Recording in the country

Weird Decibels enjoy running their own 'cottage industry'.
Weird Decibels enjoy running their own 'cottage industry'.

Falkirk band Weird Decibels have a real cottage industry going thanks to their “rocking rentals” approach to recording albums.

When it comes to laying down new tracks, like the ones on their latest album ‘Weird Decibels 1’, the lads actually make tracks – hiring a cottage for a week, packing up their 32-track digital recording equipment and instruments and heading off for seven great days of rock, rest and play.

Guitarist Stu McCairney added: “We’ve been in studios locally and in Glasgow in the past and to me it always seemed quite rushed – with the cottage you get to take your time.”

“We used to record in my old flat in the town,” said singer Paul Smith. “But now we rent different cottages all over the place. You can actually hear the sound of the different places we’ve been on each recording.”

Weird Decibels have been around for almost 20 years, recording seven albums, enduring the “end” of the band at the turn of the century, embracing the new technology of auntie Web, changing their name slightly and suffering through the death of a close pal.

“We’ve been doing this for a few years,” said Paul. “We get on really well together. When we split up in 2000 it was amicable.

“We just love writing and recording new songs and playing them live for people.”

Originally known as plain old Weird - they decided to change it because people searching for them on the web almost always ended up having to wade through a cyber twilight zone before finding them - the band, which also features the drumming of Derek Menmuir and the bass playing of Greg McSorley, started jamming together at school in the early 90s.

Paul said: “I thought we would be doing covers, maybe sing a couple of Nirvana songs. But it was a case of ‘hiya I’m Paul and I’ve written a song’.”

This led to a string of great recordings – ‘Whapper Stormer’, ‘Firkin Outburst’, ‘Cold Home Street’, ‘One More Solo’, ‘Riot Act’ and its acoustic counterpart ‘Quiet Act’ and the most recent ‘Weird Decibels 1’.

The band’s two favourite songs ‘Waiting on the Sound of Your High Heels Baby’, which is worth a listen just for the title alone, and ‘Cold Calling’ are also the numbers which get the crowd calling out for more.

“We’ve played a lot of places over the years,” said Paul. “It wasn’t the best gig, but probably the most iconic was at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

“Some of the nights at the Martell in the 90s were amazing though.”

Flying high after they got back together in 2004, the band were brought down to earth when good friend David Brown was killed in a car accident in 2009.

Paul said: “I had played rugby with David since we were 14. He was my best mate. He was a good friend and a real fan of the band.”

Derek said: “It changed my whole way of writing lyrics. Instead of just writing about what happens to me, I started writing about what happens around us and about the characters around us.”

Even the band’s enforced name change is a tribute to David - his initials DB are what got the band thinking about decibels.

Moving on and changing with the times, Weird Decibels are now a clued-up 21st Century rock band.

Derek said: “It just needs people to click on your song, like it and then things go from there.”

Paul added: “There’s so much music out there now - it’s easy to get your music heard, but probably harder to get people to really listen to it, if you know what I mean.”

The band’s first ever video, for their song ‘Wonder’, features various locations in their beloved Falkirk which are important to them and has the lads starring in “blink and you’ll miss ‘em” cameos.

“A lot of people write songs about how crap Falkirk is, but it really isn’t,” said Paul.

You can catch Weird Decibels live at The Box in Glasgow on Wednesday, March 13.

Visit www.facebook.com/weirddecibels for more on the lads or search for them on You Tube to see their amazing music video.