Featured Recording: The Big Strong Arms
“Sloth” by The Big Strong Arms
Sloth is a song about exactly what it sounds like – laziness, lethargy… sloth, basically. It started life, like most of our songs, as just a random jam. Over time, our songs just tend to become whatever genre they need to be, and as we worked on Sloth, it eventually took the form of a weird fusion of riff rock and hip-hop. We tried to keep the composition extremely simple, lazy even, to fit the theme.
Lyrically, the song is sort of a diss track. Everyone’s got that one friend: the guy who never does anything, just sits around and whiles away his precious time on earth in whatever pointless way he can. Hell, from time to time, everyone is that guy. Sloth isn’t a put-down of anyone in particular, but rather of the concept of sloth itself. It’s a call-to-arms: get up, get out there, DO SOMETHING.
We recorded the song at Pie Man Sound over in Cary, which is run by our good friend and CBGB alum Mitchell Dancik. Everything ran through his incredible API console. When it came to laying the recording down, at first, we just played it exactly how we play it live – we wanted that live, full-band energy to come through. Once we had a good live take, we went back and started adding things. The intro was born when our drummer, Phil Palmer, was messing around on the studio kit, scraping the tip of his drumstick across the ride cymbal, which produced this extremely lonely-sounding screech. It sounded almost like the squeak of an old, rusty swing set – dark, melancholic – a perfect scene-setter. As for the vocals, at first, they sounded a little flat. They didn’t quite match the violent energy we were going for. So our vocalist, Jed, got an idea: he shouted himself hoarse, then stepped into the recording booth and put down a “growl track.” This was done on one of AEA’s outstanding R44 microphones to capture the performance in the grittiest way possible. You can hear that track underneath the main vocal, lending it a gravelly, seething, angry quality. Finally, for the chorus, we all stepped out under a couple room mics and shouted our lungs out. Sometimes, the simplest methods are best.
Give them a listen here, then see The Big Strong Arms live at the Bootlegger’s Bash – to benefit NextStep Raleigh – on January 25, 2019 at Imurj. Sound System Seven and Will McBride Group will help you dance the night away – Get all the details and ticket links right here: BOOTLEGGER’S BASH 2019