Dayton, OH hardcore outfit Abertooth Lincoln recently unveiled their enw single, “Mother Is Coming,” via Riot Records. We caught up with the group and asked them to list five things they learned recording new music in the confines of the COVID-19 lockdown.
01) Though challenging, there can be unique benefits to writing remotely via file sharing. At the beginning of the pandemic, like the rest of the world, our rehearsal schedule came to a screeching halt. Having lost our usual artistic outlet at a time of particularly high stress and anxiety, creative ideas were coming to each of us, but we couldn’t explore them in our normal method of getting together and working through songs. A few of us are fortunate enough to have the technology to record ideas and share them with the group, and we embraced a regular cadence of writing by sharing, discussing over zoom, and individual experimenting to create new songs. At one point while experiencing a lull in inspiration, we created a game of it, and each week we challenged each other to contribute one musical idea to the band’s drive folder. It could be anything – a whole verse, a riff, a lyric idea, etc. Embracing the process led us to creating a small library of ideas to begin playing with like a puzzle for new songs, and it gave us a great jumping off point for when we finally did resume rehearsals in person.
02) Individual practice and preparation is crucial. We had already booked recording time before lockdown, so rather than cancel our booking, we did the majority of our practicing individually. In fact, the first time we finally did play through a few of the songs as a group was in the studio. Pulling this off took a ton of trust in each other to dedicate the time individually to be on point and ready to adapt to the rest of the band while in the studio. It made for an incredibly thrilling experience – almost like we dared ourselves to pull it off! The result was a raw level of energy that came from this freshness we all felt around the material and the excitement of hearing it played together.
03) Leave time to experiment. You can’t make this one happen without prioritizing the point above. You gotta come to the studio ready to rip so you can build in time to experiment. Having said that, it’s always worthwhile to take time and try new things in the studio. Especially after being cooped up in your house for months with the same boring equipment you always practice on! We took the opportunity to try different things with every instrument. Whether it was vocals, drums, keys… Just playing with different ideas to enhance the record is always worth the time. No matter the idea, I say try it, and if it sucks you don’t have to use it.
04) The right producer is key. We’ve worked with Micah Carli at Popside Studios for a good while now, and his contribution of ideas equates to having another member in the band. You want someone that is as excited about what you’re making as you are. This year especially, it was also about working with someone that makes you feel comfortable. In a year when nothing was normal, it was so valuable to work with someone that cared about creating a safe and relaxed environment, so you could really focus on making the best music possible.
05) Be in a band with people you love. Pandemic or not, this is a rule that seems obvious but gets overlooked all the time. However, DURING a pandemic, this is absolutely crucial! The list of people I got to see in the last year is incredibly short, and every one of my bandmates are in my top list. While we couldn’t play shows or even see each other we maintained focus by working on Abertooth videos, comic books, remote writing, and we maintained sanity by checking in daily. This year would have been so much worse without my Tooth family. There is no overstating the value of playing music with people that you respect and love.