Stu and Pabs occasionally get together to create something a little left field from Weird Decibels.
Around 2014, probably between the releases of Wdb1 and 2 Stu and I started to play about with some ideas for songs. The band had enjoyed a period of intense gigging and engagement that we had not seen since the launch of One More Solo. But it faded as we struggled to write. Things were getting quiet, practises were being cancelled, gigs were running dry.
Stu and I had grown frustrated, we had a desire to put music out. At times we would find ourselves in the practise room penning what would be our debut EP.
Stu and I have always had certain genres and music in common. For all his breakneck solos and pounding riffs he does have a side that is more measured and at times in touch with the grass roots of rock, the blues. He has a classic side to him, real soul-searching riffs that reach into your musical psyche.
I have never hidden my musical contrasts; my solo work is a million miles away from WdB. My love for acoustic music, for deep and brooding music has never faded. Over the last five years, perhaps longer I have grown fond of electronica. Delving into the world of programmed beats and loops.
Stu and I threw all this together to write and record five songs. It took us two years to put this together as the band ebbed and flowed with work.
Creating the EP
Stu was really open to ideas; his approach was different with this record than what we have with the band. S&M was relaxed, we had nothing to lose, Stu has always had a vision for the band, but with S&M it was more ‘lets see what happens’.
I remember ‘Passers By’ being one of the first songs to take shape. I had programmed the beat and I had mixed in some synth using various effects to enhance the cheap keyboard I was playing on. Stu took to this straight away and laced a guitar line through the song.
‘The Interview’ was similar in that I had created a shell of a song that he laced a solo over. ‘Take the Damage Back’ and ‘Canine with No Teeth’ were different, real bluesy numbers. Stu had brought a small amp and I flung a SM57 in front if the grill, it worked so well, this guitar sounded so raw.
‘Hero or a Villain’ was one of the last songs for the EP. I had found a nice clip of Stan Lee being modest as usual about the heroes he had created. It seemed to fit.
The songs were recorded at my studio and in our old practise room. Stu and I often found ourselves alone in that dark and damp room. We would head down whenever the band couldn’t play.
And that was it, the EP was recorded, I had been studying comic book art and sketches the artwork. We put the record on all the digital platforms, we never gigged it.
We have talked about writing the next record and we had sketched some ideas, to date nothing has happened, but I have a sneaky feeling it’ll take off again.
Smith & McCairney, Hero or a Villain