Sep. 19, 2012 - Issue #883: Best of Edmonton 2012
After two successful EPs, Bend Sinister is back with Small Fame, its first full-length album since 2008.
The keyboard-driven, sonically nostalgic disc brings back sounds of the '70s and '80s with Bend Sinister's signature prog-rock flair. Drummer Jason Dana believes the band has become more refined over the last couple of years and that the members are better musicians overall, which comes across on the new album.
"We've come a long ways from when the band first got together, at least the incarnation it's in now," Dana adds. "I think it comes with time, it comes with playing with each other—that sounds gross—playing in a band together, over the years ... your intuition towards each other becomes a little more refined. We feed off each other when we're playing live or anticipate what someone's going to do. It's just familiarity with the individuals."
Small Fame brings a less elaborate sound than Bend Sinister displayed on its previous full-length, Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers, which Dana says was a record with lots of overdubs and a whole lot of everything going on at the same time.
"This time it was kind of kept to a minimum and a lot of the songs are really just us playing as a band, you know, with minimal overdubs," he adds.
Small Fame took shape during a few months spent in Toronto when the band hunkered down for almost daily jam sessions. When it came time to hit the studio with producer Shawn Cole at Mushroom Studios, Dana says it was as simple as pressing record, playing one song and moving right along to the next. The recording session for Small Fame took place at the same time as Bend Sinister's last EP, Got You On My Mind, and Dana managed to pound out 18 songs over the course of 16 hours.
"It was very tiring," he recalls. "I would essentially do three or four, possibly five takes of each song and would just move on, and would just go back and redo what we thought was best."
Aside from the whirlwind of takes, the recording session was memorable for Dana in another way. He began to take note of the platinum and gold records decorating the studio walls, realizing the roster included names like Heart, Lover Boy, Trooper, Chilliwack and even Led Zeppelin.
"When they were recording Led Zeppelin II, they were out on tour in North America promoting Led Zeppelin I and they did the gist of the recording in the UK, but I guess when they came over here to North America to tour, they would stop and do just small parts like tambourines or harmonicas, and apparently they did some tambourines and harmonica parts at Mushroom Studios," Dana notes. "I was just enthralled and kind of beside myself that I was sharing the same room as John Bonham, who would have been in there years and years ago."
Thu, Sep 27 (8 pm)
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