ESP/Levellers single + The Metway studio

The Levellers (myspace) release Burn America Burn limited 7″ single on November 4th 2008 in two different sleeves. The b-side, 15 Years, originally from the classic album Levelling The Land, features The Electric Soft Parade taken from sessions in The Levellers own Metway studiosjuno.co.uk has a b-side clip — Lyrics Here

Watch the animated video for Burn America Burn and 15 Years live with lyrics by the Levellers.

Released for US Election Day, the single will be deleted the same day. Here’s scans of both sleeves.

ESP were one of the first bands to record a Metway session and in Autumn 2002 they started work on their second album there, The American Adventure. Empty At The End live at The Metway appears on the Lose Yr Frown CD single release from 2003: Listen Here Take Me Back, also recorded there, appears on the Lose Yr Frown 7″.

In recent times 2005’s The Human Body EP was also recorded at Metway Studios (and on 8-track)

Electric Soft Parade and Brakes recorded Metway sessions in 2006. The Pipettes with Alex White also demoed their upcoming album there and Wartime Love, from Thomas White’s solo album I Dream Of Black, was also recorded there with Alex White: Listen Here

Electric Soft Parade on recording The American AdventureInterview originally appeared on twistedear.com

“They spent a lot of money on The American Adventure but they did it in the middle of the life of the album,” says Alex. “When we were making it and demoing it and recording it, we did it all in the same studio at the Metway in Brighton for about six months and they weren’t involved. When the whole Db BMG thing was switching over who we were dealing with, they came onboard and were like ‘we definitely want to do this or whatever’ and started getting involved saying ‘that doesn’t sound right, it needs to be changed and blah blah blah’ and made us go to Abbey Road and re-record a bunch of it at a cost of a lot – almost one hundred grand. Then they went, ‘oh shit, this band isn’t actually that bankable maybe they won’t have a hit’ and realised that they’d spent loads of money when actually we’d made the record for about ten grand over six months – a really good economical record. The record is basically what we recorded and they spent the money on three tracks”

“Loads of the main tunes, like Lights Out and Bruxellisation were all done at the Metway. The ones we did at Abbey Road sound alright but they don’t sound amazingly different to me once it was mastered and everything.  It was a case that they weren’t really into it and they just hung onto it thinking that maybe there will be success for the band later or whatever and that is, ultimately, all they were thinking about and we weren’t on that page, we were just thinking about making a really good record because we felt that the first record was taken out of our hands a little bit and the sound of it and the whole vibe of it was not quite what we wanted, not that we should have what we want”

Cue a messy, lengthy, dispute between the band and BMG about the record, and just two limited edition 7” singles: Things I’ve Done Before and Lose Yr Frown got dribbled out into the public domain before the album failed to break the Top 40 and the band went on a two year hiatus (note: there is a CD single of Lose Yr Frown available including Empty At The End live at The Metway)

In December 2005, the band released The Human Body EP on Truck Records to universal critical acclaim.  It then saw them break the US for the first time, signing to Better Looking on the opposite side of the Atlantic, and exhibiting a much more defined, experimental sound than before.

Thomas White circa The Human Body EP: “I really didn’t like the way The American Adventure came across. The whole situation surrounding the record didn’t allow people to see it for what it actually was and I think we are doing the same kind of thing in terms of the direction we are going. It’s a continuation of what we started on The American Adventure – the sound of it and the studio we were in and the guy we used for recording and all that sort of stuff.  We wanted to be the same band doing the same stuff but succeed at it rather than have it swept under the carpet by a label. Truck have been fantastic and allowed us to do that”

The Levellers on The Metway sessions and Electric Soft Parade

Here’s an interview with The Levellers back in 2002 – Interview originally appeared on indigoflow.co.uk

We have a studio here and we just started off with us recording our albums and then we thought, when we go on tour we could hire it out to other bands. So then that started and we were going on tour and hiring it out to other major bands to come and record. But, you know, most of them like to go home at weekends and so we thought it would be a good idea to let the weekends go for nothing and let local bands come in and record for nothing. They come in and record a couple of songs and then the session gets broadcast on Juice FM, which is the local radio station… It’s just ‘cos we hate seeing waste, you know, we hate seeing the studio with no one in it and we remember the times when we were a band trying to start off and everyone was out to rip you off, trying to stitch you up in one way or another, and we though it would be good to do something for local bands that didn’t have any catches in it or strings attached, hidden clauses or anything.

Now some of the bands that have done the sessions are starting to get quite well known. Electric Soft Parade are the best known example. They were in last week recording. Interviewer: Were they still doing it for free or do they have to pay now? No no, the sessions are always free.

Another interview from 2002 that mentions ESP – Interview originally appeared on ed.acrewoods.net

Basically what happens with the Metway Sessions is that we let our studio out free every week-end for local bands to record. They usually record about two songs with one of our engineers and then it gets broadcast on the local radio station on the Indie Rock show… And as far as listening to the bands, yeah I mean, in fact The Electric Soft Parade are now doing really well and they were one of the first bands that did the session. In fact they are actually in Metway at the moment recording their second album.

ESP also once appeared in a programme on Southern TV about The Metway: “They interviewed all the bands like the Electric Soft Parade, Electrelane and Eighties B-Line and all the others who had done the session and basically they all said very nice things about us”

The Electric Soft Parade on The Metway: It’s really comfortable for us here. It’s like being in your own room. It’s got that creative vibe. It also helps motivation as well to know that there’s other stuff going on in the building.