Three Piece Band Woes



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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby frodog » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:57 pm

D.o.S. wrote:I suggest you try playing it again, and louder.


Yeah, I just think it gets boring real quick. It all depends though. I've always listened to electronic music, and sometimes it's nice to just coast along on some minimal techno. Listening to monotonous riffing in a metal context just isn't appealing to me in the same way (obviously, although like Fenriz I enjoy both on occasion).

This is a song where I think the neverending two-note outro is actually killer. It's so annoying it becomes almost soothing. I think it has a lot to do with the feedback harmonics creeping.



If what you're working with is a handful of more easily digestible riffs, repeating them too many times seems more like underestimating the listener, like "please don't skip this song, just listen to my awesome riffs!". I like coming back to songs and catching little nuggets that flew by the last time. But I usually prefer short songs as well.

As for recording, we do that. The problem is not much of it gets mixed/mastered, it's only one person (not me) doing that occasionally. Since 2008. From some quick calculator action I got around 100 days of recorded material so far? To trawl through for riffs/tune bones/soundscapes/bad covers/bowels of insanity. It's like, do we divide that between the three of us and each spend a year+ of constant work pulling our raw material from that, or discipline ourselves to start right now becoming a better version of the band? I.e having an official name and even.. releases?? It's conundrums I'm sure most three-pieces go through, we've just been very slow.

Oh and Shoegaze.. I'd say it just depends on how soft/loud you can comfortably play with what you have and where you're at.
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby popvulture » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:40 pm

There's something really great about trios that prevents too much wankage, as the bottom will generally drop out if the guitarist takes a solo. Not to say that it doesn't work sometimes—heaven knows Led Zeppelin and the Who did it just fine (Trios plus singers, so still dealing with that guitar dropout issue)—but generally I'd say it demands a sense of economy that sorta reels things in.

That said, I've seen some trios add a sort of utility player to live situations, and it helps out a ton. Not a huge additional presence, but jus someone to help stuff fill out. Supergrass is the best example I can think of... absolutely MONSTER trio that pulled off plenty on their own, but they did have a keyboard player kinda stashed off to the back who was helping with bits here and there.

But then again, I saw Secret Machines a couple times and they did it really well. I think the absolute shit ton of pedals helped :lol:
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby Dowi » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:15 am

SecretMachine wrote:I mean, do you find playing shoegaze is generally a genre with a lack of dynamics anyway? Or am I way off base?


I can't say i'm a huge expert on shoegaze, nor that i've played it much. I listen to a bunch of albums and that's all, so i'm speaking from what i find to be pleasaurable to my ears, i don't refer them to a specific music genre. Shoegaze usually works on a "sonic carpet" but, to keep it interesting, variations are essential (but then again, is just my opinion). I mean, dynamics are a fundamental part of music and, approached in different ways, you can find them in any kind of stuff, from rock-derivated, to jazz or ambient etc etc.

popvulture wrote:There's something really great about trios that prevents too much wankage, as the bottom will generally drop out if the guitarist takes a solo. Not to say that it doesn't work sometimes—heaven knows Led Zeppelin and the Who did it just fine (Trios plus singers, so still dealing with that guitar dropout issue)—but generally I'd say it demands a sense of economy that sorta reels things in.


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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby Paul_C » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:41 pm

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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby voerking » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:53 pm

maybe i'm weird, but if i'm feeling the need to constantly fill the space, i will force myself (and my bandmates) to do the opposite & strip things WAY back.
sometimes "what can we remove from this arrangement & have it still get the point across?" is the best question to ask.
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:53 pm

Yes!! I enjoy doing that although sometimes it feels really wrong!
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby BoatRich » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:31 pm

Definitely try and write more complex bass lines and restructure your guitar parts to stay out of the way of that. Build fullness with the negative space by playing inversions and leaving the bass notes out of chords and letting him fill the root and lower melody notes. If you loop, do more of it and use distinct tones for separate parts. When recording you can always double track rhythm guitars or bass to fill it in, but live focus on making do with what you have.
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby retinal orbita » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:42 pm

ognoy wrote:Like Earthless. The drummer and bass player sounds awesome together, but then there is this dude wanking all over it, making it super boring.


I honestly find Earthless pretty dull most of the time - and as a bass player I don’t want to give too much credit to guitar wankery but the core of their music is really they’re just a fucking jam band and while it’s fun as fuck to play that sort of stuff and probably pretty cool to see live it can get boring as fuck and that’s on all three of them. The rhythm section is fucking great however so I’m in total agreement with you there. I looooooooooooved that first LP when it came out and it’s great but every time I decide I want to listen to Earthless in the last 10 years or so I turn it off after 10 minutes.

aen wrote:Maybe everybody just plays less.

That way when you all hit it together it's massive. Dynamics are all relative, and if youre working with enough watts to play with a rock drummer, your trio should be "technically too loud" at your loudest so...
Also having 1/3 of the band drop out completely REALLY raises tension, and that's essential for emotional payoff. Maybe think of it like writing a movie. Batman's not in every scene of The Dark Knight, after all.


I’m backing this hard. Are you recording and playing back your rehearsals? A lot of the time adding “space” to music means someone usually panics and turns on a pedal and tries to keep it grooving but maybe that space is what’s going to give the music some dynamics. When the bottom drops out of a 3 person jam it does sound weird but it could be that on a rehearsal space context it does and if it was a recording it would give the songs a chance to breathe.

It also sounds like you want us to tell you to fire your bass player? - or there’s a real lack of communication/equality if the end result is you’re unhappy with the playing unless you write the parts?
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby Benn Roe » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:46 am

Other people mentioned it, but get more amps. I'm a big fan of two amps per string instrument when it comes to three-pieces. Bassists get to run a boomy amp and a clear amp in conjunction, which fills out the band's sound without causing them to lose clarity, and guitarists get to put together a stereo pedalboard, giving them a more dynamic array of sounds (perhaps most importantly, two volume pedals for dropping one "guitar" or the other mostly or completely out every now and again). Four amps will make it a lot easier for your bassist to carry some parts while you go minimal, or vice versa.
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Re: Three Piece Band Woes

Postby ummohyeah » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:46 pm

I saw the Secret Machines play with Autolux in 2003 or 2004 at a club called the Lo Fi in Salt Lake City. I was fresh out of high school and was really hyped to see both bands, and had a good chat with you and Greg from Autolux afterwards. You have always had a great sound, I hope you find your rhythm/mojo again -- that first album was especially good. Cheers man.
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