce. I think we all just basically enjoy each other’s company, dig playing music together and crazy stuff has formed around that…

Evan – Weed.

Justin – It was bound to be mentioned.

Evan - We knew what we wanted before we even got there, that right there is a lot of weight of your back as a band. Plus, there is just some wild peaceful vibe going on over at Egg Studios, and we all have a sense of humor so things just never got tense. Also, like I already said - one word....Weed.

How many songs are you expecting to release on this CD and are there any personal favorites?

Evan - It's going to have 12 songs on it. As far as favorites go - before we did the vocals and all - we had to listen to for a week - the basic guitar, bass, drum tracks. My two favorites were "Milque and Honey" and "School of False.” Now after getting all of the vocals laid down its hard to say. We had some great singers come in and do parts here and there so now, I think every song on it is my favorite.

Justin – I think some of our short songs like “The Lights” and “Wonderful Life” are gonna trip some folk out. “Jake’s Black Rainbow (of Unicorn Death)” is pretty awesome too.

Jake - Some personal favorites are “Bud’Der” and “To Believe In.” - Bud' Der has that
preaching style singing and then breaks down into a Deep Purple/Boston bridge, I've always wanted to have a jam like that in one of our songs. “To Believe In” is something very personal and very heartfelt. It could make a grown man cry hahaha.

When are you expecting the CD to be finished and available?

Jake, Justin & Evan
Evan - Everything is going smooth so it's looking like mid May, maybe even sooner. Keep an eye out for a Kickstarter from us soon so we can raise some funds. It is not cheap to do this thing, plus we have to put it on vinyl.

Justin – We’ll be rolling out a Seattle and Tacoma Album Release – Stay Tuned.

Three words that best describe the new BWSS CD?

Evan – Ticking Time Bomb.

Jake - Heartfelt, Soulful, Energized.

Justin – Booty Shaking Rock.

Blackhole Music Magazine NW

You can find Big Wheel Stunt Show on Facebook at..... facebook/Big Wheel Stunt Show

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