Montreal, Canada punk/garage rock trio, Nancy Pants, released their latest album, Total Nancy Pants, on November 20, 2014. The 11-song full-length recording is a prime example of the group's low-fi, pop-tinged garage punk and, as the band spends time this summer on the road (including the POP OFF Tour) in support of the new offering, we caught up with bassist and vocalist Adam Waito to talk about some of his key gear.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound? Waito: Probably the most important element to our sound is the boomy concrete practice space that we record in. Normally it wouldn't be an ideal environment for recording, but we've managed to get some pretty massive sounds using the room's natural reverb.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album? Waito: We recorded all the bed tracks (drums, bass, guitar) live off the floor in our practice space. I miked the drums with a single budget MXL tube microphone through a Studio Projects VTB1 preamp, the guitar split into two miked amps, and the bass direct through a crappy tube preamp (then beefed up with a bass amp plug in). I think that the key to our sound is the mono-miked drums in that boomy room. It takes a little while sometimes to find the perfect mic position, but I absolutely love this method and it's a dream to mix only one channel of drums. I like to put them pretty up-front in the mix with a fairly substantial amount of dirty fake-vintage software compression (ie. Waves CLA-2A). Keeping the bass DIed adds some flexibility and keeps those bass frequencies from bouncing all over the room for a tighter sound.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set? Waito: We generally just turn our amps loud and give 'er.
What are the major pros and cons? Waito: We don't have a lot of sonic flexibility in this room. It kind of sounds the way that it sounds. Fortunately I think it suits the music we play and the kind of massive, loud energy we want to achieve on record. We are a rock three piece so we can get away with recording in a boomy concrete echo chamber without it all turning into incoherent soup.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear? Waito: As someone who has always recorded with whatever low-end equipment is available, I can say that if you are flexible about what kind of sounds you want to achieve, you can find a sweet spot that sounds great with almost any shitty piece of budget consumer-grade gear, or any weird sounding room if you use your ears and have enough imagination.