Recently back from several months in Tangier, Canadian band Your Favorite Enemies has resumed residency at their studio – a converted former church in Drummondville, Quebec. The band has spent the last nine years using the space to not only record, but as prolific multi-platform communicators, it’s the base for their web casts and video productions.
Guitarist Jeff Beaulieu explains how the band ended up temporarily relocating to Tangier, where they created an actual studio space. Here the well-travelled band members harvested the bounty of their experiences in Morocco. “Alex [Foster] came to Tangiers to write for 2 months. He developed such a profound bond with the city and also with the people here; more than he could ever imagine. He really wanted us (the rest of the band) to come and discover that spirit for how it would speak to each of us on a personal level. For us it represented a new amazing and freeing chapter.”
The band was invited to take over the second floor of a house located near the sea separating Tangier from Spain. “We were in the Marshan district, a very beautiful place full of life. Remote enough to have some quiet moments to do recording and also hours of pure traffic chaos which we loved. I think it was important to be “with” the people from Tangier to be immerse in the culture and not alone on our private desert island, there would have been no point to be there in that case. We wanted to totally change our universe, open our eyes and let ourselves be inspired so we were only left with the desire to write music that would be honest and strive for something bigger than ourselves. Music has always been a common language from the heart and it’s with a total abandonment that you can resonate in someone else’s heart. Tangier for me has such a free spirit, so different than the lifestyle we’re used to.”
That chapter meant navigating all of the challenges of acquiring, shipping and maintaining gear in a new and somewhat mysterious land. Beaulieu explains: “For the selection of gear, since we’d built our own arsenal and are our own engineers and producers, we decided for a blend of old and new, since in Tangier there’s no safety net for repairing material. If you’re only bringing vintage equipment you’re really stressing yourself out for nothing because you won’t find any repair shop for a vintage pre or mic there.” Beaulieu and the band brought several pieces of Radial gear with them. “I favor Radial, it’s like bringing in army grade audio equipment, you can drop it and it will ask for more.”
Beyond its rugged road readiness, Beaulieu gave Radial gear the task of broaching any potential power supply inconsistencies. “One of the most important pieces of the puzzle for us since we were going somewhere we didn’t know about the quality of the electricity, was the security that no matter what we would be facing we’d have ways to isolate signals and the Radial ISO Twin Isolator gave us that peace of mind… It really eliminates any ground loop possibilities and we wouldn’t face any downtime associated with troubleshooting. It really keeps the signal clean and really precise.”
The recently released keyboard mixer and performance pedal, the Key-Largo, was also packed along for the adventure. “It is so well designed and since we’re using many keyboards and some live during recording… everything goes through the Key-Largo and we save some inputs and have a control on everything right at the pedal… there’s so many options of multiple outputs, going direct with USB, syncing with midi and the options of a send/return. It’s just so user-friendly and it really helps for focusing on music instead of constantly battling with loads of connections and adjusting levels between keyboards. All the possible options are on the pedal itself without the need of a line mixer.”
The band decided to do minimal acoustical treatment to their studio in Tangier, aiming to retain the essence of Tangier and its energy to inspire their work. Their confidence in their home studio space in Quebec meant they’d send many mixdowns for colleagues to listen to there to see how things were translating. Radial made it into the gear mix for raw signal capture. Beaulieu explains: “We use a ProD8 for any acoustic guitars and direct input for future reamping. We have the Reamp X-Amp for that purpose as well as the ProRMP. Those devices keep the signal intact and there’s absolutely no chance of buzz or loss of signal.”
Now back home from Tangier, where they completed a soundtrack project and started working on their next album, the band is working on finishing the recording, mixing and mastering in their Drummondville studio this summer for fall release.