Universality

Probe One Music POM-02 (9-324690-022687), released January 2007

In a complete turn-around from the first album, we decided to break the bank and record this at one of Melbourne’s most renowned studios, Birdland. We recorded some rough demos in late 2005/early 2006 before going into Birdland for two weeks of tracking in May 2006. The songs we recorded were all written in 2005/6 and mostly featuring in the live set already, with the exception of Open Your Eyes which was written in 1999. But that one didn’t make the final cut anyway!

By this stage the band had evolved and as well as myself and Bernie Dodd now featured Frank Packer on bass and Alex Arbuthnott on keyboards. Three of the tracks also feature the violin playing of Steve Marton, our first foray into the world of the fiddle.

We did the tracking at Birdland with engineer-extraordinaire Rob Long. It was a revelation to work with Rob, and we all learnt a hell of a lot in the process. I felt like I’d finally learnt to sing, and the band as a whole came up a couple of notches – I’m not sure any of this would have happened if we’d worked with a lesser engineer.

After tracking the album Bernie and I took the raw material to England to mix at Dacoit Studios with my old friend Peter George Rowe. Pete had just setup Dacoit in an old stable block on his new property in the Oxfordshire countryside, and it was an absolute pleasure to spend two weeks there working on the album.

We came back to Birdland in September and mastered the album there with legendary Australian producer Lindsay Gravina. It’s a great overall production for this album, although it didn’t end up sounding quite like I imagined at the outset. Punk-tinged opener The End in particular proved a successful track for us, featuring on a number of independent movie soundtracks. You can tell the sound is becoming more “Zeptepi” by this point though, with numbers such as Over The Hills & Far Away, Searching and Leave Us Behind showing us leaning further into folk territory, and a glimpse of what was to come.

Phil