Doylestown rock outfit Balance and Composure recently released a half hour documentary on the making of The Things We Think We’re Missing. Featuring interviews with all the band members and Studio 4‘s Will Yip, the video takes you through every aspect of the album creation process. From writing the songs in a remote Pennsylvania cabin to recording them in Conshohocken, Balance and Composure fills us in on how the album was formed alongside their goofing around. According to the doc, guitarist Andrew Slaymaker almost lost his mind, and Bailey Van Ellis couldn’t stand drumming in the morning, but the result was more than worth it. Check out the documentary below, and keep an eye out for an upcoming Doylestown area show. Pick up The Things We Think We’re Missing via No Sleep Records here or stream it below.
La Dispute recently announced their next full length album, Rooms of the House due out March 18th via Better Living. Sure to be another heavy dose of experimental hardcore story telling, we should be expecting something that will “blow people’s minds away,” at least according to album producer Will Yip who posted a picture with La Dispute to Instagram the other day. A
After the countless hit albums Will Yip has produced at Studio 4 over the last year (The Wonder Years’ The Greatest Generation, Balance and Composure’s The Things We Think We’re Missing and Anthony Green’s Young Legs to name a few), it speaks volumes when he says “(this album is) unlike anything I’ve ever done.” Get caught up on La Dispute’s signature style of experimental hardcore with their 2011 release Wildlife below.
Truly a Philadelphia production, the album was produced by Modern Baseball’s own Ian Farmer and Jake Ewald, mixed by Philadelphia’s Jon Low, and mastered by Will Yip at Studio 4. Listen to “Your Graduation,” the first single off the album, below. Like most Modern Baseball material, it is instantly catchy and has a great chorus. Unlike Sports, however, the song is less polished, adding a sense of grittiness that and even a bit of yelling. Keep an eye out for the album, and catch up on Sports belowwhile you wait for the new record.
Belgrade is a Philadelphia alt-rock band that borrows from space rock and shoegaze. The release of their self-titled full length album back in April has been stirring some attention for the five piece band that turns poppy melodies into reverb-drenched rock hooks. The single “Venice on a Map” is full of these; it’s made up of personal and relatable lyrics, along with the relentless bass line that keeps the song moving along. The song also features an echoing guitar solo and rolling drums that make for a very spaced out ending. Belgrade just released a music video for this track, montaging shots of the band and friends in California and Philly. Get a glimpse into the life of Belgrade below. Pick up their self-titled album physically here, or digitally from Bandcamp.
Title Fight‘s latest release, a four song EP entitled Spring Songs, is another move forward for the Kingston punk band. Some of these songs could fit into their 2012 LP Floral Green, but others like the single “Be a Toy” are fuzzier and more laid-back than older releases. The guitars are as lazy as the vocals, as Jamie Rhoden sings “Being used / I’m used to it” in the most melancholy tone. This EP is definitely a change up for Title Fight, and it is awesome to see them write songs that sound different, but are just as good as their back catalog.
In the video for “Be a Toy,” Title Fight’s friend Susy Cereijo documents the band’s recent trip around Europe: showing show clips, the beauty they saw on their travels, and the band’s everyday life. Check out the retro video, which was shot on Super 8 film, below. Pick up Spring Songs here, or stream it after the jump.
Back in 2011, acoustic singer/songwriter Andrew Koji Shiraki entered Studio 4 with Will Yip to record some initial demos that are finally coming to light. As Koji traveled and toured with numerous artists like Into it. Over it. and Slingshot Dakota, Yip fleshed out these pieces into what we hear on Matters – another release of his punk-influenced acoustic rock that addresses deep topics.
Opening with “Hemlock,” Koji explores the changing of the seasons and himself. With comforting riffs, Koji passionately sings “I don’t know what this new season will bring…I’m a different man that I was one year before.” He continues his travels through his mind in the next song, “Like We Do,” where we hear him come to the realization that they can move on. Going through the turmoil of of an unfixable relationship, Koji completes this track by yearning for an answer, which he softly, and somewhat somberly, answers himself: “We will be fine after this / but the only question now is where are we to go?”
Throughout the entire EP, we hear pleasant riffs that accompany the ideas explored in the lyrics. While there are tough topics, Koji does a fantastic job of keeping the mood upbeat and though provoking. This is most well done in “Matters (of the Heart and Mind),” where he longs for more answers, saying “I want to know and I don’t / Who decides these things / matters of the heart and mind?” This song, and a few others, incorporate violins to create desperate yet hopeful feeling. Koji’s voice is astounding, unique, and leads you though each song in storytelling fashion.
Exploring issues isn’t surprising to hear from Koji, as he has shown a love for traveling everywhere. While his music leads him around the world, it is obvious that he is much more relateable when he travels within himself for lyrical inspiration. Matters is evidence that it is possible to make in-depth music with only a guitar, a voice, and something worth singing about.
Stream the EP below, or download it for $2 via bandcamp.
The act of producer Will Yip opening Conshohoken’s Studio 4 this weekend for a pair of intimate acoustic shows this weekend was like opening the door to his home, and he treated the audience like family.
The Friday night audience were welcomed to 24 chairs set up in the studio’s live room and Off The Board: A Studio 4 Family Compilation playing as the house music. Yip invited guests to get comfortable, offering refreshments from the studio’s fridge saying “we’re all family here.” The tracking room acted as a green room for the night’s performers, which included Tigers Jaw’s Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins, and Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green as the headlining act.
Helping to greet guests was Grammy-winning producer and Studio 4 founder Phil Nicolo, who cracked jokes about Will and how clean the space was before settling in to run sound for the night.
“Thanks for supporting this and the process of making awesome music,” Yip said to the crowd before the show began.
“The best part of being here is that we get to have fun and we get to make music,” Nicolo added. “What a great job, you know?”
Walsh and Collins started off their set with “Home” and “Chemicals,” followed by “Nervous Kids,” which they said would appear on a new forthcoming record. The band covered Title Fight’s “Where Am I?” dedicating the song to a friend who had recently passed away.
“I’m sure by now you know Will is putting out a comp,” Walsh joked with the audience before playing “Carry You Over,” the song Tigers Jaw offered up for the compilation (listen to it here), and ending with another new tune.
Yip shuffled around, setting up mics and checking sound before Green’s set. Yip recently recorded Green’s third solo album, Young Legs, which is due out in November.
“I want everyone to turn around and look at this guy right here, Will Yip. He’s the reason everyone’s here,” said Green before starting his set, gaining applause from the audience. He added that the first time he set foot in Studio 4, he thought about how cool it would be to have a show in the space.
“I’m so glad we’re doing it,” Green said. “I’ve spent so many hours in here jamming, sweating and putting songs together.”
Green certainly didn’t hold back in front of the captivated audience, playing songs off Young Legs and running the gamut of older songs as fans sung along. He also threw in a cover of the Fleet Foxes’ “Someone You’d Admire,” needing a few moments to remember how to play the opening chords.
“You guys are so quiet, it’s mega weird,” he said of the intimate setting. “It’s like playing in my bedroom. I just got chills.”
Green thanks the audience for their undivided attention, calling the quiet the “utmost sign of respect.” He ended the set with “James,” while also sharing stories about his family and his son, for whom the song was written.
After extending an invitation to stay and hang out, or even join him for after-party bowling, Yip ended the show and thanked everyone for their support.
It was a great night for all to feel like a part of the Studio 4 family, in the place they call home.
The other day, Conshohocken-based producer Will Yip posted the image you see above to his Instagram. “Something really fun is gonna go down this weekend,” he wrote. Indeed, it’s the first of his Studio 4 Sessions show: tonight and tomorrow, Anthony Green of Circa Survive will perform new material, and members of Tigers Jaw will play an opening set, with some Q&A time in between for a small crowd in the intimate confines of the studio.
Both artists are featured on Yip’s forthcoming release Off The Board: A Studio 4 Family Compilation, and both the album and the sessions are intended raise money so the producer – who’s worked with Title Fight, Balance and Composure, Man Overboard and so many others in the regional alt-rock universe – make the studio his permanent home. (Read more in Beth Ann Downey’s interview with Yip here.)
Below, listen to “Carry You Over,” Tigers Jaw’s contribution. Want to check out the Session tomorrow night? Let us know why in the comments. We’ll pick a random winner this afternoon.
The Balance and Composure frontman is “very nervous,” to be exact. But he’s also excited – excited to get some new music out there, excited for the release of his band’s most unique, compelling and honest record yet. When we spoke, there was still two weeks until The Things We Think We’re Missing droped, and he’d just recorded a Key Studio Session with guitarist Andy Slaymaker in WXPN’s studio. He knew the first acoustic showcase of a few of the new record’s tracks went well, but Simmons exudes honest humility in his laid-back attitude and admittance to running out of vocal steam.
Simmons is honest but wary – unknowing at the time and seemingly unbelieving that, despite any shortcomings, he’s helped make what’s being called one of the best record of the year in certain circles.
“I know not everyone is going to like this one,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s different, so it’s just a little scary. … I just feel like it’s a different vibe, so some people might not jive with it. Some people might love it, we’ll see. It’s just nerve wracking, putting yourself out there.”
When The Things We Think We’re Missing was released Tuesday, it became apparent that both new and veteran fans of Balance were latching on to this new record because of its differences. Not only does TTWTWM feature more structured songwriting and more detail-oriented recording techniques than the band’s previous releases, it caters to a broader audience than just straight punk and hardcore lovers.
“We definitely didn’t have any specific influences with this record,” Simmons says. “Usually were like, ‘Lets make a record that sounds like A → B Life by mewithoutYou or something,’ and with this one we didn’t even have that discussion. We were just like, ‘Let’s make an awesome rock record.’” Continue reading →
Settled between a row of gleaming gold records and a wall of shiny metal knobs, producer Will Yip looks at right at home behind his Neve console in Conshohoken’s Studio 4.
He and Wayne Wildrick, guitarist for Jersey-based pop punk band Man Overboard, listen to drummer Joe Talarico play in the next room. He’s tracking for a fast, new and un-demoed Man O song, and still not quite getting it despite take after take. Yip gives direction on hitting the crash and keeping tempo as the drummer’s bandmate offers more pointers in reference to the other instrumentation in the song. The click track whirs by again and again; the BPMs are so high, it’s more like a hum than a rhythm.
“How is it possible for any human to play along with that?” Yip asks jokingly. But as a drummer who’s played every style from hardcore to R&B, he probably has some idea.
There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience, coupled with a can-do attitude, that has brought bands to record with Yip in Studio 4 since he was just barely out of his teens. Now, the 26-year-old remains laid back and constantly smiling despite the pressure one might think would come with recording some of the best bands in the current punk/pop punk/hardcore scene, and working to bring out the best in all of them.
“He’s something else, that’s for sure,” Wildrick says of working with Yip. Man Overboard recorded for the first time with him in January for their third studio album Heart Attack, and credits Yip with its success. “He brings the performance out of bands. It’s just a whole other thing.”
From hometown heroes of the greater Philadelphia area – Circa Survive, Title Fight, Balance and Composure and Daylight – to national acts, bands from every area of alternative have been flocking to Yip for his stamp of production approval. In turn, he’s helped these bands reach vocal and instrumental lengths they never dreamed of, given them releases worthy of the Billboard Top 200, and most likely became one of their best friends in just that short month or so spent in the studio.
All of Yip’s efforts, from his work ethic to his approachable demeanor, are a part of his 30-year rule. Continue reading →