I sort of ended up being pals with Tom from Gold Flake Paint before I ever met him, I think, in that way that can happen in the internet era.
When he moved to Edinburgh for a year or so we hung out more, meeting at gigs a lot, as tends to happen in Edinburgh where the gig-going community is actually very small. Then he treacherously moved through to Glasgow at which point he was totally dead to me and has been ever since*.
(*This may be a slight exaggeration.)
Despite this, when Mrs. Toad and I arranged to move to New York for three months at the end of 2015, and the idea of doing a Split 12” locally whilst we were there was born, Tom made perfect sense as someone to collaborate with on the release, given his own affinity with many of the bands I love from that part of the world.
I’ve always admired Gold Flake Paint as a blog. Tom never seems to really care about fame or fashion, he just writes with constant energy and enthusiasm about the stuff he himself likes the most, which gives the blog a sincerity and integrity often lacking elsewhere on the internet, as well as a sort of sonic cohesion as well.
In terms of where to record the actual music, well that was solved by the fantastic coincidence that my brother just happens to be a professional sound engineer. And just happens to live in New York. And just happens to have access to the studio at the National Opera Centre.
My family have always been pretty much my best friends. We moved around a lot while we were growing up so we were basically the only constants in one another’s lives, and that meant our relationships with one another were always more important than those with the people around us, who were always changing.
This is the first time Ben and I have actually spent anything like this much time together since I left for university though, and the chance to just hang out, never mind work together, was fantastic.
Living in Red Hook, going to the Bait & Tackle, Brooklyn Crab, Hometown Barbecue, Rocky Sullivan’s, The Silent Barn, Fort Defiance for huevos rancheros, to see the Islanders at the Barclays Centre, taking the water taxi across to Manhattan and hanging out with my wee brother, talking bollocks about football, Star Wars and music stuff... what an incredible three months!
The interesting thing about recording in a proper studio, apart from me being intimidated by my brother’s sheer professionalism and actual, genuine expertise of course, was how different the atmosphere was.
When we record at home the bands just naturally take it easy - they’re just visiting our house after all. But in the studio there was only really my ‘natural charm’ to keep the atmosphere relaxed, and suddenly because of the formality of the setup things like monitoring and proper tracking took on more importance than they ever do in someone’s living room.
We got some beers in though, and I think in the end we managed to make it relaxed and enjoyable. I had fun anyway, and I know Ben did. And the record’s fucking great!
Matthew Young (Song, by Toad Records)
released November 15, 2016
The songs were recorded and mixed by Ben Young, sequenced by Matthew Young and mastered by Reuben Taylor and Ben Young.
Massive thanks to the National Opera Centre for not just telling us to piss off. Thanks to Ben for being a pal. And most of all, thanks to Mrs. Toad for taking us to Brooklyn in the first place.
Thanks to Double Double Whammy and Paper Trail Records.
Still photography and sleeve design by Matthew Young.
All publishing and copyright remain the property of the bands, except for ‘Only Sixteen’, which is a cover of a Sam Cooke song, whose publishing rights reside with Abkco Music.