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Over The Last Decade There Has Been A Heavy Focus On The Loudness War | The Addition

The Addition

Under a cold, bleak sky in the waning daylight of the Northeast, sits a cabin in the woods…

Surprisingly, this story has nothing to do with raising the dead or being hunted by psychopaths. Instead, the setting became the birthplace of our band, The Addition.

Over a November weekend of 2017 in the beautifully isolated woods of New Hampshire, Ryan, Brendan, Pat, and myself worked at creating a sound we wanted to hear more of in the world. Although we each cut our teeth on different facets of music, we all grew up in the era of post-grunge and hard rock, so we sought to make something raw and authentic that would not be overly perfected.

While our backgrounds range from classical jazz to punk rock, it’s not uncommon to be at rehearsal and suddenly hear, “with arms wide open!” in an exaggerated Scott Stapp impression. Sure, we do this because everyone likes to make fun of Creed, but like many post-grunge musicians, there is something you just love to hate about them. We certainly aren’t trying to be one of those bands stylistically, but we do want to be unique to the current world of Rock, even if that means some people don’t like us. In order to differentiate ourselves, we agreed on three rules:

Play the songs live together. This was really about getting back to the roots of recording rock songs. We wanted to build an atmosphere where we could fully immerse ourselves in the creative process, so we rented the Airbnb cabin in the woods and assembled all the gear needed to record everything on our own. We had amps in bathrooms, area microphones hanging from the loft, cables running down hallways, and a control room in the master suite. It all developed around Pat’s drum kit stationed in the living room; it was beautiful!

Keep production simple. We wanted our listeners to hear all the instruments, amps, and mixture of effects as they would in a small rock club. I remember asking our guitarist, Ryan - who also produces our music - how to best make a rock song sound vivid and powerful, without feeling cluttered. His answer was to use less tracks, and that’s exactly what we did with each song recorded at the cabin. While bands of the 70’s typically used between sixteen and twenty-four tracks for recording, we released our first single, “Baluster” in March of this year, using a total of twelve tracks. Minimalism may not work for every band, but it felt right for us.

Never sacrifice dynamics for the sake of being loud. We feel our genuine separation from other rock groups comes with the addition (see what I did there?) of this third rule. Over the last decade, there has been a heavy focus on the “Loudness War” in audio engineering. This is trend of mastering engineers increasing the audio levels on recorded music in order to be competitive. The idea is that a louder song will feel superior, or more impactful to the listener. I shared this belief, until I realized it often leads to music losing the nuance and dynamics that make it great. Why search for the perfect studio environment if you are only going to sterilize its authenticity?

We chose that cabin in New Hampshire for its distinct personality and we wanted to capture that in the music. Our songs will be quieter than others when they begin, but that’s the best part. You get to crank them up!

Our singles, “Reckoning” and “Baluster” are available now, and we are very excited to release the next two by the end of this year. If nothing more, we hope that when you hear our music you can recognize that it’s four dudes rocking out in a cabin and having a great time.

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