SBR asked Matteo Bianciotto of emerging London post-metal quartet, Novere, to write a diary in the week leading up to the recording of their latest single.
Saturday 2 April 2022 | 9 Days to Studio
“Art is not what you can see, but what makes others see.”
The first time I came across this sentence, I was a teenager distractedly flipping through the pages of my art book in the school corridor. Back in the day, I had just started my first band and managed to convince my father to give me the equivalent of £20 to buy my first guitar – a sunburst Samik Stratocaster with a damaged neck. I had never felt more satisfied and accomplished.
The goal at that point was, in a world without Google or YouTube, to figure out (without knowing the difference between a major and a minor chord at this point) how to write a 220-bpm punk song. It was a recipe for disaster but reading that sentence, I realised that as long as I and my band mates felt great playing, we would have never stopped. Twenty-five years later, here I am, sitting on a bench beside a London rehearsal studio, waiting for the Novere boys to show up.
It’s the first rehearsal in a month; first rehearsal since the small tour we shared with the amazing guys of This Sun No More; and last rehearsal before 11 April – the day when we have booked Wayne and his magical studio to record our new single, ‘Icarus’. All in one day.
Sunday 3 April 2022 | 8 Days to Studio
It’s 8.45am, and I’m late. I hate being late. It makes me feel like I’ve let people down, and I hate that even more. Dressed like a goth version of one of the Sopranos, I frantically walk through Clissold Park, holding my guitar in one hand, a bottle of water in the other. My good friend, Mark, the mastermind behind the prog/post metal band Dawnwalker, is waiting for me at the entrance to the small cemetery of the park.
Over time, I realised that I love music, and I love it even more when it brings me to do things outside my comfort zone. Actually… I think I hate my comfort zone, even more than being late and letting people down.
Monday 4 April 2022 | 7 Days to Studio
Work week is back. Walking down Chancery Lane, sipping my macchiato, I am trying to figure out the best way to optimize next week’s recording session. To record an eight-minute song in one day, starting from zero, and be somehow satisfied with the results, is not an easy game. The Novere guys (me included) tend to be quite picky and addicted to details. In my head, I roughly allocate one hour of setup and recording time for each of the instruments and two hours for the drums.
Drums: 2 hr.
Guitar A: 1 hr.
Guitar B: 1 hr.
Bass guitar: 1 hr.
Vocals: 1 hr.
Mixing: 2 hr.
Total: 8 hr.
Sounds dangerous, hanging on the verge of disaster. Yeah, I like it.
Tuesday 7 April 2022 | 4 Days to Studio
I am sitting on the ground in my small room with a bunch of delay, chorus, and reverb pedals in front of me. I literally spent two hours jumping from pedal to pedal, trying the various guitars in all possible combinations. I’m worried, as usual, about the clean sounds. Heavy tones are a dumb game but cleans don’t lie.
Sunday 10 April 2022 | 1 Day to Studio
Have you ever felt guilty for not practicing enough? That’s basically my normal state. No matter how much I play, or how many rehearsals I manage to organise with the band, I always feel I could have done more. I wonder if my brain will one day give me a break.
Monday 11 April 2022 | Studio Day
Despite knowing that I won’t have more than twenty minutes of effective playing time to record my eight minutes of music, I felt like bringing three guitars with me was the right thing to do. Dave (my fellow guitarist in Novere) is waiting for me, standing beside his car, watching me approach with my triple load. I can already see him smiling.
Twenty minutes later, we’re entering Bear Bites Horse studio, and we start unloading our equipment. Wayne has plenty of amazing pieces of gear, but we tend to stick to ours as much as we can. We always thought of Novere as a guitar band with a transparent heavy sound. I guess this attitude reflects our punk origins.
To work out a full song in such a short amount of time, you need to be organised. Wayne is great at directing us and knows what’s vital to get right and where we can compromise. You cannot think details, or at least you can’t work on details that you haven’t previously planned. The full drums are captured in two takes, most of the guitar and bass parts don’t even have the privilege of two. It feels like a quick job, but the day flies away in a heartbeat.
It’s 9.30pm, and I receive an email from Dave, sharing the first run of the mix. I slowly connect the mobile to the stereo, sit on the sofa and press play…Yes. I feel satisfied, exactly like that day, twenty-five years ago, when I received my first guitar. I guess that’s why I haven’t managed to stop.
*** Novere self-released their debut EP, Soulless Elements, on 9 December 2021. You can read the original SBR review here. The band release their new single, ‘Icarus’, on 25 June 2022.