Casper Hall chats the differences between his two bands, The Urban Sea and Blues Arcadia

The Urban Sea’s drummer Casper Hall has been hard at work releasing music in two bands. Not only does he drum for The Urban Sea, but he also plays in Brisbane band Blues Arcadia.

So fresh off the release of The Urban Sea’s latest single Underground Love, Harvey Blues from Blues Arcadia caught up with Casper to chat about the differences in recording processes between the two bands.

Blues Arcadia’s Harvey Blues caught up with The Urban Sea’s Casper Hall to chat about the differences in recording between his two bands.

HARVEY: So Casper, you are the drummer for both The Urban Sea and Blues Arcadia and both bands have had releases in the last fortnight. You must have been busy! How did the experience compare between the two bands?

CASPER: Quite different for sure but with some similarities. On one hand, for Blue Arcadia, we recorded with Jeff Lovejoy at Black Box where my focus was more on just playing and drum sounds. With The Urban Sea, we recorded the Underground Love single in my home studio where I was also producer and engineer. At the beginning of the process, I laid down a couple of takes along with Charlie (bass) and the rest I was tracking other parts, programming synths, comping and mixing. Having said that I did put the producer hat on a couple of times during the recording and mixing of Carnival of Fools, weighing in on decisions concerning the arrangements and such and also calling everyone out when they played out of time.

HARVEY: So how did the process of recording in a pro studio compare with recording in your own studio?

CASPER: When recording the final 4 tracks of Carnival of Fools with Blues Arcadia we tracked and signed off on mixes more or less within a month. This was obviously because
we were paying for studio and mixing time and had deadlines. We had limited revisions on mixes too which was in a way a good thing because it forced us to make the tough decisions quickly. On the other hand, Underground Love took us almost a year from start to finish in production which is pretty ridiculous, at least it cost us nothing! Having complete creative control and seemingly endless amounts of time is a blessing and a curse… we have the ability to self-produce all our music but it takes away any pressure to complete and release a track. As a result, we have piles and piles of written material, like I’m talking several albums worth. This year is definitely a “Get off ya ass and release some music” year for us in The Urban Sea.

HARVEY: When recording yourself, how do you maintain impartiality as both artist and in a way producer?

CASPER: On drums, I see myself as much more of a producer or support musician than an artist. I find my individual style as a drummer comes through naturally based on all the music I listen to and the drummers I look up to. I play for the music, supporting and glueing it all together. While playing drum takes, I’m listening to not just myself but everyone else. Shanan and I along with the rest of the band work together as producer really, I actually worry a lot more about engineering the sound than song production. We spend a great deal of time in pre-production though, so once we hit the studio the songs are relatively polished. This means that once I’m on the kit in the studio tracking I’m more listening to hear if the performance as a whole was well-executed rather than if the parts are right or need to be changed.

HARVEY: How does recording affect the creative process of both bands?

CASPER: Causes some amount of stress in general, mostly caused by deadlines. In the Urban Sea it tends to send us a bit wild with ideas and the possibilities like “yeah lets put a choir there!” or “Just one more guitar overdub!” after doing like 4 or 5 overdubs already, then we’re left trying to mix it all together somehow haha. Bringing a song into the recording environment can definitely be hit and miss, like introducing a click track can sometimes tear the natural feel of a song apart. Although creating within the studio environment is one of my favourite places to be, when you have the time to play around with things the possibilities are endless.

HARVEY: Bands often avoid recording themselves, to avoid conflicts… what was your experience?

CASPER: As a group, The Urban Sea are really a bunch of very chill guys, the group dynamic in this band is one of our biggest positives. I wouldn’t say that conflicts have ever been a problem for us, egos are always left at the door. As I said earlier our largest hurdle has been getting our music recorded! Having said that we have just been in the studio tracking the next EP all by ourselves. We have also decided to have the record mixed by someone else this time as that was a process that took us far too long previously as we were just way to close to the songs. I have a lot of confidence that we can continue to record ourselves this way, with plans for an album in the pipeline already for a late 2019 release, there’s a lot to look forward to this year.

The Urban Sea’s Underground Love and Blues Arcadia’s Carnival Of Fools are both available now. Listen above.