Back in 2006 Christchurch Thrash / Death Metal band TAINTED sent shockwaves throughout the New Zealand metal scene with their a scorching debut album ‘The Awakening’ produced by SINATE’s Sam Sheppard. Two years on and the band have stepped it up another notch recording their HEAVY new album ‘Carved And Created’ at York St Studios in Auckland with Clint Murphy (MANIC STREET PREACHERS, BLINDSPOTT, THE FEELERS). Guitarist and founding member Tim Facoory gives us the rundown on the new album, upcoming Southern Amp appearance and the TAINTED story so far…
NZRock: It sounds like you guys went above and beyond with new album flying from Christchurch to Auckland multiple times for the recording sessions. Can you go through the process of creating this record?
Tim: The recording was spread over a year. We initially went to Clint Murphy with about 8 songs to begin with as a starting point and he was like well, I want more! haha! Because he wanted to pick and choose songs. I think it was 16 songs that we ended up offering to him and funnily enough the last four we hummed and haad about whether we wanted them on there. Clint wanted them on there and it was like well, we cant do them all. At the same token, the one that we’d most recently finished we were literally polishing and finishing in the studio when we were in there which was the song ‘Carved And Created…’ which was kind of bizzare. But we all felt that was the song that needed to go on there. Clint’s biggest concern was the album being too samey – having too much of the same sort of songs, similar structure or similar beats throughout the album. He wanted to try and avoid that which was why he wanted such a big selection I suppose you could say.
NZRock: With those songs that didn’t make it onto the album, did they reach tracking stage?
Tim: Yeah we did actually track three of the songs. When I say track, we demoed most of the songs with Clint at York in an evening for him to think about and for us to think about as well. So yeah, we do actually have a York-style demo of some of the other stuff that never made the cut for the album.
NZRock: Something you can use for B-sides maybe? haha!
Tim: Yeah some b-sides exactly Haha! You’re dead right.
NZRock: Listening to the completed album, ‘Carved And Created’ has a diverse range of songs. What was the trickiest part to record?
Tim: Trickiest things… I don’t think there was a trickiest thing at all. The thing that took the longest out of everything would’ve been the drums. Clint spent the majority of the time on the drums. Leith and Clint were working up to a day and a half on the songs just making sure everything was nice and tight. And I suppose there were other things that go on in the studio that we were new to. You know like there were parts of songs like ‘Tyranny’ where we’ve got the slow down in the middle there where we changed parts of the drum kit just to get a bigger sound during that bit – bigger hi-hat, deeper snare, different cymbals just to give it more lift. So yeah, I suppose you could say lots of mucking around with the drums and getting the drum sound different for different parts so that it sounded more full.
NZRock: What was the effect or instrument that you used to record the intro to ‘Vengeance’?
Tim: I used my trusty Jackson guitar haha! Initially Clint wanted to try and turn it into like a sitar sort of sound. At the time we decided to do it, it was late at night. We decided we’d just muck around with some of the different pedals that I had there and what Clint had a York as well. It started to come out that way and I generally tend to vibrato a wee bit and Clint kept telling me off haha! He was like, don’t vibrato there! We need it to sound like an organ! Haha! I think I got it in just at the end though and he let me get away with that one haha!
NZRock: You worked with Clint Murphy and also Ryan Smith of Stirling Sound in the USA. So there were a good deal of respected music industry people involved in the production of ‘Carved And Created’. How’d you become associated with all of these guys?
Tim: We met Clint Murphy through York St Studios. We met him via Jeremy [McPike] at York. When we did ‘The Awakening’ we did the mastering at York and that was when we got into conversations with Jeremy the head honcho there. He was like, if you ever decide to do another album make sure you give me a call. And I was like yeah that’s cool. Then I suppose quite a few months went past after we did ‘The Awakening’ and we decided yeah, we do want to do another album. So we got on the phone to Jeremy and said hey, we’re quite keen to come up and do a single to start with to try and get a feel for the studio, who are the guys that you use up there? And Jeremy came back and said well actually Clint Murphy has just come back in the country, do you want me to have a word and see if he might be interested? So it kind of went from there you know. Clint gave us a call and he was uber-keen to do something different, away from the stuff that he’d been doing. I know that he’d been over in Europe hanging out with ol’ Mel C! Haha! He was looking for something different. He enjoys Metal himself personally but he doesn’t get the opportunity to record a lot of Metal – just the type of producer he is I spose. I mean I know he did all of the mixing for 8 FOOT SATIVA’s ‘Season For Assault’ and I know he did all the engineering for the debut BLINDSPOTT album and picked up awards for that album I believe, which is all good. So he kind of gave us a call and said hey look, I’d love to do a single with you guys and see how you guys work and you can get a feel for how I work and go from there. And I suppose you could say it just gelled when we initially recorded that first song ‘Scars’ and conversations started after that.
NZRock: TAINTED has a number of shows coming up before the end of the year including Southern Amp…
Tim: Gutted TESTAMENT aren’t going to be there man! Yeah absolutely gutted that they’re not going to be there. At the same token it leaves us being the only Metal band on the bill which is kind of daunting in some ways but in saying that, we were the only Metal band last year at Southern Amp as well although it wasn’t as big a bill as it was for this year. But still, we where the out of place band however it went extremely well for us. The tent was packed! I still remember that just beside the stage where we were playing there was a big bloody six foot fence where all the drinkers were because you know they were all sidelined off in their area. People were trying to get into that side to see what was going on in the tent and I think the fence actually broke at one point and people were just waltzing in from that side as well haha! So yeah, looking forward to this year, just gutted that TESTAMENT aren’t there.
NZRock: There’s been some awesome bands come out of Christchurch over the years. How strong is the Metal scene at the moment?
Tim: Christchurch has a wicked Metal scene, no doubt about it. Its always been there as I suppose most Metal scenes have around New Zealand. You know, they’ve had their little lulls but the Christchurch scene has been quite strong. Well, certainly at least the last three or four years its been really strong and those guys are loyal, really loyal.
NZRock: You’ve been involved in it for quite a long time now going back to HUMAN. Do you miss being in that band at all?
Tim: Um, parts yes and no I suppose you could say. I’m going along to see them play tonight which is cool. There are always parts that you miss about doing certain stuff, especially with the amount of years that I spent with HUMAN. But at the same token this stuff that I’m going in TAINTED is a lot different from HUMAN. It’s far from HUMAN, I suppose you could say, quite a long way away from it and it’s certainly where my heart is, theres no doubt about that. Not that my heart wasn’t in HUMAN but its just this style of Metal is more predominantly where I want to be and I suppose that kind of goes to say why we went our own ways.
NZRock: Can you see the stuff you’re doing with TAINTED taking you overseas as a band?
Tim: Absolutely, overseas is definitely on the bill at some point in time, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve got an album now ‘Carved And Created’ which in my opinion is up there production wise the other bands that are out there in content and production. So certainly the plan is to go overseas at some point, definitely.
NZRock: You guys definitely went all out with production and also the physical product like the artwork. Have you got any idea how you’re going to top that next time or is it way to early to be thinking about that?
Tim: Bizarrely enough we are thinking about it. I have to admit, we’ve started writing. This afternoon I’ve actually been laying down some riffs with our drummer Leith, trying to get a structure together for a new song. I think as a whole all of us have actually missed being in the studio to a point. We’re overwhelmed with how the album has come out, theres no doubt about that. We never expected it to be that big or come out that huge you know. So theres definitely another one coming, we’re definitely working on it. As to how we top it well, I suppose we’ll have to be a bit more clear about how we write the next set of songs. We’re already six songs up on it in reality with the six that didn’t go on this album. As far as Clint was concerned it wasn’t that the quality of the song wasn’t there, he just picked the 10 strongest songs that were different. He said that each song had their own merit, no doubt about that, it’s just that they would fit probably in another album in their places as well.
NZRock: Did you have working titles for those six songs?
Tim: We actually played a couple of them live. One of them was called ‘Rust’ which was one that we actually played at quite a few shows earlier on in the year before we decided to pull it off just because it was a little bit too similar to one of our other songs in structure. So we wanted to re-write that part of it just to give it it’s own definition. There’s ‘Hunters’ which is another song. And most of those songs are still very much songs that we very much intend on recording at some point in time there’s not doubt.
NZRock: The speed that TAINTED has come along as a band is really impressive. In just a couple of years you’ve two albums already. What’s the trick to being able to do it so fast?
Tim: Well TAINTED has actually been around a long time, it’s just been very much I suppose you could say in the background, not happening on the gig front. The reality is TAINTED formed in 2001. Maybe not the initial line-up that came out with ‘The Awakening’ but myself and Quentin started TAINTED jamming in the garage – this would’ve been when I was still with HUMAN – and that was when we wrote the likes of ‘Broken’, ‘To Hate Is To Hate’, ‘Tainted’, the actual song itself plus some others that obviously dropped off from the early stages to when we got going. It took us a long time to find the other musicians to gel with us you know. Our first official TAINTED show was 2005. That was a good four years of writing songs and trying to find members to come on board. And when we did find Sean our bass player and Nick our old singer guitarist which was the very end of 2004, it happened very quickly. Because we already had 9 songs at the time, that we were happy with playing so it happened very quick. Then it was 2005 and we managed to hook up with the guys from SINATE. It kind of just expanded from there really and then by the time 2006 came along we’d obviously released ‘The Awakening’, we were already writing for this album now and ‘Bound By My Own’ and ‘Tyranny’ were certainly two of the songs that we were touring through the later end of 2006 and early 2007.
NZRock: What ended up happening to Nick after he left the band?
Tim: Nick has retired haha! He did all of the digital part of our album inlay. He’s responsible for the setout and the concept of the whole CD design, not so much the actual artwork that was designed but yeah Nick did all that for us. It [the band] just wasn’t for him. He only ever thought TAINTED would be just something that happened in Christchurch, just a couple of gigs every couple of months or so, that sort of thing. So all of a sudden we were sent into a tailspin when we released ‘The Awakening’ where we were touring everywhere. We picked up support for BLINDSPOTT which was bizarre given that we were Metal haha! He just didn’t like the touring part, didn’t like the travelling part, just found that a little bit too hard on himself. He just decided that he wanted to part ways before it came too big.
NZRock: Justin “Jackhammer” Niessen (ex-8 FOOT SATIVA) was also performing vocals for TAINTED for a time, was he ever an official member of the band?
Tim: He was an official member at one point yeah definitely. That was after Nick had come to us and said that he was thinking about moving on. We’ve kept the relationship all the way through with Nick. He was a friend long before TAINTED came about and he’ll always be a friend going into the future. We’d had Jackhammer come in and do some vocals on ‘The Awakening’ album and he always said that he wanted to get into a new venture and that he was a fan of TAINTED which he was. And of course when Nick came along and said he was thinking about leaving, Jack happened to be there at the same time and it was like hey, how about it, do you want to give it a go? It kind of went from there. It only lasted with Jack… it must’ve been about four months, before he left the band. It just didn’t work out with Jack. He’s in a different world than what we were so the gel wasn’t there unfortunately.
NZRock: But it’s worked out all good in the end, TAINTED is sounding mean now!
Tim: Yeah well Slim is an awesome bloke no doubt about that and live, Jesus, he’s like a little kid that’s had way too much sugar haha!
NZRock: What’s happening with TAINTED in 2009? Any chance we’ll be seeing you play at the Big Day Out?
Tim: We are certainly trying our hardest to be on that. I know they’re definitely putting a couple of Metal bands on from what I believe and from what I can understand the Southern Amp performance is probably going to be a big part of whether we make it this year or not. We’ve come close the last couple of years and they’ve been watching us so I’m hopeful!