Naam Rough It for Debut Album
When it came time for Naam to book their studio time to record their debut album, the band knew they couldn’t be confined to a studio in the city. There was no question — it wasn’t going to happen. “I have made records in studios before, and I absolutely hate it. I think it’s the s—tiest environment,” vocalist/bassist John Bundy told Noisecreep. “There is no way to relax. The thought of recording our full-length in New York City drove me nuts, taking a break and walking out from the studio into Manhattan, no. That’s out of the question.”
The goal was to find a place that could not just act as the place of recording their album, but a place that could feed into their hypnotic, psychedelic journeys. In a way, the hope was to find a place that would act as member of the band, giving inspiration and lighting new paths for creation. So they searched for places outside of New York City. “We found this place on Craig’s List. It was an abandoned dairy farm that was being used as a rental property. So we just took our chances and loaded up a few vans of every piece of gear we have,” Bundy says.
For a week, the band roamed free on a farmhouse upstate, with 100 acres of land at their conveyance and a cabin set up perfectly for a recording studio. Each instrument had its own live room to breathe in, and this included the instruments that never see the light of day during a Naam live experience, like keyboards and organs. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Bundy thankfully exclaimed.
For over a week, the band lived the music they loved, finding sounds in the life around them. Even when nothing was being recorded, they were still playing music together. “We would wake up [at 8 AM] and all cook breakfast and eat together, and then we’d get to work. When the day was done we’d grill out, drink beers — we went out to the fire and had drum circles,” Bundy recalled.
Originally only having six songs in tow, the band ended up creating more while in the midst of their surroundings — like the instrumental track ‘Stone Ton’ that came from an improvised drum circle late one night. “The mics were all set up, and there were seven of us in a room and everyone on a different piece of percussion. And that’s how that track came to be,” explained Bundy. And some songs, such as the rowing darkness album opener ‘Kingdom,’ were re-recorded for the album, but in the trance of the wood, dirt and earth at their feet, the song took on new dynamics.
“We added a bit more of a walk through on the ambiance,” Bundy explained of ‘Kingdom.’ “The sounds you hear of the crickets, the footsteps and the frogs, we used from our own field recordings. Those are all sounds from the farm.”
Bundy doesn’t look back on the album’s recording as an attempt to paint the songs in a certain light, as most bands recall their debut long recording sessions. Naam’s debut album is a capsule of a moment captured in the Catskill Mountains. “It just set this vibe,” Bundy says. “It rained a lot while we were out there, where it was kind of dismal but really beautiful, too. I think it gave it a laid back feel. I don’t know if we could ever replicate that. It was a time and a place.”
Not very sure where the band could end up for their next album, Bundy is sure Naam won’t be in a sterile studio, that can be counted on.