In the throes of a UK and European tour, The Maccabees are currently showcasing their latest album Marks To Prove It, which was written and recorded in their Elephant & Castle studio. Described by music magazine, NME as ‘Grand, sumptuous’ and ranked 9th in its 50 top albums of the year, the chart-topping record was produced by the band’s guitarist and Audient iD22 owner, Hugo White.
“We spent a lot of time in that place!” says White, explaining that this is the first complete album that the band has recorded in their south London studio. “There were a lot of extra pressures and extra hours involved, but it was a great experience and a dream project to focus on.”
The iD22 audio interface was positioned in the band’s vocal booth room and used as their second recording set-up along with a laptop and a Distressor. “We did all the guide vocals in that set-up, some of which made the final record,” says White.
The Audient interface features strongly in his home setup, too. “I have a laptop running ProTools and Logic Pro 9, my iD22, a Wurlitzer piano, a couple of guitars and Sennheiser HD650 open back headphones. That pretty much covers all I need there,” he continues. “I generally use the iD22 at home and on the road. It does all I need in those situations: two great preamps, a good headphone preamp and a simple interface.”
« you can capture recordings at a high standard in a very simple setup »
When asked whether it was actually a luxury to have their own studio space for writing and recording, White confirms that it was. “We were no longer working on someone else’s time, we could work when and as we wanted, and gradually craft the studio into a space that we could make the record.”
How has that space evolved? “In the studio we have a fairly large live room that we use to rehearse and record, each band member has their own corner of the room, so all the amps/kits are set up and ready to go. In a separate control room we have our ProTools HD rig and all our outboard and effects units, Adam A8X speakers along with some NS10’s. It’s all pretty seamlessly hooked up in there, making it great for experimenting with stuff as well as taking care of the projects. There’s also our Room 2 which has an upright piano and is used for anything really, it’s like a big vocal booth.”
« It does all I need in those situations: two great preamps, a good headphone preamp and a simple interface. »
“There are many occasions where we have kept certain elements of early demos, so it pays off when it’s been recorded well. Recording demos needs to be fast and uncomplicated, that’s where I feel the iD22 comes into its own, as you can capture recordings at a high standard in a very simple setup.”
White’s guitar recording chain is fairly straightforward. “I generally use my old 70’s Selmer amp hooked up with a bass speaker. Also, my GigRig G2 is the perfect companion for effects chains whilst recording,” he says, but reckons there’s more to guitar tone than you might think. “Getting the right tone from the amp in the room is the easy bit, it’s getting the mic choice and placement right that makes the difference. I was lucky to work with a great engineer, Jag Jago on our last record, we spent a lot of time experimenting with that. There is no ‘one fits all’ answer, it all depends on the situation.”
So is he writing at the moment? “It’s hard to find time and space on the road to be productive”, White admits, although he describes the inspiration for songwriting as ‘ever-present’. “We’ve just discovered recently that most libraries have piano rooms you can use, so that’s been a good way to find some peace and be able to write.” And it was in one of these in Cologne library that Hugo White found time to answer our questions, so Audient is very grateful for that, too!