San Diego’s The Undertaking! Are gearing up for their new album, Funeral Psalms, out April 30th via their new label Solid State Records. We asked vocalist Austin Visser five things he learned about recording an album during a pandemic, and he gave us six answers. Read the challenges the group faced below and pre-order the album here.
01) Start writing/demo’ing now! – You can always find an excuse to NOT write. Life will constantly fill up your schedule with other things if you aren’t deliberate about writing. There’s no better time than now. The Undertaking! typically has a bunch of demos floating around. When COVID shut things down, we were able to dust off our demos and flesh them out into real songs! We found out that it takes discipline and intentional focus to write! This is a lesson we learned first hand when we got the call from Solid State… we didn’t have to start from scratch. We had ideas. We had the skeletons made for a bunch of songs so we only had to finish them. And then those skeletons came to life when we got to record them at the Vibeatorium (recording studio owned by our manager Joey Bradford in Vista, CA)!
02) Life experiences = Good content – Embrace what’s going on in your life and funnel that into music! Our album, Funeral Psalms, was inspired by a bad year! 2020 was tough for so many people (pandemic, politics, race… the list is endless). We tried to bottle up our frustrations and our anger at current affairs and funnel them into our music. Consequently, it all led to a very mean, aggressive album. Personally, as a lyricist, it was good therapy to write those feelings into our songs!
03) Luck Favors the Prepared – You should be ready for any opportunity. Our band had to pivot multiple times in March/April 2020… first, shows got cancelled so we shifted to writing and recording a song in our home studios. We released Eleven Wolves in May. After recording that song, we started mulling around an EP to release since COVID wasn’t ending. That got nixed when the opportunity to record Funeral Psalms popped up in late May. But because we had our song skeletons locked and loaded in our dropbox, we weren’t anxious about hopping into the Vibeatorium as soon as we could! The lesson we learned is that by being prepared we were able to confidently make decisions and execute our ideas in the studio!
04) Seek wise counsel! – As we faced each decision we had to make last year, it was important to make the best decision possible. Gather all the facts and the answer usually pops up in front of you. For us, we’ve gathered up a team of experienced music gurus who we were able to bounce ideas off of. We were able to avoid a couple of big pitfalls in the process and we’re VERY grateful for that. I’ve found that sometimes it’s only our ego that gets in the way of asking questions and seeking advice. You never know when asking the right question opens up a new door and new opportunity!
05) Don’t take the normal things for granted! – shows, live music, jamming with your friends? We found out REAL QUICK that all those things could be paused! I recently heard someone say that they hadn’t heard live music in over a year! Can you believe that?!? As musicians, we understand the soul rocking power of music and that was stripped away from us. I imagine that the first show is going to be pretty emotional for everyone. We cannot wait!
06) Enjoy the ride! – We’ve had a freakin blast on our current journey. Playing music should be fun. Being in a band should be FUN. Signing with Solid State Records. Recording a full length album! Each step of the current release cycle! It’s so rad! We have a problem in our band of not celebrating each step and each win but that’s something we’re trying to get better at. Enjoy each step! Have fun!