After taking a break for a couple of months, ISO is back with a new drummer and has recorded a brand new album, POLYDIMENSION, set for release later in 2016.
The band went into studio in March and April this year at Openroom Studios in Johannesburg and Sleeproom Studios in Pretoria. POLYDIMENSION is produced by ISO with Darryl Torr as recording engineer, and will be mixed and mastered by Peach van Pletzen.
Each member captured their moments recording the new album in the form of a studio diary:
RICHARD BROKENSA – LEAD VOCALS / GUITAR
Recording this album has been quite an emotional journey for me and a new experience for us as a band.
I live in Cape Town now and the rest of the band lives in Johannesburg so we had to come up with a solution for the songwriting process. Over the past 5 months, I have been writing continuously along with the other guys. I would record the basic structure of the songs in my home studio and upload it to Dropbox for them to listen and record and add their instruments. We managed to get 11 songs done over this period. From there I flew to Johannesburg towards the end of March for rehearsals with the band. We rehearsed 25 hours in 3 days and then performed at 2 festivals over the weekend before heading into studio in Joburg. When we got into studio we felt right at home and I knew straight away that it had been way too long and how much I had missed this.
I am in love with all the new songs and the energy and emotion was all there on the day of recording. Alex also recorded live piano for the album which I was so happy about since a lot of the songs have been composed on piano. We tracked the album live together in 2 days and then I returned to Cape Town. A few days later at the beginning of April, I flew back to record the vocals in Pretoria. For me this was one of the most magical experiences, it flowed so easily and I recorded the vocals for the album in 6 hours, which has never happened before. The music that we have composed on this album is truly from the heart and I only wanted to write music for this album that challenged me as a musician and especially as a composer, so I am hoping this is what comes across from my side on the album. I am completely in love with the new songs and I am very interested to see which dimension this takes us to from here.
ALEX PARKER – KEYBOARD / BACKING VOCALS
This recording experience has been a fantastic one for me personally. With Richard living in Cape Town, it meant we had to do all the pre-production over Dropbox. This afforded me some time to really mould and shape my keys’ sounds to fit the song. I love experimenting with different sonic landscapes and the writing on this album has meant that I could delve into that process with ease. I recorded all my keys parts at my home studio from October till February, and then recorded all my piano parts myself in late March. I got to experiment with different mic placements and piano tones based on the song I was adding piano to. I feel like my contribution to this album is a rich as it has ever been and I’ve really enjoyed the process overall.
NICK MCCREADIE – DRUMS / BACKING VOCALS
Look, if you had to describe in one word what happened over those two and a bit weeks, it’d have to be…’magic’!
Writing with Franco in the previous weeks that led up to to Richard’s arrival was where it all began, and once he arrived, we all jumped into rehearsals, head first with about as much excitement as a kid with a new bike. What happened over the next couple of days really was something special, I mean not only are the gents great musicians but they’re also impressively easy to be around and to work with. I remember at one point finishing a song and just having to say out loud “LET’S DO THIS EVERY DAY!”.
After a quick pit stop In Mooi River for “Outland Fest” and Clarens for “Lush”, we smashed the final rehearsal, grabbed what we needed from Marshall Music and headed over to Open Room studios in Greenside. Darryl opened up the doors to another world. Gotta be the slickest studio I’ve ever been in, beautiful gear all seamlessly hooked up to the Mighty SSL Desk. 40+ channels of pure analog recording heaven.
In the blink of an eye, we had powered through 11 tracks in two days, So much focus and energy in one room had made the time fly by. But nevertheless, one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career and I’m counting the seconds till we do it again.
FRANCO SCHOEMAN – BASS / BACKING VOCALS
The process of writing recording and refining the latest album of ISO has been exhilarating to say the least. Not only is there the fresh energy from our fresh new member, but the existing members all seem to be looking at the band, the music and our imagery a new.
Nick and I had worked with the material weeks before Richard joined us and this allowed us to focus on the details of the drums and bass. After formulating this foundation the process of integrating the guitars and also the keys began. What was particularly pleasant about this phase was the influence that each member brought into the composition, however the original direction was always respected.
When the time arrived to step inside the studio the material was so ingrained into the rhythm section, that I could barely hold my anxiety in. Every moment spent setting up and prepping studio equipment was a burning sensation to get recording. My fellow band members referred to me as ‘the ants nests’.
The haze of the red light sessions feature in an almost unrealistic sphere of musical memory. During the actual recording process, I found myself in a time-travel-like state where my older self will be remembering and revisiting that exact moment of capture. It is in fact the closest thing I have come to time travel.
All pics: Alex Parker