They impressed on their recent Australian tour, and also impressed with their latest release ‘Rugged Road‘, they are dirty reggae merchants The Aggrolites. We recently got them to give us a little more detail on ‘Rugged Road‘ via our ‘On The Record‘ questions. Click below to take a read of their answers.
Tell us about the title..
The recording sessions for this collection took place in a studio which is actually on Rugg Road in Boston, so references were being made to Rugg Road this, Rugg Road that… it seemed that adding the –ed to become Rugged Road touches on the hardships that we can come across and overcome, something everyone can relate to in life in general.
Tell us about the artwork..
The artwork is actually a very accurate representation of the place where the music was recorded, and we literally lived within those walls you see throughout the whole process. We made the walk up and down that street in and out of that building you see on the cover every day while the music was being made. The parking lot on the back is the real thing too. There are wild lions roaming around that area (OK, maybe not that part). The art has a vintage look and artwork style that you might find on an old reggae record. The concept came through from the people at the label Young Cub, it came out great, we couldn’t have done it any better!
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there…
The studio is in Boston, Alex at Young Cub has worked with some all time greats like Leonard Dillon “The Ethiopian” and Max Romeo, and he has great vintage organs, pianos, amps, and percussion instruments. see below for more…
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them…
We were on tour with Slightly Stoopid across the states in 2009 and 2010, and between bands there was a sweet selection of old school reggae hitters. We found out that it was Slightly Stoopid’s sound engineer, Craig “Dubfader” Welsch, who had created a collection of great tunes that we were hearing every night on tour. As some of the band members talked more and more with him, the idea came about to record some songs to put out as vinyl 45’s. His extensive collection and appreciation for the same kind of music we love made a strong bond right away. When we started the recording with him we immediately saw that he had a crazy knowledge inside and out of classic reggae and exactly what to do in the studio to make it sound the way it should. If we were going for a certain sound we could explain it in terms of the style of a particular artist or rhythm, so there was no guessing games involved between the man and the band when it came down to honing in on what sounds we wanted to create.
How long did it take to record?
If I remember correctly I think we had a little under a week to get it all recorded. The sessions took place right before our 2010 European tour in April, so there was no time to extend the sessions, had to lay them all down right then and there and then hit the road jack, literally!
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used..
We were all in one room together laying down the rhythms “live in the studio,” meaning the basic rhythm tracks (drums/bass/organ/ guitars) are all one performance, laid down on the real deal tape (or should I say “reel deal” then), just like they did it back then, so if anyone made a mistake during a take it had to be done all over again. That’s what the music actually sounds like, what you’re hearing is essentially a live performance taking place in a recording studio. These days most music you hear is recording piece by piece, instrument by instrument on to a computer, and then edited and autotuned to the extent that it doesn’t even really represent what that band sounds like when they actually perform.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
We are in the process of trying to get some all time Jamaican great singers to lay down some vocals on some instrumental tracks, keep your ear to the street for some upcoming versions!
Anything particular stuff outside your usual live gear used in the process?
There is piano and percussion on the tracks, and obviously some old school effects like tape echo.
Any memorable studio moments
There was a camel statue in the studio that would mysteriously appear in the most interesting places. Mr. Dubfader has a unique laugh that is contagious.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Yes! We’ll have to leave a little bit of mystery to that one, don’t want to ruin any surprises…
Now that it’s ready for release, what can fans expect of the album?
Real deal old school style reggae recorded just like our heroes did back in their day, all together live in one room straight on to tape.
How would you compare the album to previous releases?
The band touches on some roots style stuff, stretching out into some styles the band hadn’t ever really taken a crack at in the past. Many of the songs were put together right there on the spot, to keep it spontaneous and challenge ourselves to see what we could create in the moment.
Any stand out track/s to you personally?
I like Trial and Error, it is a good feeling rhythm and the message is positive. Dreaming on Erie has a nice floating feel, Mr. Dubfader did a great job of tweaking the echo on the guitar on the fly! Camel Rock has a driving funky feel that I really like. Eye of Obarbas brings the carnival. Enemy Dub has that sticky roots drive that the band hadn’t represented in the past.
Find out more, and pick up a copy of the album via www.aggroreggae.com