EDENTHORN On Recording Exist

Durham based Modern Hard Rock band, Edenthorn, have just released their second album Exist.  Mick Burgess sat down with brothers Kyle and Mark Tague and brother/sister Fabia and Dylan Gardner to talk about the formation of the band, the recording of Exist and plans for the future.

When did you first start playing music?

We’ve all been playing music for a long time especially me and Dylan who have been playing since we were kids. I originally sang in a band with my sister before I played the bass. We could never get a bass player so I asked my Mom and Dad to buy me a bass and I’d learn it. I’m learning all the time and challenging myself to become a better player. I’m learning how to do Slap Bass now and I went onto You Tube recently to look at the Top 10 most difficult bass lines and tried to do YYZ by Rush but that was pretty tricky.

Did you know each other before you formed Edenthorn?

We were in different bands and at one-point Kyle and Mark were in a band together and Fabia joined on keyboards. A couple of us were in a band called Hostage and also a cover band with other members so between a few bands we already had a connection and eventually we just wanted to take things further and decided to form a new band that became Edenthorn back in 2013. We spent a year jamming and writing before we put out our first EP and then we released our first album The Maze in 2015.

You were in a lot of bands prior to Edenthorn, do you still play in any of those?

We still do some shows with our cover band Born Villains doing ’70’s, 80’s and 90’s Rock covers. It’s a lot of fun and it’s always good to play live.

When did you start work on your latest album Exist?

It’s been three years since our last album. We played quite a few gigs before we started recording to test the new songs out. We probably started writing the songs two years ago and then recorded them over the last year or so. We wrote quite a few very quickly at the end that made the album. We tend to write loads of songs and then we whittle them down to the best ideas. We sometimes take good bits out of songs we haven’t used and use them in a different song.

Did you feel any second album syndrome where you have your whole life to write the first but only a few months to do the second?

Not really. The ideas came really quickly and easily. In fact, we’ve started jamming and writing the third album already. I think we’ve improved and grown as musicians and our relationships within the band have developed and that’s gone a long way in helping us in the writing process. We have got to know each other as musicians and we have just developed that feeling of where to take the music and we get to know what each of us will do. We have that musician’s telepathy and I think that it helps that we are related. The song writing on this album is much better as a result and the whole album feels more cohesive than anything that we’ve done before.

How do you go about writing the songs? Do you jam together or do you each bring ideas to the table and build them up from there?

We jam ideas together and make rough demos and Kyle adds his lyrics and melodies to the music. At the last album launch Dylan was messing about and he did this guitar melody that I liked so much that I thought we should use it as the basis of a song and that became Power. That one is getting mentioned a lot so good job we made it into a song. We also tend to record most of our practice sessions fortunately as the instrumental Speak To Me that closes the album was made up on the spot. I started playing the drum loop and Fabia joined in and Dylan went off on one and played over the top with this great guitar line so something like that happened so spontaneously. Dylan is our producer, mixer and master as well as guitarist and he pulls everything together.

What about the lyrics? Where do they come from?

Kyle writes the lyrics and he really stepped up on this album. We had a really bad time last year when our Nana died and at least three songs are based on that. I think Kyle writes really good lyrics when he has something emotional to say.

There’s a lot of variety on there, it Rocks hard, it’s melodic and a lot of different textures in the guitar department which a lot of bands overlook. Is it important to you to have that diversity in your music?

That’s what I love about Dylan’s playing. He’s not a one trick pony. We all have eclectic tastes so we like to have different sounds in our music. We’ll never be a band that just plays on style and Dylan’s playing is very important to the sound of the band. Our old manager wanted us to be all in your face but we didn’t want that. We wanted the contrasts and the diversity in our music. That’s why he’s our old manager.

Heart’s Still Beating was released as a single ahead of the album. What’s that song about?

It’s a positive song about being alive so you should embrace that. It’s one of the songs that people have picked up on and has got some radio play. People seem to really like that one. It has that summer anthem sound to me that you can play with your window down while driving along.

Where did you record the album?

We actually recorded the album in our house using ProTools. We did the drums at the In Heart Studio in Newcastle otherwise the neighbours wouldn’t have been too happy if we’d done the drums there too. We still use amps during the recording process but the vocals and guitars don’t need loads of room treatment but the drums needed to be done in a studio to get the right acoustics right. We did four or five drum sessions to get those down. We recorded the guitars roughly at a session per song and the bass we did about three songs per session. Kyle pretty much did one song at a session including the over dubs. I’d say it took 3 or 4 months to record the album.

How did you feel when you heard the complete album for the first time?

Well we’d been listening to the songs while Dylan was mixing them and we had a good idea how they were turning out but I remember when I was at a wedding and Dylan sent me a preview of Out Of The Dark which was going to be the opening track and he played it to me down the phone. It has a distant type of false start but I didn’t realise it at first and I didn’t think it sounded that great but then when the guitars kicked in it nearly blew my out my phone speakers and I knew that it was going to be a great opener for the album. Dylan made sure we had our input so he had a second opinion as it’d do his head in if he had to sit there all day and do the mixing himself. Dylan ultimately has the final say on the sound but we all have our say so it’s a real team effort but if Dylan is happy then we are happy as he’s really good at getting the best out of us as a band.

What about the artwork. Who did you get in to do that?

Ross Hannon who did the videos did the artwork for the cover. We knew what we wanted and gave him our ideas and he produced the artwork. I Googled the word Exist, to see what it came up with and there were some night time starry sky scenes which we quite liked and we wanted something along those lines. We were originally going to have a couple on the front but we thought it looked like it was a love album or something so decided against that. We knew what we were after and Ross designed it and we love it.

What about touring plans. Have you got any shows lined up?

We hope to get out and play as much as we can. We’ve had radio play that has had a great response but we just need to get out there and play as many shows as we can before we do our own headline tour. We’d love to open for Thirty Seconds To Mars when they play in Newcastle in May, that’d be a dream for us as we love their music and it would give us a chance to be heard by a lot of people. We’d love to do a support slot for a good band to go out and play different places around the country. Hopefully now that the album has just been released and with the radio airplay and great reviews we’ve been getting we can build up our fanbase and play as many shows as we can to as many people as possible.

Check out single Heart’s Still Beating:


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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