Kentucky post-hardcore outfit Softspoken are gearing up for their new EP, Where The Heart Belongs, out tomorrow (14th). We asked the group to list five things they learned about recording their upcoming effort during the COVID-19 pandemic.
01) Take advantage of opportunities. We recorded Where the Heart Belongs in two stages, and initially we didn’t really have the idea of doing an EP. We just had a budget for two songs, and we recorded those first two – Sleight of Hand & The Road – in December of 2019. Our plan for 2020 was to tour as much as possible, but of course that plan got derailed, so we doubled down on writing. But, when the initial COVID-19 relief became available for businesses, we applied since our band is a registered LLC, and we received a non-recoupable loan from the government. We used half of that to pay off our van, and the rest to finish the EP. That was an opportunity that we had never ever planned on, but when we did, we were ready to jump on it and make something happen.
02) Be flexible and open-minded to new ideas. For this EP we decided to work with Andrew Baylis because he’s known for his great songwriting abilities (in addition to production) and we knew he would challenge us. As an artist based on emotions it can be really easy to get too attached to ideas. Something we always tell ourselves is to head into the studio fully prepared to just throw away every idea we go in with if it leads to the best final product.
03) Don’t settle. We went into the studio prepared with solid ideas and lyrical concepts this time, but we’ve been in situations before where we were not nearly as prepared as we should have been. After the fact we could listen to songs and realize that we’d just settled because of a lack of time or funds or whatever. So one of the biggest pieces of advice I’d give any band is to never settle on “good enough” if your gut is telling you otherwise. If you think something can be better, it probably can be, and it’s ok to take some time to figure it out.
04) Take time to reflect, refresh, and re-energize. This applies whether you’re in the studio, or out, but one thing that we really learned this past year is that it’s totally OK to take some time to just step away for a bit. For all of us, we’ve been grinding hard every single day for over five years in this band. Softspoken is a 100% independent band. We don’t have a label, so we’re self-funded, self-marketed, and I (Chris) manage the band. In a lot of ways the time away from the endless grind of tour, write, record, repeat was really great for us mentally, emotionally, and creatively.
05) Enjoy the moment. In this day and age, especially as a DIY band, it can be way too easy to fall into the trap of thinking ahead and always planning for what’s next. That’s a good thing, but it can also really take away from the reason we all start doing this: because it’s fun. I personally love recording, and the whole atmosphere of being in a studio, so one thing I make sure to tell myself is to just forget the world for the time I’m in the studio and really live in the moment.